27th Parliament · 2nd Session
Iiic PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Magnus Cormack) took the chair at 10.30 a.m.. and read prayers.
– by leave - I wish io inform the Senate that the Minister for External Territories, Mr Peacock, left Australia yesterday to attend the Pacific Conference in Apia, Western Samoa. He expects to return to Australia on 24th September. During his absence the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr N. H. Bowen, will be Acting Minister for External Territories.
– My question is directed to. the Attorney-General and I refer to the statement which reported that the Minister for Foreign Affairs told the Yugoslav Government yesterday that the Attorney-General, Senator Greenwood, was not expressing the official Government view on the existence of the Ustasha. Will the Attorney-General inform the Senate now not of his own view on the existence of the Ustasha but of the official Government view on the existence of the Ustasha?
– I likewise have seen Press reports of what the Yugoslav Ambassador is alleged to have said. I know thai there has been as far as 1 am concerned a great deal of loose reporting of statements which I have made, even of statements made in this chamber which can be reasonably verified. Therefore 1 am not able to say positively that the remarks in the newspaper are words which were used by the Yugoslav Ambassador. I must say that that ought to be a premise upon which my answer is predicated.
I have spoken to the Foreign Minister who has informed me that he did not say to the Yugoslav Ambassador what the Yugoslav Ambassador is reported in the newspaper as having been told to him by the Foreign Minister. Therefore the view of the Australian Government as alleged by these newspaper reports is not to be taken as accurate because I accept what the Foreign Minister has told me - that he did not say those words to the Yugoslav Ambassador.
The view of the Government with regard to the existence of a Croatian terrorist organisation is a view which is predicated upon evidence which has been obtained and which I made clear to the Senate yesterday. 1 repeated it yesterday from Press statements which I had made earlier and I adhere to that. The Government’s view is based upon the evidence. There have been statements, of course, made bv the Yugoslav Prime Minister, by the Yugoslav President, as to training camps, terrorist bases and so on in Australia and we have said that there is no evidence of such bases or training camps and we must be guided and rely upon the evidence.
As to the matters which have been alleged in the aide-memoire - the document which the Yugoslav Ambassador gave to the Foreign Minister, I think late in August of this year- those matters are still under investigation. They consist of allegations, assertions, that the Commonwealth Government believes it must test out by investigation as far as its resources, enable it to do so. I understand from the Minister from the Foreign Affairs that that is what, amongst other things, he told the Yugoslav Ambassador yesterday.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral. Will the Minister consult with the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts in order to formulate standards for television advertising that would prohibit advertisements that display or promote defilement of the environment?
– I have seen Press reports yesterday of what has happened in New South Wales as a result of requests by the New South Wales Minister. I will consult with the Postmaster-General about the implications raised by the honourable senator’s question.
– J direct a question to the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate as the Minister representing the Prime Minister. I refer to a statement that he made yesterday relating to urban and regional development. My question also has relationship to local government. Does he recall that the Prime Minister received recently a deputation from the Australian Council of Local Government Associations? Is there any place or role for local government in the plan outlined in the Prime Ministers announcement and the announcement that the Minister made yesterday?
– I recall the recent delegation that came from the local government authorities and the meeting with the Prime Minister, because I was associated with it at that time, being on the Government members committee dealing with local government for Canberra. T say to the honourable senator that, as indicated in the Prime Minister’s statement last night, the Government proposes to establish a ministerial council consisting of the Prime Minister and the Premiers as the principal body for consultation and co-ordination in the fields of urban and regional development. This statement proposes that there be 2 concepts - the development of regional growth centres and the promotion of submetropolitan centres around the existing centres. But local government is the responsibility of the State governments. The degree to which consultation takes place is, [ believe, a matter for the Premiers themselves, all six of whom will be represented on that committee.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Is it a fact that the Omega base causes radio and telephone interference up to 20 miles from its centre? Does the Royal Australian Navy propose to install Omega receiving sets in any of its vessels? If so, what is the cost of any such set? Can low frequency transmissions from Omega penetrate sea-water to a depth of 40 to 50 feet and communicate with submarines at that depth? ls the main control centre for the Omega system based at Hawaii? Can this centre alter the phase shifts and inject code into the system without the host countries being aware of the same? Has the Japanese Government the right to close down its Omega base in Japan at any time? Why did New Zealand decline to allow an Omega base in that country? Is there a blanket transmission area of 600 miles around each Omega station? Has the United States Navy been the main body concerned . with Omega development?
– I listened with some interest to this question, which began with the words ‘Is it a fact’ and proceeded to a great series of questions. All I know about Omega is that it is a navigational aid for surface ships. I do not know anything beyond that. But I am always fascinated to listen to a series of questions that appear to me to be designed to elucidate information that may well be within the Australian classified security area.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Air in regard to the VIP aircraft. In view of the fact that a commercial aircraft left Melbourne for Canberra at 7.25 a.m. yesterday, does he not believe that he had no justification for authorising a VIP aircraft to pick up himself and another Minister in Melbourne and bring them to Canberra when the commercial flight was so handy?
– Who was: the other Minister?
– Senator Greenwood.
– Order! Senator
Turnbull asked the question, ‘ Senator
Keeffe. He did not ask you tq add any questions to his question,” so will you please restrain yourself. . ‘
– I believe that I had every justification for that flight. Very rarely do I: use a VIP flight. 1 think that on only about 13 out of the last 1,000-odd flights, details of which I have tabled in the Senate, have I authorised an aircraft :for- myself. I have been a passenger on 2 other flights. I authorised a VIP flight for myself yesterday morning because I had, been in Western Australia to open the Industrial Mobilisation Conference at Pearce. I left Perth at 6 p.m. eastern standard time to come to Canberra. I am Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate and, because of commitments associated with that position as well as a Cabinet commitment, I authorised for myself a VIP flight out of Melbourne at 7.15 a.m. I was booked on Trans-Australia Airlines flight 410 which left Melbourne at 8.30 a.m.
– There was one at 7.25 a.m.
– -Not with T.A.A. I was booked on the 8.30 a.m. flight. Because Senator Greenwood had simitar commitments to my own, I asked him to join me. We and two of his staff were the only passengers on that aircraft.
– Has the AttorneyGeneral seen Press reports that UDBA, the dreaded Yugoslav secret police, is operating in Australia? Is it a fact that UDBA is generally held responsible for the murder of several Croatian nationalists throughout the world? Has the Minister received any complaints from the Australian Labor Party in respect of the operation of these secret police or are that Party’s complaints limited strictly to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation? Will the Minister give an assurance that any proven UDBA man will be deported from Australia? Will he also notify the Yugoslav Government that these types are unwelcome in this country and will not be admitted in the future?
– I have seen some Press reports, including a prominent one this morning, to the effect that UDBA, which I understand is said to be the secret police of the Yugoslav Government, is operating in Australia. I read the article carefully and I did not see any hard evidence to support the allegation. It was based upon conjecture. I think it is a matter of judgment for the writer of the article and anyone who reads it as to how valid are the facts which were there stated to justify the conclusion reached. As to the part of the honourable senator’s question relating to the reputed activities of UDBA in places outside Australia, I have heard allegations to that effect but I am unable to say whether they are true or false. I have not received any complaints from members of the Australian Labor Party about the existence of UDBA in Australia. As to whether action would be taken if members of UDBA were discovered to be in Australia, I think the Government’s position would be quite clear. We do not believe that Australia should be a base for espionage any more than we believe that Australia should be a place where terrorist organisations are conducted. All allegations to this effect will be investigated and the position is the same irrespective of whether it is a supposed secret police organisation or a group of people training in this country to undertake subversive activities outside this country. That is the position which I have maintained all along.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Health. When can the Senate expect to receive the contents of a survey on the fitness of Australian school children conducted by Dr A. W. Willee, a draft of which was completed in June 1971? Is the cause of the delay due to one of the conclusions having upset Health officials because it shows that Australian school children are among the most unfit in the world? Does the Minister consider that the Commonwealth National Fitness Act of 1941, introduced as a wartime measure, is equally appropriate in the vastly different circumstances of the 1970s? Will he consider modifying the Act to allow specialist groups to be represented on the Commonwealth Council for National Fitness?
– I am not altogether sure that what I now say is a direct response to the honourable senator’s question, but I make it in the belief that it is. There was a survey into the fitness of 13 to 17 year old students attending government secondary schools in Australia, and the results of the survey were released, I think, within the last fortnight. That report had been commissioned by the Commonwealth Council for National Fitness and had been directed by Dr Willee, who is the Director of the Department of Physical Education at the University of Melbourne. The project received support from the State Director-General of Education, and financial assistance was received from the Australian Mutual Provident Society. The findings and recommendations included in the report are under active consideration by the Council, which is the body established under the National Fitness Act of 1941 to advise the Minister for Health on matters concerning national fitness.
I am not in a position to take the matter any further than to give that information and, as 1 said, 1 am not sure whether it is the information which the honourable senator was seeking or whether it is of assistance to him. As to the balance of his question, I suggest that he should place the question on notice so that the Acting Minister for Health can give him a speedy reply.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral. No doubt the Minister is aware that many subscriber trunk dialling calls are made more or less illegally from the telephones of businesses, government departments and private individuals. Will the Minister say what action is being taken to enable people renting telephones from the Postmaster-General’s Department to be supplied with an account that will show the number that is called, the duration, the charge and the date of the call, as is already done in some other countries? Does the Minister feel that the subscriber has a right to know accurately for what he is being charged?
– I am sure that it is a view to which we all, including the Postmaster-General, would subscribe, that persons have a right to know the basis of any charges made against them for services which they have received and for which they have to pay. I am not in a position to give the particular details for which the honourable senator has asked. I do know that occasionally problems have been raised for the Postmaster-General’s consideration and that a procedure is available whereby there can be a monitoring of a telephone from which STD calls can be made. Of course that monitoring facility is available at the expense of the person who seeks it. I believe that in the circumstances the appropriate course to take is to ask the honourable senator to put his question on the notice paper in order to get a reply from the Postmaster-General himself.
– Is the Minister for Civil Aviation aware that as a representative of local government on ‘the Mascot noise abatement committee I suggested that ascending aircraft should fly out to sea from the airfield before proceeding to their destination at altitudes which would not annoy the residents of .Sutherland Shire? Could the Senate be informed why it has taken more than 3 years to have this reasonable proposal implemented?
– I do not think it would be expected of me that I. would be fully informed on the honourable senator’s activities in other fields of government, although I do applaud his work for local government, having been involved in it myself. I think that when .1 first became the Minister for Civil Aviation the honourable senator, with many other local government people councils surrounding KingsfordSmith Airport, was involved in a consultation with me about setting up a noise abatement committee to try to help the situation. It is equally true, as. he will recall, that at that time we were confined to operational procedures based , on the then control tower. The new control tower has allowed operational procedures which will produce a better situation for residents of the Cronulla area and, 1 imagine’, some people in Sutherland. The principal reason for the delay referred to by the honourable senator would be the control tower limitation, which has now been removed. However, the honourable senator may well like to have more precise and detailed information, which I shall get for him.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Air! Following the tabling of the manifests, of VIP flights 1 now. ask the Minister whether hecan say what, were the differences in cost between the VIP flight used by Mr Barnard, the Deputy Leader of the. Opposition in the other place, to visit Woomera in South Australia on 3rd and 4th August, and that used on 3rd August by the Minister for Immigration, Dr Forbes, to open an aged persons home complex at Ceduna in South Australia, whose flight was criticised by the honourable member for Sturt, Mr Foster, at that time.
– In answer to a question some time ago on the use of a VIP aircraft by Dr Forbes I replied in this place that the cost of that flight was $1,379, worked out on a formula applying to the HS-748 aircraft, which he used, of $157 an hour. At the same time I indicated that Mr Barnard had used an aircraft on 2 occasions but I did not go into the details. Because of the controversy at the time I took out figures for both trips. The one referred to by the honourable senator cost $2,716. Mr Barnard used a Mystere aircraft which, according to the formula, costs $367 an hour. I want to be perfectly fair to both these members by saying that an applicant for an VIP aircraft has no control over the type of aircraft that he is given as that depends on the aircraft that are available and the number of passengers whom the applicant asks to carry in the aircraft.
– What action does the Attorney-General propose to take regarding a strongly worded editorial in today’s ‘Age’ attacking his policy of being soft on political extremism and equivocal on law and order? In view of the accusations that the Attorney-General was talking self-deluding nonsense by comparing infrequent union violence with the murderous activities of extremist Croatian nationals -
– Order! The honourable senator has been in the Senate long enough to know how to phrase a question without giving information.
– I ask: Will the Minister give an answer to the serious accusations against his competence contained in this editorial?
– I read with interest the ‘Age’ editorial. I think it is fair enough to say that anyone who searches through the ‘Age’ editorials in the past will see that I am not exactly a person for whom the ‘Age’ editorial writers have any time. This is not the first time that I have been the subject of accusations in ‘Age’ editorials based upon inadequate knowledge and in some cases, as in this case, a refusal to look at the record. I think that Senator O’Byrne will recall that yesterday the same allegation that I was soft on ter rorism was made in this chamber and that I emphatically repudiated that allegation by referring to the record which contains many statements which I have made and which are the direct opposite of any such suggestion or accusation. I referred to statements which I have made in this chamber on the subject of terrorism, and I referred particularly to what was said on 11th or 12th April in this chamber following bomb explosions in Melbourne. I do not think that anyone could have made his position clearer than I did on that occasion. I have subsequently made Press statements in which I have made emphatically clear that the Government does not tolerate terrorism of any character in this country and that we shall do all in our power to stamp it out. For the editorial in the ‘Age’ to say this morning that I am soft on such organisations and to make a host of other allegations, which are totally unfounded, reflects the inadequacy, the prejudice and the incompetence as editorial writers of a leading Australian newspaper of those who write in the ‘Age’. I welcome the opportunity which Senator O’Byrne has given me to state forthrightly that the ‘Age’ editorial is a slanted, prejudiced piece of nonsense.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry whether he is alert to the harsh blow which has been struck at Australian employees, suppliers of raw material and Australian based manufacturers by the reported announcement in today’s newspapers that a contract for 220,000 metric tons of steel pipe, valued at $54m, has been granted to a Japanese supplier. Is the Minister concerned at this announcement? Will the Minister confirm that at no stage of negotiations between the principal and the Australian suppliers was there a request for quotation to supply steel gas pipe, of a diameter of 34 inches which it is reported has now been ordered from Japan? Will the Minister intervene in this matter to see that for the benefit of Australian suppliers of steel and Australian based manufacturers as well as in the interest of employment opportunity in this country, proper consideration is given to the use of Australian resources?
– Like the honourable senator, I read this report this morning. 1 was surprised, as he was, and concerned. I was also slightly mystified when I read that only 3 countries had tendered - Japan. West Germany and Holland - and I wondered why Australia had not been a tenderer. Was it that our manufacturers or our steel producers had not sought to do so or had not been asked to do so? Accordingly, I thank him for this question. As I said earlier, I also share his concern. I shall direct the question to the responsible Minister to see whether anything can be done, and try to find out whether Australian manufacturers and steel producers were invited to tender and, if they were not invited to tender, why they were not invited to tender.
– With your permission, Mr President, I wish to direct a short supplementary question on the same matter to the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise. Will the Minister assure the Senate that proper investigations will be carried out into the request for bylaw entry from Japan of 220,000 metric tons of 34 inch diameter steel gas pipe and assure the Senate that by-law entry will not be granted under item 19 of the Customs Tariff unless the Minister for Customs and Excise is assured that an Australian made suitable equivalent is not available?
– The honourable senator may be assured that his question will go direct to the Minister for Customs and Excise.
– My question to the Attorney-General refers to an allegation, made in another place by Dr Cairns, that the Government was not acting strongly against Croatian terrorists because allegedly the Australian Democratic Labor Party was giving some support to these terrorists. Has the Minister noted that, on the authority of my Party, in my speech yesterday I dealt with that allegation and demonstrated to this Senate that it was completely untrue? Has the Minister noticed, however, that the newspapers which printed Dr Cairns’ allegation completely ignored the denial which I issued on behalf of the DLP? Is there not room in this country for a Press Council such as the one that exists in New Zealand for the purpose of giving justice to people whose views are incorrectly reported or are even not reported?
– The question asked by Senator McManus raises a particular incident about which he is concerned, I think that his indignation showed through. But quite apart from the matter to which he referred a general issue is involved. I do not recall precisely what was said in the other place by Dr Cairns and precisely what the newspapers reported today. But we have all had the experience - I have experienced it personally - of stating a case here which one thinks is in complete answer to allegations which are made by honourable senators opposite and finding in the newspaper only what is said by the Opposition and not a word of one’s denial. That is the sort of point to which Senator McManus is referring. I do not believe that a Press council is an answer which would provide satisfaction’. In the first place there is doubt as to how far a Press council could effectively” ‘ use its powers. The example of the Press Council in London is’ that when any newspaper really stood it up it did not have effective teeth to enable it to achieve what it desired. I suggest to Senator McManus, as a member of this chamber, that there are certain privileges which attach to persons who report proceedings in this chamber. I would think that accuracy and fairness are responsibilities which ought to, go with reporting. I commend that to the honourable senator for his consideration.
– Senator. Georges, are you rising on a point of order or do you wish to ask a question?
– I wish to ask a question but I did pass a remark’ about the repressive attitude of the Attorney-General.
– Order! Senator, ask the question.
– I wish to ask the Attorney-General a question but it is not the question which I was going to ask in the first place. Are we to understand from the answer given to the last question that the Attorney-General is about to take repressive action against the Press because he disagrees with its ability to report correctly his statements and statements made by various Ministers?
– It will be interesting to see how the Press reports a question which contains the words ‘repressive action against the Press’ and the answer which I give. The emphatic answer ls no but I do express a concern and exercise the freedom of speech which every honourable senator has to reply to the Press which, by and large, is answerable to nobody for the prejudice, slanting and selective reporting of particular issues upon which some newspapers have a particular line to put forward. I believe that these things should be stated because they are demonstrably true. In our various ways all of us have experienced this.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service whether he has seen reported statements by employers representatives in New South Wales that in a wide range of occupations there are more vacancies than applicants and that school leavers will be fully employed by the end of this year which is earlier than in previous years. Will the Minister explain in the simplest terms how the so-called seasonally adjusted figures are calculated mathematically and of what possible use they are?
– My attention has been drawn to the statement to which the honourable senator refers. It is a fact that employers in New South Wales are experiencing difficulty in obtaining the number of employees required. As honourable senators will notice in the figures which were released yesterday as to unemployment the number of unfilled vacancies notified to the Department of Labour and National Service averaged 14,196 a week which compares with a figure of 13,000 a year ago. With regard to the mystical question of seasonal adjustment, we are entering into the sphere of statistics. Employment is influenced by the impact of the termination of school attendance, seasonal occupations such as cane harvesting and other seasonal employment. I understand that the seasonally adjusted figure is reached by taking the average of a particular month’s actual unemployment, say over a period of 5 years, and arriving at not a true average but a weighted average in the judgment of the Statistician applicable for that month. It is then related to the actual annual unemployment figure by means of a factor. When the unemployment figure for the month is less than the annual the factor adjusts the unemployment figure up, and when the monthly figure is in excess of the annual it has the effect of adjusting the unemployment figure down. The use that can be made of this seasonally adjusted figure is to give a broad trend. But if one wishes to get the actual state of unemployment at say the month of August 1972, one looks to the actual figure which, from memory, is about 96,000 and not to the seasonally adjusted figure which, from memory, is about 120,000.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Firstly, if a break up of the present People’s Republic of Yugoslavia occurs, as is sought by a minority of Croatians in Australia, would not a logical by-product be that the Russian fleet could have unlimited access to Rijeka and other Adriatic ports? Secondly, would not the present power balance between NATO and Warsaw nations be dangerously disturbed?
– I think it is appropriate that I should observe that the question does raise in each of its branches a factor of real importance in international affairs. I think it deserves more consideration than I could give in an impromptu answer. I will refer it to my colleague and will get the honourable senator the earliest answer that is available.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry. Firstly, has the Minister’s attention been drawn to a report by 2 research economists in which they severely criticise the high level of protection granted to the motor car industry in Australia and its effect on standards and prices? Secondly, in view of this report will the Minister consult his colleague, the
Minister for Trade and Industry, with a view to expediting a Tariff Board inquiry into this highly protected industry?
– As requested I will consult the Minister for Trade and Industry about the general content and purport of the honourable senator’s question.
– My question is directed to :the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service, and it has relevance also to the Minister for Social Services. I ask the Minister whether he will confer with his colleague the Minister for Labour and National Service and request that urgent and sympathetic consideration be given to making the unemployment benefits available immediately to those people who are now unemployed and many of whom are in desperate circumstances and in fact destitute?
– I shall refer that question to the Minister for Labour and National Service.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. In view of the increasing public interest in adopting an Australian national anthem for use by Australians at functions such as the Olympic Games, where it is desirable to preserve an Australian identity, will the Government sponsor a national competition designed to produce such an anthem? ls the Minister aware of the interest of some Australians in retaining the present national anthem for use only in the presence of the Queen, members of the Royal Family or representatives of the Queen?
– There has been a good deal of discussion and controversy, I think, about a national anthem and a national flag. I have seen many letters in various newspapers on these 2 matters. However, I will convey the points raised by the honourable senator to the Prime Minister and obtain some information for biro.
– Is the Minister for Air aware that a very serious position exists in this country for
Australian professional musicians because of lack of work opportunity, particularly because section 1 14 of the Broadcasting and Television Act has not been enforced by the Government? Is the Minister also aware that on 25th August last the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce, the Victorian Chamber of Manufactures and the Victorian Employers Federation provided a dinner for the former Premier of Victoria, Sir Henry Bolte, and that the band of HMAS ‘Cerberus’ was provided by the Department of the Navy for this function? Is the Victorian division of the Liberal Party tendering a private dinner to Sir Henry Bolte tomorrow evening, and has the Minister given approval for the RAAF band to play at this function, which will mean that a private band of Australian civilian musicians will not be employed? Will the Minister agree that this sort of function is normally outside the area in which the use of the Air Force band should be made available? In order to assist overcome employment difficulties for Australian professional musicians will the Minister review the decision at which he has arrived?
– i think it would be fair to say that I get many requests for the Royal Australian Air Force band to play at town festivals and similar functions. Quite often these requests are forwarded to me by members of Parliament. If not, members of Parliament write to me asking that I support a particular request that has been made for the Royal Australian Air Force band. Approval for the band to play at a certain function generally depends upon the availability of the band and the distance that it has to travel to the function. In the case of which the honourable senator has spoken the Air Officer Commanding, Support Command, received a request for the band to play at a formal dinner arranged in honour of Sir Henry Bolte’s retirement. The request finally came to me and 1 carefully studied the request and similar requests that had been approved in the past. I approved the request, believing that it was fitting for the band to play at a dinner to honour a man who, irrespective of political opinion, has given great personal service to Victoria. I am not aware of the details about the unemployment of musicians, but I believe that I have made the right decision.
– Is the Minister representing the Posmaster-General aware of the working conditions of commercial radio announcers? Is he aware that their award wage is less than $50 a week, and that this award wage was fixed in 1956? Is he also aware that announcers sometimes work as many as 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, without extra reimbursement?
