27th Parliament · 2nd Session
The ACTING PRESIDENT (Senator Wood) took the chair at 1 1 a.m., and read prayers.
-I give notice that later this day I propose, with the leave of the Senate to present the following motions:
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969-1972, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report -
Construction of telephone exchange at Sydney East, New South Wales.
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969-1972, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report -
Construction of telephone exchange at Woolloongabba, Queensland.
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969-1972, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report -
Construction of rehabilitation centre, Camperdown, New South Wales.
– Has the AttorneyGeneral seen the statements attributed to Mr Justice Fox about the urgent need for a major overhaul of the criminal law? Is the Attorney-General aware that there has been vehement criticism over a number of years by a number of judges and academics of the state of the federal law, particularly in the Australian Capital Territory? Can the Attorney-General tell us whether he is prepared to take a little time off from discovering daily conspiracies in the Australian Broadcasting Commission and elsewhere to attend to some of the problems of introducing an up-to-date criminal law in the Australian Capital Territory, as well as introducing some law and order into the economic field, such as the legislation about which he has often spoken but which has not been introduced into the Parliament?
– It is difficult really to get the thrust of Senator Murphy’s question. It had a number of aspects. I shall endeavour to cope with each of them as best I can. I have seen statements attributed to Mr Justice Fox, but I do not know that Senator Murphy’s description of those statements is the one that I would use. I think Mr Justice Fox expressed surprise at the increase in the crime rate in the Australian Capital Territory. The crime rate is an Australia-wide phenomenon to which I have drawn attention in recent times. Whetherthis is due to the lack of a body of criminal law in the Australian Capital Territory in the way that Senator Murphy said, I very much doubt. There is a need for revision of the criminal law in the Australian Capital Territory. Over a period of years considerable work has been done towards achieving that reform. I hope that it will be achieved in the near future. As to the other matters to which Senator Murphy referred, I think it is appropriate for an Attorney-General to examine matters which are in the public interest. If there is, as he said, a communist conspiracy in the Australian Broadcasting Commission I think it is -
– I said that you were discovering daily conspiracies in such places as the ABC.
– If it is a daily conspiracy, I am not sure what the honourable senator is talking about because there has been no such activity on my part. But, insofar as matters connected with respect for the law, the upholding of lawful process and ensuring that there is a maintenance of the rule of law in this country are matters within the concern of the Attorney-General, I think that a person holding the office of Attorney-General must take every step available to him to bring home to the Australian community the value of those things to that community.
– Did the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service see last week the telecast of Mr David Frost - the well known television interviewer and commentator - addressing the National Press Club in which he said that a 2 per cent unemployment rate in the United Kingdom would be regarded as a luxury?
– I regret that I did not see the telecast of the address to the National Press Club last week. I was overjoyed seeing the interview by Mr David Frost with the leaders of the political parties last night. With regard to the specific purpose of the question, Mr David Frost’s comment on the British unemployment position is significant. The trade union movement in Great Britain has conducted a concerted and sustained campaign to resist the British Parliament’s Industrial Relations Act since it was passed early last year. That has accentuated an already excessive unemployment situation in Great Britain. Unemployment in that country exceeds 5 per cent and perhaps is as high as 6 per cent of its very large work force. Indeed, I can well understand a British commentator saying that Australia’s already excessive, in our terms, percentage of unemployment - at the rate of about 2 per cent - is a luxury. We ought to realise how fortunate we are and that, with the international trading arrangements which have disturbed our overseas customers and therefore our employment potential from July onwards, we need a concerted effort to reduce the unemployment rate in Australia, already a luxury, to more ordinary proportions.
– lt is very frosty in the unemployment pool.
The ACTING PRESIDENT- Order! When an honourable senator is called for the purpose of asking a question, he must ask his question and not make comments.
– J direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for External Territories. Although the Minister for External Territories has demonstrated commendable concern about Mr Clunies-Ross and his feudal control of the Cocos Islands, why has the Government allowed this intolerable situation to exist for the past 15 years? If fundamental requirements for more democracy and freedom were set out in a letter from the Government to Mr Clunies-Ross in 1968, why has the Government failed to ensure Mr Clunies-Ross’s compliance with those directives so that the islanders could be freed from this so-called benevolent despotism?
– My first comment on the question is that it shows a complete and unquestioning readiness to take up the cliches and catchcries of the current commentators. The Minister for External Territories - Mr Peacock, in another place-
– Whom are you insulting?
The ACTING PRESIDENT- Senator Georges, I ask you to desist from interjecting. It is intolerable that you should continually interject. If honourable senators do not desist, I will certainly take action.
– J was about to say that the Minister for External Territories, the honourable Andrew Peacock, when questioned on this subject yesterday emphasised that the reports, which were reflected with substantial accuracy in the Press, gave a one-sided aspect of conditions on Cocos Islands. If those who wish to be informed on Cocos Islands will read the annual reports presented to this Parliament a more balanced and unimpulsive picture will appear. One commentator last night did say that 30 years before the Beveridge plan the owner of the estate on Home Island in Cocos was paying retirement pensions to employees for the rest of their lives at the rate of 50 per cent of their wages. 1 hold no brief for the situation on Cocos Islands, but 1 ask all people to wait Until the Minister has examined the position fully by visiting the island and as a result of further consultation with his Department. In the interest of the true welfare of the people of Cocos Island I urge that no partisan judgment be made now but rather that people wait until the Minister has made his report.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Was Australia one of the first nations to recognise the state of Bangladesh? Was the application by Bangladesh, a newly independent country, to join the United Nations organisation vetoed by the People’s Republic of China, a nation which the Australian Labor Party is anxious to recognise unconditionally? Is the Minister for Foreign Affairs aware of any representations or protests from the Australian Labor Party against the action of the People’s Republic of China?
– All true Australians are very proud that this Government, through its Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Nigel Bowen, was one of the first to recognise the independence of Bangladesh. In the course of his speech on 31st January the Minister for Foreign Affairs made it clear that Australia hoped that in due time Bangladesh would assume the rights and obligations of membership of the United Nations. For reasons which I should think would be fairly clear to most students of this situation, the People’s Republic of China did enter its first veto on the question whether Bangladesh should be admitted to membership of the United Nations. Australia has supported the application by Bangladesh for admission to the agencies of the United Nations including the International Monetary Fund, the Internationa] Labour Organisation and the World Health Organisation. Of course, Australia is not yet a member of the Security Council, though we hope that later this year it will be, but this country will use all its efforts to influence the United Nations to accept Bangladesh’s application.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration seen reports of the court case involving Mr Mirek Mynar of Bankstown, New South Wales? Did the police prosecutor in the case oppose bail on the ground that ‘there is a matter of murder against him in Czechoslovakia in 1959’? Can the Minister assure the Senate that screening procedures will be tightened so as to ensure that people with serious criminal records are not permitted to migrate to Australia? Further, will he investigate the case of Mr Mynar to see whether it reveals any defects in screening procedures?
– I did not see the Press report. I am unaware of the details of what Senator Willesee has mentioned. He is aware that there are screening procedures. If it be that as a result of this case steps can be taken to improve the screening procedures, I am sure the Minister for Immigration will be most anxious to take those steps. I will convey the question to the Minister and endeavour to obtain a reply as soon as possible.
– My question, which I direct to the Attorney-General, is further to the question which I directed to him yesterday in relation to do-it-yourself divorce kits. Did the Minister hear a statement on behalf of the Queensland Divorce Law Association made on the programme A.M.’ this morning that thousands of such kits have already been distributed to the general public? Does the Minister know whether any petitions based on such kits have been filed with the court registries and, if so, with what result?
– Yes, 1 did hear the statement this morning on one of the radio programmes, lt was to the effect that thousands of these kits have been issued. I have ascertained from the Registrar of the Supreme Court in Queensland that at least until yesterday only one of these kits had been presented and that was rejected for formal defects. This possibly amplifies the statement which 1 made yesterday. The practice in Queensland is for all documents to be inspected when they are lodged to see whether or not they comply with the rules as to form. If they are defective, they are rejected. If the person who is lodging the application insists upon the right to have the documents lodged, they are accepted, but it is noted that they are defective and it is then a matter for the court. The Registrar in Queensland treats persons who lodge documents on their own behalf in the same way as he treats solicitors and clerks. In response to the direct question, only one of these kits has been used to the extent that it has been lodged with the Registrar in Queensland and, as I said, on that application it was defective.
The ACTING PRESIDENT- Honourable senators will have noticed that before calling Senator Willesee who asked the previous question, I had called Senator James McClelland. I should like to explain that the reason why I changed the call was that it was only at the last minute that I noticed that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition was standing. I understand that the existing practice is for the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to receive the call when they stand.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. Is it not a fact that the principle that unions and unionists should be immune from prosecution except in the Commonwealth Industrial Court for acts done in* the furtherance of industrial objectives is enshrined already in section 147 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, which reads:
Unless the contrary, intention appears in this Act, no organisation or member of an organisation shall be liable to be used, or to be proceeded against for a pecuniary penalty, except in the Court . . .
Meaning the Commonwealth Industrial Court- . . for any act or omission in respect of which the Court has jurisdiction.
Since these words have been in the Act since its inception in 1904 and successive Liberal governments have taken no steps to repeal them, may we take it that the Government agrees with the Australian Labour Party that the traditional immunity of trade unions and their officers from actions for damages for conspiracy arising out of industrial dispute should be maintained?
– The honourable senator returns to this issue in which the Australian Labor Party propounds a proposition that there should be complete privilege from civil action and from penalties for unions and unionists in relation to acts done in the course of an industrial dispute. I remind Senator James McClelland, who did not ask a question of me yesterday, that yesterday I read the Australian Labor Party’s proposition, which is that no action shall lie against any person or organisation which arises in any way in or in connection with an industrial dispute. The honourable senator said that that is a principle which is fundamental to unionism.
The honourable senator then referred to section 147 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. I am in the fortunate position of having studied that section for days when arguing the Hursey case before the High Court of Australia. There has been a notable advance in the position of trade union law as a result of that case. Section 147 was put up to defeat my claim for compensation for the Hurseys. I ask the Senate to take particular note of the fact that that section gives immunity from a pecuniary penalty, except in the courts of the arbitration system, lt does not give immunity from a criminal law offence involving imprisonment or from compensation not in the nature of a penalty but by way of remedy. Of course it is now proposed by the Labor Party that trade unions should have complete immunity from penalties for all offences within the arbitration system too. It is a demented distortion of section 147 to suggest that its retention in the legislation represents an acceptance by the Liberal-Country Party Government of the claim by the Labor Party for ultraprivilege on the part of the trade unions. (Opposition senators interjecting) -
The ACTING PRESIDENT - Order! There must not be any booing in the Senate chamber.
– I wish to ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, ls it a fact that at 2 recent international conferences Australia managed to record 2 different votes on the same subject of a 10-year moratorium on the commercial killing of whales? Is it a fact that at the Stockholm Conference on the Environment the Australian delegation, led by Mr Howson, voted for the moratorium and that 3 weeks later at the International Whaling Commission conference in London the Australian delegation, which on that occasion did not include Mr Howson, abstained from voting on the same question? Is it a fact that the vote in Stockholm was contrary to the official brief given to the delegation and that Mr Howson was therefore in error? How did this discrepancy occur?
– I would like to be able to give the honourable senator the information he seeks, but, frankly, I do not have it. I suggest that he put his question on the notice paper. I am sure that the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts will be very keen to answer it as soon as he can.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service, follows the question asked by Senator James McClelland. 1 ask: Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to the fact that a motor vehicle apparently owned by a union in Victoria was involved in an accident which resulted in the death of a 79-year-old woman? Under the demands of the Labor Party that unionists be exempted from civil offences while on strike, could such damage as that aforementioned be exempted from liability for civil action were there a circumstance in which such a vehicle had been driven by a striking unionist?
– I noticed the paragraph in the newspaper to which the honourable senator refers. The incident was associated with the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union of Australia in Melbourne. The motor car was registered in the name of the union but it was not proved to be driven by anybody authorised by the union. The verdict was that the death of the woman was due to something analagous to culpable negligence or manslaughter but no verdict implicating the union or any unionist was involved. This gives a graphic illustration, does it not, that if that sort of culpable negligence were to occur in the course of an industrial dispute serious consideration will have to be given to whether this comes within the Australian Labor Party’s proposition which is before the Senate? This provides that no action shall lie against any person or organisation which arises in any way from or in connection with an industrial dispute. It is not for me to give an opinion. I think that such a case illustrates the gravity of the claim by the ALP which seeks to enthrone organisations and unionists as having complete immunity from civil law for anything done during an industrial dispute.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service whether he is not unaware of the great statements in the law books, particularly in the great case of Cox and Hakes in 1S90 appeal cases, about the law being read with reference to the sense of the subject matter and being applied in a reasonable and commonsense way? Can he tell me whether it has ever been suggested, in the long years during which there has been this traditional immunity of trade unions and their officers from action for conspiracy and so on arising out of an industrial dispute, that this would stop a person bringing an action where injury was caused by a motor vehicle accident? Has anyone in his wildest dreams suggested this? Will the Minister further tell us: Is there no limit to the efforts by this Government to traduce the trade union movement in this country, which has a legitimate place under law, just because it thinks it can obtain some advantage from this in the few weeks preceding a general election?
– Far from there being no limit to the effort of the Liberal Government to traduce the trade union movement, the position is that the Liberal Government will spare no effort to guide the trade union movement to a province of law and order and consequent prosperity. The great body of trade unionists will be persuaded ere long to adopt that choice rather than be led by the Mundeys and Carmichaels into chaos and distress. It is particularly unfortunate that the Australian Labor Party allies itself with the Mundeys and Carmichaels and not the great body of purposeful trade unionists.
Now for the legal disquisition, briefly: I do not profess to have an encyclopaedic acquaintance with the legal precedents but I suggest that Senator Murphy might begin his study of this proposition with the Taff Vale case in the House of Lords in 1899 and follow the prolific contentious literature in England for the next 7 years, including the reports of 2 royal commissions, one of which was presided over by Lord Dunedin. This was followed not by legislation giving total immunity to trade unions, as the Leader of the Opposition suggests, but by a quasi immunity of a limited nature which had its origin in perhaps one of the most despicable political compromises in this field of law. That was the first effort of the first group of Labour politicans to enter the House of Commons - 24 of them. They secured the support of the Liberal Government by the Libera] Government’s abandoning its own Bill and adopting the Bill of one of the private members during the course of its passage through Parliament. This bedevilled British trade union operations from 1906 until Heath, with the courage of the Conservative Government - still adhered to - passed legislation not fully to redeem the position but partially to correct it in the Industrial Relations Act last year. That is the contention that is going on there, and that contention will go on here on the part of any government which has the welfare of the real working trade unionists at heart to combat this unfortunate adoption by the ALP of the Carmichael and Mundey theory whereby every trade union and every trade unionist seeks immunity from the civil courts. Why? Because they are involved in an industrial dispute. The thing is monstrous.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service been drawn to the increasing use of violence in both industrial and political disputes in Australia? I cite the cowardly attack on the President of the Australian Labor Party in New South Wales, Mr John Ducker; the recent hit and run murder by some person unknown driving in a Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union of Australia car in Melbourne; the destruction of partly completed buildings by the Communist Mundey and his Australian Builders Labourers Federation in Sydney; and the placing of a bomb in the office of the Department of Labour and National Service in Perth.
The ACTING PRESIDENT- Order! The honourable senator will put his question.
– I rise to a point of order. Is the honourable senator entitled to make a speech during question time?
The ACTING PRESIDENT - Order! The honourable senator was asking a question and relating it to certain incidents. I ask him to make the preface to the question as brief as possible and make the question compact.
– I was giving these examples to refresh the Minister’s memory. 1 can understand why the Leader of the Opposition should be so sensitive about it. Can the Minister say whether this sinister trend is encouraged by the Federal Labor Party’s decision at Townsville last year to place unionists above the law?
– In my file of pregnant passages on current affairs, I find that this newspaper statement is in print:
If police had not intervened I am sure myself and 2 companions would have been kicked insensible This was a deliberate attempt at intimidation, a policy advocated by the Australian Communist Party. I warn all unionists that Communist inspired violence will continue unless they are vigilant. I know that the Communist Party is using these vigilantes just as Hitler used stormtroopers to gain power.
Having printed that as a quotation, the newspaper stated:
This is not Mr Santamaria talking, nor Mr Killen, nor Mr McLeay; it is Mr Ducker, the Assistant Secretary of the State Labour Council of New South Wales.
Without dealing with the other examples to which my colleague Senator Hannan referred, Mr Ducker, in the company of 2 colleagues, was kicked almost insensible in the course of a meeting which was considering whether the 8-week-old strike of the plumbers should end. I suggest, with due deference to a contrary interpretation that commends itself to Senator Murphy, a serious question would arise as to whether Mr Ducker would be deprived of any right to redress himself for that assault if the Labor Party proposition were carried. I quote it again, briefly as usual:
No action . . . shall lie against any person or organisation which arises in any way in or in connection with an industrial dispute.
That would give complete immunity to thuggery within the halls of trade union meetings. Instead of a decision being made by a vote reasonably taken, whether secret or not, people would use assault to force their conclusions on to a meeting. Honourable senators will notice that, according to Mr Ducker, thuggery is advocated by the Australian Communist Party. The Australian Labor Party’s proposition would give people engaging in such action complete immunity from civil remedy in the law courts.
– 1 ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. Now that he has applauded and quoted the words of Mr John Ducker, the Assistant Secretary of the Trades and Labour Council of New South Wales, will the Minister tell us whether that book of pregnant information that he has before him also contains the information that Mr John Ducker is a member of the Federal Executive of the Australian Labor Party which only a few weeks ago said that the traditional immunity of the trade unions and their officers from civil actions - not criminal proceedings - in respect of matters arising out of industrial disputes should be preserved and maintained?
– I. am glad to acknowledge that Mr Ducker, the author of those statements to which I referred, is a prominent member of the executive to which the honourable senator has referred. Mr Ducker would not have given expression to the passage which I have mentioned if he were not engaged in a bitter contention to prevail against a doctrine such as the one contained in the Australian Labor Party proposition. That doctrine was adopted in the Senate by the Australian Labor Party when it put forward the proposition that no action should lie against any person or trade union which arose in any way out of an industrial dispute. Mr Ducker is a distinguished member and, I hope, a continuing member of the Australian Labor Party, who is fighting for the same things for which the Liberal Party is fighting - that is to say, prosperous, democratic and reasonable trade unionism.
– Is the Acting Leader for the Government in the Senate in his capacity as representative of the Minister for Supply aware that Maralinga township in the north west of South Australia has been uninhabited for some years except for a caretaker who is forced to look after the facilities in that area? Is it a fact that the Commonwealth Government has offered the town to the South Australian Government for the use of Aboriginal people in
South Australia? If so, how long ago was the offer made? Can the Minister tell me whether any response has been received from the South Australian Government?
– It is my understanding that the town of Maralinga has been empty for some time but it is also my understanding that the Department of Supply is investigating future requirements not only of Maralinga but of the whole Woomera range. When that study is completed the Minister for Supply will be in a position to make an announcement. I do not know the details for which the honourable senator asked.
– My . question, which I direct to the Minister for Air, concerns the operational experience of Fill aircraft in both the U.S.A. and Europe. Will the Minister inform the Senate of the broad performance of this aircraft in safety and genera] performance . when compared with any other aircraft, currently in service in the Allied or other air forces? Has not the service experience of this aircraft, now very extensive, fully justified the decision of the Australian Government to equip the Royal Australian Air Force with Fill aircraft?
– The performance of the Fill is very ; pleasing indeed.
– It has not even got here. What sort of a performance is that?
– Does Senator Georges want me to answer this question? The honourable senator who asked the question will know that the Fill is operating not only in the United States but also in Great Britain. 1 have seen information that the performance of the aircraft in both countries is outstanding, particularly in bombing and navigation exercises. Contractual orders have been placed for 550 of these aircraft and of that number 467 have been delivered. It is my understanding that until 6th August, Fills had flown about 193,000 hours involving more than 70,000 flights. The 24 F111Cs ordered by Australia are all at present in the modification programme. It is expected that they will come out of that programme equipped and modified to the standard of the Fills at present flying in the United States. It is hoped that at the end of May next year 6 of the F111Cs will be ready for delivery to Australia and will probably arrive here on 1st June next. Six more F111Cs will be coming in July, September and November next year. By November 1973 we will have the 24 F111Cs now on order.
Each aircraft will have a completely new and modified wing carry-through box, an item which gave us very much trouble in the early days of the aircraft. I believe that when these aircraft arrive and go into operation the Royal Australian Air Force, this Parliament and the people of Australia will realise that we have a very fine aircraft indeed.
– I ask the
Attorney-General a question which has certain immigration overtones. By way of preface I refer to the Minister’s failure to provide me with a statement, which was promised at Estimates Committee B hearings, outlining the demarcation between the functions of the Commonwealth Police and their State counterparts. Is the Minister satisfied with the way that Commonwealth police and officers of the Department of Immigration were used at the behest of the New South Wales Government in the case of allegations of call-girl activities against certain Latin American migrants in Sydney? Was the exercise largely to protect local vice rackets, the moral aspect being of secondary importance? To remove the unfair stigma that was placed on all Latin American female migrants, will the Minister consider the creation of an immigration inquiries tribunal similar to that which has operated in Canada for the past 5 years so that an accused person facing deportation may produce a witness to refute allegations?
– I am sorry that Senator Mulvihill has not been provided with a statement which I promised him regarding co-ordination between the Commonwealth Police and the State police. Frankly, I have no recollection of the statement being promised, but I shall look at the record and provide him with the material as soon as I can. The honourable senator asked whether I was satisfied with liaison between the Commonwealth Police and State police in certain inquiries which have been undertaken. I was not aware that there was any basis for dissatisfaction. However, the point has now been raised by the honourable senator so I shall look at that matter. He asked also whether we should have immigration inquiries legislation. That, of course, is a policy matter, initially for the Minister for Immigration. I shall refer that matter to him for his examination.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Army. Has the Government decided on a site for the establishment of the proposed Army marine base? If not, will the Minister give some indication of when an announcement - is likely to be made?
– I am unable to give any indication, of when an announcement is likely to be. made. The honourable senator will be aware that this matter has been the subject of a long and detailed investigation for some time now. It is a matter which involves not only the Department of the Army but, also several other departments. Recently it became necessary to revise the investigation because of the recent decision to man Army boats with naval personnel. I am afraid that this will delay the announcement’ of. a decision. As I mentioned earlier, I have no information on when the announcement is likely to be made.
– My question to the Acting Leader of the Government as Minister representing the Minister.’ for Supply refers to the publicity given to statements by the Minister for Supply about a consortium to run the Australian aircraft industry. Is it a fact that the Government has determined the organisational form of that consortium? Has the Government accepted in principle the absorption of Australia’s efficient and long-established Government Aircraft Factories in a consortium to include foreign companies? If not, will the Minister give a clear indica- tion that the Government Aircraft Factories and their skilled work force will remain an important and foundational part of Australia’s defence capacity, continuing under the control of the Australian Government and Parliament? Is the Minister able to indicate when these matters might be reported to the Parliament?
– Firstly, I say to the honourable senator that it is the Government’s policy to maintain a small but viable and effective defence aircraft industry. But, as in the case of its counterparts in the rest of the world, there has been an up and down trend or a waxing and waning in the work load of this industry. So, the Government decided that it would conduct a feasibility investigation of rationalisation of the aircraft industry. It sought the benefit of the experience of the Defence (Industrial) Committee, which investigated the matter and made a report to the Minister for Defence and the Minister for Supply. The two Ministers then had a meeting with this Committee which I was invited to attend, together with the head of my Department, because my Department had been associated with the investigations. That Committee made certain recommendations to the Minister for Defence, who submitted a report te Cabinet. The Minister for Supply has been given approval by the Government to take certain action which was outlined in his statement yesterday. I think that aH I can do is convey to the Minister for Supply what the honourable senator ‘has said. If there is any further information that can be given, I will obtain it for the honourable senator.
– Is the AttorneyGeneral aware that on a television show last night Mr Whitlam said that the Labor candidature of draft resister Barry Johnston is an embarrassment and that Mr Johnston should withdraw his nomination? If Mr Whitlam believes, as his statement strongly suggests, that Barry Johnston’s candidature raises certain ethical principles, is it not the clear responsibility of Mr Whitlam to dissociate himself and the Australian Labor Party from Mr Barry Johnston and call upon the Victorian ALP Executive to withdraw bis candidature? If Mr Whitlam does not take such action, are not his words a hollow pretence and a condemnation of his own inability to lead the Australian Labor Party?
– I saw with great interest the television interviews last night. I can say only that Mr Whitlam’s statement is a curious one. I must say that it is not the first time that he has made that statement.
– What about telling us your policy on the election?
– It may have some relevance, when the election comes around, to know precisely the view of the Australian Labor Party on this matter. Mr Whitlam has said that he feels that Mr Johnston should give himself up to the police and that Mr Johnston’s candidature is an embarrassment to him and to the Australian Labor Party. If I recall his words correctly, he said: ‘Ask any other Labor candidate’. Mr Whitlam expressed these views before he went to the meeting of the Federal Executive of the ALP in July of this year. But the Federal Executive indicated that it did not agree with Mr Whitlam, because it was from that meeting that a telegram was sent to the Prime Minister which accused the Government of acting mercilessly towards Mr Johnston and asked the Government to provide an amnesty so that he would not be arrested. That is quite inconsistent with Mr Whitlam’s view.
When one considers the public statements which have been made by so many members of the Australian Labor Party within the parliamentary Party - Mr Bryant, Dr Everingham, Dr Cass and Mr Kennedy - the statements which have been made by the Federal Executive of the Australian Labor Party, the Victorian State President and the Victorian State Council of the Party and the fact that members of the ALP are providing regular financial assistance to keep Mr Johnston in hiding, it seems incredible that Mr Whitlam as the leader of the ALP can say that the candidature of Mr Johnston is an embarrassment and yet is unable to do anything about it. It raises the very real question - it may be in the election con tex to which Senator Georges and other Labor Party senators have referred - of how much credence can be placed upon what Mr Whitlam says and his ability to persuade the governing bodies of his own organisation to give effect to what he says, because this is one clear example of his being out of step with his own Party.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. I refer to the Minister’s statement on airline policy made last Tuesday in which, among other things, he said that Trans-Australia Airlines will be given immediate rights to operate air services in competition with Ansett Airlines of Australia between Cairns, Weipa and Thursday Island. I ask the Minister: When TAA starts to operate on this run will fares and freight rates be reviewed?
– This always takes place when a new operation begins. The honourable senator will recall also my reference to the need to cover the situation of intermediate ports operated by Bush Pilots Airways Ltd, an airline for which I have great admiration. In response to requests in the area, particularly that covered by Comalco from Weipa, it is felt that the service should be expanded and given the benefit of competition. It is hoped that that will result in a better service. We hope, but cannot guarantee, that this will result in lower fares.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Is it true that there is every prospect of a major upsurge in the appearance of imported ships on the Australian coast now that approvals to import new ships will be freely given and the non-preferential tariff on them removed? Is it true also that the public-owned Australian National Line is giving orders to a foreign yard at a time when Australian yards are facing a critical shortage of orders?
– There has been a series of observations on this question from Senator McAuIiffe and a series of answers by me. They have, taken the current form: The honourable senator makes the observations and I point but to him that substantial aid has been given to the shipbuilding industry. I ask the honourable senator to put his question on notice so that I may provide him with accurate information for the benefit of his query and equally to correct a number of assumptions he makes most qf which have proved to be incorrect. “
– My ‘ question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise. Has the Minister considered the advisability in the public interest of laying before the Senate a statement on the differences in policy as proposed by the Government and by the official Opposition, the Australian Labor Party, relating to censorship? Will the Minister give urgent consideration to my request that he do so? .
– That, ,. question reflects a stroke of genius and I shall put the proposition to the Minis,tei; for Customs and Excise.
– My: question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. What control does the Minister exercise, on the marketing of medicated animal foods? Is he aware that the United States Food and Drug Administration has banned more than 1,000 medicated animal foods on the grounds that they are ineffective in promoting animal growth? Do American firms produce these products on the Australian market? Does the Minister intend emulating the United States Government in banning the sale of these products?