– I am not aware of those facts. I am surprised - I think I would say alarmed - by them because it would appear to me to be extraordinary if that were the case. I do not know what industrial organisation the radio announcers have, but such an organisation is usually an effective and useful means by which these matters are kept in balance. I will convey the honourable senator’s question to the PostmasterGeneral for examination and arrange for information to be supplied.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing either the Minister for Defence or the Minister for the Interior. Does the possibility exist that the installation of the Omega navigational system may form part of a nuclear attack system? If such a possibility does exist, will the Minister first obtain the approval of the people of Australia before proceeding with such installation?
– It looks as though I will volunteer to answer this question. I think that the Omega installation is a function of the Department of Shipping and Transport and to the best of my knowledge there is no nuclear involvement in it. I do not know more than this. However, I shall put the honourable senator’s question to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. If he feels that this matter should be directed to the Minister for the Interior, no doubt he will do so. If the Minister for the Interior considers that it is the responsibility of the Minister for Defence no doubt he will direct the honourable senator’s question to that Minister.
– I wish to direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Can the Minister advise the Senate of the circumstances in which a diplomat accredited to Australia may be informed that he or she is persona non grata? Does the making of a political attack upon an Australia Federal Minister fall within this category?
– In answer to the question of the honourable senator I would be pardoned, I hope, if in such a delicate matter I entrusted to the Minister for Foreign Affairs the phrasing of the reply.
– My question is directed to the Attorney-General. I remind the Attorney-General that yesterday during question time I asked him whether the terrorist attacks in Australia were increasing due to the apparent failure of certain Commonwealth agencies to enforce the law and what amount of compensation would be paid to those persons who were injured by a bomb blast in Sydney on 16th September 1972. I ask the Attorney-General whether he now has the information and whether he can advise the Senate what compensation, if any, will be paid by the Commonwealth.
– I am not sure, but my recollection was that yesterday when that question or a similar question was asked - whether it was by Senator Keeffe or someone else I cannot recall - I in reply said that the question should go on notice. I did that for the purpose of giving it consideration and I repeat the same request today, that the question should go on notice.
– I desire to ask a question of the Minister who represents the Minister for Trade and Industry in this place. Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to the very meritorious export performance of General Motors-Holden’s Pty Ltd over the last 6 months, being 47 per cent higher than for the same period in 1971? Has the Minister noted that overseas sales during the first half of this year realised $34.6m? I ask: Do these figures not give the lie to carping critics of the Australian motor vehicle industry as to the quality of local production and indicate that Australian made vechicles can compete effectively with those of other manufacturing countries in highly competitive markets?
– Yes, they certainly do. The performance of General MotorsHolden’s is most encouraging. I have seen the information to which the honourable Senator has referred. It is becoming very clear that Australia increasingly is becoming regarded as a very good country in which to manufacture and assemble motor vehicles for distribution in a much wider field outside this country. I think that it is also of great interest to look at the very buoyant pattern of Australia’s export trade, the great liquidity developing in the Australian system and the increasing components of that trade taken up by Australian manufacturing industry compared with the number in earlier years. Out of all this, it is not hard to understand why other countries want to invest in this country and send money here.
– J direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. Will he direct inquiries to the Department of Labour and National Service to ascertain why the Department does not provide statistics on the age and duration of registration of all persons registered with the Commonwealth Employment Office?
– I shall be pleased to make that inquiry of the Department for the honourable senator.
– ls the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise aware’ of a report in Monday’s South Australian ‘News’ that the policymaking convention of the South Australian Labor Party has agreed that there will be virtually no censorship in South Australia next year under a South Australian Labor Government? Can he state what power the Commonwealth has in this regard and whether it is possible for a State government to agree to the publication of a book or general literature if the Commonwealth Government has banned its entry into Australia?
– We noticed this in the office yesterday and accordingly asked the Department of Customs and Excise whether it could let us have some information, as we thought the matter might be raised in the Senate. I am extraordinarily pleased to have the approbation of my colleagues opposite. I agree that it is an exercise in foresight that is to be highly commended. The role of my colleague, the Minister for Customs and Excise, is in relation to imported publications which are dealt with in the terms of regulation 4A of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations. This regulation applies to publications that are (a) blasphemous, indecent or obscene; and (b) unduly emphasise sex, horror, violence or crime likely to corrupt or deprave and to advertising matter relating to such goods. This regulation is administered in terms of current community standards. The States, for their part, are responsible for control over locally produced publications and over the distribution and sale of both locally produced and imported publications within their own boundaries. The Minister for Customs and Excise and his Department, as is well known to us all, work in close association with the States with the object of achieving uniformity of standards. The Commonwealth and State Ministers have, since 1968, been parties to an agreement which provides for the uniform censorship of imported and locally produced books of literary, artistic or scientific merit.
– I direct a question to the Attorney-General. In view of the allegations referred to by Senator Hannan that the Yugoslav secret police are operating in Australia, will he reconsider his hesitation to appoint a royal commission so that its investigations may determine the truth of this as well as the truth concerning the recent acts of terrorism?
– As I indicated yesterday, the Government’s approach to this matter, an approach which was stated by the Prime Minister yesterday and which was in no whit different from the response that 1 gave in the Senate, was that nothing should impede the current police investigations into the bombing outrage that occurred on Saturday. I said that the question of an inquiry into political violence, terrorism and allied matters was something to which I had been personally giving consideration for some time. The Prime Minister indicated that he wanted me to bring to Cabinet a paper on the whole matter. I am proposing to do that; then the question of whether there is to be a royal commission or some other form of inquiry can be considered. I would welcome some such consideration because I think there are many aspects of political violence and allied matters in this country which warrant exposure, and the appointment of a commission of that character has a tremendous amount to commend it. I think the important point at this time is to do nothing in the way of having a judicial inquiry which would impede current police investigations. I think we should wait and see the outcome of the police investigations in the near future before making a final decision. In that view I am sure that the members of the Government are as one. There is no basis for supposing otherwise.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Health, follows the one asked by Senator McAuliffe. In view of the recent reports about the unfitness of many young Australians, will the Minister say whether he will request the Government to make immediate additional grants to the States, via the National Fitness Council or in some other way, for the establishment of multi-purpose community sports centres, such as basketball stadiums, because no State has enough of these centres to cater for the community need?
– The matters to which the honourable senator refers arise out of consideration of the report prepared by Dr Willee to which I have referred already. Consideration has to be given to it not only by the National Fitness Council but also by the Department of Health. I am sure that all the matters raised by Senator Townley ought to be taken into account and will be taken into account because they are matters which come readily to mind as being appropriate steps to be taken. Whether the Government will act along the lines the honourable senator suggested and whether that is the appropriate way for the Government to act surely must depend upon the outcome of the consideration being given. However, I shall refer his comments and question to the Acting Minister for Health for his further consideration.
– My question is directed to the Attorney-General. T preface it in this way: The Commonwealth of Australia offered a reward of $30,000, in conjunction with the State of New South Wales which offered $20,000, for information leading to the apprehension of people concerned in the extortion of $250,000 from Qantas Airways Ltd. Information was received which led to convictions and the rewards have ‘been paid under the terms of the offer, as appears from the explanatory notes on the estimates of the AttorneyGeneral’s Department. Since that incident involved the recovery of money and the terrorist bomb attacks involved the lives of persons and injury to persons, I ask the Attorney-General whether the Government will offer - either alone or in conjunction with the State of New South Wales - a reward of, say, $100,000 for information leading to the apprehension, of ; people concerned in the terrorist bomb attacks on Saturday last.
–I am quite sure that the State police in New South Wales who are conducting these investigations have in mind in any investigation whether the offer of a reward is likely to assist them in their investigations and whether, having regard to the state of their investigations, the offer of a reward is prudent or warranted. I think that Senator Murphy’s question is totally irresponsible. It is totally irresponsible because police investigations should be conducted by police investigators. I ask honourable senators to reflect upon this: If’ publicity is given to what Senator Murphy- said - and I guess it will be - may it not impede the police investigations if someone who is wanting to give information waits for an answer to be given to that question in the expectation that if he holds off he may be the richer? I think it is deplorable that things like that should be said during a serious situation in which police are making their investigations. We all recognise that it is far better, certainly in the initial stages - 3, 4 or 5 days after the event - to let the police carry out the investigations in their own way without politicians seeking to make some political capital and headlines, coming in and possibly fouling up the works.
– My question, which is directed to the Attorney-General, is supplementary to that asked by Senator Hannan regarding allegations of Yugoslav secret police activities in Australia. Is the Minister aware that a great many Yugoslav migrants in Australia - good citizens of this country - hold the strong belief that secret police activities do exist and live in fear of such alleged activities? Is not this belief a main reason for the hostility expressed by many Yugoslav migrants against the Yugoslav Embassy and its consulates and agencies? Whilst offering the fullest protection to the Embassy and its subordinate establishments in the proper discharge of its diplomatic duties, whilst taking all available measures to prevent violence and unlawful actions, will the Governmental make it clear that it will take strong action to detect and eliminate any secret police activities, if they in fact exist?
– I do not feel there is any doubt as to what the Government would do if it became apparent to it, on evidence which was persuasive of the fact, that secret police were operating in Australia and operating in the manner in which the honourable senator suggested many people feel they do act. I know it is a fact that there are members of the Yugoslav community who do go in fear of their lives because they do hold this belief-
– Appoint a royal commission to find out.
– They do hold the belief that there are persons in the Yugoslav community who would resort to violence. There are also people who believe that the Yugoslav Government does have its people operating here, and they are in fear of them also. Of course, these are fears and allegations, and it is terribly difficult, when people have these fears, for them to reveal what they know about particular matters. I have asked people to give information which would assist Commonwealth Police inquiries into matters which are concerning all of us, and I am getting this reaction from some people. The difficulty is that people will not talk about it. I do not know how valid or how well based the allegations or the fears are, but that they are held is, in my personal experience, indisputable because I have heard people express these fears.
Having said that, I add that I do believe it is a matter which has to be investigated and, having heard Senator Georges’ interjection a little while ago, I point out that it has been concerning me for quite some time. I have indicated the existence of that concern, and so has the Prime Minister. The question of whether there is to be a full scale inquiry, as I have said, has not been determined, and certainly it has not been rejected. But the simple point I made was: Let these current police investigations develop further and come to a conclusion before a firm decision is made.
– My question is directed to the Attorney-General. I notice from the Commonwealth Police report that there is a currency squad, a specialist unit of the force, for dealing with currency matters. Can the Attorney-General tell us whether, in view of the long history of terrorist attacks in Australia and the harassment referred to in the official documents of the Department of External Affairs - now the Department of Foreign Affairs - there has been established a squad to deal with these terrorist activities in Australia? If there has not, will he tell us how many police have been engaged in investigating these terrorist activities in Australia, how many are presently engaged upon it and whether he has taken any steps, in view of the latest outrage, to have police specially deployed to deal with such terrorism?
– There is a certain unreality about Senator Murphy’s approach to this matter. In the first place, when he talks of terrorist activities he is using an adjectival expression which covers bombing outrages, assaults, killings and all the particular acts which have specific legal prohibitions and which we all regard as very serious. The word ‘terrorist’ comprehends specific acts. The laws relating to murder, the laws relating to the use of explosives, and the laws relating to conspiracy in relation to explosives and possession of them are all State laws. I am sure that on reflection Senator Murphy recognises that. If there are breaches of State laws it is the function of the State police to investigate those breaches. It is only after investigations have been carried out and some information is available that one is able to say whether there was a political motivation or a personal motivation and whether there is any element of what is essentially a crime which the State police must investigate or which would attract the broader national interest which the Commonwealth recognises. Again, 1 am sure that Senator Murphy accepts that.
– I know that there is a Federal Crimes Act. I know that there are laws to protect diplomats and others. I know that there are plenty of laws to protect the Yugoslav Government, its representatives and its property from being harassed in this way. It seems to me that you are not doing anything about it but are leaving it to the State police.
– I accept what Senator Murphy has said, but in regard to those things which have happened in the past in relation to consulates and embassies there have been joint investigation and cooperative effort by Commonwealth and State police. The recent incident which occurred in Sydney did not take place on Government premises or on consulate premises; it took place in private business premises which were occupied or owned by persons who have a Yugoslav background. In those circumstances it is essentially a matter for State police investigation. As I have said here before, the Commonwealth police have a central crime intelligence bureau which has, as a particular facet of its work, the development and collation of intelligence with regard to emigre communities. A tremendous amount of information is fed into this bureau by al] State police forces about matters affecting these migrant communities, matters which have some relevance in terms of past criminal activities by members of a migrant community and possible leads for investigation with regard to future criminal activities if they should occur. That material is collated and maintained by the Commonwealth Police Force. Until there are matters which come quite clearly within the Commonwealth. Crimes Act, until, there are matters which do affect Australia’s international standing because they affect consulates and embassies essentially, or unless fIle matter happens in one of the Territories, where the Northern Territory Police Force or the Australian Capital Territory Police Force would be concerned, it is more a matter for the State police forces than the Commonwealth Police Force. I am satisfied that there is an effective working relationship between the Commonwealth police and the State police, that information is interchanged and that that is what the community expects.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport aware that the percentage of Australia’s ocean trade carried in Australian flag vessels is the lowest of any major trading nation? Is the Minister concerned with this situation? Does he agree that a subsidy for export vessels would assist the development of Australian flag fleets in international trade?
– The figures are known to me and, like the honourable senator, I am interested in and’ concerned about them. Australia is a large exporting nation. What matters, of course, is the cost of carriage of our exports. What has to be established is whether our own established flag carriers would carry the goods overseas at a lower or a higher rate. That is the sort of work to which the Department is devoting its attention.
– I address a question to Senator Greenwood in his dual capacity as Attorney-General and Ministerrepresenting the Minister for Immigration. How does he explain the earlier decision of the Department of Immigration, as shown in its statistics on people who have been declined citizenship, where the term ‘Ustasha activities’ is used? Does the AttorneyGeneral accept the fact that that designation or the designation ‘Croation Revolutionary Brotherhood’ does imply that there is nefarious activity by people of the Right? Am I to understand that, in the welter of material that has flowed to the AttorneyGeneral, there are no allegations that people in the Yugoslav community have been pressured by elements of the far Right? In essence, he has claimed that the only complaints are from people alleging pressures from Yugoslav diplomatic sources.
– As to the first part of the honourable senator’s question, I am not in a position to give him an answer. It is essentially a matter for the Minister for Immigration to ascertain this information from his records. As to the second aspect of the question, what I said a little while ago - I think that is what he is referring to - is that I believe, from what 1 have been told, that a fear is held by those who are non-political or on the Left, so to speak, regarding extremists on the Right, and that a fear is held by those who may be inclined to favour Croatian independence of what action may come from the Left. I do not want to suggest otherwise.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior. Will the Minister follow the lead of the New South Wales Government and legislate to require second hand car dealers to label accurately every vehicle that they offer for sale, with details of its history? For the further protection of second hand car buyers in Commonwealth Territories, will he also require that dealers provide a warranty on vehicles sold, the period of the warranty to be related to the price?
– This is a suggestion which I shall certainly put to the Minister for the Interior. It is something which may be taken up by the Australian Transport Advisory Council which operates under the Minister for Shipping and Transport. There is a Transport Ministers, State and Commonwealth, consultative process.
– I preface my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Interior by saying that it arises from the political question asked him by Senator Young. Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to the ex-Prime Minister’s criticisms of the President of the Queensland branch of the Liberal Party in which Mr Gorton claims that this gentleman, Mr Eric Robinson, is unfit to be a candidate for election to the Commonwealth Parliament? Will the Minister investigate this claim made by Mr Gorton to find out whether such accusations warrant determination of whether the President of the Queensland branch of the Liberal Party is a fit and proper person to be a candidate for election to the Commonwealth Parliament?
– It will be well known of me that I am one of the most impartial people in this chamber whom one could meet in a long day’s march. All I want to say is that I, and I am sure the electors, have a very high regard for both Mr Gorton and Mr Robinson.
– My question to the Minister representing the Prime Minister refers to a question I asked yesterday when I sought information in relation to a request from the South Australian Premier to the Prime Minister on the aspect of the unemployment situation in South Australia. I ask the Minister: What are the reasons for the Prime Minister’s failing to acknowledge a request from the South Ausralian Premier, Mr Dunstan, for the convening of a special Premiers Conference to discuss the serious unemployment situation?
– I said to the honourable senator yesterday, in reply to his question, that submissions by State Premiers to the Prime Minister are on a Premier-Prime Minister basis. Until an announcement is made, I do not think we can get any information. Should Mr Dunstan, the Premier of South Australia, desire to make public the context of the telegram which he sent to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s reply, that is up to Mr Dunstan.
– I ask the AttorneyGeneral: Are there any imperfections or inadequacies in the laws which limit or inhibit the activities of Commonwealth police in matters of the nature of those about which we have been talking today? Are any proposals being considered to facilitate or further develop the joint operations of Commonwealth and State police forces in matters which clearly have greater Commonwealth than State implications? Are the Commonwealth law officers in any way restrained or prevented from taking action in matters of this kind when the events take place outside Commonwealth Territory and in an area of State jurisdiction?
– There is, of course, the overriding constitutional problem that the Commonwealth has no general criminal jurisdiction. In this country the States have the general criminal jurisdiction. If the honourable senator wants to see a ready contrast I suggest that he consider the Canadian position where the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are the federal police force and have an overriding control. As to whether there are imperfections, deficiencies and defects in the law it is difficult to answer because one has to examine particular laws. But as to whether the Commonwealth Police Force can be improved in any way, I think I have indicated that I believe that it can be. I have a departmental report which I am considering. I hope that other action can be taken which will be helpful.
I believe that there is close co-operation between the Commonwealth police force and the State police forces and that when problems arise they are resolved by discussions. There have been problems in the past and discussions have resolved them. The commissioners of the State police forces, the Territory police force and the Commonwealth police force meet regularly and these matters are discussed. I believe we must recognise that in a federal country there will always be problems as to where the authority of one police force ends and another begins. In this area of overlap there has to be co-operation. The current problem is one which, if it has political implications which affect the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth must fane. I think that this is so here.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior whether he is aware that members of the Australian base in Antarctica are seldom given the opportunity to vote in the Australian elections? Will the Minister take immediate appropriate measures to ensure that provision is made for all persons stationed in Antarctica to cast a vote in the forthcoming federal election?
– I thank the honourable senator for his question. I shall check up on this matter and see what is the situation. I shall endeavour to have the mattei corrected, if necessary, through the responsible Minister.
– Is the AttorneyGeneral aware that at the end of this year the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation will have cost the nation $41,524,720? Will he admit that the recent acts of terrorism in Sydney, followed by many bomb hoaxes and now’ the allegations of secret police acitivity arc a threat to the security of this nation? Will he tell the Senate exactly what the security service is doing and what it has done to allow such a state of affairs to exist and to continue to exist?
– While we are all concerned at what happened in Sydney last Saturday it is a concern at the lawlessness which a bomb outrage represents and the fear which that lawlessness engenders. That is the fear which we all have. Until the police investigations have ascertained more about the circumstances of how and why this occurred, it is purely an assumption - a prejudgment if you like - on the honourable senator’s part to say that it has a political aspect or that it affects the security of the country. I think it is unlikely that the security of the country, in the sense in which I use the term, is affected by the type of incident to which the honourable senator refers. At the present time the security of the country is well safeguarded in a variety of ways by this Government and its agencies. But indeed it requires a continuing surveillance of different varieties. I believe that that is what the country has been given and will continue to receive. I believe also that in the 20-odd years in which the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation has been in existence - it was established, let us not forget, by an Australian Labor Party government - the amount of money which has been spent on it has been well spent. 1 am more apprehensive about what is reported to be a one vote decision of the Federal Conference of the Australian Labor Party to retain ASIO than the particular aspect about whether or not the cost to which the honourable senator has adverted is too great. I feel that if it was only by one vote that the governing body of the Australian Labor Party decided to retain our security watchdogs, the Australian people ought to view with concern the possibility that one vote would change ai the next conference.
– My question is directed to the Attorney-General. It arises out of a number of statements which he has made this morning suggesting that the terrorism which has been occurring in Australia is primarily a matter for the States. The Attorney-General used expressions such as ‘if it becomes a matter for the Commonwealth.’
– That is not quite accurate.
– They were words to that effect. I ask the Attorney-General: In view of the fact that complaints are being made against the Commonwealth by the state of Yugoslavia of toleration by officials here of terrorism - it is a matter which affects our external relations as well as almost certainly involving various breaches of the Commonwealth Crimes Act and other Acts - is it not time that the Commonwealth itself took over the prime inquires into these matters, and that the Attorney-General firmly accepted it as a responsibility for himself and set about deploying police to investigate these matters to see whether they can be prevented? T ask the Attorney-General again what he has done and what he is doing. How many police has he got investigating these matters? I am not interested in his talk simply about liaison with the States; he has said that enough times already and I accept it. Will he tell us what he is doing and whether he is prepared to accept the responsibility?
– It is very difficult to respond to a speech. 1 think that in the tirade which he has just delivered Senator Murphy probably has got some point which he wants to ask. I suggest that he should put his question on that aspect on. the notice paper.
– I ask the AttorneyGeneral again: Will he tell us how many police he has engaged in the investigations into the terrorism which has occurred in Australia?
– I ask the. honourable senator to put that question on the notice paper so that 1 can give him a precise answer.
– My . question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Army. I ask: the Minister to say when I can expect. . an answer to question No. 2338 which has been standing in my name since 22nd August when 1 sought information regarding the proposed future use of the Army drill hall at Murray Bridge.
– The honourable senator can expect to get an answer as ‘ soon as T can get it from the Minister,
– 1 bring up a report from the Standing Orders Committee relating to the estimates committees and in camera evidence. Copies of the report have been circulated to honourable senators.
Motion (by Senator Drake-Brock,nan agreed to:
That the report be printed and that consideration of the report be made ari order of the day for a later hour of the day.
– For the information of honourable senators I present the interim report of the Australian Meat Research Committee for the year ended 30fh June 1972. When the final report is available it will be presented in accordance with statutory requirements.
– For the information of honourable senators, I present the preliminary report of the Australian Dairy Produce Board for the year ended 30th June 1972. When the final report is available, 1 shall table it in accordance with statutory requirements.
– Pursuant to section 39 of the Housing Loans Insurance Act 1965-1966, I present the eighth annual report of the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation for the year ended 30th June 1972, together with financial,. statements and the AuditorGeneral’s report on those statements.
– Pursuant to section 32b of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Power Act 1949-1966. I present the twenty-third annual report of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority for the year ended 30th June 1972 together with financial statements and the report of the Auditor-General on those statements.
– Pursuant to section 36 of the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation Act 1970-1971, I present the second annual report of the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation for the year ended 30th June 1972, together with financial statements and the Auditor-General’s report on those statements.
– Pursuant to section 37 of the Austraiian Industry Development Corporation Act 1970 I present the second annual report of the Australian Industry Development Corporation for the period 1st July 1971 to 30th June 1972.
– For the information of honourable senators I present the seventh interim report of the Company ‘Law Advisory Committee. The report is dated 7th July 1972.
Motions (by Senator Drake-Brockman) - by leave - agreed to:
That Senator Durack be granted leave of absence of one month on account of absence overseas. , ;
That Senator Rae be granted leave of absence of one month on account of absence ,overseas.
– (New South Wales - Minister for Civil Aviation) - by leave - I wish to indicate that 1 make this statement on behalf of the. Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony). I point out to honourable senators that wherever the first personal pronoun is used, it relates to that Minister. As foreshadowed in my recent statemant to the House on international trade I wish to give details of certain tariff action that will be taken by Australia following the expected .termination of the United. Kingdom- Australia Trade Agreement (UK AT A) The position is that once Britain assumes its obligations to the enlarged European Economic Community, she will be unable to continue to carry out her obligations under UKATA. This has long been recognised by both Britain and Australia and I have agreed with British Ministers ‘that, on the current timetables of accession to the EEC, UKATA will have to be terminated as from 1st February 1973. I have however agreed with British Ministers that the existing contractual benefits’ to both parties should be maintained up to that date. I have also agreed with them that there should be close consultation in the future to ensure that the inevitable changes consequent on British entry to the EEC will be made with the minimum of inconvenience to the traders of both countries. With this in mind, I announced on 28th July 1972, that it had been agreed under an exchange of notes between the British and Australian governments that, with effect from 31st December 1972, the required notice for the termination of UKATA had been reduced from 6 months to one month. I now table this exchange of notes.
As from 1st February 1973, Australia will be free of the obligations entailed in this Trade Agreement. I have already indicated publicly that one step which would be taken very early by Australia would be the withdrawal of the preferences enjoyed by the United Kingdom on imports under by-laws in the Australian customs tariff. It is the intention of the Government to implement this withdrawal as from 1st February 1973, and notice is given now so that traders involved may be aware of this change well in advance; On 1970-71 figures this would save Australian industry duty payments of some $2lm on by-law imports valued at $285m from general tariff countries. Moreover, general tariff countries will receive duty free treatment in the by-law area over a further import market of some $220m. This is the value of 1970-71 imports from Britain under the assistance of a by-law preference. The increased competition between supplying countries in this area should be of substantial benefit to Australian industry. I therefore, regard the withdrawal of the by-laws preferences as a significant cost saving measure.
This will be the first of a series of adjustments to the preferential rate structure in the Australian tariff. Last year the Government received from the Tariff Board a report on 800 items in the nonprotective area. It has asked the Board for a report by the end of this year on a further 1,000 items on which the margins of preference are greater than we are contractually required to extend. These reports will be considered by the Government early next year with 2 considerations in mind - the scope they offer for cost saving benefits and for negotiating coin for the exchange of concessions in multilateral trade negotiations under the GATT. I repeat the assurances already given that the outcome of these broad ranging inquiries will not be injurious to established Australian industries.
It also follows that, for most items covered by Tariff Board reports released after 1st February 1973, a single rate of duty will apply. The only exceptions will be where preferences are accorded on a range of specified items to those Commonwealth countries, such as Canada and New Zealand, with which Australia has bilateral preferential agreements, or where preferences are given to Papua New Guinea or, on a limited range of items, to former or existing dependencies of the United Kingdom. We are already discussing with New Zealand and Canada the question of the future of the preferences they enjoy in Australia, The importance of the preferences accorded to Papua New Guinea and the former or existing British territories is also fully recognised and if, after examination, it appears to the Australian Government that some action is necessary in relation to those preferences, discussions will be held with the particular territories concerned. In addition, of course, special rates under the Australian system of preferences for developing countries will, continue to apply. In the context of the process of review of the tariff one result will be the eventual elimination of margins of preference currently enjoyed by the United Kingdom. I move:
That the Senate take note of the statement.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a first time.
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to amend the States Grants Act 1971-72 to give effect to revisions to the financial assistance grants arrangements agreed between the Commonwealth and the States at the Premiers Conference held in June this year. These revisions take 3 forms. Firstly, it was agreed that an amount of $112m would be added to the financial assistance grants payable to the States in 1972-73 and be built into the formula grants so that it would escalate in future years in accordance with the formula laid down in section 7 of the present Act. The amount of $112m is to be distributed between the States in proportion to the 1971-72 formula grants as escalated in 1972-73 under the formula. This method of distribution of the grants was decided on so as to exclude the effects of the adjustments to the financial assistance grants which are accompanying the transfer of pay-roll tax from the Commonwealth to the States. If the effect of these adjustments were not excluded, the distribution would differ significantly from the basis settled at the June 1 970 Premiers Conference.
Secondly, it was agreed that the additional grants of $2 per capita which were being paid to New South Wales and Victoria each year would be increased to $3.50 per capita in 1972-73, and that these amounts would also be added to the formula grants so that they would escalate in future years. This change is estimated to increase the grants payable to New South Wales and Victoria in 1972-73 by approximately $7. 1m and $5.4m respectively. Under the procedures of the Common wealth Grants Commission, the 3 States which receive special grants on its recommendation - namely Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania - will thereby benefit from these increased grants to the 2 most populous States. Thirdly, it was agreed that a special temporary addition of $3 .5m would be made to the financial assistance grants payable to Western Australia in 1972-73.
The total effect of these 3 revisions will be to add $128m to the financial assistance grants that would be produced in 1972-73 by the arrangements embodied in the existing legislation. The addition to the grants in subsequent years will, of course, be greater as a result of building the major part of this amount into the formula grants. I ask for leave to have incorporated in Hansard a table showing the analysis, State by State, of these additional grants, together with the estimated total financial assistance grants payable.
- Senator Cotton, you will recollect that for reasons which are pertinent to the President I requested that matter sought to be incorporated in Hansard be handed to the President before leave would be given. As a matter of form, may T see the document?
– You will see that it is difficult to read out.
– Is leave granted? here being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -
– Turning to the details of the Bill, clauses 1 and 2 are of a purely machinery nature. Clause 3 authorises the first 2 of the 3 forms of additional grants agreed to at the Premiers Conference - that is, the additional grants of $112m to be divided between all the States and the additional per capita grants to New South Wales and Victoria. The clause takes the form of an amendment to section 7 of the present Act. This section authorises the ‘formula’ grants, which constitute the main body of the grants payable under the Act. lt provides that the formula’ grants payable to each State in each year shall be calculated by taking the grant paid under the section in the previous year and increasing it in proportion to the increases in the State’s population and in average wages in Australia as a whole and by a ‘betterment factor’ of 1.8 per cent. The payment of these additional grants under this section thus automatically ensures that they will be ‘built in’ to the formula grants and escalated in future years.
Clause 4 repeals section 8 of the existing Act which authorises additional grants of $2 per capita to New South Wales and Victoria. These grants are to be replaced by the additional grants of $3.50 per capita provided for in clause 3 of the Bill. Clause 5 provides for the payment of an additional temporary grant of S3. 5m to Western Australia in 1972-73 by increasing the additional grant of $6. 5m payable in that year under section 9 of the existing Act to $10m.
The additional grants authorised by this Bill represent the second major permanent revision to the general revenue assistance arrangements settled at the June 1970 Premiers Conference, the other being the transfer of pay-roll tax and accompanying adjustments to the financial assistance grants agreed at the June 1971 Premiers Conference. The arrangements settled in June 1970 themselves represented a very substantial improvement compared with previous arrangements. In addition, over the 2 years 1970-71 and 1971-72 the Commonwealth provided special revenue assistance totalling $115. 5m, the bulk of which was paid for the purpose of assisting the States overcome budgetary difficulties caused by abnormally large increases in wage and sal ary awards. .These excessive wage and salary award increases had the effect of pushing the States finances out of balance. The permanent increases in the grants payable which this Bill seeks to authorise should contribute substantially towards overcoming the financial problems of the States.
Taking into account all the changes in the revenue assistance arrangements that were decided at and since the June 1970 Premiers Conference, it is estimated that in 1 972-73 the States will receive over $420m more in Commonwealth general revenue assistance than they would” have received had the arrangements which existed before 1970-71 continued unchanged: I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives. . i
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator .Cotton) read a first time.’
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The main purpose of this Bill’ is- to authorise capital grants to the States in .1972-73, totalling $261,879,000. This comprises $248,539,000 as- the grants component of the States’ r works and housing programme for 1972-73, and $13,340,000 as. grants for expenditure on State government primary and secondary schools. The, Bill . also provides in the usual way for the payment of advances against the capital grant component of the works and housing programmes in the first 6 months of 1973-74 pending the passage of similar legislation in that year. The Bill provides that the payments authorised in it may. be made from revenue or from- loan fund, and includes appropriate borrowing authority. Honourable senators will recall that the capital grants for the works .and housing programme are being provided under arrangements agreed with the States in June 1970, whereby the Commonwealth is providing part of that programme as a grant in lieu of borrowings.
The grants for capital expenditure on government schools are being provided under arrangements announced by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) in December 1971 for providing capital grants to the States totalling $20m for this purpose over the 18 months ending June 1973. The 1971-72 allocation of the capital grants for schools was authorised by the States Grants (Capital Assistance) Act 1972 which was passed by Parliament earlier this year.
At its meeting in June 1972, the Loan Council approved a programme for State works and housing of $982m. comprising $248,539,000 in the form of grants from the Commonwealth and $733,461,000 in the form of borrowings. This was an increase of $90m or 10.1 per cent on the approved programme for 1971-72. The proportion of the programme to be financed by Commonwealth grant is somewhat higher than in 1971-72, however, and the proportion to be financed by borrowings is correspondingly lower. This is because of 2 factors. First, the $6.66m capital grant for government schools in 1971-72 was amalgamated with the basic capital grants for the purpose of determining the proportion of the works and housing programme that is paid to the States as grants. This was in accordance with the undertaking given by the Prime Minister when announcing the capital grants for government schools in December 1971. Secondly, in February 1972 a permanent addition of $2m was made to the grants portion of the 1971-72 programme in recognition of the costs being met by the States in the conversion to the metric system.
The increase in the total works and housing programme for 1972-73, which is of course underwritten by the Commonwealth, is larger than corresponding increases in recent years. The programme for 1971-72 was increased substantially in February. Coming on top of that, the $90m increase for 1972-73 should provide a significant boost to State capital expenditure programmes. The Loan Council also approved, with Commonwealth support, an increase of $49m or 11.2 per cent in the overall borrowing programmes for State authorities classified as ‘larger’ authorities for this purpose. In 1971-72 these were semi-government and local authorities whose individual borrowings for the year exceeded $300,000. For 1972-73 the Loan Council agreed, also with Commonwealth support, to increase this figure to $400,000. There is not overall limit on borrowings of authorities whose individual borrowing amount to $400,000 or less. These increases should enable State, semigovernment and local authorities to maintain a high level of capital expenditure in the year ahead.
I now turn to the specific provisions of the Bill. Honourable senators will note that besides authorising grants of $248,539,000 for works and housing and $13,340,000 for State government schools in 1972-73 in clause 3, clause 4 of the Bill authorises the Treasurer to make advance payments in the first 6 months of 1973-74 of the capital grants for the works and housing programme only, at the same annual rate as in the current financial year. It has been customary in the past for the Commonwealth to make monthly advances to the States pending the raising of the approved borrowings for the works and housing programme, and the fact that a part of this programme is now made by means of capital grant should not affect this procedure. Accordingly, provision is made for such advances to the States to be made on a regular basis from the beginning of 1973- 74, at the same rate as the payments authorised in this Bill. Future grants for government schools of the kind provided for in this Bill will be authorised in separate legislation, and no provision for advances in 1973-74 is required in this Bill.
Clause 5 of the Bill provides that the payments may be made out of Consolidated Revenue Fund or out of Loan Fund. Clause 9 provides the necessary appropriation of these funds. Clauses 6 and 7 of the Bill authorise the Treasurer, within the period of 18 months to the end of December 1973, to borrow funds up to the total amount of the grants payable within that period under the Bill. This borrowing authority will be reduced by the amount of any borrowing between 1st July 1972 and the date of commencement of this Act which is used to finance the advance payments for the first half of 1972-73 as authorised under the previous legislation. These capital grants, by replacing what would otherwise be loan funds, relieve the States of interest and sinking fund charges which they would otherwise have to meet from their revenue budgets, and thus free funds for expenditure in other directions.
The savings in debt charges arising from the capital grants paid in 1970-71 and 1971-72 are approximately as follows (the savings begin to accrue in the year following the year of payment, because of the delay in interest and sinking fund payments falling due):
A similar increase in savings will, of course, accrue to the States in 1973-74 as a result of the grants proposed under this Bill to be paid to the States in 1972-73 and in earlier years. The increase in the proportion of the works and housing programme represented by the capital grants, as a result of amalgamating the $20m grant for government schools with the basic capital grant for this purpose, will increase savings on debt charges by a further amount of about $ 1.25m a year cumulative in respect of each year’s programme after 1973-74.
It is estimated that the savings on debt charges to the States in respect of the works and housing programmes for the 5 years ending 1974-75, as a result of the introduction of these capital grants, will be of the order of $200m. I am sure that honourable senators will readily appreciate that they are affording very real relief to State revenue budgets. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
– The Opposition agrees to the speedy passage of this Bill and will not seek an adjournment of the debate. It seems to me that this Bill which will make capital assistance available to the Statesis one with which we ought to proceed without delay. The various clauses outlined by the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) cover the position adequately. The Opposition does not oppose the Bill and supports its passage through the various stages.
– In reply - I thank the honourable senator and the Opposition for the facilitation of the passage of this Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator DrakeBrockman) read a first time.
This Bill provides for the raising of loan moneys amounting to $6. 5m for war service land settlement in the States of South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania during the 1972-73 financial year. It is anticipated that the money will be made available in the following approximate amounts: South Australia, $4,156,000; Western Australia, $1,600,000; and Tasmania, $744,000.
For the current financial year, the sum provided for war service land settlement purposes in South Australia has been increased by $2. 5m compared to. the levels that have ruled over the past few years. This significant increase has been made available for 2 broad purposes. Firstly, there exists on Kangaroo Island a unique combination of circumstances that has led to serious financial difficulties for many of the soldier settlers there. I use the word unique’ advisedly. The problems of the
Kangaroo Island settlers arise from a combination of physical and biological problems. Clover disease is prevalent particularly in the western part of the Island. It is believed that this disease is caused by high oestrogen content in pastures which contain a predominance of certain strains of subterranean clover such as Yarloop, Geraldton, Dwalganup and, to a lesser degree, possible also Wooginelup. In lambs, the disease is reflected in low survival rates while in wethers it can cause up to 10 per cent morality per annum.
This difficulty in maintaining flock numbers on Kangaroo Island is compounded by seasonal feed shortages, the high cost of replacement stock, limited transport facilities and the higher than average production costs on the Island. In addition, the age level of the settlers is steadily rising. There are other islands carrying soldier settlement, like Flinders Island. Clover disease exists elsewhere in Australia. But nowhere else in or around this continent does the unique set of difficulties recur that are faced by soldier settlers on Kangaroo Island. There is unfortunately no one solution to these difficulties. What is needed is a range of measures.
During 1971-72, a detailed investigation of Kangaroo Islands problems was made by officers of the Department of Primary Industry in conjunction with State officers. Following these investigations and after discussions with farmers and farmer organisations, an improvement programme has been developed for Kangaroo Island and approved in principle. The programme is a flexible one capable of being modified in the light of research findings and of financial experience. It will be based on the need for scientific investigation to achieve breakthroughs to overcome the underlying problems of soil-plant-animal relationships that are presently reflected in practical farming problems in this enviroment. South Australia has already taken action to increase reseach activities financed from State resources, supplemented by money from the Commonwealth extension services grant. Now additional funds will be made available for work aimed at the selection of suitable livestock types appropriate to agronomic conditions on the Island.
However scientific investigations and breeding take time. So the programme will also include initially provision for partial rental remission for those soldier settlers whose circumstances are most adversely affected by the physical and biological problems of Kangaroo Island farming. Other measures in the improvement programme will include the provision of credit for fodder conservation facilities and, in appropiate cases, a recasting of settlers accounts to reduce annual calls and to provide improved flexibility of repayment.
There is a further and most important measure, namely, the provision of advances to pay out stock mortgages in cases where the settler’s prospects of future success are considered reasonable. Giving the settlers access to departmental finance in this fashion will have a most beneficial effect on the settler’s financial position. The rate of interest charged on advances under the war service land settlement scheme is only 31 per cent, much lower than on money borrowed from stock firms and pastoral houses. Also the annual working expenses which settlers are able to borrow from such firms are, in many cases, insufficient for the reasonable operation and maintenance of their farms. This aspect of the settlers’ financial problems should be largely overcome by the measure just outlined.
To recapitulate, the Kangaroo Island improvement programme will comprise initially scientific investigation; partial rental remission; credit for fodder conservation facilities; recasting of settlers accounts in appropriate cases; and provision to pay out stock mortgages for credit-worthy settlers. The provision to enable credit-worthy settlers to be given access to departmental finance will also apply to soldier settlers on pastoral holdings elsewhere in South Australia. This is the second broad purpose for which the extra $2,500,000 has been provided in the Bill now before Parliament.
Soldier settlers in Tasmania already have access to this type of relief through the financial management scheme introduced in that State some years ago. In Western Australia, the majority of settlers still rely mainly on war service land settlement finance. However, should there prove to be settlers in pastoral pursuits in Western Australia or Tasmania who are having similar difficulties brought about by obtaining carry-on finance from private sources, officers of the War Service Land Settlement Branch would consult with the authorities administering the scheme in those States about the possibility of remedial measures.
Honourable senators will recognise that such action is in line with the general policy for debt adjustment under the rural reconstruction scheme. Soldier settlers already have access to rural reconstruction as well as having had the benefit of assistance under the emergency assistance scheme for wool growers and wool deficiency payments during the period of depressed auction prices. Soldier settlers on horticultural blocks will be able to participate in the tree pull scheme.
Apart from the extra $2,500,000, funds are raised in this Bill for purposes that have been stated when similar Bills were introduced into Parliament in previous years. The greater proportion of the balance of this money is required to make advances to settlers for working capital, to purchase stock, to purchase and replace plant and for like purposes in the normal operations on settlers’ properties. Some funds will also be made available for developmental purposes, mainly on continuing work on block drainage for improving horticultural holdings in the Upper Murray region of South Australia and on the irrigation headworks, including channels and pipelines, which supply water to settlers on holdings at Loxton, Drainage maintenance has also to be carried out in Tasmania, until such time as drainage trusts are formed.
I stress that this is a loan Bill. The funds advanced to soldier settlers in consequence of this piece of legislation will over the years be repaid by the settlers according to the customary terms of repayment. The war service land settlement scheme as conceived by the Commonwealth and State governments is an excellent programme. There has been a tendency for economic difficulties of an industry-wide nature to be wrongly attributed to defects in the war service land settlement scheme. The Government has brought in programmes to counteract these industry-wide difficulties including improvement in the supply of credit to the vital rural sector of the Australian economy. The Government recog nises the difficulties that have arisen foi primary producers consequent on the generally changed fortunes of rural industries over the past several years. While soldier settlers benefit equally with other producers in governmental backing through stabilisation schemes and direct financial assistance to particular industries, some of their difficulties relate to the fact that they are soldier settlers. A comprehensive review of the scheme has been undertaken by the Department of Primary Industry. As a result, some further adjustments may be introduced to offset particular difficulties where such are demonstrated. The Government will, as necessary, effect improvements in the war service land settlement scheme, and has done so here, even though in general it can fairly be claimed that the scheme has stood the test of over 20 years of operation. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Wilkinson) adjourned.
– by leave - I make this statement on behalf of the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp). Honourable senators know that regulation 4A of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations prohibits the importation of literature and articles that are blasphemous, indecent or obscene; or unduly emphasise matters of sex, horror or violence or crime or are likely to encourage depravity. Honourable senators also know the regulation provides that even though a book is prohibited under regulation 4A the Minister may approve any application to import such works provided a report has been received from the Chairman of the National Literature Board of Review or the Director-General of Health. The purpose of this provision is to permit the importation of copies of prohibited publications for special purposes such as recognised scientific, social or cultural work by qualified persons; original research or advanced study; or for use as reference material in the practice of professions such as medicine or law.
When regulation 4A was introduced in 1963 the then Minister undertook to report annually to the Senate in respect of books released in accordance with the above provisions. This report, the ninth to be presented, covers the period 1st July 1971 to 30th June 1972. During this period a total of 38 applications was received and all were approved.
Details of the applications approved are as follows:
Medical, psychiatric, and sociological works - 14 to university researchers (involving 1 5 publications) 2 to university lecturers (involving 14 publications) 2 to medical practitioners (involving 18 publications) 2 to publishers (involving 7 publications) 1 to a teacher’s college researcher (involving 1 publication) 1 to a teacher’s college lecturer (involving 2 publications)
Fictional works - 13 to university researchers (involving 14 publications) 2 to teacher’s college researchers (involving 2 publications) 1 to a university lecturer (involving 1 publication)
Sitting suspended from 12.42 to 2.15 p.m.
Motion to Disallow
– Although Senator Murphy gave notice that he intended to propose a motion for the disallowance of the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1972 it has been agreed that ! should do so for him. 1 move:
That the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1972, as contained in- Australian Capital Territory Ordinance No. 20 of 1972, and made under the Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910-1972, be now disallowed.
This matter has already caused much controversy. The Ordinance has been designed for the purpose of prohibiting the continuation of the Aboriginal embassy on the lawns in front of Parliament House. I ask honourable senators, whatever their atti tudes to this matter are, to consider 3 issues that 1 shall now put to them. Firstly, I refer to the emotional issues which involve justice to Aborigines and the right of Aborigines to protest effectively by using the area in front of Parliament House. Secondly, the Australian Labor Party is concerned about the Government acting upon a regulation before Parliament had met to consider and approve or disallow that regulation. I think that this action was contary to the understandable practice that has operated in the Federal Parliament. Complete power is given to a Minister or the Executive; parliamentary control is bypassed: and therefore the method is not desirable. Thirdly, we shall consider the question of whether the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance is a good law.
I think that Senator Keeffe, who will be the next speaker from this side of the House in the debate, is more competent than I to talk on the emotional issue, because he has had a long-standing interest in the rights of Aborigines, and he will put a case on that point. On this issue, let me just say that on Australia Day, 26th January, the Aborigines erected a number of tents on the lawns in front of Parliament House for the purpose of protesting against deprivation of Aboriginal land rights. They established an embassy in that area in order to make known that protest.
– Is it really fair to say that Aborigines erected the tents? Could you be a little more explicit and say -
– Yes, I will be more explicit. I will say that the tents were erected on behalf of the Aborigines who were protesting. I do not know who erected the tents. However, I say: ‘More credit to whoever erected them, whether they were newcomers to Australia or indigenes’. The fact is that tents were erected for the purposes of demonstration and protest. It has always been accepted that Australians observe the right to protest against some injustice done to a section of the community. The Aborigines supported, as Senator Webster suggested in his interjection, by many other people consider that they are deprived of land rights.
If there were any reason to remove the tents because of their unsightliness or the inappropriateness of the tents being erected on the lawns outside Parliament House, one would have thought that the necessary machinery would have been available to do this in January. If this machinery were available the tents could have been dismantled and removed then. But the Government found that it never had the power to prohibit the erection of tents on unleased land. Therefore it was necessary to gazette an Ordinance to make it an offence to erect tents or huts on unleased land. But the Government waited until 30th June before it made such an Ordinance to remove the Aborigines. The Ordinance was not gazetted and thus made effective at law until 20th July.