– The honourable senator asked me this question yesterday and I said that I would obtain some information for him. That information is as follows: The sale of medicated feed is regulated under Stock Feeds and Medicines Acts by State departments responsible for agriculture. A joint CommonwealthState Committee - the Technical
Committee on Veterinary Drugs - is responsible for the evaluation of feed additives. The States have agreed to abide by that Committee’s recommendations. Full information has not yet been received regarding the banning of certain medicated animal feeds but the report of a task force in the United States earlier this year recommended a review of the efficiency of some of these feeds. Most of the companies that the honourable senator has mentioned are well known manufacturers of feed additives; thus, their involvement could be expected. Several of the firms listed also market in Australia antibiotics for growth promotion. If restrictions were placed on the sale of any such medicated feeds in the United States, an independent investigation would be initiated in Australia if overseas evidence suggested that this course was desirable.
– My question is to the Attorney-General. Has the Minister seen a recently reported statement of Mr Jack Mundey, New South Wales Secretary of the Builders Labourers Federation, that he and his union are opposed to physical violence in industrial disputes? Could the Minister inform the Senate of the background of this gentleman and of the actions of members of his union in using physical violence on building sites in Sydney? Has the Minister seen the article on violence In the magazine ‘Left Review’ in which Mt Mundey advocates violence as a major weapon of the trade union movement?
– I have some knowledge of the background and activities of Mr Mundey. I think that it is appropriate to say that he is an official of the Builders Labourers Federation. He is an acknowledged member of the Communist Party. He has put material on record over a period so that his policies may be seen, his philosophies may be judged and his actions recognised as consistent with that material. I am aware of the article in the ‘Left Review’. It is an article in the issue of August-September 1970. I simply say, because it is the sort of thing which ought to be given the utmost publicity, that this is the type of approach that Mr Mundey supports. He was referring to recent strikes and he said:
Presumably, that is his union - . . stated that if in this scattered and fragmented industry an employer used scab labour he must bear the full consequences. Arising from this, private property was smashed, where arrogant employers ignored the democratic decisions of mass meetings. It was this destruction of private property which struck fear to the very hearts of the employing class. If a relatively small union could successfully mount such an attack, what could be achieved by the more powerful unions with more resources if they acted in a similar way?
I can only say that this is a policy which the Builders Labourers Federation in fact has followed. It was unfortunate that members of a plumbers union, with persons allegedly present from the Builders Labourers Federation, were able to conduct themselves in a comparable way at the meeting at which Mr Ducker was injured. I can only emphasise that everything which was so eloquently said today by the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service is correct. If immunity is to be given for actions taken by unions and unionists in the course of an industrial dispute, that sort of physical assault and smashing of property will be allowed to go on without the persons guilty of that conduct being liable to compensate in any way the people whom they injure.
– My question, which I direct to the Attorney-General, follows from the answer that he has just given. Is the Attorney-General aware that the Australian Council of Trade Unions, which is the national trade union body and is recognised as such by this Government with which it sits on the National Labour Advisory Council, has condemned violence in industrial disputes? Is he aware that its policy binds not only the members of the Australian Council of Trade Unions but also the State trades and labour councils? When the Minister is discoursing on these subjects will he give due regard to the policies of the national trade union movement and indicate that it does not encourage such acts?
– I echo what Senator Wright has said - that there is a body of responsible trade unionism in this country which abhors all of these activities and that the inability of that body of responsible trade unionism to express itself within either the trade union movement as a whole or the Australian Labor Party is one of the regrettable features of what has developed. The Australian Council of Trade Unions recently declared itself against violence, but it did so in a way that I suggest is quite meaningless. I say that because I assume that any requirement of unions to expel from their ranks persons who are guilty of violence means that they would have to be convicted in the courts of that violence before the unions would expel them. The Australian Council of Trade Unions has the power, if it wants to use it, simply to say that any union in which these activities of violence occur shall forthwith cease to be a member of the Australian trade union movement. That is the sort of discipline which would be meaningful. But the Australian Council of Trade Unions has not taken any step like that. Until it does, one must regard what it says by way of protestation as being merely empty words lacking force to give them meaning.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for External Territories. In answer to a previous question the Minister was critical of the information given by commentators relating to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. In order to keep the Senate informed, I ask: Is the plantation of Mr Clunies-Ross on Cocos (Keeling) Islands owned solely by him or is it controlled by a proprietary company? If the plantation is controlled by a proprietary company, will the Government urgently seek out and table the names and address of all registered shareholders in that company? Can details be obtained of the registered owners of the shipping company or companies which transport the copra from the planation? Will the Government obtain and table the names and addresses of all registered shareholders of any subsidiary or other company with interests in the control of the plantation?
– Omitting for the time being the honourable senator’s preface, I simply wish to say that I am not in possession of information as to whether the planation on Home Island in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands is owned by Mr Clunies-Ross personally or by a proprietary company. Irrespective of whether he owns shares in any proprietary company or is the sole owner, it has always been stated that the freehold title to the Islands is that of Mr Clunies-Ross. The traditional reply that I have given in the past to questions seeking the names of shareholders in any company has been that this is. a matter which is the subject of public registry in the States. That being so, any honourable senator could have recourse to those public records. The Islands being a Territory of the Commonwealth, there could be a different situation in this respect. I will certainly ask the Minister for External Territories, whom 1 represent in this chamber, to examine the situation and let him decide whether he will make the services of his Department available for the assembling of this information for the honourable senator. .. ..
– My question, which is directed to he Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate, emanates from Senator Webster’s ideas about members of Parliament being knowledgeable of documents. Will the Acting Leader of the Government ensure that all honourable senators are given a summary of the book. Crisis on the Land’ by Ronald Anderson,, which contends that Sir John McEwen , spread an umbrella of self-delusionment over the rural industries? .
– I do not know whether the book is available. If it is available I would think the honourable senator would make ‘ a trip to the Library and borrow a copy. ‘
– I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation whether any consideration has been given by the Government in its recent review of the aviation policy to allowing the Government airline to operate intrastate services in South Australia between Adelaide and Mount Gambier and between Adelaide and Kangaroo Island?
– This is always a matter for the State Government concerned to decide upon. If the South Australian Government has any interest in this matter I expect that it will communicate with the Department of Civil Aviation and myself.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. In view of the Minister’s major statement on Tuesday in relation to civil aviation, will he table in the Senate the report from his departmental officers on which the statement was based before the amending legislation is introduced?
– My question is directed to the. Minister for Civil Aviation. I refer to a question which I asked the Minister last Thursday in connection with the frequency of accidents to light aircraft and as to whether any main cause could be identified. Does the Minister have any further information in connection with this query?
– I undertook to obtain some information and I have it. It will not take me long to give it to the honourable senator. I think it is better to do this now rather than later on. In the year ending June 1972 there were 222 accidents involving general aviation powered aircraft. This includes the 14 fatal accidents which caused 36 fatalities. The accident rate was 19.8 accidents per 100,000 hours flown. The fatal accident rate was 1.25 per 100,000 hours flown. The accident rate was the lowest achieved in corresponding periods since the present classification system was introduced in 1966. The fatal accident rate has been bettered only on one occasion in the past 12 financial years. The present record is therefore very good in relation to our high standard and in relation to comparative data from other countries. We aim to make it still better.
The honourable senator observed to me that the accident rate of light aircraft is higher than that for the heavier public tran sport aircraft. This is a fact of life in all aviation communities, including our own. In part it reflects the very high standard of the public transport operations but it is a logical consequence, I think it can be fairly said, of the tendency for the level of pilot experience to be lower in the general aviation field than in the more highly trained, sophisticated, regular public transport field. I thank the honourable senator for his interest in this matter. I think that this gives him some more up to date information.
– I have a further question to direct to the Minister for Civil Aviation arising out of my previous question. Has any South Australian government ever requested the Commonwealth Government to allow Trans-Australian Airlines to operate within the boundaries of South Australia?
– It will be necessary for me to have the Department check right back through its records to get that information. It is not available to me here, in the Senate. I shall obtain it for the honourable senator, though.
– For the information of honourable senators I present the annual report of the Department of Education and Science for the year ended December 1971.
– Pursuant to section 30 of the Canberra College of Advanced Education Act 1967-1970, I present the report of the Council of the Canberra College of Advanced Education for the year ended 31st December 1971.
– For the information of honourable senators I present a summary report of the Australian Delegation to the United Nation Conference on the Human Environment which was held at Stockholm this year.
Senator WITHERS (Western Australia)I present a report from the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory on the forty-ninth series of proposed variations to the plan of lay-out of the city of Canberra and its environs.
Ordered that the report be printed.
– Arising out of that report I ask for leave to make a short statement.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Lawrie) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The report which I have just tabled deals with two outstanding items referred to the Committee as part of the forty-ninth series of variations to the plan of lay-out of the city of Canberra. The Committee reported to Parliament on the remainder of the items comprising this reference on 20th April 1972. In that report we indicated that we wished to give further consideration to items 11 and 13. The report I have just presented is the Committee’s report on those outstanding items. From 1956 until 1971 proposed variations referred by the Minister were considered by the Committee in private and the Committee communicated its decision direct to the Minister. In 1971 this practice was reviewed and since then reports on variation proposals have been made to the Senate and the House of Representatives.
I know of no occasion in the past when the Committee has failed to recommend the implementation of a proposed variation referred for its consideration. The report I have just presented therefore represents a departure in that, having given careful consideration to these two matters, the Committee has decided that it cannot support items 11 and 13 of the proposed variations. The reasons for such refusal to aprove are set out in full in the report. We are all strongly of the view that there is already too much concession to the needs of private motorists and the accommodation of their vehicles in the existing proposals for the development of Canberra. Although there is a public transport system in existence, we have formed the impression that it does not provide an acceptable alternative to the private motorist, to the use of his own vehicle. Nor do we consider that improvement in the public transsport system alone will reduce the community’s reliance on private motor vehicles. Improvement to the public transport system is needed but would be effective only in conjunction with some discouragement to private motorists for the use of their own cars, plus the introduction of staggered working hours. The provision of extensive parking facilities close to government offices and other workplaces continues the trend of encouraging private motorists which we consider should be arrested.
There are 2 further points that I should make. The first concerns the position in which this Committee is often placed when asked to consider proposed variations to roads. In many cases these are incidental to major developmental projects undertake by the National Capital Development Commission. Very often the land use proposals have reached a point of development which makes it very difficult for the Committee to oppose the proposed variations to roads which are incidental to the overall plan. This is a problem that previous Committees also noted. The Commission is also aware of it. We are grateful for the opportunity to attend sessions with the Commission when we are given some advance notice of the new developments which are being considered. However, we feel that it would be helpful if in future when variations are referred to the Committee, the referral was at an earlier stage so that the land development proposal could be modified should the Committee be disposed to recommend against the implementation of the road variations which it has been asked to examine and report upon. I commend the report to the Senate. I move:
Debate (on motion by Senator Devitt) adjourned.
– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969-1972, J present the reports relating to the following proposed works:
– I present the 40th report of the Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances relating to Statutory Rules 1972 No. 35, amendment of the Naval Financial Regulations.
Ordered that the report be printed.
Motion (by Senator Drake-Brockman) agreed to:
That Business of the Senate, notices of motion Nos 2 to 5, be postponed until the next day of sitting.
– By leave - It would be appropriate at this time for me to make a statement relating to Business of the Senate, notice of motion No. 1 standing in my name. When I gave this notice of motion I explained to the Senate that it was for the purpose of allowing the Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances to complete its inquiries into the regulations concerned. This morning I presented a report from the Committee in which an opinion is expressed concerning the regulations. The Committee does not recommend that the regulations be disallowed. In view of this, unless any other honourable senator indicates that he wishes to take over the notice of motion, I withdraw Business of the Senate, notice of motion No. 1, standing in my name.
– by leave - Honourable senators will be aware that many items on the notice paper have been there for some time and that due to the urgency of business to be discussed prior to the rising of the Senate we will not be able to deal with them during these sittings. With the concurrence of honourable senators I propose that we now go through the notice paper and agree to dispose of certain orders of the day and notices of motion. I have discussed this matter with the leaders and Whips of all Parties and they agree to this course of action. Accordingly, I ask for leave of the Senate to follow this procedure.
The ACTING PRESIDENT- Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– Under the heading Government Business, order of the day No. 7 relates to a ministerial statement on Australian defence and the question is that the Senate take note of the statement. I suggest that we agree to the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Order of the day No. 8 refers to a ministerial statement on rural reconstruction and the question that the Senate take note of the statement. I suggest that we agree to the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Order of the day No. 9 refers to a ministerial statement on Australia’s foreign policy and the question is that the Senate take note of the statement. I suggest that we agree to that motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Order of the day No. 10 refers to a ministerial statement on financial assistance to schools and the question is that the Senate take note of the statement. I suggest that we agree to the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Order of the day No. 12 refers to a ministerial statement on the Commonwealth education programme for 1971-72 and the question is that the Senate take note of the paper. I suggest that we agree to the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Order of the day No. 13 relates to a ministerial statement on United Kingdom levies on imports of agricultural commodities. I move:
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Order of the day No. 15 relates to a ministerial statement on arbitration of common fees for general practitioners and the motion that the Senate take note of the statement. I suggest that the Senate agree to the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– ‘Under the heading of General Business, order of the day No. 2 concerns a motion moved by Senator Murphy relating to Government instability. I move:
That General Business, order of the day No. 2, be discharged from the notice paper.
– I had a discussion with the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Drake-Brockman) yesterday and this morning. This was one matter that we looked at. But, for various reasons, it was suggested that it should remain on the notice paper. There were two or three matters which, on behalf of my Party, I said ought to remain on the notice paper. This was one of them.
– I seek leave to withdraw my motion.
Motion - by leave - withdrawn.
– Order of the day No. 3 relates to a ministerial statement on an independent inquiry into the repatriation system and the motion that the Senate take note of the statement. 1 suggest that the Senate agree to the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Order of the day No. 10 relates to the proposed reference of a matter to the Senate Standing Committee on Health and Welfare. 1 move:
That Genera] Business, order of the day No. 10, be discharged from the notice paper.
– 1 would like that order of the day to remain on the notice paper.
– Very well. 1 seek leave to withdraw my motion.
Motion - by leave - withdrawn.
– Order of the Day No. 11 concerns a ministerial statement relating to peaceful uses of atomic energy and the motion that the Senate take note of the statement. I suggest that the Senate agree to the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Order of the day No. 14 relates to a motion standing in the name of Senator Devitt. It concerns Commonwealth - States financial arrangements. I move:
That General Business, order of the day No. 14, be discharged from the notice paper.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Order of the day No. 15 relates to a ministerial statement on Vietnam and the motion that the Senate take note of the statement. I suggest that the Senate agree to the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Order of the day No. 17 relates to a ministerial statement on overseas investment in Australia and the motion that the Senate take note of the paper. I suggest that the Senate agree to the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Order of the day No. 19 relates to the proposed establishment of a national rural finance corporation. I move:
That General Business, Order of the Day No. 19, be discharged from the notice paper.
– I think that there has been a slight misunderstanding. This course of action was agreed to. Senator DrakeBrockman is correct. But I think I said that I would discuss the matter with my colleagues. Whilst an announcement has been made about a rural bank, until it becomes a reality we would prefer to retain this order of the day on the notice paper.
– As there is an objection, I seek leave to withdraw the motion.
Motion - by leave - withdrawn.
– Order of the day No. 20 in the name of Senator Willesee relates to wheat sales to China. I move:
That General Business, order of the day No. 20, be discharged from the notice paper.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Order of the day No. 21 relates to a ministerial statement on the Australian environment and the motion that the Senate take note of the statement. I suggest that the Senate agree to the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Order of the day No. 22 deals with the report of the Australian Delegation to the InterParliamentary Union Conference in Paris and the motion that the Senate take note of the report. I suggest that the Senate agree to the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– Order of the day No. 25 relates to a ministerial statement on the report of the National Radiation Advisory Committee and the motion that the Senate take note of the statement. I suggest that the Senate agree to the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I now refer to General Business, notice of motion No. 3, standing in the name of Senator Byrne. I move:
That General Business, notice of motion No. 3, be discharged from the notice paper.
– I would like to speak briefly to this motion. I remind the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Drake-Brockman) that it might be wise for him to indicate to the Senate that it was agreed that when motions are put aside by agreement they will be listed, and when the new notice paper is compiled they will be considered for early inclusion in that notice paper. Honourable senators who otherwise may have some reservations will know that these motions are being protected in this way. In relation to this motion, we feel that as the Senate Estimates Committee are to be recalled into operation for this year it would be untimely to try to effect the end that is proposed in the motion. But it could be resurrected with these other motions next year.
– It was agreed between the Whips and the Party Leaders that the references under General Business, Orders of the Day, which were requested to remain on the notice paper should be listed for the President with priority of call in the new Parliament. It was suggested that the Leaders agree on priorities to be given to the matters and that a list of them be given to the President in the new Parliament rather than deal with them as they were received by the President, which could have meant that some which have a high priority now could end with a low priority.
– These may be a misunderstanding. This relates not to motions which are to be kept on the notice paper but to motions that will be discharged and whether they should be resurrected in order of re-presentation or by ‘arrangement following discussion.
– Surely all we need do is ensure that no senator will be prejudiced, should an arrangement be made next year, by the fact that -he agreed to having his notice discharged. ‘We cannot bind the hands of those who. will want to control business next year. It -is. our understanding that this is not to be taken as if these motions had been considered unimportant or that they ought to be prejudiced.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I refer now to General Business, : notice of motion No. 7, in the name ‘ df Senator Wilkinson. I move:
That General Business, notice of motion No. 7 bc discharged from the notice paper. ‘
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Construction of Telephone Exchange at Wooloongabba, Queensland.
– Pursuant to leave given this morning I now wish to move the 3 motions for reference of works to the Public Works Committee. I moye:
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969-1972, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report: Construction of telephone exchange at Woolloongabba, Queensland.
The proposed building will be a reinforced concrete structure comprising basement, ground floor and 15 upper floors. The building will accommodate electronic telecommunications equipment requiring airconditioning and emergency power systems of high reliability. The estimated cost of the proposed work is $10.2m. I table plans of the proposed work.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Construction of Telephone Exchange at Sydney East, New South Wales
Senator WRIGHT (Tasmania- Minister for Works) - J move:
That in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969-1972, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report: Construction of telephone exchange at Sydney East, New South Wales.
The proposed building will be a reinforced concrete structure comprising basement, ground floor and 9 upper floors adjacent to the existing exchange in Liverpool Street, Sydney. It will accommodate electronic equipment requiring air-conditioning and emergency power systems of high reliability. The estimated cost of the proposed work is $3.5m. I table plans of the proposed work.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Rehabilitation Centre Camperdown, New South Wales
– I move:
That in accordance with the provisions of thi Public Works Committee Act 1969-1972, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report:
Construction of rehabilitation centre at Camperdown, New South Wales.
The proposal is to erect a building of 5 storeys with facilities for physiotherapy, occupational therapy, medical attention, vocational and recreational activities and administrative functions. The estimated cost of the proposed work is $3. 5m. I table plans of the proposed work.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– by leave - The Senate will be pleased to hear that because of the work and report of the
Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse its Chairman, the Assistant Minister to the Minister for Health and Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Marriott, has been invited and will attend the 30th International Congress on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence to be held in Amsterdam from 4th to 9th September. At the Congress, the theme of which is ‘Man and His Mind Changers’, Senator Marriott will be a member of a Panel which will discuss cannabis and the attitudes of governments and the medical profession towards it. In addition Senator Marriott will take part in discussions on a number of subjects relevant to some of the main recommendations contained in the Committee’s report. Whilst overseas he will visit Geneva for talks with officials of the World Health Organisation and members of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs. He will return to Australia on Friday, 15th September.
Sitting suspended from 12.47 to 2.15 p.m.
Motion (by Senator Drake-Brockman) agreed to:
That the Senate at its rising adjourn until Tuesday, 12 September, at 3 p.m.
Report on Telephone Directories
Debate resumed from 24 August 1972 (vide page 409), on motion by Senator Laucke:
That the Senate take note of the report
– When the Senate was last discussing the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Social Environment on telephone directories, which was last Thursday, I had been indicating the course of action which had been taken by the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) and the Postmaster-General’s Department in the light of the recommendations which had been made by the Committee. I had referred to the first 2 recommendations of the Committee and outlined the action which had been taken. I propose to continue on the same course.
The third recommendation of the Committee was that the emergency services be listed prominently on the inside of the front cover and that, where a directory contains listings for more than one telephone district, the emergency services for the main centre or centres in each district be shown prominently on the inside of the front cover of the directory. I have been advised by the Postmaster-General that effect will be given to the first part of the recommendation in all telephone books and that that effect will be given progressively. Paid advertising appeared on the inside front covers of many country books up to and including the 1971 issues, but as from 1972 onwards advertising will not be permitted on the inside front covers. As regards the second part of the recommendation, the number of centres for which emergency services subscribers can be shown is governed by the size of the cover and the number of automatic exchanges included in the book. Main centres only will be shown where the space will not allow all of the centres to be shown. No real problems have yet arisen in deciding which exchanges are to be omitted from such a list, but as more exchanges become automatic this decision could cause some problems.
The fourth recommendation of the Committee was that capita] letters be used to indicate the commencement of each section of the instant call guide. I understand that action to give effect to that recommendation is taking place. The fifth recommendation was that instant call guides be extended to all directories, including country directories, wherever practicable. Again I have been informed that the Postmaster-General’s Department is giving effect to that recommendation.
The sixth recommendation was that a State map be included in all metropolitan and country directories. The PostmasterGeneral’s Department has included a State map in the Perth and Adelaide directories and in the directory of Tasmania, which includes the Hobart area, but no map yet appears in the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane directories. The reason for the different approach State by State is that the 3 books in which the maps appear were books which formerly covered the whole State and the maps were included when the books were split into sections as part of a general education programme. Inclusion of the maps in the other 3 capital city books is a decision yet to be taken. The decision in that area could be guided by the opinion survey which is about to be conducted in the Australian Capital Territory. A State directory area map appears in all country directories except for 2 in New South Wales, but even in those 2 directories a map appears on the back cover. In the 1973 issues the map will go into the information pages of those 2 books which at present do not include any map.
The seventh recommendation was that the use of 2 colour printing, in conformity with the practice adopted in the 1971 metropolitan issues, be extended to the information pages of all country directories. I have been informed that this is currently being given effect’ to. The final recommendation was that, in order to test public reaction, one of the metropolitan directories be printed in serif type in 1972. I understand that the information pages of the 1972 Sydney alphabetical directory were printed in serif type. It is intended that a public reaction survey be’ conducted later this year to ascertain what opinion is to be found in relation to that type. It is a matter of subjective opinion whether the present type is more satisfactory than that which was earlier used…….
I think it may be said that the. exercise which the Committee engaged in produced recommendations to which attention has been given. The actions I have outlined have been taken. Consideration of the recommendations in respect of ‘ which no action has been taken will lead to their implementation if that is considered appropriate. I should say that, following the presentation of this report, the 1972 issue of the Canberra telephone district directory incorporated most of the recommendations of the Committee, together’ with some other innovations on the initiative of the Post Office. The 1972 Canberra district directory is the first issue which. covers the Canberra telephone district solely. Prior to that issue the Canberra district exchanges were included in a directory covering the Goulburn and surrounding districts. Perhaps the major change from the former traditional layout of the directory was the splitting of the information pages. What was regarded as essential information common to all subscribers, such as the index, the instant call guide and STD area codes, was placed at the front of the book and promotional material together with ‘how to call’ instructions for subscribers connected to particular exchanges were moved to the end of the alphabetical section of the book. In addition, the 2 sections of the information pages were printed on green paper. Emergency call numbers were printed on the inside of the front cover. A map of New South Wales telephone directory areas was placed on page 5 and the back cover, in addition to enlarged maps of the area covered by the Canberra district directory. Considerable attention was paid to providing as clear and comprehensive an index as possible.
I mentioned earlier that it is planned to conduct a full scale survey in the Canberra district in the next few weeks to test subscriber reaction to the changes. As a part of the preparation for the full scale survey, a pilot survey of some 50 subscribers was undertaken recently and some minor amendments were made to the proposed questionnaire as a result. The officers of the Postmaster-General’s Department conducting the pilot survey reported a very low level of interest in the subject of telephone directory information pages on the part of those subscribers interviewed. That conforms with what the Committee found when it proceeded to examine this very important subject.
Many of the features recommended by the Committee have been included in other directories. These include State directory area maps, exhortations to users to use the index, printing of emergency numbers on the inside front cover of books and extension of the use of instant call guides. I think that reflects the interest which the Postmaster-General’s Department has taken in the report of the Committee. I am sure that all honourable senators have found the report and its recommendations a salutary example of how the Committee system may or may not be used.
– As the member of this chamber who was responsible for proposing the referral of an inquiry into telephone directories to the Senate Standing Committee on Social Environment, I am naturally interested in the activities of the Committee and its deliberations and recommendations. I am particularly interested in the extent to which the recommendations have been accepted by the Government and put into operation and to learn that, in addition, initiatives of the Post Office, not canvassed by the Committee in its recommendations, have been incorporated in one of the newly published directories. In view of what the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) describes, quite properly, in relation to the reference to the Committee in the opinion of the Post Office as the rather low level of public interest in this matter, I can only imagine that I must be much more sensitive to irritations and frustrations that the ordinary run of the public because personally I have found constant irritation and frustration in trying to discover quickly in the telephone directory the information which I want. It is my personal experience that other people to whom I have spoken have had the same difficulty. I thought that I was probably reflecting a substantial body of opinion. I am slightly disconcerted to find that apparently the opinion was not as widely held as I had occasion to believe. However, I do not think that a reference of a matter such as this to a standing committee is perhaps the most appropriate type of reference which can be made.
I have had occasion in this chamber before to draw attention to major references put down to these committees which were more appropriately subjects for investigation by select committees - ad hoc committees. Standing committees seem to me to have a different function. I think that the investigation of specific matters within a slightly limited area which allow for a rather prompt response and a quick report by the committee are certainly the most appropriate types of reference which can be put down to standing committees. I think that this investigation was of that type. I think the holding of the investigation and the presentation of the report has been worth while. The recommendations which have been made are salutory. I think that they show some advanced thinking. Without being an expert in the field, 1 know that there are technical difficulties. I would have liked to have seen a much greater use made of the multi-coloured page system so that this would become a standard practice. Information relating to telephone inquiries would be on mauve pages, other information on pink pages and still other details on yellow pages. Immediately there would be a colour dissection of the directory. I understand there are some technical difficulties in relation to that but at least there is a 2-colour system. That in itself will be of great value.
Without unduly prolonging the deliberations of the Senate there is a further point in this field which I should like to make. We have to realise that the Post Office is basically a commercial undertaking. It is already subject to very heavy demands from overhead expenses. We know that insofar as the system may not flow smoothly, to that extent there will be a great labour demand with a consequential increase in costs. If the burden of involvement by the Post Office in the ordinary routine of discovering numbers and answering queries can be eliminated, there will be a great financial saving to the Post Office. Therefore any of these suggestions which are incorporated in the new telephone book which might eliminate the frustrations of members of the public who might have them because of failure to obtain service from the Post Office will react to the advantage of the Post Office in a public relations sense.
Secondly, they will relieve the Post Office of having to supply unnecessary numbers and staff to answer queries which will not necessarily arise if the directories give the information and present it in a form which is quickly comprehensible and readily available. Insofar as these recommendations if carried into the new telephone directory might obviate the difficulties to which I have referred, I think the whole investigation has been worth while. I think it has been very wise to separate the general postal information pages and put them at the back of the directory. As a telephone directory is primarily, but its name, to be used for telephones those who go to it should not have the difficulty of thumbing through a lot of pages containing information in another field of Post Office operations. I think the recommendations are very salutory and should be implemented.
I thank Senator Laucke and the other members of the Committee for the investigation. I thank them for the promptitude with which they conducted it and for the skill with which they have brought in their recommendations. I express my appreciation of the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) and his Department for the readiness to adopt the recommendations. I await the outcome now. I hope that honourable senators will feel some benefit resulting from the exaggerated frustration of one of the few people who really felt that the Post Office directory was rather inadequate.
– I express my. appreciation for this report on the content, form and presentation of the information section of telephone directories. I want to ask a question which perhaps Senator Laucke as Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Social Environment may be able to answer. Of course the terms of reference of the Committee were directed towards the content, form and presentation of the information section of telephone directories. When this inquiry was first envisaged I was of the opinion that the Committee was being requested - I must admit that I did not look very closely at the terms of reference - to look at the whole question of the presentation of the telephone directory and not only the information section. I admit from reading the terms of reference that apparently this was not intended. Senator Byrne felt that a lot of people whom he knew were frustrated. He was surprised that no request had come from these people to the Committee for its consideration.
I wondered why there had been a splitting up of the directories in a number of the smaller States. This meant extra printing, extra cost and more inaccessibility of telephone numbers and ‘ information because there was no reference’ to other areas in the State. This seemed to be unnecessary. I do not know what the situation is in Tasmania. I think it would be even much worse than the situation in Western Australia. In Western Australia the 5 directories now take up twice the space taken by the original directory. The pink pages are repeated considerably in each of the issues which refer to the various sections of the State. I am surprised that this matter did not come in to the Committee’s consideration at all. As this was not in the terms of reference I concede that the Chairman might have ruled the matter out had any witness tried to introduce it. I am interested to know whether an attempt was made by any of the witnesses to express some dissatisfaction, with the fact that the directory had been cut up into a number of sections. I think that this is an area which should have been looked at. Had I noticed at the time that this was not included in the terms of reference I would have tried to have the terms of reference amended. Perhaps Senator Laucke may be able to give me this information.
– As Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Social Environment I have listened with great interest to honourable senators who have taken part in the discussion and debate on the reference given to the Committee by the Senate on 13th May last year. It is a very precise reference which excludes any reference to a series of books or the directory as a whole in certain States. This was mentioned by Senator Wilkinson. The reference was specifically to inquire into and report on:
The content, form and presentation of the Information Section of Telephone Directories . . .
The reference was quite specific, lt was in relation only to the information pages of the directories.
– Telephone numbers could be information.
– Information, as we interpreted the word, was information leading to a better ability to find those things being sought by users of directories and telephone users generally. So the reference was specific. In this case we did not go beyond the specific terms of reference.
– The other question 1 asked was whether there was any attempt by witnesses-
– Yes, I was just coming to that. No submission made to us made reference to the particular aspect to which the honourable senator referred, namely, the breaking up of the directories into districts and so on, which has been the subject of discussion and criticism in this chamber from time to time. I was extremely, interested to hear what the Attorney-General had to say in speaking on behalf of the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) who went right through the conclusions to which the Committee came in respect of this reference. The AttorneyGeneral indicated what the Department has done and what it will do in respect of these conclusions and recommendations. To note the acceptance,- in nearly all instances, of the recommendations is to me and the members of my : Committee very gratifying. The Committee is very grateful for the superb co-operation it received from the Department during, the course of this inquiry; it was quite magnificent. 1 point out. also that it has been made very obvious to the Committee that this matter of better presentation of the information pages in telephone directories has been given very great consideration by the Department from time ‘to time. In 1968 the Department, recognising’ the need for a. fresh approach to the presentation of the information pages, engaged, ah industrial design expert to assist in overcoming certain problems involved. The information page lay-out which applied before the most recent publications was largely the result of the recommendations ‘of the ‘consultant. This is essentially a matter for the experts. We received only a few submissions. Having sought submissions throughout Australia on this matter, this was a disappointing result. When Senator Byrne introduced this proposal to the Senate he thought that this was a matter of wide and great concern. It did not, we found later, excite the interest which we anticipated it would and we had to fall back very heavily on expertise in industrial advertising organisations and various other organisations. We consulted very closely with the PostmasterGeneral’s Department. I. was deeply impressed with the interest and action taken by the Department to ensure a better presentation of the information pages.
I will not reiterate what has been stated by Senator Greenwood in regard to the action which has been taken in relation to the Committee’s conclusions and recommendations. I applaud the decision of the Senate to devote some time each Thursday for the purpose of discussing Committee reports. Without this time being set aside, the past experience of rather interminable deferment of discussion of these matters would have persisted. It is a matter of some concern - particularly in the light of what transpired today - that of the first 3 hours after the Senate meets on Thursday, there is not very much time left to discuss committee reports, allowing for the time taken up by question time and in dealing with other formal business of the Senate. If this situation should worsen - that is, if this time should be used more and more for other purposes - the very good intent of the Senate in setting aside time for discussion of Committee reports could well be thwarted to a degree which would prevent the effective consideration which we would all like to see given to Committee reports. 1 have been asked: ‘How come a reference such as this was made to the Senate Standing Committee on Social Environment?’ I have thought about this question. Social environment encompasses a tremendous range of interests, which is evident from the wide variety of subjects referred by the Senate to the Senate Standing Committee on Social Environment. The word environment’ taken alone immediately conjures up in one’s mind those elements of nature which constitute the immediate surroundings in any given place. They include the prevailing geographical and climatic conditions, aesthetic factors, such as natural vegetation, trees, greenery and open space, and so on. Indeed, it would encompass all those considerations which give a particular character to any given location. The environment as such is in the public mind in this sort of . context. But when we refer to the social environment it opens up a terrific area of interest impinging On the very way of living in almost every facet of the social and economic life in the nation. The fact that the Committee on Social Environment has referred to it the matter of telephone directories was in accord with this extremely wide area which the social environment encompasses.
References which come to this Committee in very great numbers need to be watched to assure that the Committee does not have imposed upon it too heavy a programme because of its innate nature and breadth and depth of interest.- This would prevent those things being done which are sought to be done under the committee system. Like Senator Byrne, I have always had the feeling or the impression when listening to debates in relation to the formation of standing committees that essentially they would be bodies set up to look at a given problem expeditiously and report back to the Senate quickly- getting away from the select committee system. It was my impression that standing committees should provide an avenue of quick look and quick report. But we are now finding that those matters hitherto,, referred to select committees are now being referred to standing committees. I just Wonder at times whether in the process’ a lot of the effectiveness of a quick look and a quick report might be lost.
I am very happy indeed to see the recommendations of the Committee accepted. This was indicated by the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Greenwood) this afternoon when telling’ the Senate what action has been taken in relation to telephone directories. I would like to say also how much I personally appreciated the very splendid assistance of the Committee secretary, Mr R. G. Thomson, and Mr Symington who took a very definite part in this reference made to my Committee.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Report on Canberra Sewage Effluent
Debate resumed from 2 December 1971 (vide page 2297), on motion by Senator Laucke.
– I want to take up the discussion on the report on Canberra sewage effluent, which has been tabled in this Senate by the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Social Environment. The report was tabled against several backgrounds. One was the expression of concern at the alleged pollution of waters downstream to the north-west of Canberra. The alleged pollution was in New South Wales territory. A claim was made that the pollution was from sewage effluent discharged through the treatment works at Canberra. Another background was the terms of reference of the Standing Committee on Social Environment. I take the liberty of quoting them, as they are in the report. The terms of reference were:
That there be referred to the Standing Committee on Social Environment the following matter:
the continuing oversight of the problems of pollution, including ways and means of preserving the environment from pollution; and
the recommending, as soon as possible, of what further measures might bc taken to overcome the problems revealed by the Reports of the Senate Select Committees on Air Pollution and Water Pollution, and which measures, if any, should be taken urgently.
As the report states, the terms of reference were wide-ranging and gave the Committee a continuing charter - a charter to exercise, on behalf of the Senate, an oversight of the problems of pollution and ways and means of preserving the environment from pollution. I am sure that honourable senators would agree that that charter was a wide one. It gave the Committee considerable power - a power which had to be discharged very carefully. The Committee was entrusted with something which was described as the continuing oversight of the problems of pollution including ways and means of preserving the environment from pollution, and making recommendations. That charter certainly gave the Committee considerable power. So the matter of exercising its discretion and fixing priorities was not easy. I draw the attention of the Senate to the degree of responsibility that the Committee had to exercise. In determining which aspects of pollution problems should receive attention, the matter of careful discharge of responsibility and of the careful use of the authority, power and influence that the Committee had was taken into account very seriously. I think it is fair to make the observation that terms of reference such as the ones laid down for the Committee carry with them not only responsibility but a warning to the Senate and to the Committee that care should be taken that a committee, with these terms of reference and with this degree of operation, should not be placed in a position in which it might be said, rightly or wrongly, that it could be subjected to pressures and influences which would make it very difficult for the Committee to operate in the effective way that it would like to operate.
I have referred to a number of backgrounds to the tabling of the report. A further background was the situation in relation to the various areas of Commonwealth and State authorities and the limitations of Commonwealth and State authorities, particularly in regard to the control and quality of waters and streams. Another background was the reference in the Committee’s terms of reference to the report of the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution, which was tabled : in the Senate some time ago. It has achieved considerable distinction and enjoys considerable leadership in the field of discussion about water quality and management. I refer again to the conclusions and recommendations of the Select Committee. Honourable senators will know that I have referred to them on many occasions. Members of the Select Committee have referred to them. I am talking about the area of Commonwealth and State authority in relation to the management and quality of streams and waters. I draw attention to the first conclusion of the Select Committee. It reads:
Water pollution is only part of a much broader pollution problem which’ is threatening our whole national environment. .
It can be solved most effectively: by tackling it as a national problem.
In doing so, Australia must . recognise its responsibilities in an international movement to clean up ‘spaceship earth’ and it must recognise that it may be both polluter and victim in ‘international’ problems such as that presented by oil pollution. , . .
Another conclusion of the Select Committee was:
There is nothing in the present piecemeal and parochial administration df ‘water to prevent the insidious growth of pollution excesses.
The problem of pollution is so vast, the responsibility so diffused, and the ignorance of causes and consequences so widespread, that only a concerted national effort can save many Australian water resources from becoming unusable.
Adequate constitutional powers for such an effort are already available to the States and the Commonwealth.
Water pollution control in Australia lacks authority, co-ordination and planning, and clearly defined objectives.
Honourable senators who remember the particular exercise in which the Select Committee was engaged will recall the urgency and emphasis that it placed on its leading recommendation, which was:
– That urgency was underlined by resolution of the Senate.
– It was. Senator Byrne played a leading part in underlining that urgency by successfully having additional words added to the motion for the adoption of the Select Committee’s report. The Select Committee also recommended:
The functions of the Commission should include:
I presented that background in some detail and with some emphasis largely because of personal involvement and largely because of personal conviction.
The Senate Standing Committee on Social Environment, having a particular job to do, was confronted with a situation in which there was a water question which involved a national capital area and State geographical areas. Its study was in relation to a city which is a national capital and a city which is associated with rivers and streams over which it has no management because the streams are part of another geographical territory. Because the national capital did not manage the waters of the rivers and streams referred to there were particular problems. I turn to the report of the Standing Committee. Honourable senators will remember that the Standing Committee pointed out in its conclusions that as in other instances where waters are common to several political jurisdictions effective management of the resources and of the use of the resources can be achieved only by co-operation of the authorities concerned. Honourable senators who served on the Committee will recall that it referred to the co-operation of the authorities in the 2 jurisdictions in a joint effort directed towards assessment of the present and future waste disposal and the water resource requirement so as to achieve the most economically acceptable and practical solution in the light of their needs. This led the Committee to recommend that the authorities in the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales should engage in a further joint testing programme.
The Committee set out in its report that it commended both authorities for the joint testing programme as the first step towards co-operative joint management that could bring under control all sources of waste water in this part of the Mumimbidgee basin and would protect all beneficial uses of the water. I am placing great emphasis on the recommendations of the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution in its reference to a national water authority of some kind. We called it a national water commission’. I am not suggesting that a national water commission would be the answer to the kind of problem about which we are speaking but this set of circumstances has arisen because of diffusion of authority. While there has been joint effort, concern by both authorities in the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales and a very good degree of co-operation, this only highlights problems that stem from a proliferation of authorities relating to water quality and management throughout Australia. Indeed, I am suggesting that it underlines the very essence and content of the earlier Senate Select Committee’s report relating to water pollution.
I turn very quickly to deal with one or two of the main conclusions and recommendations in the report and to move away from the area which deals with the proposed authority. I want to look quite briefly at the reference to quality of water in the report. Members of the Committee will recall that in its conclusions the Committee pointed out that the quality of water in a stream should be assessed in relation to its use and not just set down as a reference to an absolute standard of a predetermined quality of water without any regard for the particular use for which the water would be put at a given time. We also came to the conclusion that the allegations of harmful pollution by Canberra’s sewage effluent have been based on the assumption that drinking water standards should be maintained at all times in the Mumimbidgee River and the Burrinjuck Dam.
These allegations have not been substantiated by evidence given to us. We were also quite convinced that there was no conclusive evidence of harmful effects from overflow or from leaching from the Coppin’s sludge lagoon. As members of the Committee will recall, the discussion related to the chemical known as ‘Solvex’ which is used as a masking agent particularly to reduce odour problems at the Weston Creek treatment works. We were convinced from the evidence put before us that the chemical had not been found to produce any harmful residue in effluent.
The Committee moved finally to the recommendations which very briefly made a plea that the joint testing programme to which I have already referred and which is currently being conducted by the Commonwealth and State governments should be continued permanently as the first step in the joint management of the waters involved, and that in the joint management suitable water quality and water disposable standards should be determined according to the use required. We recommended that they should be not only determined but also maintained. We said that in the continuing surveillance of the receiving waters attention should be paid to the long term effects of the masking agent known as ‘Solvex’. I have already indicated that we did not discover any harmful effects. The Committee was concerned about long term effects and therefore we recommended continuing surveillance through a progressive and effective programme for the phasing out of non-biodegradable detergents.
I think that the activity of the Senate Committee on Social Environment represents the first step towards taking a responsible decision in relation to its pollution terms of reference. I hope that the Senate will examine the report and comment upon it, but not only on the legal issue to which it refers. I think the Senate should also see it as a guideline resulting from the very important terms of reference which have been laid down by the Senate for the Committee.
– I join with Senator Davidson as a former member of the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution . in developing an argument as to the motivation for the recommendations of the Committee. Senator Davidson rightly harkened back to the desirability of a national water commission or some such body’.’ Unfortunately, the States as a whole are something like the Bourbons of old in . that they have never learned, anything and .they have never forgotten anything. ‘ 1 particularly have in mind the ‘SolveX’ -problem. Some wild allegations were made. about pollution and over the general . field’ !of- pollution there seems to be an inability to get; a quick analysis for rebuttal -of Such assertions. In this instance it- Was proved that certain fears were groundless but some of the people concerned came- -back with a complaint that ‘Solvex’ may have been affecting the fishing. !’
I am not blaming any .Commonwealth authority but it was remarkable that the New South! Wales fishing ^authorities had no liaison with other departments. Weeks elapsed before an explanation ..was produced of the high , mortality rale, of fish, in the river in question. That was one weakness. As to the long term; assessment, we saw a film depicting what might . be called the ‘millenium in sewage treatment’. The film showed a lake in California where sewage treatment works are located. That works in the next 3 to 5 years may truly be a pacesetter for similar- ‘works in Australia. The lakeside plant and. the purity of the water there have proved’ that modern science can be channelled to overcome some of these urban problems. . .
I do not disparage the people concerned but we were told that it would not matter how much additional money were dumped into a programme for the Australian Capital Territory, similar treatment would not be available here sooner than 3 to 5 years hence. The Department of Supply is spending money on space tracking programmes. I just wonder whether we could not speed up action to deal with urban problems such as water pollution. Assuming that full achievement were possible of the Committee’s recommendation for the Australian Capital Territory, the problem of lack of co-ordination with the States would still arise, in this area I am reminded of the handling of starting price betting by New South Wales and Victoria. It was ignored or attempts were made to eradicate it but finally it had to be legalised. Today the Premiers of Victoria and New South Wales juggle their finances to provide money for the sewerage outfall into Bass Strait and the works at Malabar respectively when the principle of federal grants for modern sewerage plants should be adopted.
Senator Davidson referred to the specific recommendations in the report about interim emergency measures for the oil industry to combat water pollution and grants to the States to accelerate and modernise their sewerage outfall works. All that we were suggesting has become part and parcel of the legislation introduced in the United States in the term of President Johnson. One of my fears for Canberra is that it seems to me, from a layman’s viewpoint, that the river system of the Australian Capita] Territory may have been used more as a scarifier to combat some of the water pollution. With the multiplicity of Commonwealth departments, I fear, that with the growth of the population in the Australian Capital Territory and expansion in the field of sewerage works action may be taken to rob Peter to pay Paul, as it were, thus negating the river system. Our recommendations would not be implemented in that way. Other lessons can be learnt from this. There is a certain amount of backbiting and blaming of the Australian Capital Territory by New South Wales State departments.
My attitude as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution was the same as it is in respect of this proposal that all State Premiers, irrespective of their political party label, in the post-war years have been culpable in their failure to face up to situations. This was brought home to me when I criticised State governments of my own Party in the early postwar years for failing to deal with the situation caused by the tailings from the Captain’s Flat and Lake George mining area which caused pollution of the Molongolo River. Despite the evidence that was given about this pollution, the New South Wales Department of Mines assured the Committee that H would never happen again, but we are still receiving reports of continuing pollution from that source. State governments never seem to learn. Perhaps this is because the compartmentalisation of their various departments creates a situation in which there is no effective co-ordination.
This brings us back to the theme which was developed by Senator Davidson in relation to the need for a national water commission. I know that State Ministers responsible for conservation have a series of get-togethers, but unfortunately positive decisions never seem to flow from those discussions. Although they speak of looking at all facets of pollution, time seems to drift on without anything being done. A classic illustration of this is to be found in the United States legislation of the 1950s - it read well, but it did not work. This is the message that we are trying to get across, that it is not sufficient to bring down a report and adopt it; we must act upon it.
It is quite obvious that there is a fragmentation even among Commonwealth departments. The Department under tha control of the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts (Mr Howson) seems to be an organisation that other departments merely put up with. There seems to be little doubt about that. When we ask questions about certain facets of pollution the effective answer always seems to be that State Premiers are looking at the answer, that it is being dealt with by State Conservation Ministers, or perhaps that it is a matter for the Minister for Shipping and Transport or some other Minister. It never seems to be a matter to be dealt with by the Minister for the Environment.
I do not propose to belabour the situation unduly. I believe that the blueprint that the Committee has suggested for Canberra should be realised within a reasonable time. I say only that as a result of the Committee’s work there will be a tremendous clamour from the States for assistance, particularly for metropolitan Melbourne and metropolitan Sydney. I know that the effects will spread to most other States. South Australia is singularly fortunate with some of its locations because it has certain inbuilt assets so far as sewage treatment is concerned. I cannot emphasise too much that until there is some effective co-ordinating body, much of what has been suggested by the Committee will remain a pious dream.
– In this debate we are dealing with a report of the Standing Committee on Social Environment, dealing specifically with the problem of Canberra sewage effluent. In the process of discussing that subject we have had a most interesting contribution by Senator Davidson, who is Chairman of the Committee, and by Senator Mulvihill who was one of the members of the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution. I think all honourable senators would agree that the Water Pollution Committee was a most distinguished body and that its report was quite a bench mark on water pollution in Australia. We are all indebted to members of the Committee for the work they did and for the significant impact that they have had on thinking on this whole problem in the Commonwealth, in the States and outside this country. But for the purpose of this debate I do not think it would be appropriate for me on behalf of the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts (Mr Howson) to refer to that aspect in detail. I believe that I should confine my remarks to the specific matter which is under reference. Therefore I shall be quite brief.
The inquiry to which we are referring was undertaken following expressions of concern, particularly by local government officials, about the quality of effluent being discharged from Canberra into New South Wales waterways. The Committee on Social Environment made inspections of the waterways and treatment facilities and took evidence about the quality of effluent and the treatment operation. The National Capital Development Commission supplied material for this purpose through the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt). Important submissions concerning the current treatment operation and proposals for the future drew attention to Canberra’s rapid growth rate, the need for high quality effluent and the particular difficulties associated with the operation of a major inland city like Canberra. The Committee reported favourably on the current operations and indicated that proposals for future development should be pursued.
The Committee concluded that Canberra sewage effluent does marginally raise the level of the bacterial population of the Mumimbidgee River, but the level remains acceptable at the point of entry into New South Wales, bearing in mind the normal uses of the water downstream and in the Burrinjuck Dam. The Dam: is not being used to treat Canberra effluent. The water testing programme initiated in 1969 is being continued. In addition the Government is formulating and will continue a basin wide study of the Murrumbidgee River in the region of the Australian Capital Territory. The standards being adopted in the control of water here are those recommended by the United States Environment Protection Agency and supported by recent recommendations of the technical committee on water quality of. the Australian Water Resources . Council. The National Capital Development Commission will construct the lower Molongolo River quality control centre, which has been devised in association with, a’ leading international firm of consulting’ engineers. The proposals for this centre are how being developed in detail and designs will be completed next year. The new plan adopts the most modern technology, including the removal of ‘ nutrients. The’’ quality of effluent will be the highest by world standards. Construction is expected to begin next year and to be completed in 1976-77. The Weston Creek sewage treatment works will then be phased out. Meanwhile the extensions and improvements at the Weston Creek plant are almost complete and will maintain a satisfactory standard of effluent, notwithstanding additional demands arising from a population growth. The use of solvex will ‘ be ‘discontinued when the augmentation work has been completed.
In order to assist the Senate my colleague the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) has provided me with additional information which has come from the Department of Works. I seek ‘leave to use this information as it may be useful to the Committee and to the Senate. In connection with these recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Social Environment concerning the ; report of the Canberra Sewage Effluent .Committee of December 1971 the position as at today’s date is as I shall now describe.
First, a joint testing programme has been arranged by Commonwealth and State Governments and detailed sampling points have been established along the River. The Commonwealth is carrying out testing within the Australian Capital Territory and its programme is operating and substantial test results have been collected. The State has agreed to co-operate but is finding some difficulty in maintaining a testing programme over the Murrumbindgee Basin. It is expected that this represents delay rather than inability to meet the arrangements which have been made.
Secondly, Government representatives have met to establish a committee to attend to the joint management to control water quality and the initial meeting has taken place. The Commonwealth is finalising its own departmental committee to work with State representation to ensure the objectives of joint management.
Thirdly, it is intended at the earliest possible date to fix the standards of suitable water quality and waste disposal and a monitoring programme referred to under the first item will ensure oversight of the operation to ensure adherence to the standard set down.
Fourthly, with regard to the long term effects of solvex on aquatic life we have endeavoured to comply with the implied long term effects that could happen by cutting back in the near future doses of solvex and utilising greater chlorine dosing which has no long term adverse effect. With reference to the phasing out of nonbiodegradable detergents, our design programme indicates that the voluntary switch to biodegradable detergents taken by the manufacturers following discussion with the health authorities is taking place and there is a noticeable falling off in the detergent levels in the river.
Fifthly, the Department has already initiated on behalf of the Commission a programme costing in the order of $200,000 to improve the quality of the effluent in Weston Creek, pending the construction of the lower Molonglo water quality control centre.
Sixthly, the new water control centre is being treated with urgency to a programme which should ensure its being commissioned during the year 1976. The design, which is very modern and advanced, is currently producing to meet target dates which are in accordance with the dates advised to the Committee. I offer the personal observation that, having listened to the debate and the observations of both Senator Davidson and Senator Mulvihill, I am extremely impressed, when I have to deal with material given to me by the Department of Works and the Minister on whose behalf I speak, by the interest taken by the Senate and the effective execution of the work that it has set out to do in the public interest.
– Again I say how very pleased I am to hear a ministerial announcement in respect of a report - this being the second report to be debated this afternoon - indicating that action is being taken on recommendations made by a Senate committee. I am grateful to Senator Cotton for obtaining and giving to us the information that he has given in respect of this report. Senator Davidson mentioned the overriding reference to the Senate Standing Committee on Social Environment; that is, the continuing oversight of the problems of pollution which includes pollution of water and air and noise pollution - whatever type of pollution it may be. It is a very wide reference. Acting within that reference, the Committee decided to exercise its discretion in this matter to inquire into and report upon the alleged pollution of the Mumimbidgee River downstream to the Burrinjuck Dam.
Problems arise in many places in Australia from the discharge of wastes into inland streams. Canberra, as Australia’s largest inland city and one having a very rapid rate of growth, offered an excellent opportunity to study these problems. Further, the source of the alleged pollution was within the Australian Capital Territory, for which the Commonwealth has administrative and legislative responsibility. It was a clear cut case involving Commonwealth responsibility within its own area and allegations which emanated from areas outside the Territory and which needed prompt investigation and report to ascertain whether in fact they were properly based. We had noticed the public expressions of concern and we thought that we would very quickly make an inquiry into this matter. We received excellent cooperation from the Commonwealth and
State Ministers concerned and their departments and also from the Goodradigbee Shire Council and its officers. I would like to record the appreciation of the Committee of this co-operation and assistance.
The major concern expressed to the Committee was in respect of health hazards. Although I do not want to repeat what has been said this afternoon, I would like to place on record the situation as I saw it, in virtually the same terms as I reported to the Senate in December 1971. The Committee found that the allegations that Canberra sewage effluent was responsible for harmful pollution of the Murrumbidgee River and the Burrinjuck Dam were not supported by factual evidence. Moreover, they were based - inappropriately, in the Committee’s view - on the assumption that drinking water standards should be maintained at all times in the river and the dam. On the evidence presented, the Committee has no doubt that the discharge of Canberra’s sewage effluent contributes, though only marginally, to pollution of the Murrumbidgee River downstream from the Australian Capital Territory. The normal use of the waters in question being for pastoral and agricultural purposes and for recreational activities such as boating, fishing and swimming, the Committee considers that the marginal increase in the pollution load is not currently a health danger. In our view, the evidence did not establish any present threat to aquatic life in the river and the dam directly attributable to the discharge of Canberra’s sewage effluent. Nevertheless, we believe that as a precautionary measure detergent and ‘Solvex’ residues ought to be constantly monitored and their effects continually watched. Fears were expressed about leaching from the Coppins sludge lagoons and the danger of pollution of the Murrumbidgee River by a proposed new tip at the northern edge of the current Canberra development. However, the evidence did not substantiate these fears.
That, in a nutshell, covers the report. As I have said, we have had a very gratifying response by the Government to the conclusions and recommendations in the report. That has been indicated by the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton). I have pleasure now in supporting the motion for the noting of this report.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (By Senator Cotton) agreed to:
That the Senate now proceed to consideration of Government Business.
– by leave - I wish to inform the Senate of the measures by which effect will be given to the Government’s announced policy of placing increasing emphasis on migrant counselling and selection and migrant education and welfare services.
In counselling migrants prior to their arrival in Australia, important new measures are planned. Specialist immigration officers are proposed for major migration posts overseas. Individual and group counselling will be given to better prepare migrants for life in their new country. A new migrant assessment system will be introduced. Work on this is already well advanced. The purpose of this system is to facilitate an objective assessment of prospective migrants in each of several crucial respects. It draws on past Australian experience and that of other migrant-receiving countries. It does not attempt to transplant the Canadian system into the Australian situation; nor will it be, in the Canadian sense, a cumulative points system. It will evaluate separately each key factor bearing on migrants’ socio-economic prospects in Australia. This will be mutually beneficial both to migrants who have yet to come here and to the Australian community generally. For migrants already here, the emphasis in the Budget on English language training facilities and migrant welfare services is of immediate importance.
As our migrant education programmes have gained momentum, there has been a corresponding increase in the funds provided for this purpose. Prior to 1970. expenditure on migrant education amounted to some $1m annually. In 1970-72, the first full year after a major expansion in these services was announced, expenditure increased to $3,875,000. Last financial year, it rose to $6,275,624 and a further increase is proposed for this financial year. The Budget accordingly provides for the expenditure of $9,225,000 on migrant education services this year, an increase of 44 per cent over the amount expended in 1971-72. This represents an increase of services are: The child migrant education programme; the adult migrant education programme; full time intensive English language courses; and pre-embarkation and shipboard instruction.
A total of $4,889,000 is provided in the Budget for the child migrant education programme for 1972-73 compared with an expenditure of $3,263,737 in 1971-72. This represents an increase of 50 per cent. This programme has gathered considerable momentum during the past 2 years. At the end of 1969-70 there were 8,800 migrant children in special classes. In 1970-71 there were 21,000. In 1971-72 there were 34,000. This year we expect 40,000 migrant children to be enrolled in these special classes. The number of schools receiving direct assistance under the child migrant education programme has also increased greatly. At the end of 1969-70 there were 199 schools receiving assistance. In 1970-71 the number rose to 440 and in 1971-72 it again increased sharply to a total of 707. This financial year we expect the number of schools receiving assistance to reach 808.
The number of special teachers whose salaries are paid by the Department of Immigration has risen in a similar manner. At the end of 1969-70 there were 246 of these special teachers. In 1970-71 their numbers rose to 546 and in 1971-72 to 903. In 1972-73 we expect that almost 1,000 special teachers will be financed by the Department of Immigration. About twothirds of these are expected to be working on a full time basis.