There was no question about hurrying the gazettal of this Ordinance during the autumn session of the Parliament. During the whole of the autumn session questions were asked and assurances were sought that the Aboriginal embassy would not be removed until such time as Parliament had had an opportunity to consider this matter. According to Press publicity, a statement was attributed to Senator Bonner - the honourable senator will correct me if I am wrong - that he was given an assurance from the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt) that while Parliament was in recess no action would be taken. However, on 20th July the Ordinance was gazetted. Shortly after that - I think it was 21st July - the embassy was removed at 9 o’clock in the night by Canberra police. The embassy was erected again on 23rd July and again removed by the Canberra police.
The Aboriginal embassy provided a means by which Aborigines could ventilate their protest. It had become somewhat of a tourist attraction and the Aborigines had received the sympathy of tourists for the bad deal that had been given to them by the Federal Government. Their protest was noted. Everyone remarked on the good order, cleanliness, co-operation and friendliness of the Aboriginal people who occupied the embassy.
On application to the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court it was found that the Ordinance was not operative insofar as it was not gazetted in accordance with the Seat of Government (Administration) Act under which it was made. Therefore the Ordinance could not be put into effect.
After the Parliament had risen an Ordinance was gazetted. The Government Printer had been kept in employment until midnight to print it. Again, in the dead of night, at about half past 1 o’clock in the morning, the Ordinance was produced and the tents were dismantled by the police. Of course, the power of the police to do this was contained in an Ordinance similar to that which we are seeking to disallow on this occasion. Of course, if the Ordinance is disallowed the Aborigines or anyone else will have complete freedom to erect a tent on unleased land simply on the basis of the right to organise in the appropriate manner or in a manner which the Aborigines think effective. Evidence would indicate that this was effective.
We say that the attitude of the Government in regard to the Aborigines had no justification at all. The Minister for the Interior reported that at all times the occupants of the tents were orderly and clean. They created no health hazards. Yet the tents had to come down despite the fact that they had been allowed to remain there for 6 months. They were taken down without any rectification of the Aborigines’ grievances. It was known that they would have been taken down voluntarily, after consultation with the Minister, if some agreement had been reached either for rectification of the grievances or some alternative site. The use of executive power for the purpose of control of this country is contrary to the principle of Parliament. However, as I stated, the main question of the Aborigines will be dealt with by Senator Keeffe.
I will now deal with the question of whether this happening is a breach of an understanding that has applied in government administration previously. I am a member of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee. From time to time the Committee has before it a regulation which involves payment retrospectively for perhaps two or three years. Invariably, a recommendation is presented to the Senate for the disallowance of the regulation. The question is raised under the Acts Interpretation Act of what is the effect of disallowance. The Acts Interpretation Act makes provision that a regulation comes into operation the day it is gazetted. When the regulation is laid before the Parliament, which has nothing to do with its coming into operation, 15 sitting says are permitted for the purpose of objection to it. It has to be considered within 15 sitting days or it is disallowed. This gives the opportunity to Parliament to approve or reject the regulation. Of course, when we have the position at the end of a session where a regulation is made before there is an opportunity to table it in the Parliament, there is a period of some 3 months in which the regulation is law within the land. If, in the opinion of the Parliament, retrospective payment back to 1964 was not justified and should not be permitted, payment could be made despite the fact that Parliament subsequently decided that that payment should not be made under the regulation, and that the regulation should not be operative.
But we have received some assurances, and the Government has acted upon the basis that it makes no payment until after the expiration of 15 sitting days to see whether there is a notice of objection to the ordinance. Another period of 15 sitting days after the receipt of such a notice for disallowance is allowed. If objection is taken during that time, no such payment is made to the men to whom the ordinance made the payment due. Therefore, if action were to be taken on an ordinance without Parliament having a say, it would be useless for the Regulations and Ordinances Committee to meet, consider the ordinance and move for its disallowance, inasmuch as the objection procedures would be carried out at such time as the ordinance would already be law. By the action of the Government we continue on in this operation-
– What could you suggest as a practical alternative to that?
– That an ordinance, unless there was some degree of urgency, should not be operative until such time as the Parliament has an opportunity, if it so desires, to object to it. I have not worked out a full alternative, but we have come to the position that this Ordinance has been operated upon because of the action of the Government. For the first time, after some assurances have been given, we find that the Government waits until after Parliament has risen and acts on an ordinance before there is opportunity for anyone to lodge a notice of objection to it and before the Parliament has had an opportunity to consider the ordinance. If we reject this ordinance today - it then does not become law - the injustice still has been done to the Aborigines. Concerned here is a precedent touching the power of Parliament to reject an ordinance which, in the case of so many ordinances, seeks to achieve something. In this case the purpose of the ordinance has been achieved before Parliament has had an opportunity to express its opinion.
– Senator Cavanagh, would your canon be a canon of urgency? That is the only ground on which you could really base a differentiation. >
– Let me say that I would think that the canon of urgency could be interpreted in accordance with the criterion of what are urgent matters. While I accept that an urgent situation could arise whereby an ordinance could go into operation immediately, if that were the exemption it certainly could not be applied in this case. The embassy was permitted to remain there for 6 months. There was no urgency to have it removed while Parliament was in recess and had no opportunity to say aye or nay in regard to whether it should remain there. But the important thing is that the attitude of the Government on this occasion has made subject to suspicion its whole attitude to the question of ordinances, especially those with some retrospective activity which can be applied before the Parliament considers them. While the Government has not done this in respect of payments, it is establishing a precedent on an issue in which there was some doubt as to whether Parliament would approve. It has made a precedent. Its attitude has been: We enforce the In w by executive control and if Parliament disapproves, it is too late anyhow. This takes away government by the people and replaces it with government by the Executive and government by Ministers.
We look at the Ordinance to see whether, in fact, it is good law. . While someone may think that it is ah ordinance involving only the removal of Aborigines who are camping in front of Parliament House, it goes somewhat further than that. It amends the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1932-1944. The Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1932- 1944 made it an offence to do certain things in certain defined areas. For instance, a person could not trespass or deposit a bicycle or other article upon any lawns or other grassed areas in any of the public streets in or immediately adjoining the shopping centres of the city, Kingston or Griffith. That is understandable. The penalty was £10. You could not, without lawful excuse, go on to any land in the occupation of the Commonwealth in the city area which was defined as the city area. You could not turn loose or suffer any animal belonging to you, tether or depasture it on any road or unleased land belonging to the Commonwealth in the city area. A person could not permit any vehicle to remain on any roadway or any unleased land in the city area which belonged to the Commonwealth. Whether it is leased land or unleased land is a question of (act. Again, whether the land belongs to the Commonwealth or does not belong to the. Commonwealth is a question of fact. No-one knows what the ‘city area’ is.
– Would not it be a question of law rather than a question of fact?
– I would think that it is mainly a question of fact whether it is Commonwealth land. I can visualise that on certain occasions it could be a question of law. I wish to deal with the city area. Does anyone know what is the city area for the purpose of knowing whether he can erect a tent, tether a cow, leave a bicycle or appliance, motor car, etc? The Act determines that the city area means the city area as defined in the City Area Leases Ordinance 1936-1938. I can presume only that if anyone wants to know whether he is obeying the law or offending against the law he has to obtain a copy of the City Area Leases Ordinance. The Ordinance that we have before us deletes the definition of ‘City Area’; so how would anyone know whether he was committing an offence? This new Ordinance makes it an offence to erect a hut or occupy a building on unleased land that ‘is within the city area’, ‘belongs to the Commonwealth’ and ‘is not within an area for the time being declared by the Minister, by notice published in the Gazette, to be, for the purposes of this Ordinance, a camping area’. Therefore, if the area has not been declared to be a camping area and pub lished as such in the Gazette, is not within the city area, is not unleased land and does not belong to the Commonwealth, there is no offence.
– Or any one of those.
– Or any one of those. Most of these questions are. questions of fact, but a question of law could be involved and that makes my point more pertinent. How does anyone know whether he is breaching the regulations? The Government has deleted the only way of finding out whether a person is in the city area. Perhaps it can be said that a person should look at every Gazette to see whether an area has been declared to be a camping area. Perhaps he should know all about land titles and thus be able to say whether or not certain land belongs to the Commonwealth. Is a camper travelling from Sydney to Canberra committing a breach of this Ordinance if he camps on the side of the road or in the scrub? He does not know. At no stage does anyone know. This brings in Senator Byrne’s argument that before a person erects his tent on an area he should be sure to consult a solicitor to see whether such action is legal and is within the requirements laid down. The Commonwealth is not sure of the position, because section 8c states:
An officer of the Department of the Interior authorised in writing by the Minister may, by, instrument in writing under his hand, certify that land described in the instrument or by reference In a plan on or annexed to the instrument is unleased land that -
Therefore, for the purposes of the Ordinance, unleased land becomes land belonging to the Commonwealth, land within the city area and land which is not within an area gazetted as a camping area because someone, an official of the Department who has been authorised in writing, has issued a statement that the land meets the requirements.
– That is not purely an evidentiary provision for the purpose of proof, is it?
– It is an evidentiary provision. It is not proof. Section 8c (2) states:
In proceedings tor an offence against this Ordinance, a document that purports to be an instrument referred to in the last preceding sub-section shall, unless the contrary is proved, be deemed to be such an instrument and is evidence of the matters stated in the instrument.
– That is right. The law is not declared by that section. It is only a means of proving the legal situation.
– I agree that the law is not declared. I think that Senator Byrne, as a democrat, should support me in this. In a normal prosecution there is a responsibility on the prosecutor to prove the indictment against the individual. That is a strict responsibility under British law. In this case the person prosecuting is the only person who can prove whether it is Commonwealth land, whether it is unleased land and whether it is land within the city area. He is the person best able to prove those things. If an official of the Department writes on a piece of paper that the land is Commonwealth land, is within the city area, is unleased land and is land which has not been gazetted as a camping area, that is sufficient evidence for conviction unless it is proved otherwise.
– How else would you prove that the land is unleased land? You would have to bring somebody to swear to that, would you?
– I would say that whether land is unleased land could be determined by reference to the documents held by the Department and there is a responsibility on the Commonwealth to prove that it is unleased land. I do not know the Torrens title system or the other land title systems. I do not know who else could prove that the land is or is not Commonwealth land. If there is no other method of proving it, as Senator Byrne may suggest, a defendant can never prove his innocence because land becomes Commonwealth land by means of an instrument in writing issued by a particular official. Previously the definition of ‘City Area’ applied to that area prescribed or defined in the City Area Leases Ordinance 1936-1938. At the present time no-one knows what the city area is. I understand that it is the area prescribed on a slip of paper prepared by an official in the
Department which prohibits the parking of vehicles on that land, the tethering of an animal on it or trespassing on it. It is impossible for law abiding citizens who want to observe the law to carry out the law. Surely we, as responsible members of Parliament who want to enforce order and good government, should never support the continuance of this Ordinance. Disallowing it may create some upheaval and may result in Aboriginals being allowed to erect another tent on the lawns in front of Parliament House. Nevertheless, as the Leader of the Opposition, Senator Murphy, said the other day, by getting rid of something which we consider evil we are establishing a precedent for future occasions. This Ordinance states:
A person shall not -
camp, whether under cover or in the open, on unleased land’;
erect a structure on unleased land; or
occupy or be in a structure on unleased land, not being a structure that belongs to the Commonwealth and is for’ the time being open to the public, . . .
One can be there if. the structure belongs to the Commonwealth and is open to the public. But, if another tent is erected in front of Parliament House, a visitor to the area commits an offence under this Ordinance. Not only the person who erects the tent breaks the law. To make sure that nearly everyone is covered the Government exempts a person who ‘is the person to whom the permit has been granted or is a person to whom the permit is expressed to apply and the permit is in force’. Therefore the Minister can issue a permit to allow a person to visit a tent across the road from Parliament House. There is a second exemption which applies to a person who camps of erects a structure upon land. This applies to a person who is there in the performance of his duties ‘.its an officer or employee of the Commonwealth or an authority established by an Act or an Ordinance or in the discharge of an obligation on his part, or on the part of his employer, to the Commonwealth or such an authority’. Therefore there are 2 exemptions. One exemption applies to a person acting in the performance of .his duty as an employee of the Commonwealth and the other applies to a person who has been granted a permit by the Minister.
If the Aboriginal embassy is erected again, or if there is any similar protest on the lawns in front of Parliament House, any politician who goes across the road to support the protesters - and politicians have thought that it is their duty to do so - will be in breach of this Ordinance. If a camp is established on the roadside in an area which is denned as unleased land belonging to the Commonwealth and which has not been proclaimed as a camping area, and if someone goes to see whether any assistance is needed, the inquirer at the camp will be in breach of these regulations. So one can see the network that we are creating by these regulations.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wilkinson) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– We are dealing with a motion which originally was to be moved by Senator Murphy but which has been moved by Senator Cavanagh. The motion reads:
That the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1972, as contained in Australian Capital Territory Ordinance No. 20 of 1972, and made under the Seat of Government (Administration) Act f910-1972, be now disallowed.
Senator Cavanagh has spoken in support of that motion which, as I have said, originally was to be moved by Senator Murphy. The Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1972 is an Ordinance amending the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1932-65. The ordinance was made under the provisions of section 12 of the Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910-72. The validity of the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1972 has been considered by the full Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory. That Court found no fault in the Ordinance. Indeed, Mr Justice Fox made it quite clear that in his judgment the campers had no right to camp on the land. The other justices comprising the Court endorsed His Honour’s views. Some comment has been made about the removal of the camp established following the judgment being handed down. In view of the Court’s assertion that there is no right to camp, the re-establishment of the camp was deliberate and surely provocative. The action in removing the camp simply reflected the Government’s clearly stated policy on the issue.
The Ordinance is designed to prohibit camping on unleased Commonwealth land in the city area of Canberra unless such land has been declared a camping area by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt). As I represent the Minister for the Interior, it is not my purpose to explain in detail the legislation in issue since the divisions were elaborated in the explanatory statement which has been tabled with the Ordinance, and the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood), for his part, has provided an explanation. The legislation does not restrict traditional rights of freedom of speech or assembly. Legislation giving power to control camping on what might be described as municipal land is common throughout Australia, usually under local government legislation. Only recently legislation was made in Western Australia to remove a camp of similar nature from in front of the Western Australian Parliament House.
There has been somt comment about there being inadequate notice concerning the introduction of this Ordinance. On 11th May 1972 the Parliament was informed by statements made in both Houses of the Government’s intention to introduce legislation to cover all camping on unleased land in the city area. There was then the opportunity for that intention to be debated, but that opportunity was not taken by the Opposition in either the Senate or the other place. As is usual with Australian Capital Territory ordinances, this Ordinance was referred to the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council. That Council debated the Ordinance on 13th June. That fact was reported in the Press. The details of the proposals then became public. In addition, the Minister for the Interior said repeatedly on television and radio programmes that the Government was amending the Ordinance and that those concerned would be asked to remove their tents.
When drafting was finally settled, the Ordinance was signed by the Minister for the Interior and approved by the Administrator acting on the advice of the Federal Executive Council. The Ordinance was gazetted on 20th July 1972. However, on 17th July, prior to the Ordinance being gazetted, a senior officer of the Australian Capital Territory Police informed the campers that the legislation would be introduced and that it would require them to remove their tents and associated equipment. In fact, the terms of the Ordinance were explaind to them. So I think that to any fair minded observer this procedure would constitute adequate notice.
As the Minister for the Interior has said in the other place, the only way in which the processing of this particular legislation was in any way different from the normal processing of legislation for the good government of the Australian Capital Territory was in the fact that the Government announced its intention in both chambers of the Parliament, thus giving an opportunity for that intention to be debated, and that it arranged that the persons to be affected by the introduction of the legislation should receive personal notice of its imminent introduction. Honourable senators will be quite well aware that this matter was debated in the other place on 15th August on a motion of no confidence in the Minister for the Interior.
In the course of that debate the Minister recounted, in detail, the steps that were taken to inform the public and the campers themselves of the effect of the legislation. He explained that at first the campers had let it be understood that they were prepared to move when the law came into force. It was only upon the appearance of a large number of outsiders that their mood changed to one of defiance so that the police were required to remove the embassy tent, and a scuffle took place.
– Mr President, I want to take a point of order.
– What is your point of order?
– The Minister is reading from a speech, which has already been debated in this House, in relation to the general mix up that we had about the Ordinance a few days ago. From the verbiage that I have, heard to date, it is precisely the same speech as was made in the House at the time.
– Order! The Minister, representing the Minister for the Interior, is presenting inside the Senate the views of the Minister for the Interior.
- Mr President, I thank you for your observation and ruling. I might observe to Senator Keeffe in passing that I represent the Minister for the Interior and many other Ministers - quite a great number of them. It is not my practice to speak off the top of my head when I am representing another Minister. I try to pay to the Senate the courtesy of seeing that in a representative position I get from the appropriate Minister an accurate record of what it is that he believes represents his views, and that I present to the Senate. I think that I do the Senate a courtesy in that regard. I think that Senator Keeffe does me no courtesy in taking objection, if I may say so. on particularly petty and paltry grounds, lt is not a speech .which, as Senator Keeffe said, was made on an .earlier occasion.
Honourable senators will be aware that this matter was debated in another place, as I said, on 15th August on a. motion of no confidence in the Minister for the Interior. In the course of that debate ;the Minister for the Interior recounted, in detail .the steps that were taken to inform the public and the campers themselves of the effect of the legislation. He explained that at first the campers had let it be understood that they were prepared to move when the law came into force. It was only upon the appearance of a large number of outsiders that their mood changed to one of defiance so that the police were required to remove the embassy tent, and a scuffle. took place. The Minister also recounted, in another place the series of discussions which he and other Ministers and officers of the Department of the Interior had with campers or their representatives in an effort to avoid violence, when the campers sought to re-erect their tent on 2 occasions.
I do not think it is necessary’ to repeat in detail what the Minister said on that occasion, although it can be adverted to by anybody who wants to do so. But he did make one observation which I would like to quote from Hansard of 15th August. In the other place on that occasion the Minister for the Interior said:
They were not bringing dignity to the Parliament or to themselves in continuing to camp in the way they were. The camp had degenerated into a squabbling, untidy and insanitary spectacle. lt is plain, I think, to any fair minded person - I endeavour to be that, and I think that Government senators have approached this matter without prejudice or hostility - that the Government did all that it could to avoid violence. It is plain that the police acted with restraint. This Ordinance has been widely misrepresented. It is not a question of the Government taking action against Aborigines; it is a question of the Government facing up to its responsibilities of preserving public places in Canberra for public use. No group should have the right to pitch tents indiscriminately, to proclaim a particular cause for a lengthy duration and thereby impede the access of people to public areas in the national capital.
In replying to some of the observations made by Senator Cavanagh, again I can refer to the comments made by the Minister for the Interior when speaking on this matter in the other chamber. On 13 th September the Minister made reference to the role of the Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances and said:
It is important to stress that in the drafting of this ordinance, as in the drafting of all other ordinances, particular regard was paid to the criteria which have been established by the Parliament, particularly by the Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances. The legislation does not restrict the traditional rights, such as the right of freedom of speech and assembly; nor should it. Legislation giving power to control camping on what might be described as municipal land is common throughout Australia. Usually it is local government legislation. Indeed, legislation was passed recently in Western Australia, as the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) mentioned, with respect to the camping that had taken place on the lawns in front of Parliament House in Perth. That legislation led to the removal of a camp similar to that which was occupied on the lawns outside this House-
But, the Minister says, I think with some restraint: with less difficulty . . .
Senator Cavanagh was not entirely right when he described how the city areas of Canberra are defined. The fact is that the city area is defined in the Interpretation Ordinance. The city area is gazetted in the Commonwealth Gazette from time to time and is available to everyone. This is the position in relation to the criticisms which relate to section 8c of the Ordinance.
That represents the position and one can only close by saying that the Ordinance has been promulgated in the normal way and that its importance is limited. It is being considered by the courts and it should not be used as a vehicle to debate national Aboriginal policies or as a vehicle for political gains or manoeuvres. The Government stands by the Ordinance. It believes that it has taken quite proper action and I believe that the Minister has adequately explained the situation for his Department and himself through my mouth.
– I support what Senator Cavanagh said in his submission for the disallowance of the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance. I regret some of the statements which were made by the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton).- I think it is equally regrettable that he has joined 2 other Ministers who avail, themselves of every opportunity to adopt a sneering, ridiculing attitude. This is most unbecoming of Senator Cotton because there was a time when he behaved in this chamber with very great dignity. Obviously , he feels that his 2 colleagues, Senator Wright and Senator Greenwood, in their attempts to belittle the Opposition are the people whom he should copy. I suggest that he might mend his ways if he Wants to retain some of his friends.
– I rise to order. I do not think those remarks are really fair, but really I rose to the point of order because I do not think it is the honourable senator’s privilege or responsibility to instruct me on my behaviour.
– The Presiding officer is the officer of the Senate appointed to instruct honourable senators on their behaviour.
– I was merely being paternalistic to the Minister; I had no intention of being offensive to him.
– I am the paterfamilias here.
– I propose to mention some of the points mentioned by the Minister. These are deserving of very severe criticism. He completely missed the point in his prepared speech which he read out word by word, full stop by full stop, until he came to the end of it, at which time he added about 10 words of his own. The reason for the Opposition moving for the disallowance of the Ordinance is to retain a freedom for the Aborigines. The Minister referred to the judgment by the Full Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory. We debated this matter in the Senate several days ago and at that time wc stated our view very clearly. We said what we felt about the manner in which the Ordinance had been introduced in the first place. When we found a weakness in this particular Ordinance wc found also that there were many other laws which probably would not have stood up to the light of day in any court of law. So there was a great panic measure by the Government with the Attorney-General (Senator Grenwood) running around in his usual circles trying to plug the loopholes.
The Australian Labor Party says that, the Aborigines had a right to demonstrate and my colleague Senator Cavanagh pointed out in great detail that they did this with dignity and with honour, not only to the group who were demonstrating but also to their race in general. With the introduction of this Ordinance the first people who will suffer as a result of it will be the people who have suffered already, the representatives of the Aboriginal people in this country. Those are points that the Minister attempted to evade right through his speech. He said that the reconstruction of the embassy one evening recently was deliberate and provocative. Again he was quoting the remarks of the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt). Let us be factual about this. If any provocation was practised by anybody, it was practised by the representatives of this Government, starting with the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) and working down - or, to put it in reverse, if that is preferred, starting with the Minister for the Interior and working up.
The Minister for Civil Aviation endeavoured to draw red herrings across the trail by referring to the Western Australian legislation. Let me remind him that there was no violence and no bashing of Aborigines when an embassy was removed from the Western Australian area. So there is no parallel there. In fact the removal of that embassy was virtually by agreement.
– Why did a Labor government remove it?
– If the honourable senator wants to make a speech he will have an opportunity later to do so. 1 am not going to explain for his benefit.
– You would not want to, seeing that a Labor government removed it.
– The honourable senator would be completely familiar with the reasons for its removal and would know the background of that situation. So I ask him not to draw red herrings across the trail to kill my time in this debate. The Minister was unfair also when he referred to what the Advisory Council had said. I mentioned this only a few days ago. It is true that this Ordinance was considered by the Advisory Council of the Australian Capital Territory, but it is equally true to say that the Advisory Council rejected it. Anyway, it is not very often that the Minister takes notice of the Advisory Council, and on this occasion he followed his usual fashion. If the Minister for Civil Aviation wants to be terribly truthful this statement should be incorporated in any speeches that are drafted for him when he represents the Minister for the Interior in this place.
Let us examine some of the reasons for the situation. The Minister said: ‘Do not let us use this as a vehicle to bring in all sorts of Aboriginal problems.’ That was the very basis of the establishment of the embassy on the lawns in front of Parliament House, lt was established there to draw attention to the lack of social rights, to the lack of legal rights and to the lack of the ordinarily accepted human rights which are suffered by the Aborigines and Islanders of Australia. I point out that one of the first reasons for setting up the embassy on 26th January 1972 was to draw public attention to their lack of rights to their tribal lands. Yesterday the Melbourne Age’ carried a story under a Canberra byline. It stated:
The Federal Government expects to announce soon the granting of a lease to a company of Gurindji Aborigines for a cattle mustering enterprise at Wattie Creek.
The lease will be Hie first granted under the decision, announced in June, to make available about 25 square miles for leasing by Aborigines at Wattie Creek - the final amount could be up to 35 square miles.
The last paragraph in that news item stated:
The proposed lease area of 10 square miles will be used for horses and yards.
This is a prime example and I quote it because it has received wide publicity throughout Australia and wide and unfavourable publicity in other countries. The people who comprise the majority of the group at Wattie Creek belong to the Gurindji tribe. I am sure that Government supporters will recall with some shame, probably at least with some political embarrassment, a recent television programme in which Professor Colin Tatz discussed land rights so far as the Wattie Creek area was concerned. Honourable senators will recall that on that occasion he produced a telegram that had been forwarded by the Vestey brothers to the Prime Minister of this country. There was a newspaper story the next day saying that the Government was very embarrassed. It had hoped to be able to keep this 25 square miles - or is it 35 square miles, or only 10 square miles - as one of its big juicy plums for the election policy announcement, but it was all blown up before it could be used for some sort of political advantage. I have a copy of that telegram which was sent on 26th January 1972, the day on which the protest group of Aborigines set up their embassy outside Parliament House. That telegram reads:
Have read with interest your statement regarding Aboriginal policies especially question of special purpose leases of land not in the reserve. Please advise if there is any, way that we can help. We feel could release suitable area outside the main cattle run as a free gift to help the worthy objective of advancement arid satisfaction Aboriginals. Signed Edmund and Sam Vestey.
That is the telegram that was sent to the Prime Minister on that date.
We have heard continually from the Prime Minister, the Minister for the Interior and other so-called responsible Ministers of this Government that no such offer was ever made. The copy of that telegram that I have just quoted gives the lie to those ministerial protestations. The story in the ‘Age*, which I take to be an authentic report, despite the criticism by the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Greenwood) of the
Age’ this morning, indicates that the piece of land is very small indeed. I am given to understand that approximately 500 square miles to 1,000 square miles was envisaged by the Vestey Brothers when they made that offer to the Prime Minister. That land was to be passed on to the Gurindji tribe.
Let us be practical about this matter. Professor Colin Tatz was the first man to raise this matter. He is one of the best spokesmen in this country on behalf of the, downtrodden Aborigines. He cannot be classified as a person of no moment with respect to Aborigines. The telegram which I have quoted and which I consider to be completely authentic was forwarded to the Prime Minister and has been hidden for months. That shows up the Prime Minister for the political shyster - no, I withdraw that word, Mr President-
– Order! Yes, withdraw it. The honourable senator is just one jump ahead of me.
– That shows up the Prime Minister for the political weakling that he is. Land rights was one of the reasons why the Aboriginal people set up their embassy to protest. They listed also a number of other points. Let us look at housing. This Government continually skites mostly in Hansard, because it does not get a great number of large headlines elsewhere on this issue, about what it has done in the way of providing tremendous assistance in the field of housing. I take as an example my own State of Queensland which has an Aboriginal population greater than that in any State or Territory of the Commonwealth. In the last 5 years, Queensland has managed to provide for its Aboriginal population 140.2 houses per year. That rate does not even keep up with the natural growth in the community. How ever we are to overcome Aboriginal housing problems in Queensland under the Commonwealth Government and the State Country Party-Liberal Party Government I would not know. In the Northern Territory, the housing rate is not much better. When the Government of Western Australia asked for a large sum of money to try to overcome the problem, the Commonwealth Government replied: ‘No. We do not know where to obtain the money’.
It is possible to look briefly only at each of the problems about which the Aboriginal people protested. But each of these problems is of tremendous importance. Another area of protest concerns the health of Aborigines throughout Australia, particularly the health of Aboriginal children. Infant mortality among Aborigines in some areas of Australia is 5 times to 10 times and even 12 times that of Australian children of European descent. Vitamin deficiency is widespread. I know of an able doctor who carried out experiments in this field in the north-western part of New South Wales. The Commonwealth Department of Health many months ago said that it would investigate his system of providing vitamin C for young Aboriginal children to see whether this would overcome some of their health deficiencies. But we are still awaiting that report, Perhaps it will be treated in the same way as reports from some other notable doctors who have sought to make worthwhile contributions in the health field. If their recommendations or their methods of treatment are considered to be a little unorthodox, the tendency on the part of successive Ministers for Health in this Government has been to ignore any reports made along those lines.
One has only to visit Aboriginal reserves in New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory or Western Australia to see the deficiencies in the health of little Aboriginal children under 5 years of age. In Queensland a number of doctors of national fame, including a couple of doctors of international fame, has said that, if a child is deprived in its first 5 years of life, it is likely to be mentally retarded, a slow learner and not able to cope with all the problems of adult life. One weeps for the future of these children when one sees the chronic ear, nose and throat infections that these youngsters suffer. This is another matter about which the Aboriginal embassy protested. This was a field in which the Aborigines asked for help. This Government repaid them by bringing in 200 police at a time to chase them off the lawns in front of Parliament House and to stop their public protest because it was embarrassing to the Government. The actions of the Government became a talking point around the world generally and particularly in the Asian area. The Government could not cop it. It did not like it.
If we move among adult Aborigines, we find that in some areas of this country
Hansen’s disease is still quite a problem. In Queensland Aborigines with Hansen’s disease are isolated. They are black so we put them on an island well out to sea. It has been said by the Queensland Minister that at some stage they will be brought closer to the coast. If those people were white they would be in a general hospital on the mainland. The island which is occupied by Aborigines with Hansen’s disease is Fantome Island which is well off the Queensland coast.
There has been no real survey of the scourge of VD in Aboriginal settlements. This matter was raised in this chamber 5 or 6 years ago by a member of the Government and by myself in relation to the non-control of VD in the Torres Strait Islands. Nothing was done to overcome this problem. In a recent news item on a television show, even the local doctor had some rather pithy comments to make about this matter. In my own city of Townsville, which is virtually a Services base these days and is visited by many young people coming back from overseas, a very great problem exists. There are 8 or 10 houses - I will use this word because of the youth of some of those present - of ill fame operating in Townsville. What is the Minister for the Army (Mr Katter) doing about it? Why are these houses staffed, in the main, by young Aboriginal girls? I will tell honourable senators why - there is no employment for young Aboriginal girls. They live in a depressed society. Young Aboriginal girls are fighting on two fronts because they are black. First, if they are not skilled in any particular line of work they cannot get a job, but if they are skilled or semi-trained they are faced with the disadvantage of their colour of skin. The other point is that unfortunately many white people in this country still look on someone with a non-white skin as being somewhat inferior.
In pastoral areas there are still many people who do not earn the award wage. There are no awards to cover most Aboriginal girls working on pastoral and cattle stations. Therefore, an employer may choose to pay his employees any wage he likes. Who will protest at this? It is of no use asking the Department of Aboriginal and Island Affairs in Queensland to police this matter because it will nol. lt is equally foolish to say that the Welfare Branch of the Northern Territory Administration will police this matter, because it will not either. Even if the principles under which it operated allowed this to be policed there would not be sufficient stac to do the work.
Another matter about which the Aborigines protested very loudly was the restrictive discriminatory anti-black laws. Queensland is now the last State in which these laws exist. Under current legislation these laws will continue for a long time to come. Some 25,000 people are still suffering under the Act. But the Premier of Queensland and his spokesmen introduced amendments to the Queensland legislation. They said that they would remove many of the restrictions. In fact, this has not been done. The legislation is now divided into 2 Acts, one for the Torres Strait Islanders and the other for Aborigines. It now serves a double purpose. The previous legislation divided blacks from whites but now black people are being divided too. That is one way in which the Premier hopes to keep the black people of Queensland in complete subjection.
Bad grog is still getting on to the reserves. Our friends who were across the road when they were allowed to protest told us about this too. They told us about the adulterated grog which was made available to black people mostly by bad white men. Honourable senators know that some time ago in this chamber I produced a bottle of wine which had been mixed with methylated spirits. I give full credit to officers of the Department of Customs and Excise for the search they made to catch the publican who was selling that grog. Probably I made the mistake. I should not have publicised the matter before referring it to the Department. Another case is under investigation now and I do not propose to report it in this chamber. But the mistake was made because by the time the officers got there the grog apparently had been disposed of. But it has not been disposed of when it is made in half gallon jars, bottles and small quantities and sold in an accumulation of small quantities on reserves at 3 or 4 times the price which ought to be paid for it. This has led to a lot of problems in Queensland. But 2 or more years ago people on several reserves asked for canteens which they could control themselves and where they could sell beer and perhaps other light alcoholic liquors. But to date the procrastinating Department in Queensland has not allowed the establishment of one canteen. We arc now told that the Department is waiting for the regulations which will come down under the 2 new amended Acts. We were told that the regulations were to be brought in last April. But they are like Santa Claus. They will probably come with Christmas; we are not sure which Christmas.
We are told that the councils on the reserves have complete freedom of action. This is a deliberate lie. If that word is too harsh I say that it is a deliberate untruth because they do not have freedom of action at all. In my possession I have a document which was issued on a reserve. 1 will make it available at the first opportunity if there are any doubting Thomases on the Government side. It is a transit document which is signed by a member of the council but contersigned by a white man. In this particular area the council is supposed to meet only once a week. If the great grandmother of a resident of a reserve has died or is ill and he wants to shift from one spot to another, either to enter or leave a reserve, he may have to wait a week before the council meets. Many Queensland Aborigines protested at the embassy. We are told that in Queensland there is complete freedom to come and go as you like and that the councils are elected at regular intervals. I have not been able to find a council which has gone through the process of democratic balloting in the last 2 years. I hope thai nobody will tell me that this has been done on Palm Island, Bamaga or any one of these places because it has not been done. On one reserve I asked about this - I am not going to give the name of the person who told me because he is an employee of the Department - and I was told: The boss just appointed them last year and away we went’.
– Who is the honourable senator blaming for no election?
– I am blaming the Minister in Charge of Aboriginal and
Island Affairs in Queensland and his Director. Both of them are propping up a rotten system. I do not blame any employee of the Department. They are the victims of the dirty, filthy system which has been perpetuated by that Government, the Director, the Minister and, on many occasions, publicly by the Premier too. I believe that 1 have a right to make this protest. The Government will not allow the people themselves to do it in the normal way in which they wanted in front of this House. They were not causing a nuisance. They had become a tourist attraction. Very few tourists who came through Canberra did noi call in to chat to them, hear about their problems, sign their petition or give them a donation to help their cause.
– Who ended up with the money?
– If the honourable senator wants to throw red herrings across the trail let him get up and make his own speech and make accusations if he has any evidence on which to base them. But I ask him not to try to cut down my time. This group of people had the support of most people in the Australian Capital Territory. I did not receive any complaints from any local residents. .1 certainly did not receive any complaints from any tourists. Members of the embassy told me that apart from one or two occasions everybody was friendly to them. If they were not causing a nuisance why was there this great need, brought on in the dark of the political night when Parliament was away from this city, to assault them twice? One cannot blame the police just because they are police. They have a job to do. It is unfortunate that a minority of them did not do the job the way they should have. There was no provocation on behalf of the black people but there was on behalf of a number of the policemen. This is where the first problem started. When the tent was re-erected and removed the second time we had the same problems. Our treatment of black people has brought this country into disgrace not only within our own boundaries but also around the world.
The other night when the tent was again erected it was done in a spirit of happiness. The loophole had been found in the law and it could not be implemented. The wise thing to do would have been to wait until the next day before shifting those people. But by the light of matches and torches people redrafted the ordinance. The second time they made mistakes which probably could have been challenged had there been the time and opportunity to do so. Then these people were removed by the light of torches at 1 o’clock in the morning. lt was not even humane to do that. It took about 50 police to remove 7 or 8 peaceful, non-violent Aborigines at 1 a.m. on a cold morning with rain falling and wind blowing. But the Government was careful to make sure that both Houses of Parliament had risen before it took this action. A number of my colleagues and I discussed what was likely to happen earlier in the night. We said: ‘They are not such big brutes that they will come and shift the Aborigines before tomorrow morning.’ So we went respectfully back to our various places of residence.
– ls this an excuse as to why 30 Australian Labor Party men did not help? These people signed a great document that they were going to help, but they went home.
– ls the honourable senator making a speech? It is not a very satisfactory one. There was never any excuse needed. The Labor Party said right from the start that it would assist in every way. We are still assisting. When the election is held in November of this year there will be a different attitude to the whole Aboriginal problem. Aborigines will be treated with humanity. There will be a different attitude to the problems of health, unemployment, freedom and right of expression.
– Then there will be justice.
– As my colleague Senator Wilkinson interjects, that will be the time when there will be justice.
– Order! There is too much conversation on the cross benches.
– I am sorry that the Australian Democratic Labor Party and the Australian Country Party are having their own private war about whether Aborigines should be disposed of. I have stated that as far as I am concerned-
– We did not open our mouths. The DLP is not in it.
– Senator G air’s mouth looks like a mine shaft anyway so I naturally thought his mouth was open. We have said that we will do everything possible to help these people while this Government survives. But in the short life left to it I suggest that it make available a little justice for them. It will be just a little because the Government is incapable of making available large quantities of justice. Also I suggest that there will be much more debate on this matter when the estimates for the Office of Aboriginal Affairs are discussed. The Government ought to take another look at this whole question. If this Ordinance is disallowed today it will not create a permanent problem. Right from the start the Aborigines said they did not want to set up there a permanent embassy. They said, however, they did want to set up there a form of protest that would be visible to the whole of Australia so that they could get their story over. I hope that when the vote is taken the Ordinance will be disallowed.
– The Australian Democratic Labor Party does not propose to support the disallowance of this Ordinance. We have looked at the whole situation and have listened to the arguments. There is nobody in this House in my view who does not have a great sympathy for the problems of the Aboriginal people. Indeed there is today more understanding of those problems than ever before in the history of this nation. There has been exhibited on many occasions a desire to do many things which are now constructive in assisting the Aboriginal people, large numbers of whom are nomadic, to cross the bridges that must be crossed so that they may be integrated gradually into a modern society. These problems are not small as they were thought to be in the early days of the settlement of this country by white people when it was believed that it was merely a question of overcoming a fear complex that they were in some way a danger to them. The Aborigines were not, in the main, aggressive, although at times and in some circumstances they were driven to assert themselves and did so. So the fears and conflicts grew.
All that occurred long before our generation, and there seemed to have been found a very convenient way not to tackle the fundamental problems which affect these people but to sweep them under the carpet or to solve them with hand-outs. I think that today we would all agree that this supposed solution ultimately did not help the Aborigines to cross the bridges to join us in developing this country, but rather it helped further to destroy them even more widely and insidiously than anything else that could have been designed. It took from them their pride and interest and in many instances made mendicants of those who were not capable even of a desire to move from the existence into which their environment had forced them to an existence made possible as gradually that environment was changed. The environment had changed completely and absolutely by the intrusion of white settlers who brought with them new knowledge and experience and who were able for the first time to apply the advantages of capitalisation to the enormous natural resources of this country - resources which at that time had not been exploited, such as the mineral resources which no-one knew existed in this country.
That was a general problem. The specific one the Senate is discussing is this Ordinance and its history. Senator Cavanagh made the relevant point that the Aborigines had been camped outside Parliament House for 6 months and that nothing had been done about them. What we have to decide as a result of the natural sympathy that we all feel and which I had already expressed without contest, without an interjection, which exists on all sides of the House, is to do something, perhaps in different ways, to help solve these problems. The Government ignored its responsibility to the whole of Australia and had allowed to be erected on a public reserve an establishment which took from many other people the right to use a section of that reserve. I believe the Government was ill-advised not to take action within a reasonable time of the first tents being erected on the lawns outside Parliament House. I believe my colleagues of the Democratic Labor Party agree with me. This was a dangerous action, for it we look at the consequences we will reemphasise that we all have a great number of different sympathies. Let me assume that the present Government was not in office at the time the embassy was erected - this
Government which is charged with being in some way hostile to the Aborigines and the things they wished to demonstrate, because it had left them there for 6 months before it did anything. Let us assume also that the Australian Labor Party was in office at the time of the embassy’s erection. We are all aware that the Labor Party supports many causes which it considers equally as valuable as the Aborigines’ cause. In fact, some of them are given a lot more prominance than even the unemployment question: One has been debated in the Parliament in the last day or so. The Labor Party is more concerned about what it considers to be the establishment of the Ustasha in this country and it demands that something be done about it.
– Quite right, too.
– Quite right, too. But let us look at the whole spectrum of the Labor Party’s interests. It also makes a great thing of the legislation of homosexuality; it believes in abortion on demand; and it has made a statement through an honourable senator that it believes in an open go for pornography. Are we to see the gardens outside Parliament House covered by the erection of tents which will carry banners protesting about the desires, some of the policies, of the Labor Party?
– I rise on a point of order. I take exception to the fact that Senator Little has told this Parliament this afternoon that the Labor Party advocates an open go for pornography. I ask him to withdraw that assertion.
– It is difficult for me to withdraw that statement. He should ask Senator James McClelland who made the statement to withdraw it, not me. I am only repeating what was published in the Press as a statement by the spokesman for the Labor Party on the issue. But if it offends Senator McLaren that it becomes known to the public, I am happy to withdraw it.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wilkinson) - A point of order has been raised, Senator Little, and it was not your right to debate it at this stage. Senator McLaren asked whether you were in order in quoting Labor Party policy as being in support of pornography. You, Senator Little, made that statement but I cannot do anything about any statement you make about what the Labor Party believes. You could be quite wrong. The point of order is not upheld.
– Thank you.
– I rise on a further point of order. Senator Little in speaking to my first point of order went on to say that Senator James McClelland had advocated that the Labor Party would give an open go to pornography. Senator McClelland has never made that statement. He said there would be an easing of censorship. He mentioned the word ‘pornography’. I ask Senator Little to withdraw those remarks because they are offensive to me and offensive to the Labor Party, and if Senator James McClelland were here they would be offensive to him also.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Senator Little, the remarks made by you are offensive to Senator McLaren and I would ask you to withdraw them.
– I would gladly accept your instruction to withdraw them if Senator McLaren is in any way sensitive on the issue. Having established the Labor Party’s case for causes with which it has great sympathy, that is to erect establishments outside Parliament House, which this Ordinance will now prohibit, 1 can turn to the specific interests of the other parties. My own Party believes in many other things just as sincerely as it believes in the case for the Aborigines and which should be given great prominence. For instance, we believe that large family, child endowment and maternity allowances should be greatly increased. Yet are we to be permitted to erect a building outside Parliament House to exhibit those beliefs? We believe in the abolition of the means test and we believe in increasing unemployment benefits. Our Party was the first to draw attention in this House to the inadequacy of those benefits and as a result those benefits were almost immediately increased. It is our right to raise those issues in this House, but surely we do not have a right to erect and adorn structures outside Parliament House simply because we believe in those causes. Nor do the unemployed for whom we have sympathy.
This is the basis of the Ordinance. It is not a question of a specific programme advocated by the people. That is why I tell the Government that it was very dangerous to have expressed its sympathy for this particular cause for so long by taking no action whatsoever to halt this encroachment. To the best of my knowledge, all parties are opposed to encroachments on public parks and gardens for any purpose. Are we to break the platforms of our parties each time a party has a specific cause about which it goes overboard? 1 think Senator Cavanagh’s criticism of the Government for allowing the alleged embassy to remain there for so long was a valid criticism. I think the Government will learn that the establishment of such a dangerous precedent could lead to bigger and worse troubles. People have an instinct and a right to expect that if something is tolerated for as long as 6 months it ought to continue to be tolerated. 1 think it was a dangerous precedent to set, and I make that point to the Senate.
Let us look at some of the. matters that have been raised about the people whom the Ordinance affects. One section of the protestors whom the Ordinance affects is the Aboriginal people who were camped opposite Parliament House. The problem is a very serious one. I believe that for the first time in our history we are beginning to do positive things which might help to solve an almost insoluble problem. Firstly, confusion between the problems of Aborigines who have been fringe dwellers of industrial cities for generations, and the problems of Aborigines who are the true nomad people of sections of northern Queensland, northern Western Australia and the Northern Territory should cease.
– They are all the same.
– If Senator Georges is not aware of the difference now he will be when I finish. The Aborigines in the Northern Territory have a distinctly different set of problems which are far more difficult to solve than the Aborigines who have lived in the shadow of industrial cities for generations.
– That is not so.
– If Senator Georges does not accept that basic fact he should go back to school on this problem because he will not be able to help the people whom he wants to help.
– I know the problems. Does the honourable senator know the problems?
– Senator Georges can judge me by my remarks. There is a tremendous difference between the problems of these people. In Victoria the Democratic Labor Party pioneered land rights for Aborigines who had been segregated into Aboriginal reserves in the Gippsland area to give them back the dignity that they seemed to have lost under the old handout system. That has helped to re-establish them on a completely new basis. They are progressing very well although not as well as many people would like. We are beginning to make progress. Haste in trying to solve the problem could be a very destructive force. The problem did not grow overnight. lt existed even before white settlers came here. Geologists and historians have examined this country. They have found that there was a limited time in which the continent would have been able to continue to sustain animal life in any shape or form - human or otherwise - if there had not been introduced into the country some of the ideas that were brought here by the earlier settlers.
– That is nonsense.
– Senator Georges denies this. The whole geological history is against him. The grasses and the animals necessary to sustain life were not here. There was not the continuity of sufficient seasonal conditions to sustain a farming community. That is why the farming community had disappeared, if it had ever existed on this continent. The farming community was brought back here when the white man brought with him the experience and the knowledge to know how to harness the natural resources to enable him to venture upon new undertakings.