A total of $2,940,000 is provided in the Budget for the adult migrant education programme for 1972-73, compared with an expenditure of $2,114,334 in 1971-72. This represents an increase of 39 per cent. The major part of this increase results from the decision by the Government to pay living allowances to migrants attending accelerated courses on a full time basis. These full time, accelerated courses will be of 10 weeks duration, and will involve at least 6 hours instruction daily, 5 days a week. The transfer in emphasis to accelerated and more specialised forms of instruction will help migrants reach, much more quickly than otherwise would be possible, a proficiency in English which will permit the fullest use of their qualifications and experience.
There will also be an increase in the number of part time accelerated courses for those migrants able to attend morning, afternoon or evening classes. Full time and part time accelerated courses will be in addition to the full time intensive courses, which are also being expanded. Special consideration is also being given to the needs of migrant workers in industry. A 6-weeks course, specifically designed for this purpose, has been developed and tested in selected factories. The co-operation of employers in this pilot project has been most encouraging, and part of the course has been given in normal working hours. It is intended to introduce this course for migrant workers in industry progressively in all States.
a total of $1,297,000 is provided in the Budget for full time intensive English language courses, compared with an expenditure of $859,607 in 1971-72. This represents an increase of more than 50 per cent. The number of centres for full time intensive courses - located in all States and the Australian Capital Territory - will be increased from 12 to 17, and their annual capacity raised from 1,585 to 2,170. A survey of the results of these full time intensive courses has been carried out. The results have confirmed our expectation that they are highly successful in improving the social and economic prospects of the migrants completing them and are, in consequence, also to the advantage of the community generally.
Amongst the other important measures proposed this year is the development of migrant education centres in all capital cities. These will provide a focal point for migrant education in each State. They will include facilities for full time intensive courses, accelerated courses and classes for special groups - for example, migrant women and adolescents. In addition, education centres are being developed in 8 of the 14 hostel complexes now operating. These provide day and evening classes for migrant men and women, as well as intensive instruction for migrant children in courses of up to 12 weeks duration before they go into the normal school system.
An amount of $99,000 is provided for pre-embarkation and shipboard instruction this year, compared with an expenditure of $37,945 last financial year. The additional funds will be used for the development of pre-embarkation English language training and orientation instruction in France, Scandinavia, Yugoslavia and Turkey. Shipboard services will be maintained and continuity established with the on-going programme in Australia. This does not represent our total commitment in the field of re-embarkation English language training. More than $150,000 of our annual contribution to the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration is specifically earmarked for migrant training services. The ICEM is responsible on behalf of the Department of Immigration for the language training programme in Greece, Italy, Germany and Australia and, to a more limited extent, in Malta, Belgium and the Netherlands.
As the well-being of migrants must be a paramount consideration, migrant welfare services are being expanded. The Budget provides for grants totalling $334,600 to community agencies involved in integration activities. This represents an increase of 45 per cent over payments made to community agencies last financial year, when $230,982 was expended. The increase in the number of grants to voluntary welfare agencies will allow for an expansion of community social worker services to migrants which are, of course, additional to the social worker and welfare officer services of the Department of Immigration. To inform recently arrived migrants more fully concerning the welfare services and other facilities available to them, a specialist counselling service is proposed. This will enable visits to the home, to the work place and to the schools by members of a special team of trained welfare officers and interpreters. These services will be directed to the various ethnic groups in co-operation with the community agencies engaged in migrant welfare. lt is also proposed to extend the normal integration services to meet the special requirements of migrant children. Our intention here is that bilingual or multilingual officers trained in welfare work be attached, by arrangement with State and other education authorities, to schools or groups of schools in which there are significant numbers of migrants. Their purpose will be to help with enrolments, to assist migrant children to adapt to a new culture, to eliminate problems of communication, and generally to assist liaison between the school and the migrant home. It is proposed to provide this service in State capitals and major provincial cities with substantial migrant populations. In addition, we shall seek to introduce a social orientation and language programme to prepare pre-school age migrant children for entry into primary school. Initially, these courses will be associated with child minding centres at migrant hostels.
The Budget also provides for increased financial support for the Good Neighbour Councils. The successful integration of migrants reflects to a very large extent their sustained and nation wide activities. Accordingly, payments to Good Neighbour Councils will be increased from $525,123 in 1971-72 to $620,000 this financial year. Amongst the other measures provided for in the Budget, considerable thought has been given to the subject of interpreter services for migrants. In addition to existing interpreter services provided by the Department of Immigration, an ‘on call’ telephone interpreter service will be introduced. This will provide a 24-hour service for urgent community needs. It will cover the languages which experience has shown involve the greatest problems of communication.
In summary, the Budget provides for the expenditure of $ 10.2m on migrant education and welfare services during the current financial year, compared with $7m in 1971-72. This represents an increase of $3. 2m or 46 per cent and is impressive evidence of the importance which the Government attaches to these matters. It is less than 2½ years since the then Minister for Immigration announced, on 23rd April 1970, a migrant education programme to cost $16m spread over 4 years. The rate at which we have been able to develop this programme has, however, considerably exceeded our original expectations. We intend to maintain this momentum. In scope and content, and in flexibility and willingness to innovate, the Government’s migrant education and integration services have become a significant instrument of social and economic policy. The further measures provided for in the Budget, which I have just outlined, are of obvious and direct importance to Australia’s very considerable migrant community. This alone would be sufficient to justify them. But I wish also to stress that the whole community - not only migrants - will benefit both directly and indirectly. The further economic and social gains which will flow from this constitute a substantial further inducement, should any be needed, for the strongest possible support for our policies from all sections of the community. I present the following paper:
Migrant Education and Welfare Services - Ministerial Statement, 31st August 1972.
– I move:
I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted: debate adjourned.
Debate resumed from 30th August (vide page 574), on motion by Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson:
That the Senate take note of the following papers:
Civil Works Programme 1972-73.
Commonwealth Payments to or for the States, 1972-73.
Estimates of Receipts and Summary of Estimated Expenditure for the year ending 30 June 1973. Expenditure:
Particulars of Proposed Expenditure for the Service of the year ending 30 June 1973.
Particulars of Proposed Provision for Certain Expenditure in respect of the year ending 30 June 1973.
Government Securities on Issue at 30 June 1972.
Commonwealth Income Tax Statistics for Income Year 1969-70.
National Income and Expenditure, 1971-72.
Upon which Senator Wriedt had moved by way of amendment:
At end of motion add - but the Senate condemns the Budget because it fails to define adequate economic and social goals for Australia; and in particular because ‘ it provides no programme for restoring full employment, no means of checking the costs and prices of goods and land, no framework for improving the standards of education, health, welfare and public transport and no national plan for our capital cities and regional centres’.
– Last night, in opening my remarks on this Budget, I said that in the history of this Parliament no Budget had been presented which contained more enduring, more humane or more widespread benefits for the community. In doing so, I pointed to 3 or 4 phenomena which had characterised this Budget. I indicated first that it had been very widely commended and accepted by all sections of the community including the Press, the public and experts. Secondly, I noted that the speech in reply by the Leader of the Opposition in the other place (Mr Whitlam) had been roundly condemned both as insincere and as superficial. Thirdly, I pointed out that the response by the Australian Labor Party both in the Senate and in another place had been in itself feeble and fretful and showed, within that Party, a demoralised state. I was busy analysing these reasons. Someone, somewhat unkindly, recently wrote that the Senate is the only existing proof of a life after death. My own view was that there was adequate evidence of this when we looked at the Australian Labor Party here and in another place in its almost lifeless attempts to find something to argue about in this Budget.
– What about unemployment?
– Yes, I will be happy-
– I am waiting for your answer.
– If Senator McAuliffe will wait, Mr Acting Deputy President, he will have from me as a free gift a copy of last Saturday’s ‘Sydney Morning Herald’.
– What about unemployment
– If he does not wish to listen to me now, I will give him also a copy of this speech as it appears in Hansard. I will give the honourable senator the July figures for New South Wales with respect to unemployment from which he will find that some 34,000 persons are registered as unemployed. The ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ last Saturday contained 29 pages, each of 10 columns, of advertisements for positions vacant. A summation of those pages would indicate that there were more vacancies for jobs than there were in fact people seeking employment. Last Saturday the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ contained 289 single columns of positions vacant while on the previous Saturday it contained 264 single columns of similar advertisements. Far more applications appeared from people seeking persons to work as bricklayers, as bricklayers labourers and in other skilled and unskilled positions’ than there were persons seeking work.
In my State of New South Wales, 1.66 per cent of the workforce is unemployed compared with the overwhelmingly greater percentage of unemployed in the 3 Labor States. But, since the Australian Labor Party in opposition talks bravely, let me say that this level of unemployment at this stage is superlatively lower than the level of unemployment that the Labor Party in the 17 years since Federation that it has been in office was able to achieve or that it ever, when it was on the Government benches, demanded. The Australian Labor Party in government demanded full employment at a level of 3 per cent unemployed.
When the Opposition speaks with the bravery of opposition - in other words, when it talks with effrontery because it does not have to perform, in the knowledge that when it did perform it performed badly - I throw back in its teeth its allegations by stating the fact that in New South Wales more jobs are available than there are people looking for jobs. Although I would like to see the level of 1.66 per cent unemployed reduced lower and lower, this level in itself, worldwide and Australia-wide, is something of which we can be proud.
– That is not the question that 1 asked the honourable senator. You blame high wages for unemployment.
- Mr Acting Deputy President, as I am making this speech-
– I asked you what caused unemployment. Answer that question.
– In due course, I will be able to show what causes unemployment because Labor has laid down a blueprint for unemployment. So, let honourable senators opposite contain themselves. I said that there was a phenomenon regarding the Labor Party’s flaccid approach to this Budget. I pointed to 2 main reasons. When the Labor Party looked at the great issues of this Budget it did not wish to comment on them. The first reason is that on these great matters the policy of the Labor Party is flatly opposed to what the Government is doing; but the Opposition is not game to say that. The second reason is that on other great matters the Government has done things that the Opposition would want to do, and we have done them better and we have done them with less hardship to the taxpayer’s pocket. What I was seeking to demonstrate is that, like the Irish, the Labor Party had its troubles last night. You will know, Mr Acting Deputy President, that as I have said before the Labor Party has a habit of trying to look for something to be neutral against. Let us see this as I continue my speech.
Last night I pointed out that this Budget had taken great and enlightened steps forward on the matter of probate for those persons with smaller estates both in the city and in the country and particularly for the farmer who would not need to break up his estate, would not need to subdivide his property and would not need to go off the land. This is one of the most humane and enlightened measures that has been brought forward and is one of the great steps forward in rural reconstruction in
Australia. I repeat that we will go ahead with this plan and we will press for further reductions in probate. But the Australian Labor Party, as I understand its policy, is opposed to substantial reductions in and the abolition of probate. If I have said something that is inaccurate, honourable senators opposite who are trying to interject will have ample opportunity to reply and to deny that statement. Last night Opposition members used a Senate committee as a subterfuge so that they would not have to state their policy and deny what I have said. I now move into the second great issue in this Budget. This is the widening of support for pensioners and non-pensioners in nursing homes. This is one of the great social reforms in our community.
– Tell us about the unemployed.
– In a moment I will tell you about the unemployed and I will tell you about Mr Whitlam’s policy to create a pool of unemployment. I will not be diverted by those old tricks. On this question of nursing homes, the Government has come forward with a policy which allows the pensioner to have all the benefits of the nursing home, to have an amount of $6 a week out of the pension for personal needs, with no extra charge to the pensioners relatives to support the pensioner. The Government has come forward with a policy which allows the non-pensioner to come under the hospital benefits scheme and to receive, therefore, benefits in nursing homes. Let the Labor Party deny that this is a worthwhile proposal.
Why has not the Labor Party proposed this? The reason is that the stated policy of the Labor Party is to nationalise the health scheme, to nationalise private hospitals and private nursing homes, to destroy independent hospitals, to destroy private hospitals, to destroy private nursing homes and to provide in their place - with public money that should be used to build schools, roads, other hospitals, bridges and facilities for water supplies - not one additional bed in a hospital but just a monument to socialism,I shall quote a statement by Mr Whitlam on this subject. I hope 1 will be heard in silence as 1 quote this statement by a person who was speaking with the voice of honourable senators opposite. At least I hope he was speaking with their voice, although I am not too sure. Mr Whitlam said:
The major act of nationalisation in the traditional sense to be undertaken by a Labor government in the next term will be, therefore, the establishment of a single health fund administered by a health insurance commission.
Let us examine what that means. The Labor Party’s spokesmen- (Opposition senators interjecting) -
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Davidson) - Order!
– -Do not worry about the interjections, Mr Acting Deputy President. I am well aware of the subterfuge. Honourable senators opposite talk about the principle of free speech but do not practise it. They loathe to hear their own policies being taken out and analysed.
– We heard this from you last year.
– If I am not permitted to say in this chamber what I want to say, I will go out onto the steps in front of Parliament House and say it. Let members of the Labor Party take that in their teeth. The 13 million people of Australia1 are acutely keen to learn the facts: that 1 am now about to give. I commend them to the people of Australia. The proposal of the Labor Party to abolish voluntary.’ medical and hospital schemes and replace them with one giant scheme will mean that the people of Australia will get an infinitely poorer health service at a much greater cost to them.
– What does the honourable senator know about the Queensland scheme?
– I will tell Senator McAuliffe what I know about the Queensland scheme. The people of Queensland will pay even more than will be paid by the rest of the people of Australia.
– And get a lot more in return. Is the honourable senator knocking the Queensland free hospitalisation scheme?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Davidson) - Order! Senator McAuliffe, you have been interjecting ever since Senator Carrick commenced his speech. I think Senator Carrick should be allowed to continue his speech in silence.
– -In 1969 the Labor Party said that it would apply a levy on income tax of 1.25 per cent to finance its health scheme. In 1971 its proposed levy went up to 1.3 per cent. This year it is 1.35 per cent. The proposed levy keeps going up year by year. It is an open-ended cost. That scheme itself would cost the average person more than he pays now under the voluntary scheme and it would give him the right of entry only to public hospitals as such. If he wanted a private ward he would have to pay $50 a week from his own pocket. So it would be a poorer scheme because it ignores the intermediate wards and the private wards. Dr Cass of the Labor Party said that ‘private hospitals and private nursing homes are irrelevant to the Labor Party’s scheme’.
Unless a scheme finances intermediate beds and private beds, the private hospitals will die. That is in fact what the Labor Party has said it wants. It wants to destroy the present scheme and put in its place $700m worth of extra expenditure of public money which will build nothing at all. That is why honourable senators opposite are quiet; they are indeed quiet. I am talking about the medicine of socialism as dished out by Dr Cass and Dr Klugman. I hope that the philosophy of liberalism is better medicine. It has proved to be so far.
– Tell us about the Nimmo Committee’s report.
– I will be happy to talk about the Nimmo Committee and to read its report to Senator Cavanagh. It is highly educational. The Nimmo Committe said, in the teeth of what the Labor Party said, that the independent health funds are good and cheap. Since Senator Cavanagh has asked me to do so, I shall quote what it said. The Nimmo Committee reported:
The Committee found no support at all for the often expressed view that the number of different organisations adds to the cost of the scheme. We examined the operations of a large number of friendly society and closed funds and found their service, to contributors was extremely good and that they had been the most successful organisations in keeping management expenses within proper limits.
– Was that said by the Nimmo Committee or the Senate Select Committee?
– I have quoted from the report of the Nimmo Committee, which Senator Cavanagh regards as the authority and which he asked me to quote from. The honourable senator should not jump his ground like a socialist grasshopper.
– What about the accumulated funds?
– The accumulated funds are to be used to finance those people who go into private nursing homes. We are proud that that should be so. So there will not be any accumulated funds. The fact that they have been there has given us this chance to move forward.
I turn now to the subject of social services. I point to the huge steps forward which have been taken by the Government. I instance the foreshadowing of the abolition of the means test in 3 years with the first step of the great widening of the means test this year; expansion of the standard and joint pension; the opportunity for a spouse of a non-pensionable age to be brought into the pension scheme; and the ability of people on superannuation to capitalise their superannuation, which is of great importance. There is to be a move forward whereby, certainly in a maximum of 3 years and possibly less, there will be no means test as such in Australia. For a number of reasons the Labor Party is shy about commenting on this proposal. One is that the Labor Party had planned for the abolition of the means test within 6 years. It had funded its whole programme to abolition over a 6-year period. But after the Government announced its proposal the Labor Party changed its policy in a few hours to abolition of the means test within 3 years. Like the iceberg, the Labor Party keeps its really lethal qualities underneath.
What the Labor Party has not told the people of Australia is that its social services policy, unlike that of the LiberalCountry Parties, is to be financed by another tax levy. That tax levy, as stated by the Labor Party and not by me, is to be 2.25 per cent of the taxable income. Something like $100-odd a year more will have to be paid in this respect by an average income earner. The sum of $100-odd also will have to be paid for health purposes. That will have to be paid on the basis of the 1.35 per cent tax levy, as it was when we last heard about it. That will be on top of the 2.25 per cent levy for social service purposes. But that was the position yesterday. What will it be tomorrow? What the Labor Party has now found is that its scheme is shabby and, in fact, broken down, compared with our own. Mr Acting Deputy President, have you noticed how quiet the members of the Opposition are when facts are stated?
– We are only obeying the Chair.
– It would be a great edification to the members of the Opposition to follow the Chair.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT-
Order! You will address the Chair, Senator Carrick.
– Contained within the Budget is a very comprehensive plan for aid and help to and reconstruction of our rural industries. The plan is a combination of, firstly, the probate and gift duty provisions; secondly, abolition of the means test, which will help the families on the land; and, thirdly, the provision at the moment of $20m as a start to establish long term loans for diversification. These will be on top of the wool deficit payments which the Opposition has derided and on top of the Government’s other reconstruction plans. Why is the Opposition silent on this matter? It is silent because throughout all of last year it opposed our reconstruction plans and said that they would not work. They have worked superlatively. The Opposition is silent because its own leader, who is the Bible on this matter, has said that ‘too much attention has been paid to the wishes and needs of rural areas’. I repeat that Mr Whitlam has said that too much attention has been paid to the wishes and needs of rural areas.
Why does he say that? He says it because he knows that he can draw his strength only from the inner industrial suburbs of the metropolis as such. Because he knows that this is so, he does not want to spend money in the rural areas. That, of course, is the attitude of a party which advocates a 35- hour week in the teeth of the knowledge that such a reduction in the working hours will add something like 15 or 20 per cent to rural costs at a time when the rural area cannot afford this extra expense. This is a party which is silent because its Leader advocated revaluation. He came out on television advocating revaluation and indeed, as every farmer knows, that is an advocacy of serious reduction of the income of every person in the rural- community in this country. That, in fact, is the policy of the Labor Party.
– Tell us something about the Government’s policy.
– I will tell the honourable senator something about- our policy. Our policy is monumental in this Budget in relation to probate, gift duties, long term low interest loans and the abolition of the means test. We are pretty proud of it. ‘ :
– And a reduction in taxation.
– Yes. Now I turn to the issue of education. There was a thunderous silence from the Labor1 Party on education despite the fact that: this Government, over recent months and- in the Budget, has gone ahead with historical moves. ‘
– The Government makes it easy for the rich.
– I shall examine that proposition in a moment. I am grateful to Senator Cavanagh for mentioning it. The Government is assisting education on-. every front. In particular in this Budget it is widely expanding secondary school scholarships so that people in poor circumstances with the academic capacity can >be helped forward. Was there any mention of the great contribution of $215m of capital funds which, over 5 years, will be put into rebuilding programmes for schools?’ Was there any mention of the teacher training programme, of all the announcements in relation to colleges of advanced .education and universities which have been made in recent weeks and which are exciting? Mr Acting Deputy President, I will tell you why there has been no mention. The Labor Party is frightened to come out and tell the people of Australia its alternative policy. Its policy is to establish in Canberra an Australian schools commission which, on Mr Barnard’s own statement, would control individually each of the 10,000 schools in Australia. It would decide which schools would grow and which schools would wither and it would break down and destroy the whole federal system. That is why the Labor Party is quiet on this issue.
Senator Cavanagh has said that we are helping the rich. Yet his is the Party which is going to the electors and saying that it will abolish all fees for all university students. It is saying, as it were, that there will be no means test in universities. The richest person will go there as free as the poorest person. Let us look at the logic of this statement. This is the Party which is going to the people and saying that in 6 years - or it may be 3 years because we are not sure now - it will abolish the means test so that the richest person as well as the poorest can receive a pension. This is the Party which says that the richest man’s son can go to a State school or a State high school and that the Labor Party will send him there free and keep him. But lel anyone dare to have the nerve to choose to go to an independent school. The Labor Party says: ‘We will make them worse than second class citizens.’
– The honourable senator is romancing.
– 1 will now romance with Mr Whitlam. That is not hard to do because he shows quite feline qualities in this regard. The Labor Party-
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Davidson) - Order! There has been far too much interjection and continual barrage. I think that Senator Carrick is entitled to be heard in some degree of silence.
– I am not at all tender. If honourable senators opposite wish to object I would like them to tell me when I am wrong in stating their policy because I am sure that the people of Australia would like to know what the Labor Party has said. I was making the point about Labor Party policy with regard to people in independent schools. Any citizen in Australia who chooses to send his child to an independent school will receive second class education because the Labor Party has said this through Mr Whitlam’s mouth. It was certainly correct yesterday.
– What else would he say it through?
– That is a very good comment because it admits that what Mr Whitlam says is Labor Party policy. But the Labor Party has said through Mr Whitlam’s mouth that any school which charges fees which amount to $300 or more shall not receive one cent of aid from the Government for ‘ those schools. Any school which charges fees of $300 or more shall not receive a red cent from the Labor Party - and a red cent: it would be indeed. But the fact is that it costs $600 to send a child to a State school. The Labor Party has fixed the amount at half the standard of a State school. This is a measure of what the Labor Party is trying to do. In fact it is trying to destroy the independent school system. It is willing to help the rich at universities, State high schools and in secular education but it is out to divide, destroy and demolish the independent system. Let honourable senators opposite in their own time get up and deny this because they belong, to a Party which in this Senate not many. months ago tried with the force of all its ‘numbers to stop an increase in per capita revenue grants to the independent schools, of Australia. Let nobody deny that. This is the Party that, tried to stop the independent schools from obtaining any money.’
– They built 2 swimming pools.
– That kind of interjection shows the complete shallowness of the Labor Party’s understanding. No swimming pools are built with Government money at all at independent schools. The swimming pools which are built are built out of the private pockets of those people who support such schools. Let us make this quite clear: There are State governments which, under the State government system, subsidise the building of swimming pools in schools. The Labor Party does not object to the Government . subsidising swimming pools in State schools. But it howls like a jackal when we talk of independent schools. We know what the Labor Party wants to do because its members stood up here to strangle the granting of finance to those schools. In fact, that is in Hansard.
– Look, why does not the honourable senator-
– I now move on to housing.
The ACTING PRESIDENT- Order! Senator Georges, I must ask you to desist otherwise I will be compelled to take action.
– Let him cease his invective.
The ACTING PRESIDENT- In debates an honourable senator has an opportunity to express his views. Honourable senators on the Opposition side have the opportunity to refute those views or to express opposite views when they speak. This is a fair debate whether you agree or disagree. In this chamber everyone is given a fair hearing. I must insist on this otherwise I will take action.
– For the Opposition to talk of invective is surely Satan rebuking sin. For the instruction of the honourable senators opposite I invite them to read a copy of Hansard tomorrow and point to the invective which has been used by me.
– The honourable senator spends all his time explaining.
– Yes, I am all the time explaining because that is the thing the Labor Party cannot take. It cannot take practical and factual explanations.
I now move to housing and remind the Senate that in this Budget the homes savings grant has been increased from $500 to $750. This is another useful step forward by a Government which introduced this help to the young married couples who are setting up their homes. But the Labor Party is shy on this matter. At this moment it is going around putting out all sorts of policies which are based on an attempt to undermine the fundamentals of private home ownership. At this moment the Labor Party through its spokesmen is going around saying that it does not believe in freehold ownership of land; it believes in the leasehold ownership of land. These things should revert after death. Some people are saying that they want this to apply not only to new homes being built but also gradually the whole of the land. The people of Australia should understand that the Labor Party’s housing policy, as being mouthed by the Labor Party at the moment, is cutting at the very basis of home ownership, that is, the freehold ownership of the land on which the house stands. Labor supporters have been silent on this aspect. Let them get up and talk about it as some of them are doing outside the Parliament. The Budget provides an amount of some $53,m to assist over a very broad spectrum the Aboriginal people of this country. This represents a 70 per cent increase over last year.
– It does not help the ordinary people, though.
– For months and months and months the Opposition has been saying that we ought to do more for the Aborigines. The Budget provides for profoundly more to be done. The effect of it is that between the Federal and State Governments an average of $471 a year is being spent on each Aborigine or part Aborigine in this country. That is quite apart from the money being spent on them in their role as ordinary Australians, which is their true role. Let me make clear that I am proud of the fact that this assistance has been substantially increased in this Budget. I am proud of the vision of people like the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) who has been a frontiersman in the understanding of the Aborigines of this country, in attempting to preserve their traditions, in attempting to get the people of Australia to understand them. We have done well in this Budget. We take pride in it. We should do more and we will do more.
– Tell us how high wages cause unemployment?
– I will now talk a little about unemployment, since I have been invited to do so. I have made the point that the level of unemployment in my State, while higher than I would like, is substantially lower than elsewhere. Indeed, the number of vacancies advertised exceeds the number of jobs being sought. Let us have a look at the Labor Party’s alternative programme for employment. If one wants to know the Labor Party’s policy, who else should one ask but Mr Whitlam? Mr Whitlam has said: ‘We will revalue’. If the Labor Party wants to create unemployment in rural areas and in the mining areas, and if it wants to import unemployment by importing goods which are cheaper than those manufactured here, then let the Labor Party revalue at this time when we have under-full employment. However, it will revalue at its own peril. But it will do more than that. Mr Whitlam has had a few things to say on tariffs on the television programme ‘Monday Conference’. Would that mine adversary had written a book. Mr Alan Barnes, a journalist, said:
Well, if you cut tariffs, if your government approved a cut in tariffs and the trade unions-
Mr Whitlam interrupted and said:
As it will in general.
So that he could get that point quite clearly, Mr Barnes said:
As it will in general?
He did not ask whether it will in particular but in general.
Mr Whitlam replied:
Mr Whitlam has gone on to amplify this in recent days. The great labour intensive industries in this country are the secondary industries and the manufacturing industries. Those industries, as to most of them depend for a moderate tariff protection to provide employment. If a general tariff cut rather than a selective or particular tariff cut were applied, as Mr Whitlam suggests - let him deny that he said it; it has been lying there for a long while - and if on top of that there was at this stage a revaluation, it would create massive unemployment in this country. It is almost a criminal folly for those who come from Queensland to walk along under the banner of revaluation in a State which has almost no secondary industry and which depends on exports and tourism for its existence. A revaluation would destroy the overseas tourist industry. You would be awfully cool in Whitlam’s pool, would you not? This is the Van Gough of which I spoke of last night.
Let me come now to the subject of taxation. In this case mine adversary has written a book. He has put down what he intends to do. The Government in fact has written a book called the Budget and it has made, across the board, an average cut of 10 per cent in direct income tax without increasing indirect taxes. The Government has provided for a larger cut in taxation for those on lower incomes and a lower cut for those on higher incomes. It has helped to improve the progressive scale of taxation and this will be of enormous benefit to the people of Australia. Yesterday when I read an extract from the Sydney Morning Herald’ I was told that I should not do this because it was proLiberal. Let me read an editorial from a journal which tends to be the other way. It is a journal called ‘The Australian’. The editorial reads:
The Budget debate so far has been remarkable for a crushing silence from Mr Whitlam on this point.
The point was that Mr Whitlam should explain his taxation policy. The editorial continues:
It is all very well for Mr Whitlam to claim that the Budget’s average 10 per cent tax reduction is not really a reduction at all but, in terms of effect on pockets, merely a slowing down in the rate of tax increases. In the context of the promises of extra Government spending he has made, and of the threats of slashing income tax deductions and tightening up the tax system that both he and Mr Crean, the ALP’s shadow Treasurer have made in the past few months, this attack becomes specious. If Mr Whitlam is elected to office and keeps all his promises, he will have to find finance for boosting pensions to 25 per cent of average earnings; ending the means test; handing out an immediate $100m to pensioners and unemployed; reducing sales tax; raising unemployment benefits; extra spending on schools and hospitals; p re-school education; free university education; a national insurance scheme; and regenerating urban public transport. The inescapable conclusion is that Mr Whitlam will not be cutting income tax; he will be raising it, by 10 per cent or even more.