Australia faces entirely different circumstances now. In the last 25 to 50 years the nomad people of the deserts of the Northern Territory have come to the settlements and have been subjected, because the basic philosophy was wrong, to the bad influence of the progressive world that Australia has become. We have to build a bridge. In spite of the attempted interjections, let us get down to the facts. There have been great difficulties wherever there has been a problem of assimilation. In America the Red Indian knew the horse. He lived in villages. He farmed the land. He was not a nomad in the accepted sense that the Australian Aboriginal is because the environment of the Australian Aboriginal is so much more difficult and harsher. The white man went to America from Europe. He had horses, but he had carts as well. He had gone a step in advance of the Red Indian. Today the Australian Aboriginal is coming in from the deserts and making his first association and contact with the type of civilisation that we have today. That civilisation is not one of horses and carts but is one capable of sending man on journeys to the moon. The Aboriginal is far behind what the Red Indian was when he first made contact with the European-type civilisation. We have a far greater gap over which we have to build a bridge than any previous gap with a problem of this type.
Let us examine some of the circumstances. 1 agree wilh Senator Keeffe - nobody can disagree now because of the production of the figures - about the infant mortality rate among Aborigines. It is a shocking thing. Nowhere in the world previously has statistical evidence been gathered and collated to show the infant mortality rate among people who live in and who are still influenced by the type of environment in which these people have lived and survived when probably our race would have been wiped out. Because of the production of this statistical evidence the medical officers who collated it have been condemned. In the world of medicine, if one does not find out what the problem is. one has very little chance of solving it. They are condemned because, for the first time in history, the necessary evidence to get on with the job of solving the problem has been collated. The problem is not of their making or, in fact, of anybody’s making. The environment has given to the people who have lived and survived in it a specific set of circumstances which they have learned to use to survive. Those circumstances are not compatible with moving into a modern type community.
In the family culture of the nomads in the deserts infants were breast fed until they were 4 or 5 years of age. Their intake of food was supplemented by grubs, lizards, moths, grass seeds and grasss which they could chew all day. Probably the protein that they derived from those foods was, if not sufficient, then better than the protein that they get now. If one goes to the desert, looks at the circumstances and makes inquiries, the first thing that one finds - I neither criticise nor condemn anybody for this, but one has to find solutions for this - is that the common practice now is that their main purchases from the stores on the settlements, with the money that they have, are tea and sugar. They lack the knowledge to know that a child of 3, 4 or 5 years of age whose little stomach is filled with a beverage which consists of brewed tea with perhaps half a pound of sugar placed in the billy has no desire to eat and suffers malnutrition because its diet is completely inadequate. It does not cry for food because the sustenance that it is given is sufficient to still the pangs of hunger. Because of their environment they do not understand. The same thing would have happened to us. There is no criticism in what I say. If a child does not cry, as a hungry child will cry, they naturally presume that it is fed. But it is not fed sufficiently to ensure that its health will be normal. The incidence of infant mortality is high because deprived of the necessary proteins the babies are subject to all the diseases. It would be simple to say that there is an easy solution to this problem, yet when we analyse it, there is not an easy solution. The children are very much prized and loved in their families as they are in our families. One cannot take the children away from the influence of their mothers, and no-one will advocate that.
– Why do you not feed them well?
– One cannot take the child in an environment such as this and shove the necessary foods down its throat, because the first time that the child gets ill what happens in the tribal circle is that the white man is condemned for the fact. Even if he puts a needle into the little bodies somewhere to give the children the necessary treatment superstition is then introduced and the Aborigines say that this is what killed the child. We are not getting cooperation.
– Senator Georges, by your interjections you are only exhibiting the fact that you have not made any intelligent survey. The honourable senator has not tried to help these people. He is one of those who apparently are prepared to get a slogan and rush around waving it on a stick, thinking that he is going to help someone. But he is not going to help the Aborigines unless he gets down to cases and investigates those cases by using what intelligence he is blessed with. He needs to find the real things and the essential things to do. He needs to get to work in order to help to build the bridges that will assist Aboriginal people to walk across into a civilised community. He should not think that we can go out and tackle a problem as enormous and as long established as this has been, wave a few slogans, give a few handouts, make food available and believe that such acts will automatically solve that problem.
If we increased the amount of proper proteins a hundred-fold to these communities which are deprived of them, little would reach the children. It is no-one’s fault that this happens at the moment. We have to get through to them the knowledge that we have of how essential proteins are to them. These people love their children. We are educating the children and providing the schools that are necessary to give them the knowledge. At the moment one of the big barriers - and I have been criticised for what 1 have said about this - is the fact that young people who were beginning to gain the knowledge that will help with the problem which has to be solved where it alone can be solved - ‘amongst the Aboriginal people themselves - go back to their villages and are forced to be reabsorbed into village life by much of the witchcraft, tradition and alleged cultures of Aboriginal people. Those things were adequately suitable in the environment in which they once lived and which, if we leave them alone, they will leave behind them in their march forwards towards a civilised community.
Many people are walking around today who, because they think there is something cute about some of these things that resemble the witchcraft in our society of 150 years ago, say that because it is Aboriginal culture it must be preserved at all time. I have said at a Democratic Labor Party conference that some of the things that were real culture, which would never die, and which would remain so whatever bridges the Aborigines crossed, were their bark paintings, their carvings and their dancing. I was quoted as saying in this regard that all that was worth preserving was their bark paintings. What a lot of rubbish. There is much in their culture that they will bring with them.
– They will bring more than you will.
– It is not for us to destroy their culture or to keep it alive. If, as they cross the bridges, they want to walk away from certain parts of their culture as we have walked away from ours, as with witchcraft, that is all right. If Senator O’Byrne wants to interject, does he suggest that it was never the culture of our race to grab women who were thought to be witches and dunk them in a pond and if they did not drown to burn them at the stake, and if they did not burn to declare that they were not witches? Was that culture? Did we want to bring that sort of custom with us as we were educated into a modern age? Of course we did not. We walked away from it. At Bathurst Island and in various settlements in the Northern Territory I have talked to young Aborigines who said that they are walking away from much of this alleged culture. However, they are finding that the white people are forcing them back to it because they say that it is Aboriginal culture and must be preserved.
– They will point the bone at you.
– The honourable senator can point what he likes. He will not disturb me. If my logic is too good and he has to leave, I also will be unconcerned. I have a feeling that we as a people want to help the Aborigines and want to do it intelligently and correctly. We do not want to subscribe to what happened in the past. We do not believe that there are easy ways out of this problem such as thinking that all we have to do is to give Aborigines some land.
Senator Keeffe has suggested that the Government’s proposition to give 35 square miles of land to Aborigines at Watt
Creek should be revised and that an area of 500 square miles be given to them. I am no expert on this matter. However, I have been to Watti Creek. To the best of my knowledge a station consisting of 500 square miles would be the smallest station in the whole of the Northern Territory. Also, the area would be in the worst land. Watti Creek is part of the Wave Hill Station. An area of 6,000 square miles would be needed for that station to be a viable unit and enable it to produce returns of the type that we expect and to enable people to live. A station of this size would be needed for a whole tribe of Aborigines to establish a viable unit. My approach to this matter is this: All that would happen with the publicity that would result would be the condemnation of the Aboriginal people on this area to whom Senator Keeffe would give an impossible task. It would be impossible to run a cattle station on an area of 500 square miles on the sort of terrain at Watt Creek. It takes enormous capital resources and enormous know-how by international companies such as Vesteys to sustain the proper breeds of cattle in the environment in which they will be grazed. There is a need to keep the breed at the right level and to get cattle out of isolated areas hundreds of miles from anywhere to the markets. Any enterprise such as this will have to accept the enormous handicap of season after season of distress and survive the adverse conditions until the coming of one good season which would produce a profitable yield of cattle. Yet, it is suggested that 500 square miles is required.
Even if assistance were poured in and even if Aboriginals were left for a short period on their own in the climatic conditions of that environment, one bad season would wipe out the business enterprise and if they were not rescued the whole of the Gurindji tribe would be wiped out as well. These people have roamed over thousands of square miles of territory. This is the sort of terrain that made them nomads. One could easily eat the natural food in 500 square miles of this territory in 6 to 12 months after which time nothing would be left but a barren area. If the people of this area had not been able to move on to another place their species would have become extinct long ago.
– When you were at Wave Hill, did you get evidence of Aborigines burning down houses which had been built for them?
– No, 1 was only at Wave Hill for a day. I saw plenty of evidence of huts that I would not have called houses that had been built for Aboriginal stockmen to live in. However, I saw plenty of evidence of other things. I do not criticise the Aboriginal people here, but because they had become accustomed to their environment they did not even leave the tin huts in the middle of the night but urinated against the wall until they had rotted the walls away. That is not a criticism at all of the Aboriginal people. However, it shows the enormous difficulties. Building houses for Aboriginal people will not solve anything. Firstly we have to teach them how to live in the sort of houses that you and I have learnt to live in. Our ancestors have gradually progressed towards that stage over a period of 1,000 years. However, the Aboriginal people have not had the advantage of those 1,000 years of history. 1 believe that honourable senators could be making hasty decisions. They think that there are short cuts and easy ways and that slogans can do the job. I say that the medical men of the Department of Health in the Northern Territory today, who are collating the evidence, are able to fulfil a requirement by slowing the high infant mortality rate through finding out why it is so high. That is going to achieve something.
But there should not be condemnation of them for producing the evidence that is nobody’s fault at this point of time. It is the circumstances of history and the environment that have led to a way of life that was necessary in those circumstances to survive but which is no longer necessary. It is our responsibility to be the guide dog to lead them across those necessary bridges towards a better way of life. It can be done that way.
I could talk on this matter for a long time. But really I do not think that I am relevant to the subject that is before the chair when I do so, because this is a side issue of the Ordinance. These happen to be merely the issues on which this band of people who are affected by this Ordinance have demonstrated. As I pointed out, it may affect many other bands of people who have what they consider to be very worthy causes, possibly even as worthy as I believe the overall cause of these people to be. In their protestations, they will not know all the answers any more than we will, lt is doubtful whether some of them would have had sufficient opportunity to research the whole matter as definitively as it has to be researched before they can make the necessary suggestions to help them in the problem and to help us to help them in the problem with which they are faced.
– Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– 1 rise to enter this debate. I do so because I would have as much knowledge as, if not more than, most honourable senators in regard to what my fellow Aborigines were demonstrating against in front of Parliament House earlier this year until such time as the Ordinance was made. Also, I would say that many honourable senators probably recall that when the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt) first stated that he would introduce this Ordinance I spoke out very strongly against it - not in the Senate but outside it - and made my thoughts known. At that time I was prepared to move in the Senate for the disallowance of the Ordinance. Since that time I have had the opportunity to make certain investigations and I have learnt that the Commonwealth would have the power to move anyone off the lawns in front of Parliament House without this Ordinance, if it so desired. So I cannot support the motion for the disallowance of this Ordinance because 1 see that it would serve no purpose. If we were to disallow it, the Commonwealth would still have power to move my fellow Aborigines off the lawns in front of Parliament House if they came back there.
– What power? Can you define that power?
– You start doing some research into matters pertaining to this House and matters pertaining to my race before you stand up and try to speak authoritatively about Aboriginal affairs. Allow me, as the Aboriginal in the Senate, at least to speak with some authority on matters pertaining to my race. When my fellow Aborigines set up their tents on the lawns in front of Parliament House they did so to demonstrate against some of the atrocities that have happened to Aborigines since Governor Phillip landed at Botany Bay about 188 years ago. They did not set up the tents to demonstrate solely against this Government. They were demonstrating against all the things that have happened over the years - the shootings, the killings, the taking of the land and many other things that have happened. Like other people, they wanted to demonstrate here. But unlike perhaps the more learned and sophisticated white people they did not come into the halls of Parliament House or into Kings Hall to do their lobbying. They were not sophisticated enough. The only way they knew to do this was to sit out there in front of Parliament House.
– lt was not a bad way. It was a good one. You do not have to be sophisticated to do that.
– You probably would be one of the people who encouraged them to do just some of the things that happened recently in some of their more violent demonstrations.
– Mr President, I would ask the honourable senator to withdraw that remark because it is offensive to me.
– Do you require Senator Bonner to withdraw?
– What words do you require him to withdraw?
– He has stated that I encouraged-
– He said that you would be one of those.
– No, he said that I was one of those who did encourage the Aborigines in some of their more violent acts. If the honourable senator is to proceed in that way, I want you, Mr President, to tell him exactly how I-
– Order! That has nothing to do with the matter. Senator Georges, what are the words to which you object?
– I have told you the words, Mr President.
– Order! I shall instruct the Clerk to take them down. What are the words?
– That I would probably be one of those who would encourage Aborigines to resort to violence or to violent acts. To the best of my knowledge those are the words.
- Senator Georges, you will resume your seat while I consider the matter. The Parliamentary Reporter will write out the words that he heard Senator Bonner utter. I want this question of what is to be withdrawn to be cleared up. The attendant will bring the words to me.
Senator Georges, I have looked at the draft that has been presented to me by the Parliamentary reporter and the words you recollect are not the words that were taken down.
– I rise to order. I am not a Hansard reporter. I cannot take down in shorthand what Senator Bonner said and read it out. But 1 think that in fairness to me you ought to read out the words that were actually taken down because as I recall them, they were offensive to me and I want them withdrawn. If I am not able to recall those words accurately, that is no reason why the actual words used should not be-
– Order! Senator Georges, I cannot take it that the words you recollect are the words that, in fact, Senator Bonner used. I have in front of me the words actually recorded and they are not in accordance with your recollection. So there is no offence against you. I call on Senator Bonner.
– The honourable senator probably would prefer to sit in the streets rather than sit in the chamber.
– I object to that also, Mr President. I seek to have those words withdrawn.
– What words?
– That the senator would prefer to sit in the streets than to sit in this chamber.
– You cannot object to that.
– You keep out of this.
– Order! I think that those are fairly harsh words and that probably, Senator Bonner, you would like to rephrase them. If Senator Georges is offended by them, there is no loss of dignity for you to make an apology.
– 1 withdraw the words if they offend the honourable senator.
– Say that he has shown a propensity.
– Order! Senator Bonner will resume his speech. I would be grateful if Senator Bonner would be accorded the dignity to which he is entitled on 2 grounds.
– I was saying, Mr President, that my fellow Aborigines were protesting on the lawns outside Parliament House but they were not protesting wholly and solely against this Government. They were protesting against things that have happened over many years and they protested in the way they thought fit. Unfortunately they were trespassing on land. This Ordinance had to be brought in because the Government found that there was a loophole in the Australian Capital Territory ordinance concerned. I did not agree at that time, and I still do not agree today, with the way in which the Ordinance was brought in. I believe that the Parliament should have had the opportunity of debating the matter. Now the Ordinance has become law and, as a law abiding citizen, I stand by it and I hope that my fellow Aborigines will stand by it also.
I do not intend to take a great deal of time, but while I am on my feet I want to refer to some of the remarks passed by an honourable senator who purports to support Aborigines. He made some remarks, when speaking about Aborigines, which are very offensive to me. He said that apparently no survey had been made to determine the extent of venereal diser.se amongst Aboriginal people. I would like him to know that there is just as much venereal disease per head of population amongst white people; perhaps there is a darned sight more.
– That makes it too high.
– I am not happy about the percentage of it; nor should the honourable senator be happy about the percentage of it amongst his own race. But why bring the matter up in this place and hold Aborigines up to ridicule for one’s own political gain? The honourable senator thinks he will gain a lot of political mileage out of the Aboriginal situation. Unfortunately Aborigines are suffering from what he is doing. They are being led by the nose to do certain things that they would not do otherwise. Aborigines, in their own way, always have been very law abiding people. They have never broken the law. They have laws that I guarantee white people would not be able to live under. If white people had had to live under the laws of the Aborigines when living in accordance with their tribal ways, they would have had a tomahawk or a nulla nulla over their heads. Sometimes I wish that those kinds of laws were enforced even today because then we would not be facing some of the problems that we are facing.
Much has been said in this debate about my fellow Aborigines protesting on the lawns outside Parliament. One honourable senator said that they should not have been allowed there in the first place because it established some kind of precedent. The Government was very foolish, in the first instance, in establishing the precedent by allowing a man to go on a starvation campaign or some kind of fast outside Parliament House. That man was not even an Australian. He was a foreigner protesting for a foreign cause and he was permitted to stay there for many weeks.
Just prior to the rising of the Parliament for the last recess I went out on to the lawns outside Parliament House and spoke to my fellow Aborigines there. I had many discussions with them. I had started negotiating with the Minister to get some kind of permanent lobby for them in Canberra. I think it would be far better for me to pursue that line of action than to support the disallowance of this Ordinance. Disallowance would not benefit my race in any way at all. I know from travelling around Australia, and particularly from travelling around my own State, that 90 per Cent of Aborigines in my own State, and perhaps throughout Australia, were not in favour of the idea of our young men camping on the. lawns outside Parliament Honse. They believed that it was most undignified. Aborigines always have been a very dignified race, particularly until the white man introduced grog and things like that. Since then they sometimes have lost their dignity and pride. However, Aborigines generally did not agree with our young men camping there. They asked me to come to Canberra and to talk more along the lines of the Government providing for Aborigines a building in Canberra which they could use for a permanent lobby. As 1 said before, J was negotiating with the Minister about this. I was also negotiating with my fellow Aborigines on the lawns outside Parliament House. Unfortunately other people did not want this to happen. I am quite sure that they felt that this was too peaceful a way of settling the whole issue. They advised my fellow Aborigines not to listen to anyone negotiating for a permanent building here..
I will be continuing that line of action and I will be talking again with the Minister for the Interior and, I hope, with the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts (Mr Howson) about providing in Canberra a permanent building which can be used by Aborigines as a permanent lobby. Aborigines could then come to Canberra for conferences, discuss matters that they want to discuss and pass resolutions that could be brought before the Government and before the Parliament. This would be helping them in the way that they want to be helped.
– Would you have done that if they had not protested?
– This was being negotiated. I believe that it could have been successful if some of the so-called friends of the young Aboriginal people who were camped on the lawns outside Parliament House had left them alone. I would like to ask a question. I was told by my young Aboriginal friends who were camped outside: ‘Don’t worry. Senator; everything is all right. The Labor politicians are all going to link arms right around the embassy when the police come to try to take it down, and they will protect us’. I cannot recall seeing on the television programme which screened that incident any Labor men standing with arms jinked. A lot has been said by many people about how they can help the Aboriginal people. I think the best way that people can help the Aborigines is by letting them work out their own problems and by letting them bring their problems to the appropriate people in authority who can do something about them; not by waving banners or walking up and down the streets and shouting. These things should be done through the proper channels - and there are proper channels.
Why have the political parties of this country not encouraged Aborigines to become politically involved and to find their way into Parliament? I believe that it is in the Houses of Parliament that decisions are made, not on the lawns outside. It seems strange, Mr President, that so far there is only one Aboriginal in Parliament. I hear about all the wonderful things that members of the Labor Party are going to do for Aborigines. One most important thing that they have not done as yet is given an Aboriginal the opportunity of coming into Parliament, sitting alongside them and putting up a case where it will do the most good.
– How many Aborigines are members of the Liberal Party?
– You were not elected; you were selected.
– The Liberal Party happens to have just one more than the Labor Party has, or any other party as a matter of fact.
– Order! Senator Bonner has been elected in a constitutional manner and sits in the Senate by right.
– I would go further, Mr President, and say that I will be sitting here for a long, long time to come. I would hope that I would have the pleasure of seeing one of my fellow Aborigines sitting either on the Government benches or on the Opposition benches - I do not mind which. But I would like to see encouragement, guidance, training and counselling given to Aborigines so that they can come in here and take their place in Parliament. Although I will be trying, to the best of my ability, to bring about a situation where my fellow Aborigines will have a permanent lobby in Canberra, I do not feel that at this time I can support the motion to disallow the Ordinance because, as I said earlier, it can do no good for my race whatsoever. The Commonwealth still has power to remove Aborigines from the lawns in front of Parliament House if they were to set up their tents there again. Finally, I want to say that I never did subscribe to it being called an ‘embassy’ because, as I understand it, one has an embassy in a foreign land. I deny emphatically that I or any other Aborigine is a foreigner to this wonderful land of Australia in which we live.
Senator KEEFFE (Queensland)- Mr President, I claim to have been misrepresented.
- Senator Keeffe, you have already spoken. Why do you wish to address me?
– I claim to have been misrepresented by Senator Bonner. I regret that I have to do this.
– Order! Senator Keeffe, you claim to have been misrepresented. You may now explain to the Senate where the misrepresentation has occurred.
– Thank you very much, Mr President.
– He will make a speech.
– Senator Webster will be disappointed. Senator Bonner made 2 references concerning me. Firstly, he said that I used my fight for the Aboriginal cause for political gain. I emphatically deny this. I can truthfully say that in no circumstances have I ever personally asked any Aboriginal or Islander to join my political Party or to support it, nor have I ever given any Aboriginal or Islander an enrolment card. The other point Senator Bonner made was a very serious one.
– Mr President, I raise a point of order.
– What is the point of order?
– I cannot see how it can be claimed that Senator Bonner misrepresented Senator Keeffe because Senator Bonner never mentioned Senator Keeffe’s name in his speech.
– That is not a point of order. Senator Keeffe is entitled to claim that he has been misrepresented and to explain to the Senate how he has been misrepresented, but he must not make a speech.
– Thank you, Mr President. The second point was the reference to venereal disease. There was no suggestion at any time that I was casting any aspersions on the Aborigines or Islanders. What 1 did say was that there has been no medical survey. The incidence of venereal disease among Aborigines is high because it is not treated. If the same sort of treatment was given to Aborigines as is given to the white population, it would amount to the same thing. I think that is a fair explanation.
– I wish to enter the debate mainly to clear up a point upon which I have been misrepresented by Senator Bonner.
– You have nol spoken yet. How can you claim to have been misrepresented?
– I have not spoken yet, but I am speaking now.
– Order! Senator Georges is now debating the motion before the Senate.
– 1 take the opportunity to speak to the motion for the disallowance of the Ordinance because briefly I did object to the manner in which the Ordinance was brought down in the first place. Secondly, I was one of those people who left Parliament House - perhaps I was a little later than some other honourable senators - fairly late, at about 12.30 a.m., on the night or the morning when the embassy was removed. I was told at the time that the Ordinance had been printed and hurried through and that the embassy would be removed within half an hour. So I waited for some time and nothing happened, although I do believe that the police who were on guard at the door had communications, by radio, with police headquarters. As I say, nothing happened. Then I decided to leave because it seemed to be strange that the Ordinance should be suddenly printed in the early hours of the morning and that the embassy should be removed in the early hours of the morning. Apparently I had no sooner left than the police, for some reason or other, decided to use the powers of the newly gazetted Ordinance to remove the 2 tents and the few people who were there. It seemed to me to be a rather underhand way of doing it. The way the Ordinance was brought down does reflect on the original promulgation of the Ordinance in that it was done after the Parliament had risen; it was done so that the embassy could be shifted without interference by members of Parliament, lt was done in an underhand way.
I think that the Government was embarrassed by the embassy. To me it seemed to be an act of protest on the part of a few people who could have been allowed to remain there until such time as they had tired of the protest. The embassy seems to have offended many people. It seems to have offended Senator Bonner. It did not offend me. It has been suggested here today that other persons’ rights were affected by the embassy being there on a small plot of ground and that the ground was needed by somebody else for their use. I do not think that anybody objected. Nobody claimed that they wanted to use that particular piece of lawn. No-one made a formal protest. The embassy, as it was called, could have remained.