The editorial then goes on to say, in effect: Do not let him pretend that he can bleed the rich because if he took all of the money above $10,000 from everybody there would be a 1.2 per cent increase in tax revenue. This appears in a newspaper which tends generally to favour honourable senators sitting on the other side of the chamber.
– It is not antigovernment.
-Do not be too tender.
The ACTING PRESIDENT - Order! Several times I have called Senator Georgesto order and asked him to desist from interjecting. It is with very much regret that I name Senator Georges.
– I call upon Senator Georges to make an explanation.
– Yes, I will make an explanation before I apologise. My explanation is this: It is only fair to expect a member of the Opposition to show some anger by way of interjection when the senator speaking is provocative, misrepresenting, and uses extravagant language. In those circumstances it is reasonable to expect from this side of the chamber, and from me in particular, angry interjections. Since by the act of naming me you declare that it is offensive to you, Mr Acting President, and to the Senate, I apologise.
The ACTING PRESIDENT - Thank you, Senator Georges.
– I was accused of misrepresentation. That was rather funny as almost all my representation was from statements made by Mr Whitlam. I know that those statements can lend themselves to misrepresentation in this chamber. I now give Mr Whitlam and his Party’s costing of these benefits. For health there will be a levy of more than 1.35 per cent on taxable incomes, which would mean about $100 or more a year, as that item is not tax deductible. Therefore every person would have to pay an average of between $30 and $40 more than they do under the present scheme because they would not be able to claim their payment as a tax deduction. Single people would pay the same rate as married people pay. Social services would cost 2.25 per cent. That in itself is over a 10 per cent increase in everybody’s income tax. A person earning $5,000 a year who pays $1,000 tax a year will pay $112 more a year. On my mathematics, that is 1 1 per cent more.
The ACTING PRESIDENT - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– I listened with a great deal of interest to Senator Carrick. As he spoke my mind wandered to the words of the poet Bracken who once wrote: The poison shafts of falsehood and derision Are oft impaled against those who mould the age.
As Senator Georges said when he was called upon to explain why he was interjecting, Senator Carrick’s speech was full of provocation, distortion and inaccuracy and was a travesty of Labor’s case. Senator
Carrick suggested that we should be prepared to debate with him or other Government speakers matters relating to health, unemployment, taxation, social services and the wide spectrum of affairs with which he dealt. When those debates come on in this chamber we will gladly attack the Government on those measures as we will attack it on the Budget.
I read with tremendous interest the Budget Speech of the Treasurer (Mr Snedden). It is probably the most vital budget that has been introduced by a Liberal Treasurer for many years. It is vital because it is a do or die effort by the Government. Gallup polls have been running against the Government for months. Public criticism is at the highest level it has ever been. As the Government pulled a rabbit out of the hat in 1954 with the Petrov inquiry, it hopes that the rabbit out of the hat on this occasion will be the Budget. It is the second budget that has been introduced by the present Treasurer. The first was introduced in August last year. That Budget was a complete catastrophe for the Government and a disaster for the nation. It set out to curb inflation. All it did was create greater inflation and serious unemployment. I well recall that when it was introduced in August last year both the Federal leader of the Australian Labor Party, Mr Whitlam, and the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Mr Hawke, said that the Government was plotting a dangerous course and that by the end of 1971 about 120,000 Australians would be out of work. The Government said that they were Jeremiahs, that they did not know what they were talking about and that they had no idea of economic trends and what was intended in the Budget.
With hindsight, having regard to the performances of the Government and what Mr Whitlam and Mr Hawke projected in August 1971, one can fairly say that prophets are not recognised by the Government. While there were not 120,000 Australians out of work last December there were 116,000 Australians out of work. Eight months later - 8 months into the new year of 1972- according to the Government’s official figures there are still 1 1 2,000 walking the streets looking for a job.
– That is only the number of those registered for employment.
As my colleague Senator McAuliffe said, that is only the registered unemployed. If Senator Carrick likes to come with me to the far west of New South Wales he will see men who used to be shearers and farmhands now engaged in burr cutting 2 or 3 days a week, or shooting kangaroos for 1, 2 or 3 days a week, in order to earn their livelihood rather than go on the dole. He would then know the extent of unemployment in the western parts of New South Wales. It is all right for him to say that there are any number of vacant jobs in the Sydney metropolitan area that remain unfilled. The situation in relation to unskilled workers, particularly .those in country areas of New South Wales, is very serious and very grave. I suggest that he talk with officials of the Australian Workers Union, the Clothing and Allied Trades Union and the Australian Textile Workers Union who are very seriously concerned about rising unemployment in their industries as a result of increased imports.
Let me return to the Budget. In returning to it I have to refer to the 1971-72 Budget because the Australian community, in a consideration of the Government’s present fiscal policy, is at the same time recalling so vividly the 1971-72 Budget. It increased postal and telephone charges. It increased pharmaceutical charges by 100 per cent from SOc to $1. It increased direct taxes and indirect taxes. It increased petrol tax and other costs. It created further inflation and, worse still, serious unemployment. The Australian people have sat in this ship of state, steered by this incompetent Government, knowing that they are heading for dangerous waters. The Treasurer and the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon), who were at the helm, could not see that until it was too late. Perhaps they were preoccupied, troubled and concerned about the problems and brawls in their own ranks because the crew of the Government was starting to mutiny. Mr Gorton was deposed as Minister for Defence. He was dispatched to the back benches. Mr Killen, Mr Hughes and Mr Bury were dispatched to the back benches from their respective portfolios. It took months before the captain and the helmsman saw the dangers of their course.
In April of this year, 4 months ago, they tried desperately to divert the course by introducing a mini budget. But the ship was still sailing in the same dangerous waters. This desperate Budget has been introduced by the Government as a last throw of the dice, as it were, to try to get the Government out of troubled waters. That is why I say that the Budget is a vital one for the Treasurer because for him and the Government it is a do or die effort. In no more than 2 months, I suppose, we will go to the election hustings. We have a great and serious unemployment problem in this land of opportunity - a land crying out for development; a great nation looking for leadership. The unemployment rate is at its highest for the past decade. It has been deliberately created by this Government’s policies. Over 112,000 Australians, virtually the voting population of 2 electorates, are looking for work but the best that the Government can say about the unemployment deliberately created by its policies is set out in the Budget Speech of the Treasurer. He said:
The Government has decided that unemployed persons should not be inhibited-
That is a tragic choice of words - in seeking employment by the cost of fares . . .
The Treasurer did not say that last year the Premier of New South Wales, the State I represent in this Parliament, said that because of the niggardly attitude of the Commonwealth to the States he had had to increase fares on public transport by 50 per cent and hospital charges had had to be increased by the same percentage. The Treasurer went on: and the Commonwealth will be asking the States for their co-operation in a viable scheme. The estimated cost in 1972-73 is $200,000. Details of this and the training propoals will be given by the Minister for Labour and National Service.
The Government in its own Budget has not made any provision to increase the unemployment benefit in any way. It is such a benevolent and generous government that the best way it can express its concern for people living in poverty and the unemployed in this country is to say that it will give unemployed workers $2 a person a year to assist in paying fares to try to find a job. In other words, all that the Government has had is a brainwave and no definite formulation of policy. A record number of school leavers will be coming on to the labour market for the first time in their lives next November. As the father of 3 young Australians I very much fear for the future of our younger generation if by some mischance this Government is returned to office at the next elections. This Government is so arrogant and divorced from public opinion that it will not face up to reality. Its Ministers think that they alone have been born to rule and that everything they say must be believed.
On the day before the Budget was introduced the Press, using the Government’s own figures, stated that 112,000 men and women were out of work. Two days before that the Press carried reports of a bumper day for companies announcing profits. One city property developer announced a profit boost of 105 per cent. Others announced profit increases ranging from 35 per cent to 63 per cent. These details were set out in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ on the Saturday preceding the Tuesday on which the Budget was presented. On reading those reports the Australian people must have put on their thinking caps and come to a realisation of what is going on in this country.
After 23 years of a succession of Liberal-Country Party governments, this Government does not seem to have learned that nowadays the electorate is much more sophisticated than it was 2 decades ago. These days the Government must explain its case rationally rather than engage in smears, distortion, vilification and abuse. The public are very concerned about a lack of national leadership. They are concerned about foreign takeovers, the inequity of the distribution of wealth in this country, the way in which general information is kept secret and has been kept secret by this Government and the way in which this country is being inadequately promoted both in Australia and abroad. Does not this Government realise that it worries the Australian people to read reports such as those in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ of 25th July that Australian companies at the end of 1971 owed $5,204m overseas, that 87 per cent of the money owned by those companies was owed by predominantly overseas owned companies and only 13 per cent of that $5,204m was owed by locally owned companies? Only last May a business friend of mine visiting South East Asia wrote to me:
Ihave been to Djakarta, Singapore and Bangkok on my way to Hong Kong and I have made specific visits to the leading supermarkets in each country. I have been horrified to find that the bulk of the food products all come from other countries than Australia and yet they are all brand products of foreign owned companies that operate in Australia.
My friend sent me a list of the companies concerned and the country of origin of the products. I seek leave to have that list incorporated in Hansard.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laucke) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -
It may be mentioned here that New Zealand meat was promoted with very good poster identification. Another extraordinary thing was turkeys and bacon were from the U.S.
This was at the Dairy Lane supermarket at Soi Chitlon, Bangkok.
My friend went on in his letter to say:
What prompted me to do this was that when I was having breakfast at the Hotel Indonesia and I had cornflakes the enclosed pack was presented to me. This is the product which shows that although Indonesia is right on our doorstep Kelloggs will not even export from Australia to this close at hand market.
The packet showed that the product was produced in the United States and not in this country. Canada, New Zealand, the Philippines, Mexico, Japan, Peru, Chile and a whole host of other countries can act against foreign takeovers but it appears that nothing is being done in Australia. Perhaps the Government can understand why the public regards it as hopelessly inadequate.
– We launched a Senate committee to inquire into the subject.
Yes. That followed a suggestion put forward by the honourable senator on behalf of his Party. It received the support of my Party. The record shows that I led for the Labor movement in that debate and said that it was pleasing to note that the Democratic Labor Party had at long last caught up with our thinking. That action had to be taken by the Senate because of the inaction and lethargy of the Government. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) called on foreign owned companies to resist the demands of Australian workers only 5 or 6 weeks before a great industrial conflict occurred in Australia. The foreign owned oil companies, prima facie at least, acceded to that request. Is it any wonder that the Australian voters have become cynical about the relationship between the Government and big business?
In an endeavour by the Government to absolve itself from blame it has set out to blame others for its 23 years of incompetence. The Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) blamed the Australian Labor Party because Canada recognised China diplomatically. I do not follow his reasoning but he said it was the responsibility of the Labor movement that China did not place its wheat order with Australia. Yet we of the Labor movement since 1951 have been advocating recognition of the People’s Republic of China. Why has this Government not sent one of its senior Ministers to China to conduct negotiations for diplomatic recognition? The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch), the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon) and the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Greenwood) have all tried to blame the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions for the oil strike. The Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) blamed him for a postal strike. The fact is that Mr Hawke was the only person in Australia who appeared to be doing anything to bring about successful negotiations in the industrial conflict that have arisen, situations resulting from this Government’s policies and the inadequacy in the distribution of wealth in the community. The Government, because its own incompetence is being highlighted every day to the Australian people, is now trying desperately to shelve the blame on to other citizens of Australia.
I am very concerned at the smearing nature of attacks that have been made in the last fortnight by back bench supporters of the Government and senior Ministers against the ethics of journalists employed on the staff of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. A deliberate attempt has been made by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon), the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Anthony), the postmaster-General, the Attorney-General, other senior Ministers and back bench Government supporters in this chamber and in another place - members of the Liberal and Country Parties - to destroy in the minds of the Australian people the authenticity, the integrity and probity of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. They have attacked the newsworthiness of its news items and the honest reporting of current affairs programmes which are shown by the ABC. Not only have they attacked the staff of the Australian Broadcasting Commission but also the credibility and responsibility of members of the Commission, all of whom have been appointed by a succession of Liberal and Country Party Ministers, have been attacked and smeared by the Government. The management of the Commission has been criticised for not exercising proper control over the staff.
In a series of widesweeping statements yesterday the Attorney-General labelled some of the staff Marcusian, the new left, members of the Workers’s Students Alliance and members of the Communist Party, and in case he missed out anything he added the phrase ‘and a whole host of Others’. In answer to Senator Wriedt he said that he knows, or he believes he knows, some of the persons who constitute the group. If the Attorney-General knows them or believes that he knows them and if he intends to be fair to those within the ABC who he says are not within the group, I challenge him to say who they are, rather than engage in the general allover smear of ABC staff. 1 challenge him further in his capacity as Attorney-General, if he is dinkum in his accusations, to take action against any one of the employees or members of the Commission under the Crimes Act.
– What sort of action?
Senator DOUGLAS MCCLELLANDI challenge the Minister to come clean, if he has been dinkum in saying that there is a Marcusian content, a new left content, an element of the Workers’ Students Alliance or members of the Communist Party in the ABC. I think he said they were setting out to destroy the society that we have and to replace it with something, leaving for the future what would be put in its place. I. wonder how sincere the Attorney-General was when he said that. His remark reminds me of a statement made some years ago by a former senior Minister when it was alleged at an election time that there was a nest of traitors in the Department of Foreign Affairs, but as soon as the election was over we heard nothing more about it. Senator Greenwood, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and others have said that the journalists and staff engaged on ABC current affairs programmes have broken at least 3 canons of the code of ethics of the Australian Journalists Association, namely, that they are not reporting and interpreting the news with scrupulous honesty, that they are suppressing essential fact and distorting the truth by omission or wrongful emphasis, or that they are not maintaining, through their conduct, full public confidence in the integrity and dignity of their calling.
Not long ago Senator Greenwood wrote to the Australian Journalists Association about a journalist on the Melbourne ‘Age’ about whom he had some complaint. I wonder whether he intends to write to the Australian Journalists Association again with allegations of breaches of the code of ethics - a very high and honourable code of ethics subscribed to by members of an association of which I say proudly that I am a member. The Attorney-General’s remarks are not only an attack on the professional standards of journalists in the employ of the Australian Broadcasting Commission; they are also an attack on the profession of journalism generally. I warn all radio and television political commentators that if this sort of conduct on the part of the Government is to be condoned the threat of intimidation will be held up by the Government to anyone who dares to use the air waves to criticise Government policy, its lethargy or maladministration.
– What did Mr Whitlam say?
– I shall come a little later to what Mr WhitIsm said and I shall quote his remarks in full - not quote them in part as Senator Hannan did last night. Already Mr Frank Chamberlain has lost his job with Radio 2GB. Already, I understand, John Stubbo has been reduced in status in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’. Already Jim Killen, who was writing for the John Fairfax group ot newspapers, has been told that his services are no longer required. I wonder what thi” Government has in mind. Why is there this sudden attack 2$ or perhaps 3 months before an election? The Government seems to think that it has a divine right not to be subjected to criticism, and if anyone dares to query the Government in any way he will be subject to the fury and abuse of the Government.
– They cannot take it.
Senator DOUGLAS MCCLELLANDAs my colleague Senator Gietzelt says, they cannot take it. Government supporters can give it, but they cannot take it. Why is there an attack? Firstly, they know that the newspaper that they previously could trust 100 per cent - the Sydney ‘Daily Telegraph - has been disposed of by Sir Frank Packer and placed in another’s hands. Formerly they could rely on that newspaper 100 per cent, but they can do so no longer. Therefore they must do whatever they can to remove from public influence whatever constructive criticism might come forward from any source. Because the current affairs programmes of the Australian Broadcasting Commission might be more influential than other programmes on radio or television, or in the news media generally, they have set out to destroy the creditability of the Commission. Why did they pick on the programme ‘This Day Tonight’?
The concentration of the ownership of the mass media is in the hands of a very few privileged people, most of whom - fortunately not all - have been and are supporters of conservatism and reaction in this country. Let me cite to the Senate what the Hon. Clyde Packer, who is well known to most people and who is also a Liberal member of the Legislative Council, said on the ABC programme ‘Monday Conference’ on Monday 20th September 1971, about the extent of control of the media. He said:
I think that we have a very big problem in Australia with concentration of media ownership. Perhaps the best way I can explain that is to say that in the nine largest cities in Australia, there are eighteen commercial television licences. Of those eighteen, nine are controlled by two companies. In those same nine cities there are, I think, from memory, either nineteen or twenty daily newspapers. Of those nineteen or twenty daily newspapers, I think it’s either fifteen or sixteen are controlled by those same two companies.
He went on to say:
I find it disturbing that fifty per cent of the metropolitan television stations in the nine largest cities, and virtually seventy-five per cent of the daily newspapers, are controlled by two groups. I don’t think that’s healthy.
The real reason for the attack on the current affairs programme “This Day Tonight’ is to be found in a document which was issued by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board in December of last year. It is headed: “Attitudes to Television 1969, 1970’. If we turn to page 20 of that document we see that, of the 10 programmes regarded as the most popular, ‘This Day Tonight’ heads the list, and then comes ‘Division 4’ and the ABC news. I must say proudly that they are all Australian programmes. So, This Day Tonight’, in the Australian Broadcasting Control Board Survey, was regarded as being the most popular programme. If we then turn to page 16 we will find the results of the survey in regard to the most believable news medium. According to the survey published by the Board, newspapers are rated at 16 per cent as being the most believable news medium; radio is rated at 12 per cent; and magazines are rated at 5 per cent. But television is rated at 54 per cent as being the most believable news medium. Therefore, the current affairs programme “This Day Tonight’ is accepted by those involved in the survey as being the most popular Australian programme and, on the basis of the other survey, television has a 54 per cent influence as being the most believable news medium. Surely that explains why this Government wants to destroy the credibility of this current affairs programme.
The simple fact is that the Government has woken up to the tremendous influence the programme has had, is having and is likely to have on the Australian people during the course of the election campaign. The Australian people will be looking to the programme, bearing in mind the tightness of control of the mass media generally, for an independent assessment of the political complexities and arguments that will arise during the course of the forthcoming election campaign. So, out of the Government’s ‘resubmit at election time’ file we heard yesterday about an article in the Communist Party newspaper ‘Tribune’ of 3rd June 1 970- -something that was written more than 2i years ago and which no-one in the Senate bothered to mention until a mere 2i months before the election. We heard about a statement - incidentally, cited only in part - made by Mr Whitlam in June 1971, more than 12 months ago. We heard from Senator Hannan about something that Mr Gerald Stone said in May 1971, about 15 months ago. None of these things had ever been raised until suddenly this attack was made on the credibility of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. These things were trotted out of the Government’s ‘smear at election time’ file.
Of course, the people whom members of the Government parties are attacking are public servants who are subject to the provisions of .the Public Service Act and who, in terms of that Act, have no right of reply to the smear, vitriol and abuse that arc coming out now on a daily basis from Ministers of the Crown. In the last fortnight thi Postmaster-General went on record as saying that the ABC is projecting programmes which are close to bias. What the expression ‘close to bias’ means, frankly, is beyond me; anyway, he said that. The Prime Minister went a little further and said: ‘There is too much bias.’ The Deputy Prime Minister went a little further still and said: They are heavily biased’. I do not recall that any bias was alleged at the time Mr Gorton was being deposed. But how do all these statements square up with what the Government, or the Postmaster - General who represents the Government in this matter, has been saying in the Parliament for so long? Let us start on 30th April 1969. With reference to the 1969 election campaign, I asked the PostmasterGeneral: . . will the Minister give an assurance that the programme “This Day Tonight’ will be allowed to operate as a politically independent programme without being subjected to pressure from the Government or anybody else?
The Postmaster-General, in reply to that question, said:
I will maintain my attitude of leaving autonomy in programming with the Australian Broadcasting Commission.
Then, on 24th February this year, a mere 6 months ago, a question was placed on the notice paper by one of the PostmasterGeneral’s colleagues, Mr Lloyd. He asked:
Can he -
He was referring to the PostmasterGeneral - say whether the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s programme “This Day Tonight’ is now widely regarded as a forum in which Australian Labor Party propaganda, policies and excuses are aired with increasing frequency?
The Postmaster-General said in reply to that question, which is recorded on page 310 of the House of Representatives Hansard - I hope that the AttorneyGeneral listens to this:
I have no evidence to this effect particularly since the programme is not designed to be such a forum.
In the second part of his question, Mr Lloyd asked:
What policy does the ABC follow to ensure an acceptable balance between major political parties in regard to “This Day Tonight’?
The Postmaster-General’s answer was:
The same policy as it follows in all its programmes with topical content, i.e. to present a balance of views on issues of concern to the community.
To show the consistency in his answers, I mention that in the Senate on the same day I received an answer to a question upon notice, I asked:
On how many occasions have individual members of the Federal and State Parliaments appeared for interviews on the Australian Broadcasting Commission television programme .’This Day Tonight’, . . .
The Postmaster-General replied:
During the six months’ period ending 30.9.71, members of the Federal and State Parliaments appeared on ‘This Day Tonight’ on 393 occasions . . .
That is more than 2 each night, on an average, over a 6-month period. I then asked him, in order to ensure that there was a fair go for all political parties:
If a parliamentarian appears on the programme, what right of reply is afforded to a representative of any other political organisation?
The answer was:
If a parliamentarian deals with an issue to which there is more than one point of view, evry effort is made to secure a balanced representation of opposing views.
There is the answer signed by the PostmasterGeneral.
Yesterday Senator Greenwood with the. usual whiplash of his tongue in the worst McCarthy-like statement that I have heard in this chamber in the 10 years that I have been a senator, made a statement against people who because of their position arc not allowed to answer for themselves. Senator Greenwood said that this was really a politically ideological group within the ABC which would pull down - I think hh words were - ‘What we have at present and leave for the future what would be put in its place’. The accusation was that this group, whoever its members are, nameless as they remain, has this tremendous political influence and is waging a political campaign through the programme ‘This Day Tonight’. But how does’ Senator Greenwood’s statement of yesterday, made in this place under parliamentary privilege, compare with a Press statement released by the PostmasterGeneral himself only 9 day ago? In thi. statement the Postmaster-General said, among other things:
So far as I am concerned the matters of the ABC at present being publicly discussed are not party political and I regret that some people are attempting to create that situation.
Senator Greenwood not only attacked the integrity of the staff of the Commission
– I think the PostmasterGeneral was implying that he is unbiased, that he himself was not being party political. The statement could be taken both ways.
In fairness to the Postmaster-General, he may have been trying to get that impression across, bearing in mind that he had said earlier that the programmes which were being projected were close to bias. I remind the honourable senator that when I referred to his expression, I queried what interpretation could be placed on ‘being close to bias’. However, the PostmasterGeneral has said that certainly so far as he is concerned - and I am prepared to accept his statement for the sake of argument - the matters of the ABC at present being publicly discussed are not party political and I regret that some people are attempting to create that situation’. I dare say that if the Postmaster-General were sincere in his attitude on 21st August last - 9 days ago - yesterday he would have shuddered had he heard the Attorney-General make the most violent political attack that I have ever heard on nameless people engaged in projecting a public affairs programme. Senator Greenwood not only attacked the integrity of the staff of the Commission, he attacked what he called the irresponsibility of the members of the Commission - all of whom were appointed by this Government, and one of whom is a member of the Country Party.
– What did he say?
All right. One member of the Commission is a member of the Country Party, and what he said is completely different from that which one of his colleagues, Mr Richardson of Melbourne, had to say.
– I’ll say it is.
Let me remind Senator Hannan that that member of the Country Party is also a member of the National Civic Council Education Extension Committee.
– Knock it off.
If you would like to see the document which he has put his signature to-
– What has that to do with it?
You are talking about bias and about the irresponsibility of the Commission.
– I’ll say.
That is what you are doing and you are attacking the very people whom you have been responsible for appointing to the Commission.
– What about telling us your policy on control of the Commission?
– I will come to that. The General Manager of the ABC, Mr Duckmanton, was once referred to by a member in another place as a communist, even though everyone will recall that Mr Duckmanton was a member of the board of Newington College which dismissed the headmaster of that college because he had supported in a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald’ the right of con scientious objection to national service. This Government has power under the Broadcasting and Television Act to dismiss members of the Commission and it has power to dismiss members of the staff. Further, it has power of prosecution under the Crimes Act. But all the Government is prepared to do is have a spokesman stand in the Senate and under parliamentary privilege smear honest, decent Australians who, as he knows, cannot come back at him. If there is any fault in the Commission, what has the Minister to say about it, having regard to the terms of the Broadcasting and Television Act? Let him answer to his colleagues who have been throwing mud for the last fortnight or so. Indeed, let him answer to this Parliament. If Government Ministers knew the terms of the Broadcasting and Television Act, as the Attorney-General professes to know, they would know that the PostmasterGeneral has all the power in the world over the ABC, particularly for delegation of responsibilities under section 9 of that Act.
– The PostmasterGeneral has no power whatever over the staff of the Commission.
– I will come to that. I read from the Broadcasting and Television Act, Division 3. - Powers and Functions of the Commission. This is the text of section 59 under that Division:
In other words the Commission is charged in the public interest with providing adequate and comprehensive programmes, and it is given a mandate to take all measures required to ensure the full development of suitable broadcasting and television programmes. In the exercise of that statutory responsibility, section 40 of the Act shows that the Postmaster-General has an overriding power for delegation of responsibility. This is the text of section 40. - (1.):
The Commission may, by writing under its seal, but subject to the approval of the Minister .. .
I emphasise those words ‘but subject to the approval of the Minister’ - delegate to a Commissioner or to the general manager of the Commission all or any of the powers of the Commission under this Act (except this power of delegation) and a power so delegated may be exercised by the delegate accordingly.
This attack which has been launched against members of the current affairs programme This Day Tonight’ is designed deliberately to destroy in the minds of the Australian people the credibility of the ABC a mere 2 months before an election. lt is a cowardly and miserable attack o.i people who are not in a position to answer for themselves.
– And the Minister is responsible.
The Minister is responsible to the Parliament under the Act. If he did not know that he had this power, he has failed in his duty to this Parliament. Both inside and outside this Parliament the Postmaster-General, the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon), the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Anthony) and, of late, the AttorneyGeneral all have layed into all members of the staff, both programming and administrative, of the ABC. In a multiplicity of attacks they have said that the ABC programmes ‘are close to bias’, ‘there is too much bias’, ‘there is heavy bias’, ‘there is very heavy bias’ - and yesterday we heard that a politically ideological group has now literally taken over and is running the place. I repeat that this is an attack not only on the staff but also on the chairman of the ABC, Sir Robert Madgwick, one of the finest and most outstanding Australians this country has had. It is an attack also on the 8 members of the Commission, all of whom were appointed by a succession of Liberal Party and Country Party Ministers. What the Government in fact has said is that the members of the Commission charged with their responsibility under section 59 of the Broadcasting and Television Act have been recreant to the trust reposed in them by this Parliament. On its own case, the Government is saying that the members of the Commission, all of whom have been appointed by the Government, are not carrying out their statutory responsibilities to this Parliament.
In adopting this attitude, the Government is issuing a warning to all radio commentators. As I said before and I now repeat: The threat of intimidation of the free Press of this country is one of the worst things in which any government could possibly indulge. The Government is warning radio commentators and journalists that if they dare to criticise the Government it is likely that they will be subject to the same calumny and abuse. The attack has been centred now on the programme This Day Tonight’. Last July, the Country Party opened up on the ABC and criticised not only its current affairs programmes but also the ‘ABC News’. The Country Party urged that, unless the ABC presented more balanced current affairs and news programmes its budget be restricted.
As Australians, we live in dangerous times for our country - dangerous only because this Government has been in office for too long. It is arrogant. It is so concerned about self survival that it is concerned about nothing else. History has confronted us with great problems as a nation but never so many as have been created by this Government. The Government is composed of old men with tired minds and of young men with narrow minds. It is made up of 2 political parties with a one-track mind - survival at all costs.
Because of the dangers confronting Australia while this Government remains in office, we of the Labor movement say that it is time for real and positive leadership to be given to this nation. It is time for constructive planning, lt is time for positive policies to be enunciated on behalf of this great nation. It is time to make Australia a pacemaker amongst the nations of the world. It is time for a fair deal and a better way for all. The only political party in Australia that can give these conditions to the people is this Party, the Australian Labor Party.