Senator Bonner, in his speech, made a firm declaration. Perhaps it is not in the words that I shall now use - I will have a look at the Hansard report tomorrow to see the exact words. He said that 1 was one of those who would or did incite Aborigines to violent action. I want Senator Bonner to state clearly to me just how and when I have been associated actively with the Aboriginal protest. Perhaps, to my shame. I have not been associated directly with this particular protest. I do not think - and perhaps this is to my discredit - that I ever spoke to or approached the people in the embassy.
The embassy was there and it made its point. I did not at any time take part in any activity or protest on behalf of the Aborigines here in Canberra or in Brisbane. I have taken an active part in other protests and demonstrations. In fact, I have taken part in protests and demonstrations in support of racial tolerance. I have taken part in demonstrations that were opposed to racialism because my attitude has always been that racialism is the lowest form, the most despicable form of human altitude, lt offends me for Senator Bonner to say that I would incite anyone - let alone an Aborigine - to an act of violence.
Senator Bonner has been here long enough to know that he must stand upon his own feet. We do not patronise him. His Party patronises him; the Government patronises him. There was a protest by a Minister sitting on the front bench - I think it was Senator Cotton. He objected to the fact that 1 sought to impose upon Senator Bonner a rule of this place, namely, that he shall not read a speech. Senator Cotton was offended because 1 did that.
– How many read speeches on your side?
– That is beside the point. Senator Cotton believed that Senator Bonner whs entitled to special privileges. Senator Bonner can do better on his own without your patronising attitude.
– We are extremely proud to have him.
– Then do not patronise him. Your very attitude to Senator Bonner when he is speaking or when he might come under a barrage of interjections is patronising, and it does you a disservice and it docs Senator Bonner a disservice. I think even the President indicated that on 2 grounds Senator Bonner ought to have protection. Senator Bonner represents the State of Queensland; he represents the people of Queensland. He needs no defence merely because he happens to be an Aborigine. He would be far more capable of fighting his cause - I think he suspects this from time to time - if he were on this side of the chamber.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Withers) - I ask the honourable senator to come back to the motion.
– 1 am dealing with the point. These matters were raised in the debate.
– You are uncomfortable.
– I am not uncomfortable. When honourable senators opposite claim that theirs is the first Party to have an Aborigine as a member I suggest that they should not press that claim too much. Do not remind us of the despicable manoeuvres that were undertaken in
Queensland so that Senator Bonner would not be endorsed or elected. Do not raise this question again because we are likely to disclose the intrigues within Queensland, the search for an excuse not to endorse him this time.
– Tell us about little Red Riding Hood.
– I might refer to certain stories not related to little Red Riding Hood in the debate on the adjournment tonight. I trust that the honourable senator will do me the courtesy of being present. The Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance was introduced in secrecy and carried out in stealth. On those grounds I believe that it should be disallowed. It should be disallowed if only to enable the group of Aborigines who sought to protest in the way that they did to reerect their tents in front of this place so that there may be a constant reminder to us that something needs to be done in greater depth and that we need a better understanding than Senator Little brought to this problem. There is need for a better understanding in greater depth that something more has to be done. This year $53 m is to be spent on Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders throughout this country.
– Does that include education as well?
– No, it does not, and it does not include social services. If we add all those things we come to $100m at least which will be spent on Aborigines this year. I am hoping that it will achieve a better end result for the ordinary Aborigine than was achieved last year and that the money will not flow into vested areas, to created positions, to empire building within a department in a way which will absorb the money and which will be of no use to the Aborigines and their families. We must look at this carefully. The Ordinance should be disallowed. Senator Bonner has said that there is another law. I should like to know what that law is. As a first question I asked him what that law was and that led him to retaliate in what I termed an offensive manner.
– You have not been offensive to him, have you?
– No, as a matter of fact I have supported him. I have just said that honourable senators opposite patronise him and will not allow him to stand on his own feet, that he is capable of entering into any debate.
– I rise to order. No-one has stopped me from standing on my feet, those words from Senator Georges are offensive to me. I am capable of standing on my own feet and no-one has stopped me from doing so.
– I am quite prepared to withdraw what the honourable senator thinks I said but which I did not say. I said the exact opposite. I said that the honourable senator was perfectly capable of standing on his own feet and had proved that he could do so without assistance from his colleagues. That is what I am saying. As a matter of fact it is a compliment. To my knowledge this Ordinance is the only power that prevents the tents from being re-erected, although Senator Bonner may have other knowledge. If there is other power this Ordinance need not have been brought down. Let us disallow it and see what the other law is. I repeat that the Ordinance is not necessary. I suggest that we are of sufficient maturity to allow any group, whoever they may be, to demonstrate peacefully outside this place. It is a sign of political adulthood and it shows a maturity within the society when a hunger striker can stay there for as long as he wishes to state his case or when a group of Aborigines may erect some tattered tents and stay there for as long as they wish. In my view their demonstration proved to be effective, and it seems that the Government knows that it was effective - otherwise it would not have gone to this extreme trouble to have them removed.
– This is a motion to disallow an ordinance which amends the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance. The Ordinance was made on 30th June this year and it purported to come into effect on 20th July, but as a result of a decision of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory which was given on 13 th September it was necessary for the Ordinance to be re-enacted. It was re-enacted on the night of the 13th because a situation had arisen which required immediate action. Only last week the Parliament enacted a validating law which gave force to all ordinances which were subject to the vice which the Supreme Court had found had rendered the operation of the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance defective. The Opposition wants to disallow this Ordinance. I think the debate has been significant only for the lack of any argument as to why a sensible ordinance of the character of this Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance should be disallowed.
What does the Ordinance provide? Its objective is to prohibit camping on unleased Commonwealth lands in the city area of Canberra, unless the land has been declared to be a camping area by a notice in the ‘Gazette’. The amendment will remove the existing deficiency which we have become aware of in the Australian Capital Territory and it will prevent the possibility of prominent public sites which are of great interest to the residents of Canberra and to those who visit here, such as City Hill, nature strips and other vacant lands, from becoming camping areas. The legislation will not in any way restrict traditional rights of freedom of speech of assembly. These areas may be used, if people want to use them, for the purpose of holding demonstrations and assemblies or for listening to political harangues. Th, Ordinance is directed solely at camping; it is not directed at people assembling.
The Ordinance creates and offence for a person to camp, to erect a tent or other structure on unleased land and to occupy or be in a tent or other structure which is on such land. Of course, people may, if they so wish, obtain a permit which will make lawful what otherwise would be unlawful. Those permits may be obtained for the purpose of using unleased Commonwealth land for the purposes of festivals, shows, fairs, circuses or carnivals. Additionally, parking of motor vehicles will be prohibited on areas of unleased land which are specified in the ‘Gazette’. The penalty which is provided by the Ordinance is not unreasonable. A maximum penalty of $50 will apply for the offences with a continuing penalty of $10 for each day after a person has been charged with the offence if the contravention continues, provided always, of course, that he is convicted of the offence. Also the Ordinance contains provisions whereby an inspector appointed under the Ordinance or a member of the Australian Capital Territory Police Force will have power to remove a structure or a vehicle if he has requested the person who is in occupation or who has apparent control of the structure or vehicle to remove it, and if immediate steps are not taken to comply with the request or if the structure or vehicle is not removed within a reasonable time after the making of the request. Tcn, as I have said, is a perfectly reasonable ordinance to meet a situation that has arisen in the Australian Capital Territory, for which existing provisions were inadequate. All legislation is a compromise between the rights of the individual and the public interest. Every legislator when determining his attitude to legislation has to choose between an infringment on the rights of individuals, which all legislation of necessity involves, and whether the public interest which is to be served by ‘.he passage of the legislation provides for him sufficient justification for the enactment of the measure.
Earlier this year we had the situation that the expanse of lawn in front of Parliament House was the scene not of people demonstrating but of people placing tents on the lawns. The tents remained there for weeks which merged into months. This camp was unsightly, unhygienic and unsanitary. It was claimed as a justification for the tents remaining there and people from time to time occupying them that the persons who occupied them claimed to be an embassy. They claimed that their being of the Aboriginal race was justification in itself for their presence. The fact that the people were of Aboriginal race was inconsequential to the principle involved. The Government, and indeed the Parliament, ought to determine whether it desires the lawns in front of Parliament House to be occupied by a group of persons camping there in tents and by people parking their vehicles there, no effective law being available whereby that sort of action can be restrained.
The Australian Labor Party has stated clearly that it does not mind. The Australian Labor Party would have no law and would prefer to see people free and able to park their cars, to camp or to place their tents on the lawns opposite Parliament House. The Government takes a different view. The Government believes that it is in the public interest, that it is in the interests of the members of Parliament, that it is in the interests of visitors who come to Canberra and that it is in the interests of residents in Canberra that camping and parking should be in areas allotted for these purposes. Wherever those allotted areas may be, the Government believes that the area in front of Parliament House should not be available to be used in the way it was used for about 6 months of this year. That is the simple issue which was involved in the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance.
I find it surprising, listening to members of the Opposition, that they have not introduced reasons to substantiate their view that this Ordinance is unsatisfactory. I appreciate one or two points were made concerning the language of certain sections but they are not sections which affect ‘he principle created by the Ordinance. As those points do not affect the principle, one cannot suppose that they represent the core of the opposition to this Ordinance. There is in effect no argument able to be raised by members of the Opposition as to why this Ordinance should be disallowed, if one looks at what the Ordinance does and what it is intended to achieve. One therefore has to listen to what the members of the Opposition have said to appreciate the fact that this debate is merely another occasion for certain way-out views of the Australian Labor Party to be given expression.
I think it is significant that only 3 members of the Labor Party have been prepared to speak in support of this particular proposal. I do not wish to use any adjectives which might offend against the Standing Orders when I say that the honourable senators who have spoken are honourable senators who, from time to time in the past, have distinguished themselves by the way-out causes to which they have lent their support. This is another one. It is not a matter of wishing to support or not wishing to support the cause, for greater recognition for Aborigines and the claims of the Aboriginal people on the Australian community. It is simply an issue of whether public places should be permitted to be despoiled in the way in which the lawns in front of Parliament House, were in risk of being despoiled.
Would the Opposition have been prepared to take the same attitude that they have taken if there was, for example, a party of Croatians who decided that they wanted to demonstrate outside Parliament House for the purpose of drawing the attention of the Government and the nation to what they regard as injustices? Would the Opposition concede that right to the Nazi Party or the League of Rights, organisations to which in time past the Opposition has objected? These parties have the freedom to exist in this country although they do not have very much support from the Australian community. Would the Labor Party concede to those organisations as well as to the Aborigines the right to put their shanties, tents, emblems and other things on the lawn outside Parliament House? I very much doubt it. The Labor Party has taken a sectional attitude for reasons which defy logical analysis, but for the political benefit it thinks it can derive in the left wing areas, where some of the members of the Labor Party are looking for solid support, it is prepared to take this attitude.
Let me briefly say that the Government’s record in regard to the development of Aboriginal welfare proposals is nothing short of remarkable in the 3 to 4 years in which the Commonwealth has had the plenary power to act in respect of Aboriginal matters. I do not think it can be questioned that the Government has a very real sympathy for the Aboriginal cause. Its attitude is perhaps best disclosed in the recent Budget which was brought down in the middle of August and which provides this year some $53m for Aboriginal advancement.
The campers who were on the lawns outside Parliament House were, there for 6 months before being removed. This gave them ample time to draw public attention to their claims. The Government recognised that they had a fair go in the length of time that they were there. Viewpoints were expressed within the Parliament to the effect that the Government was being weak and far too tolerant in not taking action at an earlier stage. In the meantime, the so called embassy - a collection of tents - had become shabby, unsightly and unsanitary. The embassy was no credit to the Aboriginal people or to their cause.
The campers were not representative of the Aboriginal people as a whole. They openly agreed that this was the case when discussions were held with a number of Ministers on 29th July. To illustrate my point 1 will give the Senate an example. About that time a telegram was sent to the Government by the Torres Strait Islands Advisory Council. I will read this telegram because it is expressive of an attitude which has not had very much currency and which one would not accept would have any currency if the policies of the Labor Party were to be taken as accepted. The telegram reads:
Deeply concerned report some persons at present in Canberra demonstrating on the basis representing Queensland Torres Strait Island people. Must protest against your acceptance these people and emphasise that groups who have demonstrated Brisbane and recently Canberra claiming to represent Queensland Torres Strait Islands do nol in fact represent Queensland Torres Strait Islands who have their own elected group as advisory council of which I am chairman. We have no connection wilh group-
Something went wrong in the transmission of the telegram and the letters ‘NTW’ appear. The telegram continues:
This telegram came from Tanu Nona the chairman of the Torres Strait Islands Advisory Council.
Also at a recent meeting of Aboriginal advisory councils here in Canberra, the following statement was issued by the Northern Territory Aboriginal delegation:
We indicated to the conference that we were not in favour of establishing an Aboriginal embassy either in Canberra or in the Northern Territory. We believe that we can communicate directly with the Government in the way we do now. We also desire to recognise and respect the Australian law and to work wilh the Government for the advancement of our people.
That was from the Northern Territory Aboriginal delegation to the meeting of the advisory councils here in Canberra. Other messages to the same effect were received by the Minister for the Interior. The simple fact of the matter is that after a period of approximately 6 months and on a clear indication that the Government had decided that the group of tents was not to remain there indefinitely, action was set in motion to achieve that result in accordance with this Ordinance which is now sought to be disallowed. On 1 1 th May in both Houses of this Parliament the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt) in the other place and the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) who represents the Minister for the Interior in this chamber stated:
It is the Government’s intention to bring in an ordinance which will fill a need in relation to the law regarding trespass on Commonwealth lands in Canberra.
Then the statement continued:
The proposed ordinance will m,ike it generally an offence for persons to camp on unleased land in the city area ami will empower authorities to move their possessions away in the event that they do nol comply within reasonable time with a direction lo remove them.
That notice was given on 1.1th May and it was not challenged in this chamber or in the other place by members of the Opposition. lt was clear public notice of what the Government intended to do. The intention was not challenged by the Australian Labor Party. The Ordinance was made on 30th June. On 17th July, shortly before the gazettal which was to take effect on 20th July, officers of the Australian Capital Territory police force visited the few people at that stage who were occupying the tents in front of Parliament House. Those people were given a copy of the explanatory memorandum which we all receive when we have ordinances of the Australian Capital Territory given to us. They were given a copy of the Ordinance and told that if they had any questions to ask or any inquiries to make they had only to let the police know. Of course the police quite often passed by and visited the group of tents. The people there were told that they would be given every assistance. The senior police officer who attended that morning departed with the impression, given to him by these people, that they were prepared to go when the Ordinance became law. As the police officer said, that Ordinance was to become law very shortly. As I recall from Press statements at that time, the view of persons who were writing in the newspapers was that these people were prepared to leave willingly.
But as soon as the news got out, those who seemed to desire nothing more than confrontation with authority decided that they would come in their numbers and lend their support, as they would describe it, and they would resist any action being taken under the Ordinance. That is what happened on 20th July and again on 23rd July. The problems which were shown on television and which took up great spaces in the newspapers were the results of a deliberate and calculated confrontation with authority. Part of the reason for that being done was to enable people in this group to have the situation which they had created paraded throughout the world as an indication of what they regarded as the Government’s racial attitude. There are people in this country who recognise that if they can get pictures on to films, on television and into the newspapers of the world they can serve their interests better than they can serve the interests of the Australian nation. That is one reason why many of these demonstrators chant: ‘The whole world is watching’. They feel that if they can bring pressure to bear in left wing circles throughout the world in which they have influence and in the United Nations General Assembly they can achieve something which they cannot achieve otherwise because they represent an insignificant minority of the Australian people. It is about time that we became aware of the tactics to which some of these people are resorting. 1 want to say 2 further things. Firstly, it has been suggested that there is an existing law which is adequate. Certainly the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory declared that the people who went on to this land for the purpose of camping and doing something other than being casual pedestrians or for the purpose of assembling had no right to do that. Of course they did not because they were trespassing. Honourable senators may ask: Why did not the Commonwealth take action along those lines? It could always apply to the Supreme Court for a writ or an order.’ But defendants have to be named. The Commonwealth could be led a merry dance as one defendant or group of defendants had an order made against them that they should leave the lawns because as soon as they left another three or four could come along and the Commonwealth could be going to court every day for a year dealing with different groups of defendants. This would make the law a laughing stock. That action was not taken. But of course the basic legal right is there. The police could have moved in, exercising a form of self help, on the basis that they were agents of the Commonwealth without any statutory law or ordinance to back them. I think that it would be undesirable for the Commonwealth Police to do that. Only in situations of extreme emergency should a Government rely upon that form of self help. In my opinion there should always be statutory authority of some form to support such action.
The basic legal position is unchallenged. For example there was unquestioned merit in the viewpoint put by Senator Bonner. He said that he was sympathetic to the Aboriginal cause and he would have liked them to remain there because, as he said, the Government let them remain there so long. But he recognised the point that if there were power on the part of the Government to remove them, if they had no lawful right to be there, what is the point of disallowing this Ordinance because it regulates the position in a satisfactory way. The second matter on which I wish to say something relates to the attitude of the Australian Labor Party. I think a number of people have possibly forgotten that, when the statement was made on 11th May this year that the Government proposed to bring down an ordinance, a number of members of the Australian Labor Party indicated their intention to defy the law in a way which fits in quite easily with the attitudes which they have adopted on other occasions with respect to obedience to the law. A statement was issued and circulated to all members of this Parliament. It was reported in the Press as follows:
A group of Federal Labor parliamentarians has promised physical action to prevent the Government moving the Aboriginal ‘embassy’ on lawns opposite Parliament House.
The members have warned that they ‘intend to place ourselves between the Aboriginal people and the McMahon Government should it decide to act against them so that it would have to act against us first’.
Dr Cairns this was in the days when he was presumably asserting the right to defy authority and to break laws, which is somewhat different from the view which he currently takes - is reported as stating:
We will, if necessary, link arms and stand between the authorities and the Aborigines.
What was their justification for doing this? It was said that the Aborigines’ action in setting up the embassy was not and had never been against the law. As a matter of legal accuracy that has been demonstrated by the Full Court of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory to be inaccurate. But even supposing the proposition was correct, the articles then states:
But now the McMahon Government proposes to change the law to meet its own needs and convenience and to remove an embarrassing reminder of its failure to meet the obligations resting upon it to give a new deal to the Aboriginal people.
Apparently if the Government moves to change the law in some way and one dislikes what the Government is doing one has a right to resist it. Is this the view which the Australian Labor Party would allow its opponents to take if it were ever in the position to determine what the laws were? Of course not. It is merely a selective type of action designed to justify and to cloak their own approach. It is an approach which means that you determine which laws you will obey and you break the laws you dislike but you still require everybody else to obey the laws from which you derive some protection. It is a salutory reminder when members of the Opposition bring up this matter for debate today, when we had all thought it was a dead issue, and when they provide for us once again an example of what is a general attitude to the law which I think bodes ill for the Australian people if the Australian Labor Party were ever in a position to exercise power.
Mr President, I believe that this is an Ordinance which has intrinsic merit; it meets a need, it provides for an appropriate regulation of the unleased lands of the Australian Capital Territory and no substantive argument has been raised as to why such a law should not exist. Therefore I submit that the motion for the disallowance of the Ordinance should be defeated.
– In the dying stages of this debate there are one or two comments I should like to make. From this very unfortunate series of events there may be at this stage some lesson we can learn, and I say that for those who have taken a position on one side or the other. The whole of our attitude !o Aborigines in this country has moved from a position of initial hostility and oppression and even cruelty in the early days of Australian settlement through a period to one of paternalism from which we are now resiling. Our paternalism of course is the treatment accorded by a superior to an inferior and derives from the word ‘father’ it involved first of all a degree of indulgence and tolerance, a degree of being prepared to allow things which are not accorded in other circumstances. In our desire to try to give social justice to the Aboriginal people we moved at one stage to a position of paternalism, and that nas now been discovered to be an approach which is highly undesirable. The idea nf w in modern terms, and the anthropologists and the social psychologists all agree, is that the proper method is to try to integrate the Aboriginal people into modern society until we can create a totally homogeneous society and until the stream of their lives and culture can merge into the streams of the traditional Australian life and culture.
That involves the abandonment of the element of paternalism, for if paternalism is that exercise of understanding and tolerance which is accorded by a superior to an inferior, it is an understanding and tolerance which has certain implications. If we want the Aborigines to integrate with our society in the fullest sense of the term, then they must be prepared to integrate, and it is what we should want on the basis of both duty and entitlement. Once you put them in a different position, whether a position of discrimination adverse to them or in a position of discrimination favourable to them, you are perpetuating the system of paternalism and at the same time destroying or moving away from the new concept which we are all trying to adopt, that is, of integration into our community. That goes to the question of movement within the law. The moment you put the Aborigines in a different position in relation to respect for law and order, you are immediately demonstrating to them a tolerance which is not accorded to other members of the community. The moment you do that you abandon your whole plan and programme. Therefore those people, particularly members of the Australian Labor Party Opposition, who saw the problem differently should, I think, at this stage recognise the final conclusions and implications that may arise from their attitude.
This type of conduct must by its nature be an affront to the dignity of the Aboriginal people. It must still in the concept of the white people in our community and in their thinking put them in an inferior position, which is the very thing that we do not want and that they do not want - the thing which we are not entitled to infer and which they are not entitled to receive and which they do not want to receive. The Aborigines want a position of equality to which they are entitled, and integration in our society. Therefore to those who have suggested that in this form of protest they should be accorded a solicitude and a tolerance which is denied to other sections of the community who similarly want to protest on issues which are relevant to their interests in life, I say that once they do that they are putting the Aborigines in a position different from that of the rest of the community; they are contradicting the whole of their thesis on racial integration, they are contradicting the whole of their thesis on toleration and the whole of their thesis on the ultimate integration of the Aboriginal people with the white culture.
Therefore I say in these last few minutes that those who have supported the Aborigines in this programme and in this type of protest should have second thoughts about it, to see if by doing that they have not in fact done a great deal of harm to the campaign of these people and to the campaign of the Australian community for the ultimate total absorption of our indigenous people in our culture without any distinctions or differences. If we can at least learn that lesson from the whole of this unfortunate incident then I believe we will have made a big advance towards the final acceptance of what is the best method, the best technique and the best programme for achieving the purpose we have in mind. At least if those who saw differently learn that lesson from the whole of this series of situations something worth while will have emerged and our advance towards the final solution of this very very difficult problem will be much closer to accomplishment.
– in reply - I desire to wind up the debate by saying that I have heard the whole of the debate and have found many surprises in it, especially in the speech made by Senator Byrne. The honourable senator said that members of the Labor Party who took an active interest in this debate were of the opinion that the Aborigines had a just cause and that they had protested more vehemently for that cause than they would have for other causes. I was very much concerned that the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) had asked whether the Labor Party would do the same for the Nazi Party or a Croatian party. Surely the cause cannot be mentioned in that way - by suggesting that the Labor Party should protest if the Nazi Party or a Croatian party wanted to demonstrate on the lawns in front of Parliament House. The Labor Party’s concern was demonstrated by the fact that some members said they were prepared to link hands and form a barrier between the police and the Aborigines. This was evidence of their concern about the treatment that has been accorded to Aborigines over a Jong period, a concern which they were prepared to demonstrate in order to impress more people in Australia.