– I rise to speak on the Budget. One can only say that this is one of the best budgets that has ever been presented to any Parliament, Commonwealth or State. The Budget must be accepted by everyone because what the Government is following is part of the policy of the Australian Labor Party and part of the policy of the Australian Democratic Labor Party. This is really an ALP-DLP Budget. This makes the Budget quite simple to accept from the point of view that everyone now supports it. In fact, the corollary almost seems to be that the Government has a death wish: It feels that it may go out of office and it wants to make things as easy as possible for the Australian Labor Party when it assumes office. The Australian Labor Party has a Budget ready for it to take over when it occupies the Government benches.
I wish to address myself not so much to the contents of the Budget - the goodies in it - as to the way in which it has been presented. In the first place, this Budget is 12 months too late. What it contains should have been done 12 months ago. Instead of that, the Budget that was presented contained technical jargon instead of proposals which would be of use to
Australia. Apparently, the thing to do today is to use this jargon. The idea is to emulate typical financial jargon such as cost-push’, ‘demand inflation’, ‘wage demands’ and ‘rising costs’. That is what was done in the last Budget. The result was almost disaster for Australia.
This makes more sickening than ever the sight of Government members rising and talking about national superannuation. Each Government member who has spoken of national superannuation really must be completely ashamed of himself and what he has said about it. This Government has been in power for 23 years and has done nothing about national superannuation. It was only last year, or even less than a year ago, when the Labor Party said that it intended to introduce national superannuation and to abolish the means test in 5 years that Australia was told by the Government that this was impossible; it could not be done. Yet, today, members of the Government rise and say: ‘Look what we are going to do. We are going to introduce national superannuation and abolish the means test in 3 years’. Not one explanation has been given by Government members as to how this can be done now. It is all very well to criticise the other Party because it has said that it will do this in 5 years and then suddenly to say that it can be done in 3 years. This to mc is one of the most sickening features of this Budget.
This Government, which has done nothing at all for the people on the poverty line, suddenly has come forth with these goodies. Why? We all know that it has done so because an election is soon to be held and never before has the Government been led by such a disaster as its present Prime Minister (Mr McMahon). It appears that, after 23 years of office, the Government has not only run out of ideas but has also run out of leaders. We have been left with this puppet who stands up and is wiggled about. On the one side, the DLP is pulling the strings controlling the Prime Minister. On the other side, the Country Party is pulling the strings controlling him. In the middle the Prime Minister is sustained by his own ambition to remain as Prime Minister.
– You are doing all right out of him.
– He is doing all right. But he is doing all right only because he has been given a lead as to how to do things rather than by acting as a leader himself.
– Senator Gair said that you were doing all right.
– I do all right?
– What does he mean?
– I am not sure what he means. But it is not just I alone who-
– I am surprised that the Labor Party kicked you out.
– I am not surprised, it should have done that years ago. What surprised me as a matter of fact was that it allowed me to remain in for 11 years.
– Do you feel that the Labor Party does not like keeping wise men?
– That is right. Thi Labor Party is very foolish, in fact, but it did the best thing for me. We have here now another senator in a similar position. I am in good company in this respect. I refer in this debate not merely to the fact that we have a Budget which shows no new ideas except for what has been copied from the ALP and the DLP. I stress also that we have not a leader. If ever there was a time when Australian needed a leader, it is now. We are giving away the whole of our birthright as fast as we can and as cheaply as possible. We keep talking about foreign ownership but do nothing about it. I know that a Senate committee is investigating this matter. But more than an inquiry by a committee is needed. By the time that the Committee presents its findings, nothing will be left. This deplorable lack of leadership is affecting the whole of Australia.
The fact that the Government parties cannot find a leader is in itself deplorable because there are some good men in the Government. There is no reason why the Government should not be able to find a leader. Honourable senators should not say that I alone am condemning the leadership. If honourable senators wander around Australia as I have done lately - I have been doing locums in different areas - they will not find, as I have not found one genuine Liberal who supports the present Prime Minister, who does not say: ‘We have a disaster on our hands’. They all admit that they have a disaster on their hands, that they should have a change in leadership but that it is too risky to change leaders now; therefore, they must put up with what they have.
I remember that the first time when I met the present Prime Minister in the United States of America he was then Minister for External Affairs. He came to the United States and made a most shocking speech. The next year, as Prime Minister, he came to a dinner party in the United States. I think that Senator O’Byrne would agree with me that it was the greatest shocker of a speech that was ever heard from a Prime Munster, bearing in mind the company selected to meet him.
– I reckon that Senator O’Byrne could do worse.
– Senator O’Byrne was not making the speech and he was not the Prime Minister. What did the man who made no impact at all upon the Americans do? He came back to Australia and said what a wonderful relationship he had with them. He had such a wonderful relationship mainly because of his wife; there is no doubt about that.
– I rise on a point of order, Mr Acting Deputy President. I draw your attention to standing order 418, which reads:
No senator shall use offensive words against either House of Parliament or any member of such House.
I have no objection whatever to legitimate political criticism of any political figure, but I think the honourable senator is going beyond what could be regarded as legitimate political criticism and is descending into the gutter of personal abuse.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Lawrie) - Do you wish to speak on the point of order, Senator Turnbull?
– No, Mr Acting Deputy President. I did not think you were going to worry about it.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - I suggest that you refrain from undue criticism of a member of another House.
– Mr Acting Deputy President, the Prime Minister is not only a part of another House; he is a part of the Australian scene. Australians are entitled to criticise their Prime Minister. Australia is still a free country. There is nothing in the Standing Orders which says that a Prime Minister should not be criticised.
– But get out of the gutter.
– I am not in the gutter.
– Is it a free country?
– I hope it is. I have not said anything so far that has not been of a political nature. I am entitled to make political comment.
– But the honourable senator was just starting to deal with Mrs McMahon.
– I was just about to say that the only person who attracted attention in the United States was Mrs McMahon. Everyone knows that she received Press publicity throughout United States because she was photographed wearing a special dress that exposed a considerable amount of thigh. Everyone knows that. It was in the newspapers. The impact of these 2 people on the American public was such that they were called the naked and the dead. The only people who supported the Prime Minister in New York were the sycophants surrounding him who kept saying: ‘What a wonderful speech yon made’. Everyone at the dinner party I attended was surprised at the speech he delivered. Honourable senators would have blushed if they had heard it. The PrimeMinister made a mess of his speech; yet his sycophants told him it was a wonderful speech. About 60 people were at the dinner party and I should think that about 50 of them would have asked: ‘Can he not do better than that?’ So it was not just my opinion.
I do not want to make a prediction, but from talks I have had with supporters of the Liberal Party throughout Australia I would not be surprised if, should the present Liberal-Country Party Government be returned to office at the next election, which is a possibility, Mr McMahon were to be Prime Minister for only another year before being kicked upstairs to the position of Governor-General. It should be remembered that that position is due to fall vacant at about that time and the LiberalCountry Party Government has already prostituted the position by appointing a politician to it in order to get rid of him. I have no objection to the office of GovernorGeneral. I will have more to say on that in a moment.
– Sometimes people are sent abroad to get rid of them, too.
– Yes, I know. But I do not think such tactics should be adopted with respect to the office of Governor-General. Some people are not lucky enough to get three or four trips abroad either.
I turn now to the effects of the Budget. One important point I want to stress is that without increased productivity this Budget will be absolutely useless in fighting inflation. It is true that we in Australia are not used to the degree of inflation that occurs in other countries. Some countries seem to think that we do not have very much inflation, but to us it is high. However, a country cannot do anything about inflation unless it is prepared to increase its productivity. There is nothing in this Budget that shows any desire by the Government to increase productivity. One of the worst features of our economy at present is that 25 per cent of the work force is employed in the Public Service. Can any supporter of the Government show me where there has been any increase in productivity in the Public Service? There has not been one iota of productivity increase. The only increase in the Public Service has been in personnel, which means that there must have been a decrease in productivity. That is the example the Government is giving. Because of the unemployment problem the Government now says it is going to open up the Public Service so that more people can be recruited. That will mean less unemployment. But the Government is forgetting that the people who are recruited into the Public Service will be there permanently and therefore cannot be removed in the future. We will have a greater load round our neck than ever before and more inflation.
Another factor which has to be taken into account in the fight against inflation is the demand by certain sections of the work force for a 35-hour working week. Let me say at the outset that I do not agree with the proposition that there should be a 35- hour working week. The Government is making gibes about these demands, but what has it done about those public servants who work a 37-hour week?
– It is a 36i-hour week.
– Thank you, Senator Georges.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Lawrie) - Senator Georges, you will cease interjecting.
– But that was a very helpful interjection, Mr Acting Deputy President. I am very grateful to tha honourable senator for it. I hope he will interject again. There is very little difference between a 36i-hour working week and a 35-hour working week; yet we have the Government attacking those who want a 35-hour working week and doing nothing about the 25 per cent of the work force which works a 36i-hour week. If the Government believes what it says it should do something about those people who work a 36i-hour week. But it is too scared and worried to do anything. The Government is scared of everyone. It is not prepared to put its foot down about anything because it thinks that its action might affect votes at the next election.
That brings me to the next subject with regard to the fight against inflation, that is, revaluation of the Australian dollar. Let me say straight out that I am in favour of it. It is nonsensical that members of the Australian Country Party and those who hold seats in electorates verging on country areas are so scared about the possibility of not retaining their seats at the next election that they are prepared to sell their souls. The Australian dollar has not been revalued solely because of the attitude of the Country Parry. Let me remind honourable senators that 80 per cent of the people of Australia live in urban areas. Instead of revaluing the dollar we are devaluing it and allowing the inflow of money into Australia whilst at the same time costs are increasing. I do not want to go into the argument whether Sir William Gunn is right or someone else is right about wool. All I wish to do is to point out that there is a dispute within the Country Party itself with regard to revaluation of the Australian dollar. There also seems to be a dispute in both the Liberal Party and the Labor Party in regard to the same matter. But ones attitude to that dispute, it seems to me, is solely dependent on whether one has an electorate with Country Party supporters in it. Not one person has thought about what is the best thing for Australia. There is no doubt but that the best thing for Australia is revaluation. We should have been going for that all along.
– Could the honourable senator tell us how that would prevent or reduce inflation?
– It would help to reduce inflation because goods would flow into Australia. We would have cheaper goods in Australia than we have at present.
– And rising unemployment.
– Unemployment is a different factor altogether.
– It is a very important one.
– Of course it is an important factor, but it does not have anything to do with the present situation with regard to revaluation.
– But it has. What about the effect on exports?
– We have a Tariff Board and country people receive subsidies. They will all be looked after in due course. At least the unfortunate people in the cities would be able to get some benefit, from revaluation. It would help them.
– I think that is an oversimplification of the position.
– 1 1 may be an over-simplification of the position, but I am not the only one who is advocating revaluation. Although I once received a prize in economics, I do not regard myself as an economist. But there are economists in this country who say that we should revalue and that it would be the best thing for Australia, not just for the Country Party.
– I take it that the honourable senator is not in favour of speculation in the money market, as other individuals seem to be.
– No. Let me point out that the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) is the cause of any speculation. When the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) was accused of speculating the other day the Treasurer should have stepped in and said that the Government would or would not revalue the dollar. He should not have shilly-shallied as he did, leaving the issue open to doubt. If the Government were strong he would have said ‘We are not going to revalue’, or ‘We are going to revalue’, whichever way he wanted it. But he left it as it was. The Prime Minister says one thing and the Treasurer says something else. It is the divisive attitude in the Government which has just about brought it to its knees already.
I want to get on to the subject of health. I am getting sick and tired of standing up here year after year for 10 years complaining about the Commonwealth Department of Health. We have no Minister representing the Minister for Health in this chamber at present. There used to be a time when one could even talk to Ministers and they would know the position. But I presume that the Minister for Health (Sir Kenneth Anderson) will be able to read and he might be able to pick up my remarks.
– For the clarification of the honourable senator I inform the chamber that the Minister for Health is sick and the Assistant Minister is overseas.
– Yes, the Minister for Health is sick, the Assistant Minister is in Geneva and the Acting Minister for the Acting Minister is outside. But that is all right. I am just pointing out that we do not have anyone interested in the Department of Health sitting here. I want to criticise the Department of Health because there is no doubt that it is a pretty horrendous type of Department. It has many people in it who have no idea of general practice in this country. They have no idea of what is going on except through their regulation constipated minds. That is all they have.
They are so full of regulations that they do not know where to turn next. That is the sort of Department which rules us today.
I want to give the Senate some examples of this. If the Government goes on in the way it is going it will have a confrontation with general practitioners. It is this Liberal Government and no other government which has brought about the state of affairs whereby general practitioners have become second rate doctors. This has been forced on them by the differentiated rebates and the fact that one has to be a specialist in order to receive the higher rates. It does not matter if one does the same job as a specialist, one does not get paid as much because one does not have a senior degree. This situation is laid right at the door of the Government because it introduced the differential rebates. If we are going to have second class doctors we are not going to have any doctors at all. At the present moment there is an increasing shortage of doctors. If we are not careful we are going to have thousands of Asian doctors practising here just as they do in England where the hospitals cannot be controlled without Asian and African doctors.
At the moment it looks as though there could be a confrontation between the Government and general practitioners. I say straight away that this is almost certain to occur after the general election. The only people who will be hurt are the patients. It will not affect the doctors. Of course it will not affect the Government. But the patients themselves will suffer. That is why I think it is time that a bit of common sense was talked between the doctors and the Government rather than have this attitude: If you do not toe the line we will crack the whips at you and you will not be able to allow your patients to have any benefits under the National Health Act. I think that that is one of the most stupid and dangerous statements that has ever come from a government. If it wants a fight it will have a fight. Governments always win but in the fight which will occur there is no doubt at all that it will be the patient who will suffer and nobody else. I think I heard Senator Carrick talking about Labor going to nationalise the medical profession. Just recently I wrote a letter to the ‘Medical Journal’ in which I mentioned this very subject. But doctors will have a choice.
They can be nationalised under Labor or they can participate under Liberal. I think on 4 occasions in the Journal I have written: Put not your trust in political parties because either party will sell you down the river as fast as it can if it thinks it can win votes. This is what the Liberal Party is doing at the moment.
– The honourable senator has never been a member of our Party to know how good we are. That is his disadvantage.
– Perhaps it is a disadvantage but I think it is a good thing. It gives me a clearer mind. The position is that on the one hand we have the Government saying that if doctors do not do what it tells them it will take their livelihood away. On the other hand the Labor Party is saying that if doctors do not do what it tells them it will nationalise them. I think that if it were up to the doctors, in the end they would say that they would rather be nationalised. If this is going to happen - I do not think it will - what would be the best thing? I would rather be a civil servant knowing that every year I will receive an increase in pay and a pretty hefty lump at that rather than be strangled by the Liberal Party and told exactly what I had to do as a doctor. So there is going to be a choice. It is not much of a choice but it may swing a lot of doctors to thinking that they may be better off nationalised.
I think that in the last few months 5 doctors in Canberra have just closed their surgery doors and joined the Department of Health. They saw the writing on the wall and wanted to get in early. The same thing is going to happen in relation to nursing homes. I think it was Senator Carrick who said that this is a great thing that the Government has done. But no-one mentioned the little writing in between which states: ‘We will control the nursing home prices’. This is rather a strange thing from a free enterprise Government which believes that business should charge exactly what it wants. But the moment it comes to health policy the Government decides exactly what it is going to allow people to charge to sell their goods. Certainly there will not be enough nursing homes at the moment in view of the bonanza which has just been handed out. They will proliferate like mad. People will make money out of them. Of course the crunch will come when they want to put up their fees because prices have gone up and inflation has caught up with them. They will be told: ‘No, you cannot increase your prices’. I would not trust this Government at all because the chemists have proved that this Government is not to be trusted when it makes an agreement in regard to prices. That is one of the reasons why doctors are very distrustful of this Government.
I want to come to some of the regulations imposed by this hide-bound Department. A man in the Department is paid $22,000 a year which is probably a lot more than some general practitioners receive because they have costs to subtract before they obtain a profit of $22,000. I doubt whether many general practitioners would earn that amount. But here we have a man earning $22,000 a year and his satellites are assistant secretaries or first secretaries. They get higher names as they receive higher pay. They all sit in their little offices and think of regulations which they can turn out to hinder the doctors, the patients or somebody.
– They are pretty efficient.
– They are very efficient with their regulations. Some of them are so completely stupid that one wonders how anyone with such a poor IQ could last in a department until one realises that this is the only place in which they could last.
– It fills in the day.
– It fills in the day and it gives them something to do. I want to mention Intal. This illustrates the sort of attitude which one finds. It is not a question of what can we do to help a patient or the public but of how can we hinder as much as we can. I give a personal example. The drug call Intal needs a special authority - a special form. I was doing a locum for a doctor who had written for the special authority on a Friday and had left for London on the following Sunday. I became his locum on the Monday. In due course the authority came back approved. 1 promptly wrote out the prescription for the patient and said: Go and get it.’ Back came the reply: ‘You are not allowed to do that. You did not apply.’ I telephoned and said: ‘Who is supposed to sign?’ The reply was: The doctor who asked for it.’ I said: ‘But he is in London.’ I was told: That is bad luck’. So I said: ‘What will you do? Does the patient wait until the doctor comes back in 2 months’ time or do I have to write out another special authority?’ I was told: ‘You write out another’. I just could not get it into mat stupid man’s head that I was a locum tenens and therefor acting for that doctor. That is the sort of thing which makes everyone angry. Knowing a bit about the business I said: ‘Is there a regulation?’ I was told: ‘Yes, there is a regulation. The doctor who signs the prescription must be the one who applied for it.’ So I said: ‘Would you ask the Minister to make available the memorandum which was submitted to him when he approved of the regulation.’ Ministers are supposed to approve of regulations and usually the Department hands out a memorandum saying why it should be approved. However, if the Minister in charge of the portfolio is non-technical, he just signs the approval. About a week later the officer rang me up and said: ‘We cannot even find the memorandum.’ Some little man had just decided that it should be put in the regulations and he did this. The Minister automatically signed the approval.
This is the sort of thing that goes on. If it happened to Government senators they would be up in arms. Because it does not happen to them they say that it is all right. Only about a month ago I was in George Town doing a locum and the same sort of thing happened. I wrote to Hobart and asked for a special authority for the drug Intal. We had kicked up a tremendous fuss because at one stage we had to fill in a form comprising 4 pages in order to get this authority. The purpose of the drug is to treat those suffering from asthma. These people are breathing rapidly and in distress while they are waiting for Government officials to do some work. Afterwards we were able to be supplied with this drug on an ordinary special authority. I sent the appropriate form down to Hobart in order to get this drug. We are told that the patient has to suffer from chronic intracta ble asthma in order to get it. In my hurry, I just wrote ‘asthma’. Because I had not dotted the i’s and crossed the fs, because I did not specify ‘chronic intractable asthma’, my application was sent back. But we are not allowed to ask for this drug unless the patient is suffering from chronic intractable asthma; therefore I would not have signed the application unless that was the case. But my application went down to some little official in Hobart who sent it back to me and said: ‘Why do you want it for asthma?’ I would like to read to the Senate, or incorporate in Hansard, the correspondence that was written.
– We would like to hear it.
– I sent the application down and I received this letter back:
I refer to your recent application for authority to prescribe Disodium Cromoglycate (Intal) as a Pharmaceutical Benefit for . . . for treatment of ‘asthma’.
The purpose for which Intal may be prescribed as a Pharmaceutical ‘Benefit is stated in the Schedule of Benefits as:
The prevention of chronic intractable asthma’.
It would be appreciated if you could furnish further details regarding the severity of the patient’s condition, and the use of other therapy. I will defer your application pending your further advice.
There is a modern device called the telephone. It does not matter to an official of the Department, apparently, that a patient is sitting there gasping away while waiting. I got very cross and replied that same day. I wrote:
I am just as aware as you are that the purpose for which Intal may be prescribed is for ‘the prevention of chronic intractable asthma’. You may recall that in order to pass through medical school one had to be able to read.
I interpolate here to say that it is in the regulations that if you sign the form you must know what you are signing for. My letter continues:
It would be obvious to any good general practitioner that every drug would have been tried before putting a patient on to Intal: I could list all the various drugs . . . has had for her asthma but as you would have to take my word for them, you can now take my word that they have been ordered for her. The severity of the patient’s condition would have to be assessed by me but as she is suffering from chronic intractable asthma and I find that other drugs are not helping her and that I believe the best drug for her is Intal, would you kindly forward me the necessary authority?
Before holding up other applications, I would suggest to you that you ring the doctor concerned because he is probably concerned with the patient’s welfare whereas it is immaterial to your department how long it takes for a patient to commence treatment on a necessary drug.
I myself would have rung you but I feel this may deplete your file and therefore to assist you I am replying by letter - but the fault of the patient not having had treatment lies with you. 1 received the authority next clay without any comment. This shows the stupidity of the mind of the pedantic, laborious, typical civil servant. Just because 1 used the word asthma’ instead of ‘chronic intractable asthma’ he sent back my application and was held up. How would a Minister like it if be went to his doctor suffering from asthma, which is a nasty disease, and the doctor said: ‘Yes, I think you now need Intal’, and then said that be had to write to a doctor in Hobart, Perth, or some other capital city in order to obtain approval from a man who does not clinically examine the patient and who has to take the doctor’s word for what he writes. This is stupid, lt is nonsensical. Yet the Government allows it to happen and does nothing about it. lt knows about these things but it does not care. This matter has been raised before in this chamber but the Government does not care. Once an honourable senator becomes a Minister he is so frightened of the head of his Department that he would not dare criticise him, because the Minister is such a bloody fool himself that he cannot cope with him.
– Watch your blood pressure.
– My blood pressure is good. It is 120 over 80, if you want to know. The point is that the Minister is so dead scared of the head of his Department that he just approves these regulations and says: ‘What a silly man that general practitioner is to complain about you when I know that as head of the Department you are wonderful!’
– What do you reckon Senator Wright’s blood reading would be sometimes in this chamber?
– I think it would be pretty high. But that is only a speculation; I do not know. Let me remind honourable senators that these things happen “o patients and that they could happen to honourable senators. Yet Government senators are the people who prefer to allow an officer from the Commonwealth Department of Health, who probably has not been in practice for 10, 20 or 30 years, to decide what treatment a patient should have. If Government senators are honest in their opinions, they will agree with me.
– Does the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee not have a say in these things?
– I will deal with the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee now and I do not want any Minister to get up and tell me what a wonderful body of men are on the Committee. I do not want to be told that they are the leading men in Australia, because once they fall into the trap of accepting a position on the Committee they become civil servants. I will not mention them today, but previously I have pointed out the innumerable mistakes that these men have made. I will mention just briefly one of them. As I said, to obtain an authority to use Intal we had to fill in 4 pages, but when there was a row about it we had to fill in only a simple authority. For years we doctors had to lie like hell so that we could get tetracyclines for our patients, because they could be prescribed only for specific purposes. In order to obtain an authority we had to write ‘SP’ alongside the application; so we all put ‘SP’. No one cared 2 hoots. It tickled the mind of the civil servant who felt that he was making the doctor think and he was getting it for a special purpose. So we wrote ‘SP’ and we all became liars. We had to do it for the sake of our patients. That situation was brought about by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee. The Committee is like a statutory organisation. When the Committee is doing something good the Government takes credit for it, but when it is doing something terrible the Government says: We have no control over it; it is an organisation by itself. We cannot control it in any way’.
When the National Health Bill was before this Parliament 2 years ago the Senate carried an amendment making it compulsory for the Pharmaceutical Benefits
Advisory Committee to state the reasons for rejecting a drug or accepting a drug. Because the Parliament was about to go into recess the Democratic Labor Party felt that it had better not hold up the Bill any longer. The next day the amendment was submitted again. The Democratic Labor Party voted with the Government and the amendment was defeated. During the course of the passage of this Bill it was pointed out that the names of the members of the Committee should be known. This proposal was carried and then defeated the next day. On each occasion the Department of Health said that it could not disclose the names of the members of the Committee. It argued that if their names were disclosed they would be pestered to death by all the drug companies. It said that it would be impossible to publish the names. It just could not be envisaged by the Department of Health. So this proposal was carried and then it was defeated. Then of its own accord the Department of Health said: ‘Yes, we will tell you the names of the members of the Committee.’ The very reasons that the Department gave us suddenly disappeared overnight. Now we do know their names. In fact, we knew several of the members before, but now the public knows the names of these people.
I make the same remarks on the question of the refusal of drugs. Do not tell me that they are the best people on this Committee because they are the people who one week put a drug on the free list and the next week take it off, and vice versa. These are the people who say that we cannot have double or triple drugs and then they add an extra one to the list. These things have happened. It is in relation to this Committee that the Minister for Health will get up and say: ‘Its members comprise very well known and very senior people in the profession that no one dare criticise them.’ In fact, they probably sit a little further over from God, next to the Ministers. There is no reason why the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee should not give its reasons for refusing to put a drug on the pharmaceutical benefits list.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 p.m. to 8 p.m.
General Business taking Precedence of Government Business at 8 p.m.
Report on Teacher Education
Debate resumed from 22nd February (vide page S3), on motion by Senator Davidson:
That the Senate take note of the report.
– When the report of the Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts on the Commonwealth’s role in teacher education was tabled on 22nd February I, as Chairman of the Committee, was responding to a direction of the Senate. Honourable senators will recall that the resolution referring the matter to the Committee required the Committee to table its report on the first sitting day in 1972. Mr Acting. President, you are not without experience in presiding over Senate committees. You will recognise the need to exercise pressure and leadership in a committee to enable a report to be presented on a certain day. You will know the degree of co-operation which is required from all members of the committee so that the direction of the Senate may be fulfilled. As the Committee met during 1971, debated, discussed and took evidence in relation to the Commonwealth’s role in teacher education, it was constantly mindful of the fact that it had to table a report by about the third week of February 1972, as it believed the first sitting date of 1972 to be.
While it can be argued that numerous people are very hard at work during December and January, these months are the end of the year and the beginning of the year segments of the calendar. January, because of the nature of the weather, is the month in which a considerable number of people are on vacation. I mention this fact because it had an influence upon the mechanics of the preparation of the report which had to be tabled on the first sitting day which, as far as we could determine, was about the third week in February. I recount to the Senate another not so important fact in connection with our activities because it had a considerable influence on those members who were working out the details of the report - namely, the evidence which we had received, the information which we had gathered and the assistance which was given to us by Dr Campbell who was then Secretary and his associate Mr Hoy. Ail the information had to be collected, tabulated, collated and worked out. The Committee had to indicate to the secretariat the general line that it wanted to follow so that it could work in with the people who had to do the typing, the printing and finally the preparation of the report.
So it was with some degree of appreciation that on 22nd February of this year I was able to respond to the Senate’s direction and table in the Senate the report on the Commonwealth’s role in teacher education. When I spoke on that occasion I referred to the substance of the report. As honourable senators will recall. I sought leave to continue my remarks. 1 did that on 22nd February. Today is 31st August. A fair amount of time has elapsed between the 2 dates. As all honourable senators will know, each of us - certainly each member of my Committee, myself included - has been involved in other committee work during that time. Literally the moment the report was tabled in the Senate the Committee commenced its researches, duties and hard work on its next assignment which was a reference dealing with radio and television. There is a gap to be filled between the date on which the report was tabled and today when the report is being debated. To use the language used in the notice paper, I am in continuation; 1 am endeavouring to continue my remarks.
When 1 spoke on 22nd February I drew attention to the fact that the matter referred to the Committee was an important one. Evidence of the importance of the reference was shown in the response to the inquiry by so many organisations which were connected, one way or another, with the discipline of teaching. The report indicated that we covered, as far as time and circumstance would allow, a wide range of studies relating to teacher education. In the main we received a very good public response. Not everybody responded with the degree of complete affirmation and enthusiasm that we would have liked to see. I seem to remember one newspaper commentary which stated that while we had devoted a lot of time to and made a lot of recommendations about administration and areas in which the Commonwealth may involve itself in teacher education we had not given much time to studying in depth the whole discipline of teaching; we had not spent a great deal of time discussing and working out the requirements and the demands, on the personal level, of the individual teacher. That comment is an interesting one.
If honourable senators take time to read the report - I hope that all of them have read it since I tabled it - they will see that we spent some time in drawing attention to the needs of the vocation and to the need for some form of screening or undertaking which would prevent what was described as the wastage in the teaching profession. It seemed, from the evidence submitted to the Committee, that a proportion of people who took up teaching did so largely as a last resort. I will go so far as to say that the proportion was too large for the good of education in Australia. One does not question their reasons because a variety of circumstances lead people into this occupation. On the other hand, teaching is such a vital, necessary and significant part of our national life - it always has been and it is now, particularly as we are moving into a wide range of intellectual and academic developments - thai teacher training or teacher education becomes very important and perhaps far more important than all of us realise. I hope that the report indicates to the community that the Committee regarded the matter as a particularly important one.
It may well be that the areas which we have covered, the material which we have studied and the recommendations which we have made will encourage more people - if the Committee had time it might like to do something about this matter - to do a study in depth on the requirements of aptitude, personality, ability and the whole relationship between teacher and students, teacher and community, staff and school and teacher and the whole wide education discipline.
– Whom did you say would do that study?
– I did not say that anybody would do that study. 1 just drew attention to a particular recommendation. I was speaking generally and certainly more in my own capacity as chairman in saying that it could well be that arising from our report this could be the next step in which some attention could be given to a study of the area of vocation and personality, and the need for attention to be given to the requirements of teachers at both the intellectual and vocational levels. This arises out of a section in our report which refers to the preparation of teachers in which we recommended, as the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) will recall, that there should be a screening of the candidates for the teaching profession.
– You made your point on the Bill last week, did you not?
– I did. As the Minister will recall this is related in particular to pre-school teacher education but I imagine that the Minister would agree that the principle which applies to pre-school teacher education would also apply to the wide range of teacher education. We said in the report that in our deliberations we were constantly reminded that many longstanding assumptions regarding education were now being seriously challenged. I think that what I will call the lay community throughout Australia has certain assumptions about teacher education. I think that the appointment of the Senate Committee and the reference entrusted to it presented a very opportune occasion for such assumptions to be challenged.
Some of the assumptions were in the areas of pupil/teacher ratios and the relative significance of pre-school, primary and secondary teaching education. We felt that the whole pattern of teaching techniques needed a serious and constant review. Indeed, we made the point that the whole philosophy of education in the 1970s should be under the closest possible scrutiny. This may be a general kind of phrase but we are now well into the 1970s and the Committee draws the attention of the Senate to the requirements of student groups and the teaching profession in the 1980s.
Therefore it is singularly important that we give a great deal of attention to the teaching profession within this decade because, as we move from the 1980s towards the close of the century there will be greater demands on the education discipline within our nation, there will also be greater demands upon the teaching profession. We need to make very strong and adequate arrangements for the ongoing work of the teaching profession in the next 2 decades. The Senate will remember that the Committee made 33 recommendations, some in the short term and some in the long term area of thinking. Looking at the recommendations - and I certainly will not go through them all as other speakers may pick out the ones which have a measure of appeal to them - 1 want to turn first to the area which we call the ‘preparation of teachers’.
One of our early recommendations deals with the encouragement and establishment of integrated courses in education. The recommendation deals mainly with the fact that while it is very important that people who are training for the teaching profession should devote their time very strongly and emphatically to undergoing education in the area of teaching, it is also singularly important that those people who would undergo education as teachers should also have complete and widespread knowledge of the total sphere of education and the integration of course subjects; that is, subjects in a variety of courses, whether in the commercial sector or the professional sector or in other sectors that emerge, together with education subjects. Of course, attention should also be paid to the all important area of practical teaching. We felt that the Australian Universities Commission and the Australian Commission on Advanced Education should encourage the establishment of ‘ these integrated courses.
In another instance the Committee was concerned that there was no adequate and up to date set of facts, figures and information concerning projections of the number of pupils and teachers and the prospective number of teachers who might be engaged in the system of teacher training or teacher education. In a complex series of recommendations we suggested that the Commonwealth should initiate a system for the registration of teachers, the compilation of statistics and up to date projections. A very serious attempt should be made to have listed and available the range of qualifications of teachers so that the teaching profession throughout Austrafia could have some idea of where the talents lay, where the numbers lay and where people could be moved from one point to another so that the teacher education programme and the teaching discipline would be related, not a series of unrelated areas.
A discussion was held on education, including teacher training and - as one would expect in these days - on what are called the ‘non-government’ or ‘independent’ schools. Our Committee recommended that the Commonwealth Government should provide financial assistance on the same basis as to government institutions to what we called ‘non-government teacher training institutions’. We were emphatic that if financial assistance were provided for these bodies the standards to be met by them would be those laid down by State boards of teacher education and the Australian Commission on Advanced Education. As the Senate will know, 2 members of our Committee held a different view on this matter. They have explained their view in the addendum to our report.
A special area about which we were concerned was the training of teachers known as ‘special teachers’. In today’s developments and society the matter of people who require special education is receiving a great deal of emphasis and is coming very much under the spotlight. We could cover the whole range by referring to the people we describe as ‘handicapped’, people who may be retarded or in some way requiring special attention. The teachers of these people require special skills, abilities, patience and dedication.
In the migrant community children require special teachers for the English language courses. There is the emerging emphasis on special education for Aboriginal children where again the teachers need to be trained in a certain kind of way. They need a special type of education. The country needs these people. We owe it to our people to ensure that the entire community receives the best available kind of education. We recommended that the Australian Universities Commission establish at least one university department of special education in each Stale. We also suggested that the Australian Commission on Advanced Education, in conjunction with State boards of teacher education, establish special courses for teachers of the handicapped in several colleges of advanced education. If the opportunity is provided I hope that another member of the Committee will say something about the importance of technical teachers.
It was felt by our Senate Committee that in these days of development in science and increased technical needs of our society there were special requirements for the training of teachers who will be involved in teaching technical subjects. 1 suppose that in a day of very extensive scientific development there is a very great need for a special understanding, but above all a flexibility and capacity to take advantage of new developments, changing developments and new projections in the exciting and wonderful fields of science and technology. It was our view that this required a special reference in our report. Those who wish to look at it for some emphasis will find it in the section dealing with education for teachers in the technical sphere.
I suggest that the apex of our work was our concern for research into the future of teacher education. We were concerned also about the administration of teacher education. We were anxious that the maximum of research and inquiiry should be undertaken into the whole sphere of teacher education, both now and in the future. This is why our report leads up with very heavy emphasis to the fact that there should be provided to a research institution additional funds for research into the whole field of teacher education. We had in mind particularly the Partridge Committee. I suppose that the most satisfying aspect of our report on teacher education was the fact that the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) responded very enthusiastically to the recommendations which we made.
Honourable senators will recall that in speeches which the Minister has made during this session he has responded in a number of ways to the recommendations which the Senate Committee put down. He referred the whole report in its total form to the Australian Education Council which, at its meeting, went through the report and made comments on the various recommendations that we had made. It expressed some views on the integrated courses to which I have referred. It drew attention, as has the Minister, to the fact that in relation to the registration of teachers, which I mentioned earlier, neither the Australian Universities Commission nor the Australian Commission on Advanced Education considered that it was the appropriate body to undertake a matter of this kind. It was suggested that the matter might more appropriately be referred to State departments of education. That view having been expressed, I think it is pertinent to observe that at least our Committee has drawn the public’s attention to this point. I hope that in due course this item will be taken up in a way that is appropriate and useful.
When the Minister responded to our report he announced that the Government had decided to offer to share in the costs of State teacher colleges being developed as self-governing institutions. In the course of our studies on this subject we heard a great deal about whether the educating authority should be also the employing authority. It was felt that teacher education institutions should become autonomous. The Government has recognised this and has offered to share in the cost of State teacher colleges being developed in this way, the Commonwealth to contribute $1 for $1 for capital costs and $1 for each $1.85 for recurrent costs. The Government has decised also to offer to share with the States on a similar basis the capital and recurring costs of pre-school teachers colleges. This was spelt out in detail in the debate on the States Grants (Pre-School Teachers Colleges) Bill within the last few days.
The matter of single purpose teacher education institutions came up very strongly in our discussions and there are references to it in our report. I understand that the Government has indicated that it favours the provision of teacher education in multi-purpose institutions wherever possible. However, the Committee was told that it was very widely recognised that there are a number of existing teacher colleges in Australia which are likely to remain for some time as single purpose institutions. This is due to a number of reasons mainly involving geographical location or some other situation which had arisen at some earlier time. In these circumstances it was felt that the Government wished to ensure that self-governing
State teacher education institutions should, if they were single purpose ones, be regarded as multi-purpose institutions for the purposes of funds that were being allocated.
A number of other factors arc dealt with in the report. Other honourable senators who were members of the Committee will speak te those matters and I hope that in due course the Minister will make some observations on them. It was the overall feeling of the Committee that this was not so much an exercise in which we put down our ideas on what the Commonwealth should do in teaching teachers to teach but rather that it was an exercise in which we should draw strong and spirited attention to the high value of the teaching profession in this country. Some people told me that the teaching profession does not enjoy the status that it was used to having and some people have said that in their view the teaching profession does not enjoy the status that it should have. The teaching profession is one of the most significant and important professions in Australia because it is so tremendously important to the whole field of education and learning. Education must always undergo an evolving and changing process because it must always be geared to new demands and new needs. As governments spread their education benefits wider through the provision of grants for colleges and schools and through scholarships and other opportunities for learning, so also must provision be made for the total development of and the maximum possible provision for those people whose high responsibility and, indeed, whose supreme privilege it will be to impart the new learning, the new techniques, the new skills and the new developments of the mind.
We believe that the job which we had to do as members of the Committee was an important and responsible one. I hope that the Senate will agree with me when I say that we believe that the report which we have presented to the Senate has discharged our responsibility and will be for the benefit of education in general and teacher education in particular.
– My participation in the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts was my first experience of the working of the commit- tee system in this chamber. I must confess that I learned much about the parliamentary process in the course of working on this Committee. One has only to gaze at the dramatis personae of the Committee to see the possibilities of conflict and contest implicit in such names as Senator Davidson, Senator Carrick, Senator Hannan, Senator McManus and Senator Milliner. I must confess that coming to the deliberations of this Committee as a new senator who had been in the place for 6 months only I was astonished to find how much of a consensus developed very rapidly among these disparate figures, to put it no higher than that. I would like to say at the outset that our deliberations were smoothed, by the tact, charm and discretion which our Chairman, Senator Davidson, showed on all occasions.
I know that those honourable senators who were with me on the Committee will pardon me for quoting such an alien figure as Leon Trotsky, who was one of the mentors of my rather more radical youth. One of his favourite phrases was: ‘Facts are stubborn things’. We senators, with varying views on society in general and the education system in particular, found that when confronted with the dispassionate, careful and unemotional views of the experts who paraded before us, the field of disputation narrowed and the field of agreement seemed to grow wider as the evidence proceeded. Whilst we did not agree on everything, it certainly came as a surprise to me that in a field as full of politics as education we could agree, for instance, on such a formulation as this, which appears in the forward to the Committee’s report.
However, the evidence is overwhelming that, at least in the sphere of teacher education, the problems are so vast and pressing and their solution so fundamental to the preservation and advancement of basic community values that an increased Commonwealth commitment is nol only justified but urgently required.
I thought, when 1 embarked on the deliberations of this Committee, that it would take something to drag the representatives of the Government along with the proposition that the education system was flagging to such an extent that they could put their names to a proposition such as that. But I was rapidly disabused of those feelings and I was greatly encouraged and enthused to find that on this fundamental question pol itics did not loom all that large and genuine concern for the problems of the community loomed very much larger. 1 would like the Senate to appreciate that this report is not based only on our listening to a parade of impressive, highly qualified, disinterested and idealistic witnesses. We also had the advantage of the great number of reports that have been prepared over the years on this question. After all, there is nothing novel in society’s preoccupation with the question of education. It is something on which all parties have had a certain consensus over the last 20 or 30 years. To be opposed to better and more enlightened education systems is like being opposed to motherhood. Really, the quarrel between the parties is about methods and the amount of money that society can afford. There is very little quarrel that there is a need for a massive attack in order to update and modernise our education system. Of course, the starting point is teaching the teachers.
I cannot possibly hope, in the scope of a survey such as I am undertaking tonight, to cover the whole field that this Committee covered. So I would like to refer to just one or two of the salient points. One of the things that we had to consider was this question of bonds and scholarships for aspiring teachers, lt emerged quite early in our discussions that student teachers are, in a sense, academically a submerged class. It became apparent from the evidence that was adduced before us that in recent times the teaching profession has become one of the avenues of upward social mobility. The brighter sons and daughters of the working class have seen a teaching vocation as a way not only of catering for their latent idealism or their desire to serve society in some positive way but also of moving from one social stratum into a higher social stratum, which 1 think all honourable senators will agree is a quite praiseworthy motivation.
But this has had some unfortunate results. The education departments in the various States have attracted young men and women to undertake a course in teacher training by offering the bait of certain living allowances which generally are higher than those offered to holders of scholarships or attenders of universities In general. The suspicion aro.-c quite early in our discussions that people who were not really dedicated to teaching but who wanted to escape from the economic rut in which they found themselves took on a teaching scholarship largely because attached to it was a living allowance without which they would not have been able to undertake such a course.
This has been adverted to by students of this problem, notably Professor Karmel who, I think, has written the most lucid and instructive report on this question of bonding. The result is that teacher trainees in the universities have been separated from other students in the sense that they carry this slight stigma of unwilling adherence to a teaching course. One suspects that a large number of them are in it because this is the only way they have of doing a tertiary education course. They are bonded to stick with this calling after they qualify, but a large number of them want to get out of it as soon as they possibly can. One of the things about which the Committee was concerned was to examine whether, in fact, this bonding system should survive or whether it should be replaced by some other system. Even though we have not been particularly precise in coming up with an alternative, I think it is interesting to note that a consensus did develop within the Committee that the bonding system should come to an end and that society should attempt to find some substitute for it. The best expression of the views of those experts that we listened to was that given by Mr Hughes, Head of the School of Teacher Education at the Canberra College of Advanced Education. Mr Hughes recommended:
The Commonwealth should develop a National Scholarship Scheme comprising the separate systems now operating for university scholarships, advanced education scholarships, Commonwealth teacher education scholarships and State teacher education scholarships. The scholarships should include a minimum living allowance of the order of $500 plus a system of loans repayable over a period and subject to cancellation through approved types of service. The scholarships should not carry a bond.
Professor Goldman, Dean of the School of Education at La Trobe University, made this recommendation:
An increased number of scholarships certainly should be given, but they should be subject to a means test . . . The other qualification I would make is that there should be available a loans system.
Having weighed all the evidence that we took on this vexed question of bonds and inducements to students to embrace the education profession, the problem of retaining teachers in the education system and the problem of deploying them in remote, unattractive locations without the sanction of a bond, which many education authorities pointed out had been an important factor in persuading young men and women to teach in remote unattractive locations, and appreciating all the difficulties, the Committee recommended:
That a conference of the Commonwealth and State Governments be held at an early date to devise a uniform system of scholarships for the whole tertiary system of education embracing all studies (i.e. including teaching).
In other words the Committee concluded that the distinction between the role of a student at a university who aims to be a teacher and that of all other students at a university should be removed. That is, the young man or young woman who is attending a university because he or she wants to gain, say, a Bachelor of Arts degree or a Bachelor of Science degree - who wants to acquire a qualification which will lift him or her out of the rut - but who does not really want to be a teacher, yet may develop the idea of becoming a teacher notwithstanding that he or she was not motivated originally by that idea, should not be placed in a slot separate from that of students in all other faculties who have chosen their profession and who may have the benefit of scholarships which will permit them to achieve their goal. One way that we saw for removing this distinction was the system of student loans applied without discrimination to the whole student body. This meant that the student could decide, without any pressure of the type I have discussed, that he or she would undertake tertiary education but would be under no pressure to fulfil an obligation to do a job which he or she did not really want to do.
It is a vexed question to which the experts have given a great deal of attention. If honourable senators read the Committee’s report they will see that we are not dogmatic in our findings. We merely throw in certain suggestions; we open new avenues of thought on the question of bringing the student teacher up to a plane of equality with students in the rest of the student body in the universities. I commend to honourable senators and to all education authorities in this country the recommendations and the suggestions in the report. I believe they show a sensitive regard for the feelings and aspirations of young men and women who are prepared to accept the onerous task of teaching children but who do not necessarily wish to be bound as bond slaves to a calling about which they may be tentative in their original approach.
Next I should like to refer to the dissent which both Senator Milliner and 1 entered to the general finding of the Committee that Commonwealth funds should be allocated to the training of teachers in institutions separate from the State institutions for the training of teachers. The evidence that was given to the Committee was that the non-Catholic independent schools are preponderantly staffed by teachers trained in government institutions such as universities and teachers colleges. They do, however, absorb also a trickle of teachers who emerge from 2 small teacher training instutions - Mercer House in Victoria and the Teachers Guild College in New South Wales. Both Senator Milliner and I felt that these institutions made such a meagre contribution to the supply of teachers that their role seemed to be quite peripheral to the task of the Committee. This passage is included in Appendix 1 which covers our dissenting comments:
The financial priorities involved in an urgent and massive attack on the manifest shortcomings of teacher education disclosed in evidence given to the Committee would exclude, in our view, any Commonwealth assistance to small elite colleges catering for the more affluent section of the community.
The most important aspect of our dissent related to the suggestion that Commonwealth funds should be devoted to the Catholic institutions which train teachers for their own schools. We were at pains to point out that our attitude to this had nothing to do with the argument which has proceeded in the community in recent years on the general question of State aid. The rationale of State aid to Catholic schools is that those schools are a traditional part of our total education system to which parents who wish their children to obtain a distinctively Catholic education are entitled to send them; that their continued existence relieves the burden on government schools; and that it does not amount to subsidising a religion but to furthering the educational aspects of schools where religion is also incidentally inculcated. The question whether the Commonwealth should contribute funds to institutions where teachers are trained to teach in Catholic schools seemed to us to import totally different considerations. It was admitted by various witnesses, including leading figures in the Catholic education system who appeared before us, that there had been a growing tendency in recent years for lay teachers to take on an increasing burden in the Catholic schools.
The old time when members-
– You used to go to the Brothers?
– That is so.
– And you received your education pretty cheaply.
– Life does not stand still, and I have not stood still either. The fact that I may have had a Catholic education does not blind me to the shortcomings of the Catholic education system, nor to the fact that different considerations apply in 1972 from those that may have applied in 1930. Nothing that I am saying and nothing that was said in this report reflect in any way on the right of Catholics to have an education of their own choosing. But there has been that recognition, as the evidence before our Committee showed, that Catholics can no longer sustain their education system by relying on the Catholic religious orders to instruct the children in their schools. They must call increasingly on lay teachers.
The view that I take is that anything that the Commonwealth puts into improving the general system of training of lay teachers will redound just as much to the benefit of the Catholic education system as to the general State education system. The interests of Catholics in an improved education system must be in an improvement in the general training of teachers in the State institutions. The idea that was put forward to the Committee that there is some special interest in the specifically Catholic training of teachers is one that did not commend itself to me or to Senator Milliner who joined with me in the dissent to the Committee’s general report. We did not go along with the idea that there is such a thing as Catholic mathematics or Catholic science. There seemed to us to be a large sphere in which education is totally neutral.
As a matter of fact, I put a question to one witness who appeared before our Committee; I do not remember the exact words but what I asked him went something like this: ‘Whom would you prefer to have teaching your child? Would you rather have a competent atheist or an incompetent Catholic teaching your child mathematics?’ The answer that I received was quite an equivocal one but the point that I was making is that a large sphere of education surely is totally neutral. I respect and have no desire to denigrate the aspirations of the people running the Catholic education system, or any other religious education system such as the Jewish education system. I do not quarrel in any way with the right of anybody who wishes to preserve certain values that are dear to him to preserve those values. But I claim that the State is concerned only with neutral, objective, education standards and that anything else - the training of children in the maintenance of Catholic values, or Jewish values or Presbyterian values - is peculiarly the province of those particular sects themselves.
So Senator Milliner and I in putting our names to this dissent on the question of whether Commonwealth assistance should be given to institutions which train teachers for independent schools, set our views against such a proposition. We believe - and I suggest that this should commend itself to the Senate even though it is a minority viewpoint - that the Catholic schools and the independent schools generally will gain just as much as the State schools from any improvement in the standard of general teacher training. The flow of competent teachers from those State institutions subsidised by the Commonwealth in the way that this Committee suggests will improve the standard of teaching in all schools without differentiation in respect of State schools, Catholic schools, Presbyterian schools or Jewish schools. I can see no case for the specifically Catholic or Presbyterian training of a mathematics teacher, or a science teacher or any other expert who goes out into schools to train the children in these disciplines. Anything extra, anything in the way of the indoctrination or the philosophical inculcation which may be dear to the minority sects in this community, is peculiarly their concern and not the concern of the State,
I also raised in the course of this dissent the suggestion that under section 116 of the Constitution it is highly questionable whether it is within the constitutional power of the Commonwealth Government to give financial assistance to the training of teachers who are specifically concerned not only with imparting neutral nonreligious knowledge to students but also with training them in being specifically Catholic, or Presbyterian, or Jewish teachers. With respect, I think that the Commonwealth would probably be going beyond its constitutional power if it did attempt to allocate moneys to specifically religious training or to training which included the religious training of the teacher. This is expressed in one of the views that was put by one of the witnesses before the Committee, Monsignor Bourke, who said:
Wherever Catholic teachers or teachers at Catholic schools are to be prepared, there ought to be some, at least, parallel and pretty fully integrated understanding of what you might call the Catholic theory of education.
Now, I appreciate and I respect that viewpoint. But I also claim that that cannot possibly be the concern of a secular State authority. If the people who are charged with the control and organisation of the Catholic education system believe that that is the purpose of the training of Catholic teachers, I respect that belief, but I suggest that under the Constitution it is nothing with which the Commonwealth can concern itself. For that reason, and with the greatest respect for those in the community whose views of what education is about are different from mine, I put my signature, beside that of Senator Milliner, to this dissent on the recommendation of the Committee that Commonwealth funds should be devoted towards the training of teachers in independent institutions, apart from the training of teachers in institustions of the State.
– Did the honourable senator say that Commonwealth funds should not be devoted?
– 1 said that Commonwealth funds should not be devoted to the training of teachers in independent institutions.
– Few matters in my period of public life have given me such very real interest, satisfaction and indeed challenge as the reference to the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts of an inquiry into the Commonwealth’s role in teacher education. That satisfaction has been heightened by the fact that the report of the Committee has been accepted with warmth and acclaim not only throughout Australia but also elsewhere. I think that not only the members of the Committee but also the Senate, because the Committee is the child of the Senate, can say that the document itself is an important one; that Within Australia it does bring together a collection of ideas, thoughts and recommendations that have not been brought together in a library of thought before; and that it does pose a series of challenges as well as a series of recommendations. It is a document which will be useful to every person concerned with education in this country, that is, every student, parent and every educator. I do not think that that is too high a level upon which to put it. Like Cromwell, who asked that he be painted warts and all, so this document should be accepted warts and all because when one deals with education the very first thing one finds is the warts.
Let me say how delighted I was at the opening remarks of Senator James McClelland. I share his sentiments entirely. It was my first experience, as it was his, of the workings of a Senate committee. I share his statements that the Committee, under Senator Davidson’s chairmanship, worked well, happily and amicably. Indeed, I think it posed its views for almost the total part free of politics. I am delighted that Senator James McClelland made those points. One could be pardoned, on first looking at the subject matter of the inquiry and seeing that it related to an inquiry into the Commonwealth’s role in teacher education in Australia, for expecting the position to be different, as indeed I did. Everybody knows, because of the newspaper headlines and so on, that there is a shortage of teachers and that classes are overcrowded. It appeared clear at first that what was needed was a look at the mechanics of the matter because there must be a shortage of teacher training colleges, a shortage of teachers to teach teachers, and obviously, a shortage of intake of teacher trainees.
I think the very first thing we found was that that was not the problem at al! but that the problem was far more profound. Indeed, I think Senator James McClelland very usefully touched upon this when he probed, and very thoroughly, the great challenge of the bond and the sociological challenge of the teacher trainee of the past. What we did find out is that there are some 140,000-odd teachers actually working as teachers in Australia. There are many others not working as teachers. Some women teachers are temporarily at home as mothers and will come back later. But right at this moment there are about 140,000 working as teachers and, if my memory does not fail me too much, somewhere between 43,000 and 45,000 trainees undertaking teacher training on what is called a studentship. It became abundantly clear that the 43,000 to 45,000 teacher trainees, if they survived their 3 or 4 years’ course, would, with the ordinary wastages, provide overwhelmingly enough trained teachers not only to replace those who grow old and retire or leave and not only to deal with the growth of the population but also, more substantially than would be necessary, to reduce class sizes.
What we were in fact facing- was a tremendous wastage of teacher trainees, whether during their training or after their graduation. This in itself posed problems which led to the investigations that Senator James McClelland outlined - investigations which revealed to us that, just to precis what he said, the student teacher, the teacher trainee, has been traditionally a student apart, a student under prejudice in many ways and a student who, rightly or wrongly, felt that he or she was inferior for a number of reasons. Oddly enough they did not feel inferior in the provision of fees and allowances but because they had been segregated, because they had been made special and primarily because, as Senator James McClelland has said, they came into teaching for motivations that were different.
It was found, of course, that so many of them came into teaching seeking security because they came from insecure homes and that so many of them had in the past come from non-professional homes or from rural districts. It became clear that so many went into teacher training not as their first or even second or third choice, but primarily because they could get through a university or teacher college under the allowances and fees that are paid or even that they could be admitted although were not, in some cases, qualified otherwise for university courses. This tended to make them feel that they were different and tended to create inside them some kind of frustration and some kind of resentment against the system. There is no doubt but that this was one of the fundamentals. The bond itself, which looked to be an innocent kind of legal instrument by which, in consideration of a government agreeing to pay fees and allowances for a period, the student undertook to go through and serve that government for a few years afterwards, seemed quite harmless, but in fact it had many side effects, which Senator James McClelland has outlined.
I go along with Senator Davidson and Senator James McClelland in saying that the recommendations we have made for a look to be had at a kind of studentship or scholarship that is common to all tertiary education - that is, common to universities and colleges of advanced education - were to us the important thing because, indeed, this was fundamental to the recommendations that we made al every other level. We found that the teacher training college - this single purpose institution - was rather the Cinderella of education. It was not even really regarded as something which was a part of tertiary education. We also found that it needed lifting out of its sense of being in a lower stratum and out of its sense of isolation and being given a quality and an equality in terms of status and standards in the quality of its tutors and in the standards of salaries that they could demand so that teacher colleges in the. future could stand as equals in competition with colleges of advanced education and universities in attracting both the tutors and the students. It was fundamental to us that in 2 ways we should take the student teacher out of his sense of isolation and out of his sense of, if I can use the term, inferiority or frustration - firstly, by overcoming this special difference of the bond and the studentship and, secondly, by bringing the student into a uniformity or equality of opportunity within the tertiary system.
One other thing gave me satisfaction and that was not only that the journey was full of fascination and the report had earned some degree of commendation from the community but also that the Commonwealth Government with the States had embarked upon the basic recommendations which we made - not all but the fundamental ones. Fundamentally, the Commonwealth Government has accepted the principle that in future, provided the standards are raised or are satisfactory, teachers colleges will be colleges of advanced education. If they are, then of course they are brought into equality with the universities and the tertiary system. To me this is a great breakthrough and there is a great journey ahead.
But what we really found in our journey is that one cannot look at how to teach a teacher in terms of numbers or brick and mortar. Really, what one is asking oneself is: What is the goal that we are seeking; what is education? What we are aiming to do is to produce educators. So we had better know what our goals are. I think that in our 8 months search we found that there was a very profound ignorance world wide of what the real goals of education might be. What constitutes an educator? How should one teach a teacher? We also found that there may well be a difference in future - now that we have an affluent society - in the kinds of qualities demanded of a teacher compared with the past when the struggle was largely with the 3 Rs and teaching a person to earn a living. We used the cliche that whereas in the past there has been education in making a living, for the future there should be philosophically the concept of education in living. We therefore felt that we had to make both short and long term recommendations. This we did. We said that if an idea were put into the system it would take some 20 years to be implemented. Therefore we felt that we should not hold back on the defects we saw but that we should make recommendations to cope with them and set in train a series of think tanks which could challenge all the basic concepts of education and start putting answers so that when we come to long term education recommendations we will have the value of some very deep and sound research.
I say to honourable senators that we found that the witnesses which came before us were challenging virtually every prior concept of education. For example, the concept that secondary school teachers must be more highly skilled and therefore should be more highly paid and have higher academic qualifications - this concept has motivated us in the past - is now strongly under challenge. The idea was that secondary school teaching is fundamentally more skilled and more important but more and more educators are saying that the hungry mind, the hunger of curiosity, the expanding of the intellect, the adventure in education of the child, comes much younger still and that one should be looking to primary and pre-school centres, really, to which to apply the top skills of the really highly educated and the special teachers.
The concept which we had that preschool centre should teach children between the ages of 3 and 5 years is now heavily under challenge. People are talking of dividing the primary schools into sections for children from 3 to 8 years and those over 8 years of age. There are these kinds of challenges which I do not wish to other than identify. The idea of class sizes is well under challenge. The orthodoxy that the smaller the size of the class the better the teaching is now being questioned throughout the world in many researches and many tests. Some ideas which are under challenge relate to the orthodox size of a class - a box. What is a teacher? The audio-visual concept of a teacher and a voice which is called ‘chalk and talk’ is now heavily under challenge. It is suggested that there should be, not some clever devil things of video tapes, cassettes, films or anything of that nature, but an entirely new approach by teachers, tutors or special teachers so trained that in their initial projection of ideas to students the size of the class would not matter at all. The equality of excellence would be such that ultimately the classes would be broken up into groups under tutors. There would not be communication just between teacher and student but the encouragement of education and communication between student and student. Honourable senators can see that the who/e idea of education is under challenge.
This is of enormous importance because it costs some $16,000 to train a student teacher to the graduation stage and therefore the wastage of tens of thousands of dollars is important from the financial point of view, apart from the heart break to the trainee teacher. The heart breaks to those people are very real. If we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in building institutions of class size, of chalk and talk, then we may be grossly wasting money. That money could be applied to excellence in teaching and new techniques which would be so much better. What we have said is: ‘Let us have some short term plans now. Let us get on with the job of upgrading the standard of teacher training. Let us pose a massive programme of research.’ We recommend that the Committee known as the ‘Partridge Committee’ should expand its terms of reference and examine a great number of matters. I am pleased to say that that in fact has happened. In this current Budget there is an increased amount of money for the Partridge Committee. I think the Senate should know that the Partridge Committee feels that at this time the amount is adequate to meet its proper demands. In other words, the Committee does not feel that additional money given to it at this moment could be more appropriately spent.
How does one screen a student before accepting him? How does one select the student? Surely the important thing is that in the end the teacher, the product of teacher training, should be a person who is happy in his profession, proud df his profession and skilled in his profession. In the discharge of his profession, a teacher’s communication with the student should be the optimum communication. Unless teachers are skilled and happy they are in fact impacting adversely on the child or the juvenile. Of course this is of immense importance.
I want to say only 2 other things. Senator James McClelland has referred to the minority report. In truth, out of many matters it was the only one in which there was a different viewpoint. I believe - I say this with complete sincerity - that those who hold these views hold them sincerely,
I am sure, and they are entitled to hold them but nevertheless they are approaching this matter from a set of value judgments which I and my colleagues in the majority report do not accept. We take the view that the community asks of education that the students and the teachers should fulfil a certain number of requirements regarding secular education. We take the view that between certain ages the student shall go to school and shall fulfill certain curricula, and if the student wishes to go to an independent school to undertake secular or religious education it is no business of the State to put any disbarments on that.
As to teacher training, the majority viewpoint of the Committee was that what the State demands is that we turn out teachers who are trained in terms of curricula, in terms of skills and in terms of ability to communicate their knowledge at a particular standard. If teachers do that they are fulfilling the demands of the State. If they wish to add either religious or non-religious activities in the course of their teacher training, the State should put no barriers in their way. As a State we subsidise the training of nurses, whether at a. public hospital or a religious or an independent hospital, because it is the training of nurses that we are seeking. If during her training a nurse chooses to involve herself in religious discipline that is a matter of her choice, whether she be training in one of the great teaching hospitals, or a public ot independent hospital which the State subsidies. Whether students or teacher trainees choose to add to their day other matters which are not secular or religious is not a matter for the State to question. The behaviour of the student or teacher is fulfilled, as far as the State is concerned, when that student or teacher discharges the requirements of the State. Therefore the Committee said in relation to a teacher training college now existing or planned for the future - let me make it quite clear that we were not concerned with a specific religion, whether it be Protestant. Catholic or secular - that if it could prove that its standards satisfied those that the State laid down that college was discharging its function, as is any hospital, nursing home or any other institution. Therefore, we recommended that it be treated as such. That. 1 think, was our approach to the matter.
I believe - I have held this view very strongly over a lifetime - that so many of the great problems that confront us will find their solutions in the development and expansion of education and that education in itself is the most important domestic thing that we undertake. Therefore, what we should do is to build into our education system the highest quality of excellence that we can provide. We have tended far too much to think that that quality can be found in buildings - bricks and mortar - and even in numbers of teachers. What this report has sought to say - perhaps it has touched upon it in only a fragmentary way - is that the real qualities of education are in many ways the abstract qualities - the philosophies that underlie it, the great human values that underlie it. The real solutions to education problems will come when we attract to education those students and those graduate students who are eager and dedicated to teaching, have the skill to teach, are able to communicate and who are convinced - and who live in a community which is convinced - that the profession of teaching is the highest temporal profession on this earth.
As I think was mentioned by the Chairman of the Committee and also by Senator James McClelland, there has been in a very real sense a feeling amongst the teaching profession throughout Australia that their status was inferior, that chey were somewhat shoddy, and that they were somewhat second-hand. This report sets out to remedy this. It sets out to say to teachers: We, as a. Senate and as a Parliament, are looking to the production of a kind of teacher in the future who will have the most exciting profession that one can have in this community and who will go into that profession trained to a degree of excellence and oriented towards the profession, dedicated to it, and with the knowledge and skills to be able to communicate with the student so that the young who are amongst us and the young who are coming on can be encouraged to go into the really great adventure of living, and that great adventure is the adventure of the human mind. I therefore commend this report.
(9.26)-Tonight the Senate is devoting its attention to discussing the report that has been made to it by the Senate Standing Committee on Education,
Science and the Arts, of which Senator Davidson was Chairman, on the subject of teacher training. The mere mention of the world of education gives scope for a great variety of ideas that impel one to spirited praise of the purpose of education. But tonight I feel it is necessary to discipline ourselves and confine our concentration to the specific subject matter of the report. Doing that, I think the outstanding claim that the Committee can make as a result of its report and its labours is that - 1 think for the first time - it has given an Australian unity of purpose in this field of teacher training. Since the members of the Committee come from different sections of party political interest, it is quite inspiring to be reminded from both sides of the chamber that, except on 3 matters in relation to which there was dissent by 2 members of the Committee, there was unanimity of viewpoint on no fewer than 30-odd different propositions in the field of Australian interest in the subject of teacher training.
The Chairman of the Committee has indicated that the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser), whom I represent in this place, wrote to him as recently as 16th August to indicate what consideration had been given to this report and where the consideration of the report stood. In concluding his letter the Minister said:
The comprehensive nature of your Committee’s report has already been of very great assistance in the examination of some of the more important issues in the field of teacher education by Commonwealth and State authorities. I would expect your Committee’s work to continue to exert an influence on the further development of policies in this field.
Two of the members of the Committee who have spoken already in this debate have acknowledged that when they undertook this task their experience in the Senate was quite short and new. As a comparatively old timer in this place, having been here since December 1949, I wish to say that if there were no other acknowledgment than the paragraph I have read tonight from Mr Malcolm Fraser’s letter into the record of the Senate, the Senate Committee could claim significant achievement in impacting the mind of Government and moulding effective policies. The advance that that represents over the recurring disregard and negative refusal of participation of Senate committees in any province of government until about 10 years ago represents to me that persistence will give expression to the unfolding of purposeful work in politics.
– What docs that mean?
– I cannot stop to explain that now. We will have a student discussion later, if the honourable senator wishes. Having said that and having added the fact that the report has claimed attention not only in Australia but overseas–
– The Minister is the professor.
– I hope that the interjector might be able to contribute to the debate something better than a single interjection. During the debate there has been no contribution from any senator who was not a member of the Committee.
– We gave priority to members.
– Give them priority by all means, but a debate is a debate. If they throw seeds of wisdom to the Senate, let some honourable senators show that the seeds fall on fertile soil.
– We have briefed our representatives.
– When we start to laud ourselves and our efforts we should not omit some of the qualifications. The Minister, in his statement of 17th August, said:
In the realm of teacher education the Government has demonstrated an acceptance of responsibility.
He mentioned certain programmes and said:
Under the latter programmes, a total of $54m is being made available for State teachers colleges over the 6 years to 30th June 1973, and $2.5m has been made available to pre-school teachers colleges.
The schedule attached to the speech shows that appropriations in 1971-72 for teacher training colleges were about Slim and that this year the figure has risen to about $16m. For pre-school teachers colleges the figures last year was $631,000. This year, being a capital vote - construction has taken place already - the figure is about $534,000. In addition, part of the appropriation for universities and part of the appropriation for colleges of advanced education are devoted to the subject of teacher training.
Having said that by way of preface let mc indicate to honourable senators, particularly to members of the Committee, that they should be satisfied that their labours have not been in vain. On 10th March action was taken by the Minister for Education and Science upon a report submitted to the Senate in February. Seeking reactions to the Committee’s report the Minister wrote to the following authorities: All Stale Ministers of Education, the Australian Universities Commission, the Australian Commission on Advanced Education, the Australian Advisory Committee on Research and Development in Education, the Australian Commission on Awards in Advanced Education and, in relation to recommendation 21, the Minister for Labour and National Service. Following consideration of the report by the various responsible authorities, the report was discussed at the Australian Education Council meeting in May 1972. So in February a report was tabled, in March a communication was sent to responsible authorities having various interests in the subject matter and in May a collective council of State Ministers met with the Federal Minister. I mention that because I think it is reassuring that a report of a Senate committee, if it has value as this one is acknowledged to have value, attracts its own effective reaction. That gives the answer to those people who say that there is a tendency in departments and governments to ignore impressive reports.
Let me now indicate in the briefest language so that it will be clearly understood the action which has been taken by the Government in response to the report. I wish to put it in lucid terms so that in Hansard it is identifiable by teachers and students who may be interested in reading the report of the debate. I set out the points as follows: Firstly, the Government has offered to support State teachers colleges and pre-school teachers colleges under advanced education arrangements. That relates to recommendations 7 and 14. The existing involvement of voluntary bodies in pre-school teachers colleges will be encouraged, as honourable senators will see from the Minister’s recent statement.
That relates to recommendation 15. Secondly, support is for teachers colleges being developed as self-governing institutions under the supervision of appropriate co-ordinating bodies in the States. I think Senator Carrick made reference to principles which invoke that proposition as a means of inducing teachers to esteem their profession not an the basis of any inferiority but on the basis of, as Senator Carrick can justly claim objectively for the teachers’ profession, a purpose of high consideration.
Thirdly, the Government prefers provision of teacher education in multi-purpose institutions wherever possible. I refer those remarks to recommendations 28 and 29. But the Government recognises that for some time colleges will remain single purpose colleges because of their location or some other factor making multi-purpose development inappropriate. That refers to recommendation 30. Fourthly, as stated in the Minister’s speech of 17th August, the Australian Commission on Advanced Education will look into particular areas such as the training of teachers of the handicapped and special remedial teachers. The Australian Universities Commission will also encourage courses in special education. These matters are referred to in paragraphs 18, 19 and 20 of the Committee’s report. I wish now to quote from the May report of the Australian Universities Commission. lt is a voluminous document and k may be helpful if this extract is taken into the record in this context. In paragraph 49, chapter 8, at page 100 the report states:
Several universities have made proposals relating to the training of teachers for the physically, and menially handicapped. The Commission believes that this is an important branch of teacher education. It has noted the recommendation of the Senate Committee . . . that there should be at least one university department of special education in each State. The Commission is sympathetic to the Committee’s intention, although it would not necessarily agree that there should be separate departments of special education. Because this is a field which has not yet developed very far in Australian universities, the Commission believes that universities should avoid duplication and that the commitment of not more than one university in each major city to this field would be desirable.
That passage indicates that the Universities Commission recognised that the Senate Committee’s suggestion for teachers for the handicapped and specialist fields is somewhat novel. It has given to it the consideration that the passage I have quoted indicates. I think I am right in saying that the Universities Commission has no authority in this field to institute departments or even courses in universities. It is simply a co-ordinating authority between universities and acts in that capacity to make recommendations for revenue from the Government, lt is left to the universities’ self governing authorities to decided that matter themselves.
Fifthly, the Department of Education and Science is continuing consultation with Treasury and banking officials on the efficacy of student loans. That relates to recommendation 5. This topic interests me from a personal point of view. As a country student 50 years ago I sought a loan from the registrar of a university. I sought a very modest amount in days when one would walk 2 miles to save a twopenny tram fare. Loans were not available. For my part, T find great interest in the fact that there is sufficient faith in the general student youth to support the idea that a person who has acquired what is perhaps the most special asset that an affluent society can confer - that is education in one of the various fields of learning - is probably the best security possible for the expenditure of public money. 1 am not attempting to define the Minister’s viewpoint, much less thai of the Government. I believe that such a student provides a real security in a scheme which may be preferable to irresponsible and irrecoverable scholarships.
Sixthly, the Minister said on 17th August in his statement to the Parliament:
Investigations into student loans which my Department has already made will continue in consultation with Treasury, and banking officials. I see loans as a useful means of supplementing assistance provided by way of scholarships. In particular, such an approach may provide valuable support for the student who fails to win a scholarship.
I think I may interpret that passage as an indication of the Minister’s leaning towards favourable consideration of that recommendation. Seventhly, the Partridge Committee is examining the possibility of research into screening applicants for teacher training courses. That relates to recommendation 3 which was referred to by Senator Carrick and Senator Davidson and was also referred to the other night. 1 will content myself with saying that the recommendation is that after students are accepted, because of the influence of allowances and other things to guide them through an educational course, some research into aptitudes and motivation should be considered. The Partridge Committee has already commissioned some related work. It is also examining the possibility of research into pre-school education. I might pause to say at this stage that I sat back in my seat to hear the dynamic challenge that Senator Carrick issued in this field when he said that he would implement advanced ideas on education more in the junior areas than in the secondary education area as is now done.
The Partridge Committee is also to examine recommendations 25 and 26 on educational research. Funds available to the Committee have been increased in this year’s appropriation by no less than 21 per cent to $300,000. A constraining factor pointed out by the Committee is the availability of competent research workers, a matter to which attention is drawn by the Senate Committee in recommendation 24. Of course, it will be acknowledged that the Senate Committee would not expect all recommendations to be automatically accepted at once, or all recommendations necessarily in due course to be accepted. But I have said sufficient to show that the Universities Commission - a very exalted body in the educational levels of Australia - the Department of Education and Science and the State Ministers of Education have all indicated their appreciation of the practical validity of the recommendations of the Senate Committee. Having regard to the acceptance of so many recommendations in a fluid field of education where the Committee has concentrated on the particular field of teacher training and having regard also to educational authorities’ acceptance of these recommendations as practicable and valuable, this Committee of the Senate can accept for its members great credit for its notable achievement in this field of education. I believe that the Senate is greatly indebted to them for their efforts. The degree to which the Minister has given attention to the recommendations and the degree to which he has accepted them already show in practical terms - he has also expressed his gratitude by letter - the Government’s appreciation of the Committee’s contribution to this inspiring field.
– in reply - To conclude the debate and in expressing my thanks as Chairman of the Senate Committee for the nature of the debate tonight, I remind the Senate that in my opening remarks in this debate I mentioned that our report contained 33 recommendations. I think it will be agreed that in the course of the debate which has taken place since 8 o’clock there have been references to every one of those 33 recommendations in terms both of the short term arrangements and the long term arrangements which the Committee recommended. The Minister for Works (Senator Wright) referred to what he called the unity of. purpose of the Committee in the work which it set out to do. The unity of purpose within the Committee was to draw to the attention of the Government, and through the Government to the country, the situation in which education found itself today.
One of the earlier speakers in the debate referred to the line in our report where we mentioned that in spite of a growing recognition of the need for more emphasis on teacher education, the truth of the description of teacher training given to the Committee by one distinguished educationist as the Cinderella of education was recognised by the Committee. The Committee has sought to draw this matter to the attention of the Senate in order that this sphere of education may be recognised for the high place it holds and should hold in the total sphere. The Minister referred in broad terms to the unanimity of view which the Committee held. With the exception of the areas which have been mentioned in the debate, this is true. I hope that it will not be thought that in reaching unanimity we arrived at the lowest common denominator in our deliberations or that we were unduly compromising. A study of the report will reveal that is it not only comprehensive but also strongly positive and robust.
The principle of Commonwealth responsibility to contribute to the cost of education generally and to teacher education particularly has been the subject of much debate and not a little difference of opinion. Education in Australia traditionally has been regarded as primarily a responsibility of State governments, but it is true also that ample powers exist under the Constitution for the Commonwealth to make financial contributions in a number of fields, including education. The question that we faced so often was not whether the Commonwealth could come to the aid of our teacher education system but how great its commitment should be and in what way it could best help. A solution to this problem was our constant target as we set out on our course. We came forward with the programme which the Minister has acknowledged in the Senate tonight. His acknowledgment is greatly appreciated by all members of the Committee and particularly by myself. I am particularly appreciative of the comments in the letter from the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) from which Senator Wright quoted and in which the Minister said that he expects that the Committee’s work in this field will continue to exert an influence on the further development of policies in the sphere of teacher education. I hope that the resolution relating to the noting of the Senate Committee’s report will receive the unanimous approval of the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative,
– by leave - It gives me great pleasure to announce that the Commonwealth Department of Social Services with the full support and co-operation of the State departments concerned with social and child welfare has commissioned a family research project. The project will be conducted by the School of Social Work within the University of New South Wales. This is the first project of its kind sponsored by the Department of Social Services and will be undertaken over a 3- year period.
The project arises from the longstanding and widespread concern felt in Government and voluntary agencies and the general community over what appears to have been a large increase in the number of deserted wives and unmarried mothers seeking assistance from community agencies. The areas to be included in the study will include the incidence, causes and consequence of family breakdown; the emerging new family patterns and structures; and community services available to the Australian family. The need for such a research project was discussed and agreed upon at the annual meeting of State Welfare Ministers and the Minister for Social Services held in Brisbane last June. While the project will be nationally oriented, it will include a series of specific studies in selected States and regions.
The project will be under the general direction of a steering committee headed by Professor R. J. Lawrence, Professor of Social Work and head of the School at the University of New South Wales. Other members of the steering committee will be Mr M. Wryell, First Assistant DirectorGeneral, Commonwealth Department of Social Services, Mr W. C. Langshaw, Under Secretary of the New South Wales Department of Child Welfare aud Social Welfare (who will also be representing equivalent Departments from other States) and Mr A. S. Colliver, Senior Lecturer, School of Social Work in the University of New .South Wales. Advertisements for staff for the family research project will appear within the next 2 weeks in the national Press.
The study will have great significance for the long term development of Australian social welfare. Although the project is expected to extend over 3 years, each phase of it will be marked by the productive research bulletins, which will be made available to interested persons and groups. I am sure that the Senate will be interested in the work lo be undertaken in this project, which I am certain will make a significant contribution towards our objective of developing in Australia a social services, system which is balanced, efficient and humane.
Senator DAVIDSON (South AustraliaI present the 18th report of the Publications Committee.
Report - by leave - adopted.
Motion (by Senator Drake-Brockman) proposed:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I rise at this stage simply to request the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator DrakeBrockman) to convey to the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) the need for a clear statement when we resume in about 10 days time on the situation of travellers, in view of the recent United Kingdom immigration legislation. I should like information on the status of Australians and New Zealanders entering the United Kingdom. This issue is not new. Honourable senators will recall that I have been raising this matter since before Christmas. I have been prompted to mention it because of the impending membership by Great Britain of the European Common Market and the early statement on whether Australians and New Zealanders would retain their present status. I know that initially the Prime Minister said that the British Parliament at Westminster was master of its own destiny. 1 do not dispute that, but I believe that if the Statute of Westminster and these reciprocal arrangements are to mean anything they have to be consistent.
I had some reservations about this matter. If we study tonight’s Sydney ‘Daily Mirror’ we find that there is a resurrection of these incidents in which Australians claim that there is a lack of consistency on the time that they are permitted to say in Britain. The most remarkable feature of this matter is that during the parliamentary recess at Christmas time I petitioned the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon), when he was in north Queensland, about some decisions. Finally, in February I received a lengthy letter which assured me that all was well. Now we find that in regard to the cases referred to in tonight’s Sydney Daily Mirror’ the 6 Agents-Generals have all complained to the British Home Office. This is a rather peculiar situation because some 6 months ago Sir Jock Pagan, the New South Wales Agent-General got into a bit of a skirmish when going through Heathrow Airport.
As an egalitarian person, I am not interested in whether a man is an agent-general, a boilermaker or a company executive. AH people should be treated in the same way. I received from the Prime Minister a rather peculiar letter that skirted around the episode involving Sir Jock Pagan who, incidentally, is a former President of the Liberal Party in New South Wales. So honourable senators could not call him one of the new left, a Trotskyite or anything like that. The fact of the matter is that I did not receive a clear cut answer. I accepted the fact that such an incident might not happen again and that a clear cut policy would be enunciated. But tonight we read of a series of cases in which Australians fee] that there is a lack of consistency as to how the law operates.
What I want to know - this was my initial complaint - is why our Prime Minister when he visited ‘Chequers’ and also No. 10 Downing Street, did not give at least some consideration to small matters and discuss them with Mr Edward Heath. But our Prime Minister told me loftily that they are not the things discussed at the Prime Minister to Prime Minister level. I replied that, if it was good enough for the then President Johnson of the United States of America to consult with the President of Mexico on Mexican rural workers being exploited in California, at least our Prime Minister could have acted similarly. Then I was told that it was a matter for the High Commissioner in London and that he would take the matter up with the British Home Office. The point I leave with Senator Drake-Brockman is this: If this Press report is true it means, in effect, that the 6 Agents-General - mark you. they represent all the parties and Premiers - have bypassed our High Commissioner in London and gone direct to the British Home Office. At the least, this is an unnecessary duplication.
I had this matter out with Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson on a previous occasion. He argued initially that it was a matter for the Minister fo Immigration (Dr Forbes). Finally he admitted - I pay credit to him - that he was misled and that it was a matter for the Prime Minister’s Department. I refer this to Senator Drake-Brockman. In doing so, I express in advance the hope that when I return to Canberra in 10 days time I will receive a reply in depth, because what is portrayed in the Sydney Daily Mirror’ tonight is a complete contradiction of what my correspondence from the Prime Minister reveals. I leave the matter with Senator Drake-Brockman on that basis.
– I thank Senator Mulvihill for his courtesy in informing me that he intended to speak tonight on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate. He gave me a copy of the Press statement to which he has referred. Unfortunately, I did not know the background of his argument with the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson, so I was not in a position to inform myself on his case. However, I shall certainly put the submission that he makes now before the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) in the hope that I will be able to provide him with an answer.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.6 p.m. till Tuesday, 12 September, at 3 p.m.
The following answers to questions up on notice were circulated:
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice:
– The Prime Minister has provided the following answerto the honourable senator’s question:
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senators question:
However, the Government has demonstrated its concern with the burdens which inflation has placed on those aspiring to own their own homes by extending the provisions relatingto home savings giants. In the Budget for 1972-73, the Government has provided for an increase in the maximum value of a home which may attract a grant from $17,500 to $22,500. and an increase in the maximum grant itself from $500 on savings of $ 1,500 to $750 on savings of $2,250.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD- The Minister for Social Services has provided the following answer to the honourable senators question:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice:
Senator COTTON- The Minister for Customs and Excise has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Investigations made by departmental officers in Australia and overseas have disclosed that a different approach to training is more likely to achieve success and that German Shepherd dogs are more likely to be successful than Labradors
The re-training of the Labradors has therefore been along the new lines and the Department is shortly to put into training German Shepherd dogs.
– On 30th May 1972, Senator Murphy addressed a question without notice to the Minister representing the Treasurer in the Senate, suggesting that Australian subsidiaries of overseas companies transfer moneys to their parent companies in the shape of servicing fees, thus reducing their Australian profits and avoiding Australian tax. The Treasurer has provided the following information:
Some information on the estimated amounts of servicing fees paid by overseas companies operating in Australia to their overseas principals was given in the reply to Question No. 1844 <Hansard, page 929, 11th April 1972).
It is not possible, nor would it be proper, to take up the honourable senator’s reference to the affairs of a particular company. The income tax law does, however, provide against attempts to avoid payment of tax through practices of the kind referred to by the honourable senator.
Servicing fees fall primarily tor consideration under a general provision of the taxation law which authorises the allowance of deductions for outgoings incurred in gaining or producing assessable income or in carrying on a business for that purpose. Deductions are not allowed under this provision, however, for outgoings of capital nature. The question whether servicing fees paid by an Australian subsidiary to its overseas parent qualify as allowable deductions depends upon the facts of each particular case having regard to the terms of any contracts made and the nature of the services provided.
The various double taxation agreements made between Australia and other countries contain provisions which are intended to ensure that the Australian revenue is not prejudiced where an Australian enterprise controlled in the other country engages in transactions with the parent organisation under conditions which differ from those which might be expected to operate between independent enterprises dealing at arms length. In this situation, tax may be imposed on the profits which might have been expected to accrue to the Australian subsidiary if it were an independent enterprise and its dealings with the overseas parent organisation were at arms length.
A similar result is achieved under a specific provision of the Australian law where an Australian company is controlled by an enterprise in a country with which Australia has not concluded a double taxation agreement.
The amount of servicing fees paid to an overseas organisation would be one of the factors taken into account in determining the profit on which an Australian subsidiary of an overseas organisation is required to pay income tax.
– On 15th August 1972 Senator Webster asked, in a question without notice, whether the Commonwealth has received a request from the Victorian Government for financial assistance for farmers in the Gippsland area who have been affected by drought. I am advised that no representations have been received from the Premier of Victoria on this matter.
– On Tuesday of this week, I was asked a question by Senator O’Byrne about a supposed request by the Commonwealth Police to a senior officer of the New South Wales Police Force to crack down on Aborigines. Senator O’Byrne then went on to ask me a number of other questions about actions which police are supposed to have taken with regard to Aborigines in New South Wales. The question and the answer were given some publicity including a report in yesterday’s ‘Australian’ headed ‘Police told to harass Aboriginals - senator.’ When I answered Senator O’Byrne on Tuesday, 1 said I very much doubted that the Commonwealth Police had any part in the matters to which he referred.
I have since had inquiries made andI have been informed by the Commissioner of Commonwealth Police, Mr Davis, that no such request has been made by him or by any other member of his force. The officer of the New South Wales Police Force named by Senator O’Byrne, Assistant Commissioner Baldwin, contacted Commonwealth Police yesterday and denied the statement attributed to him. Others who attended the meeting of the New South Wales Aboriginal Advisory Council on 14th August when this request was supposed to have been made support his statement that there was never any mention of a request by the Commonwealth Police nor was there any statement from which’ such a request could be inferred.
As far as the. Commonwealth Police Force is concerned, there have been no arrests of Aborigines in the past few weeks in New South Wales nor has the Commonwealth Police Force been ‘exercising surveillance’ over the homes of certain Aborigines in the inner suburbs of Sydney. The information supplied to Senator O’Byrne insofar as it affects the Commonwealth Police is without foundation. 1 am not in a position to answer for the New South Wales Police Force.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply the following question:
At an auction sale held at Darwin on 21st June 1972, for the purpose of selling stores held by the Department of Supply, what price was obtained for the following items and to whom were they sold:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply the following question:
At an auction sale held at Darwin on 21st June 1972 for the purpose of selling stores held by the Department of Supply, what price was obtained for the following items and to whom were they sold.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply the following question:
Service clothing and equipment,
Mattresses, 2 Dunlite 30V 40 amp generators, 4½-in lathe,
Hercules drilling machine,
Scrap copper and brass,
Servex air compressors, 25KVA generator, trailer mounted,
Deep fry cooker,
Fibrolite piping, 4-in,
-BROCKMAN- The Minister for Supply has provided the following answer to honourable senator’s question: (1) and (2)-
(Question No. 2304)
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN- The Minister for Supply has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 2305)
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - The Minister for Supply has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
(Question No. 2306)
Ruston Hornsby generating set 24/3 SV 100/ 180V,
Hydraulic hoist, and
Diesel generator 0-500V.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 31 August 1972, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1972/19720831_senate_27_s53/>.