It is all very well to speak of the loss of dignity by Aborigines and of paternalism, but it is something we must face. We have a section of our community who are not getting a fair deal despite the money that has been spent on them to date by this Government. Senator Keeffe quoted the example of Vesteys being prepared to give land to the Aborigines. Yet no attempt has been made by this Government to provide land rights to Aborigines. A group of militant Aborigines, even if they are not representative of the whole movement by the Aboriginal people, is not prepared to permit their race to persevere under the conditions of the past. They see a need for some alteration to the system and they were prepared to demonstrate outside Parliament House in an obviously most effective way. I do not think it speaks well for a member of their race who happens to be a member of Parliament to disown them to the extent that he would criticise anyone who seeks to be of some benefit to them.
My first point on the Ordinance is that it was put into operation before the Parliament was allowed to consider whether it approved it or not, and that this action has never been justified and criticism of it has never been answered. The second point is whether the Ordinance is a good ordinance, leaving aside the question of Aborigines, or whether it ought to be amended or modified as it applies to the ordinary vehicle and to the lands or camping on them or the holding of circuses and festivals on them. Time prevents my going into the question of what the Ordinance will permit, lt does, however, give permission to erect a tent for, say, a circus, festival or carnival. But permission is given for certain things and denied for others. The Minister should be able to give permission to erect a tent for any purpose which he thinks justified. At present he is limited to giving permission to erect a tent for such things as a circus, carnival, festival, show or fair. Many church missions and similar societies are prohibited under the Ordinance from erecting a lent.
The Ordinance is faulty in its entirety and needs redrafting if we desire to preserve it. I would have thought that there would have been a statement by the Government on its intention to make adequate provision for people to protest, other than the half hour demonstrations that are held from time to time, without it being necessary to do what the Aborigines did on this occasion. Aborigines have tents, which they call embassies, in other cities. In Adelaide one has been erected on the lawns outside the Hotel Australia, which is one of the most prominent positions in Adelaide, with no interference from the State Government - I do not know whether it has power to interfere - and with the approval of the Adelaide City Council which is Liberal-controlled.
– What about the embassy in Western Australia?
– -The honourable senator asks about Western Australia only because the Government there is a Labor government. The Western Australian Government came to an arrangement with the Aborigines about the removal of a tent. In Western Australia there was no hostility, no sneaking up in the night at 1 a.m., and pulling down tents. In South Australia they are allowed to demonstrate their opposition to the deprivation of their land rights, with the approval of the Liberal-controlled Adelaide City Council. That Council has a different outlook from that of other Liberals. We know that South Australian Liberals, apart from Federal members and Mr De Garif in the Upper House who seem to be following the Australian line of deep, conservative Liberalism, are running somewhat contrary to the trend of Liberalism throughout Australia. Obviously in South Australia there is a movement to make the Liberal Party sufficiently respectable to be re-accepted by the people of South Australia at some time in the future. The Federal Liberal Party has a long way to go before it achieves that aim.
Considering all the faults in the Ordinance, considering the purpose of the Ordinance, considering the mess that the Government has made of the Ordinance, and bearing in mind the decision of the Supreme Court which found that the Ordinance was not enforceable, I hope that the Senate in its wisdom will disallow the Ordinance.
That the motion (Senator Cavanagh’s) be agreed to.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Magnus Cormack)
Majority . . . . 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
INCOME TAX BILL 1972
Debate resumed from 14 September (vide page 887), on motion by Senator Cotton:
That the Bill be now read a first time.
– The matter which I wish to raise concerns the aviation company called Jetair Pty Ltd. Honourable senators will recall that I have asked some questions in regard to this matter over a period of 18 months. I almost let my interest drop until I found what I thought was an injustice had been done to Senator Georges when he was expelled from this chamber for raising this matter of Jetair. I felt that the facts as I knew them should therefore be placed before this chamber because there is no doubt whatsoever that there has been a series of remarkable coincidences, if we can put it that way, that linked the then former Minister for Foreign Affairs, the present Prime Minister (Mr McMahon), with this company.
There are 2 aspects which require looking into. First of all there is the granting of a licence by the Department of Civil Aviation to Jetair which was quite contrary to the Government’s 2-airline policy. Secondly, there is the question of the purchase of aircraft from Jetair when that company had become bankrupt - or it might have been not bankrupt but in a serious financial position. Jetair was saved to the tune of $250,000 by the present Government which purchased the DC3 aircraft from it instead of using its own Royal Australian Air Force planes. It is obvious that when Jetair went into this business it must have been given the nod by somebody, otherwise it would not have gone into the business. People do not go into an unprofitable business unless they see some profit in the future. Suddenly Jetair was granted a licence to carry passengers to certain areas of New South Wales.
Of course, one can rationalise anything. It was quite easy to rationalise that this was a good thing for the people of New South Wales. So that company was given the licence. Other people have been refused a licence for cargo carrying, but Jetair was granted a licence for carrying passengers. I think that this alone requires delving into. We should ascertain why this company was given permission to carry passengers because if it had been successful obviously it would have gone further and become a third airline. There is no doubt about that. Anyone with any business acumen would realise that that would be the position.
Jetair was refused permission by the Department of Civil Aviation to purchase 2 bigger planes other than the DC3 aircraft which it had purchased. But the company had tendered for them and had hoped to get these extra planes so as to be ready to carry on as the third airline. However, that aspect was blocked.
We then come to the second part of the problem, the innumerable coincidences that occurred in regard to the purchasing of 6 DC3 aircraft from Jetair when that company was in a very serious financial position and the sum of $250,000 meant something to it. The Commonwealth bought the 6 DC3 aircraft to fulfil, what I was told in answer to a question, an urgent decision that the Department of Foreign Affairs had made to give aircraft as foreign aid to certain countries such as the Khmer Republic, Nepal and Laos. I asked for the dates on which the first request by Khmer Republic had been given, or the date of the first suggestion by our Department of Foreign Affairs to the Khmer Republic that we would like to give them, aid in the form of DC3s. The only date given to me - and honourable senators may remember that we also had the similar problem as to whether we were invited into Vietnam or not - was the date on which the Khmer Republic officially accepted these planes. We cannot solve the problem as to whether we offered the planes to these people or whether they asked for them because the dates I asked for have not been given to me. As I said, the only reply given to me in regard to dates was the date on which the Khmer Republic officially accepted these planes.
A year later I again asked for the dates. I got the same evasive answer which did not give me the date on which we had offered the planes to that country or the date on which it had made the request. Again I was told when the offer was formally accepted. But the point about this date - and I think that this is most important - is that the date on which the Khmer Republic formally accepted the offer of the Australian Government was 2 days after the Department of Foreign Affairs had agreed to purchase the planes from Jetair. Tn other words, if the Khmer Republic had said that it did not want these planes what was the Government going to do with them?
There is still more to this because this whole matter was based on urgency. I was informed in replies that I have from the Minister for Air (Senator Drake-Brockman) that the matter of giving aid in the form of aircraft to Laos and Nepal had been more or less circulated around the departments for a period of 2 years. Then the picture changed and the Khmer Republic suddenly wanted 5 planes. Did we offer them or were they asked for? We still do not know.
Another remarkable coincidence was that the planes were purchased by the Commonwealth at a time when this company was financially embarrassed. I am informed that the then Minister in charge of Foreign Affairs, the present Prime Minister, is a very close friend of a director of Jetair. That may or may have no significance - I do not know. But it is another coincidence in the picture. As a man-
– He is a close friend of Mr Whitlam, too. What does that mean?
– Oh, right. He could be. I am not disputing that. He could be even a friend of the honourable senator. But I have it on good authority - actually I corroborate this when I heard that he was a friend of a director; I made sure of this - that he did have a friend.
– A bit laboured.
– Well, a bit laboured. Nevertheless he was a friend of a director. When the matter came to the Department of Foreign Affairs without reference to Cabinet the then Minister for
Foreign Affairs endorsed the papers to purchase these planes. We have been told that he is a good administrative officer. If he knew his departments he should have known that that was not the way to purchase planes, that the people who purchase the planes are officers of the Department of Supply.
The picture then moves over to Supply which promptly said: ‘Hey, wait a minute, you cannot do that here. You have to call tenders’. Ah, but there is an urgency about this matter - a great urgency. So Supply rationalised the whole procedure by saying: Oh well, perhaps it would be just as cheap to buy aircraft from Jetair as it would be to repair and do up Royal Australian Air Force planes that are available and ready for disposal’. So the Department of Supply said: ‘OK, go ahead, that is ail right, the cost is probably negligible’. But we have not been able to ascertain how the Department worked out the cost of fixing up these planes. AH we know is that it would have cost $15,000 to repair them, However, we do not know what it would have cost to alter their configuration.
Let us get back to the question of urgency and the fact that we had to buy 6 planes. For 2 years the matter of whether we were to give these aircraft had been shambled around the Department. These 6 RAAF aircraft in military configuration were available and ready to go to Laos and Nepal. I presume that the Khmer Republic then asked for their aircraft. We already had the 5 RAAF aircraft ready for Nepal and Laos. They were in military configuration. That was the type of plane that the Khmer Republic had asked for, one in military configuration.
So all that had to be done was to switch these 5 aircraft to the Khmer Republic instead of sending them to Nepal and Laos. Instead of that, the Government bought 6 aircraft - not 5 as requested but 6 - because Jetair had 6 aircraft and so we obligingly took over the whole 6 for them although the Khmer Republic needed only 5. But these aircraft were in civilian configuration and therefore of no value to the Khmer Republic. But do not forget that the matter was urgent. It was grave urgency that made the Minister for Foreign Affairs forget his drill and purchase these aircraft immediately without going through the rigmarole of calling tenders through the Department of Supply. So we had 6 aircraft in civilian configuration purchased for the Khmer Republic which asked for aircraft in military configuration. We still have other aircraft.
– Really, you know, you are talking nonsense.
– The Minister for Works (Senator Wright) says that I am talking nonsense. In due course, the Minister can show that I am talking nonsense, and he is entitled to his opinion. I could give him my opinion of him but no doubt, Mr Acting Deputy President, you would not allow that. As I say, 6 aircraft in civilian configuration were purchased for the purpose of sending them to the Khmer Republic which asked for aircraft in military configuration. Admittedly, 5 of them could be used and switched over from Nepal and Laos which originally, 2 or 3 years ago, asked, or we suggested, that they should have the aircraft. But why did the Government send the extra, the sixth, aircraft to the Khmer Republic which asked for 5? It was sent the sixth aircraft in civilian configuration because the Government had to get rid of it. I presume that the Khmer Republic received it as a bonus. It goes to show that in dealing with public moneys we have to be over careful. may be completely wrong in this matter. Of course, the proof of the pudding will be in the papers. I would suggest that these papers be tabled. There is nothing that the Government has to hide because, according to the Minister, I am talking arrant nonsense. Therefore, the Government will have the proof, in the papers, of the fact that I am talking arrant nonsense. I can assure honourable senators that if they read the papers they will see in them that there is an endorsement by the then Minister for Foreign Affairs of the purchase of these aircraft without reference to Cabinet or to the Department of Supply. This is in his own handwriting. Show us these papers. There is nothing secret about them. There is nothing secret about our foreign aid to these countries. If it is a good thing to give them aircraft, let us get rid of our aircraft. But the RAAF has even more aircraft that could have been disposed of. They could have been converted to civilian configuration and used as such without having to purchase the aircraft from this company to help it out of its financial difficulties.
Out of the 50 DC3 aircraft sold in Australia over the past few years, only one has ever reached the price that the Government paid for these DC3 aircraft from Jetair. In other words, we also paid through the nose for them. There are many DC3 aircraft lying around the country that people would be happy practically to give away. But no, we are so generous to our friends that we look after them and when they are in trouble we help them out. lt is a good-
– ls the price to which you refer the price before conversion or after conversion?
– The price is as in civilian configuration.
– You would be a nice chap if you could keep out of the gutter long enough.
– Yes, 1 know, because then J would miss you would I not? Your company would be lost to me. The proof of all this is in the papers. The Government can easily prove me a liar. Table the papers; that is all I am asking.
– That would not be too difficult.
– Very well: table the papers. There is nothing secret in them. If the Government does not want to table them 1 think that the only thing to do is to have a motion passed that they be tabled. I remember that the same thing happened in relation to the VIP aircraft. The Government said that the manifests could not be tabled and that they were secret, secret, secret. But the Government tabled them when it found out that the Senate was to move for their tabling. They were soon tabled, and there was really nothing in them.. The Government can prove it, this time. Honourable senators still have to ask questions. I would like to know, when the Minister rises to reply, the date on which the Khmer Republic requested these aircraft or the date on which we offered them - not the date it formally accepted them, which is the only date the Minister has given me. There are other questions that could be asked about them. What was the reason for the urgency of the purchase? Perhaps it could have been the invasion into the Khmer Republic and this may have, by sheer coincidence, happened at the right time. But it still does not excuse the Government. We all like to help our friends, but not by using public moneys. The fact is that in this case by a remarkable coincidence the Government suddenly wanted aircraft of the wrong configuration when it had aircraft of the correct configuration which could not be handed over straight away.
I think it is a serious matter. I have been trying to get to the bottom of it. I could never do so and I. gave up in despair about finding out the truth. As I said. I feel that unjust criticism was made of Senator Georges’ remarks. Perhaps he should not have made them. Perhaps he was quite rightfully suspended from the chamber. Nevertheless, he was giving us the facts and I feel that in sheer justice to him I. should give the facts that I know. I think the Government is-
– You inferred the same thing here today.
– I think that it is a coincidence. I have not inferred it. They are remarkably coincidences. Obviously, I did not because I would have been suspended also.
– What do you say are the facts?
– I am saying that the facts are these: We offered the aircraft to the Khmer Republic. I cannot prove that, but that is what I think happened.
– Which you cannot prove.
– 1 cannot prove anything until the Government tables the papers.
– You cannot hear the reply until you sit down.
– All right. An honourable senator asks who owns Jetair. I do not know who owns it. It is a public company, but there is a man called Barton. It is not Gordon Barton.
– It is Alexander Barton.
– That is right. It is Alexander Barton. There is another man. I do not want to bring names into it but
Barton’s name has been brought into it, I will not bring the other name into it. If honourable senators want me to, I will mention it.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wilkinson) - Order! A very interesting conversation is being conducted. But Senator Turnbull what you are supposed to be doing is addressing the Chair. Would you please address your remarks to the Chair.
– I would be only too happy to name the only other director I know, who is a great friend of the present Prime Minister. If honourable senators want me to 1 will be only too happy to do it. There are coincidences. If I am completely wrong and making improper suggestions the Government can disprove them immediately by tabling the papers, lt is too scared to do so.
– 1 take the opportunity provided by the motion for the first reading of the Income Tax Bill 1972 to discuss 2 matters which are causing concern and which I think require urgent attention. The first relates to the shipbuilding industry in Australia and the second is the lack of planning for physical fitness, recreation and sport. During the winter recess of this Parliament the Government announced a drastic change in its policy on shipbuilding. That change of policy has been received with concern and alarm by the shipbuilding industry throughout Australia: so much so that if the representations that the industry is making to the Government are not successful it feels that the implications are so serious as to mean, firstly, the death knell of the building of big ships in Australia and, secondly, the elimination of the shipbuilding industry in this country. For me, as a senator, that first prospect is serious enough because of the effect it will have on this industry and on the economy. But, as a senator from Queensland, I am doubly concerned because the industry is of the opinion that if this change of policy is allowed to go unbridled the first State to be affected will be Queensland.
I do not need to remind honourable senators that the Kangaroo Point yard in Brisbane, the yard owned by Evans Deakin Industries Ltd, is the second largest ship building yard in Australia, one roundly acclaimed by the industry as being the most modern in this country. It is the largest employer of skilled labour in Queensland. It employs 900 artisans and a further 300 or 400 people are employed in companion jobs. Therefore it can bc seen that, if the Government is not prepared to move and correct its latest policy decision, this industry in Queensland will be affected. Not only will there be serious consequences to the company, but there must be serious consequences to Brisbane and to Queensland. As I said, that yard is the largest employer of skilled labour in Queensland. In addition, it is a great contributor to the economy. Annually it contributes $9m to the economy by way of salaries and wages, services and goods.
Over a long period of time Evans Deakin Industries Ltd has been chasing orders to build ships throughout Australia and overseas in an endeavour to prevent a rundown of the industry, knowing full well the consequences that such a happening will have to the company, to Brisbane and to Queensland. Last December it was the lowest bidder for a big tanker and in March this year it was a competitive bidder for another tanker. In both instances the owners involved were overseas owners, namely the Caltex and Esso companies. Those 2 companies had heard of the proposed change in the present Government’s policy towards shipbuilding in Australia and they delayed placing those orders. Both orders were lost to this Queensland firm and they could have been lost to overseas shipbuilding yards because those oil companies were exploring the idea of calling tenders overseas.
The industry has expressed great concern about the Government’s new policy. The industry seems to be unanimous in believing that there should be drastic changes to it. When one looks at this matter cooly, calmly and in a dispassionate manner divorced from party political issues or opinions, there appears to be an abundance of evidence to support the claims of the industry that the implications of the new policy of the Government are so far reaching that the industry is threatened with a run-down and complete elimination. If action is not taken immediately, the building of large ships in Australian yards is in jeopardy.
The industry has based its claims on 6 factors which I have studied carefully and at some length. The 6 subheadings about which I wish to speak this evening are as follows: Subsidy; the import of new ships; the import of second hand ships; constructional finance; export subsidy; and lastly, eligibility for subsidy. Referring first to subsidy, the Government purports to have increased the subsidy from 33i per cent to 45 per cent. On the surface that looks to be very exciting and encouraging. However, upon analysis, one finds that the method of determining the amount of subsidy has changed somewhat. When the subsidy was 33$ per cent it was determined on the price of ship construction in a United Kingdom yard; but in the new scale of subsidy, the 45 per cent fluctuating scale, the basis of determination is the world price for ship construction. In Swedish and Japanese yards construction is 15 per cent cheaper than it is in the United Kingdom. Therefore we are faced with a simple exercise. On the surface the subsidy appears to have been increased from 331 per cent to 45 per cent on a fluctuating scale; but because the determination is based now on a world price for ship construction instead of the cost of ship construction in the United Kingdom, the shipbuilding yards could receive less in subsidy. Naturally this is of some interest to them.
The second point 1 wish to speak about is the importation of new ships. The previous restriction of non-preferential tariff duty now has been removed and the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon) has stated that approval will be freely given for the importation of new ships. The industry now faces a double burden: Free importation, coupled with the absence of any duty protection from nonpreferential areas. Several countries subsidise ships under construction for export. The natural corollary is that the way is open now for foreign ships to be dumped on the Australian market to the severe detriment of the local industry.
The third point is the importation of second hand ships. Restrictions on imports are in existence still, but the Government is lax in this regard. It is not strictly controlling or implementing this legislation. At the present time it is reported authorita tively that 41 ships operating along the Australian coast are under provisional replacement. A large number of those ships have been operating for over 8 years, which is far beyond the normal period of replacement. The simple conclusion is this: If the Government was doing its job and implementing its restrictive controls on the replacement of ships the shipbuilding yards in Australia could benefit to the extent of 41 orders.
The fourth point is constructional finance. The Government now has decided that no longer will it become directly involved in the buying and selling of vessels. At the same time it refuses to make credit available for ship construction, as is the case in the majority of other maritime nations. Quite recently the Evans Deakin yard in Brisbane bad the opportunity to tender for the construction of 6 bulk carriers and 2 large tankers for the Yugoslav Government and Yugoslav ship owners. The yard is quite capable of handling those vessels. However, Evans Deakin had to forgo the right to tender because the owners required credit facilities for 8 years at an interest rate of between 6i and 7 per cent. Mr Acting Deputy President, I seek leave to continue my remarks later.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– by leave - Mr Acting Deputy President, I make this statement on behalf of the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon), and it will be understood that when I use the first person personal pronoun it refers to the Prime Minister. I wish to inform the House that it is being announced today from Buckingham Palace that the Queen will open the Sydney Opera House on Saturday, 20th October 1973. The announcement arises from an invitation which as Prime Minister of Australia I was most happy to convey to Her Majesty with the full support and concurrence of the Premier of New South Wales. Her Majesty’s visit will be a short one, limited to a brief stay in Canberra and then her visit to Sydney. It will follow the pattern of Royal visits for specific purposes - in this case the opening of the Opera House.
The likely dates are arrival on Wednesday, 17th October, and departure on Simday, 21st October. The opening of the Sydney Opera House will be a great national and international occasion, and it is fitting that Her Majesty will be here to perform the ceremony. I share with the Premier of New South Wales great pleasure that Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh will visit Australia for this purpose. I am sure they will be most warmly welcomed.
Sitting suspended from 5.47 to 8 p.m.
– I understand that there is other business to be dealt with, so I seek leave to continue my remarks later.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Message received from the House of Representatives that it had disagreed with the amendment made by the Senate to this Bill and that it had made a further amendment.
– At the suspension of the sitting I was dealing with my fourth point regarding the shipbuilding industry. 1 had said that due to lack of credit facilities for the construction of ships, the Australian shipbuilding industry was disadvantaged in comparison with shipbuilding yards overseas. I made the point also that Yugoslav shipowners had requested Evans Deakin Pty Ltd in Brisbane to tender for the construction of 6 bulk carriers and 4 tankers. The Evans Deakin shipyards in Brisbane have the capacity to build such ships; in fact it can build ships up to 67,500 dead-weight tons. However, the overseas shipowners required 80 per cent credit over a period of 8 years at interest rates of 6i per cent to 7 per cent. As I pointed out earlier, these credit facilities were not available and, as a consequence, Evans Deakin was unable to tender for the construction of these ships.
The alarming state of affairs is that credit facilities of this kind are readily available in practically every overseas country that engages in shipbuilding. For example, in Japan credit facilities are available for 8 years at a rate of interest between 5.5 per cent and 6.5 per cent; in Spain credit is available for an unspecified period at a ruling rate of interest of 6.75 per cent to 7.25 per cent; in Sweden it is available at the bond rate for 15 years; in the Philippines it is available at 3 per cent for 1 1 years; and in France it is available at 6.5 per cent for 5 years. Financial credit is readily available in Denmark, Italy and Germany at an interest rate of 7.5 per cent for a period of 8 years. From this honourable senators will see that finance is available to overseas shipyards to the disadvantage of Australian shipyards when they are competing with these yards.
My fifth point relates to the export subsidy which is causing some concern to the industry. The new policy that the Government brought down during the winter recess continues the non-application of subsidy on vessels built for export, contrary to the Tariff Board recommendation that free import should be balanced by subsidised export. The industry, therefore, is now exposed to overseas competition without being given the opportunity to compete abroad. As I mentioned earlier, several countries subsidise construction for export and most other maritime nations provide foreign buyers with liberal credit.
The sixth point or implication resulting from the new policy relates to eligibility for subsidy. The subsidy now applies to all shipyards with no apparent definition of the term ‘shipbuilder’. The application of the subsidy in this way immediately brought into the industry companies which had no shipyard facilities but which were capable of fabricating specialised drilling rigs which appear to be eligible for the subsidy. Already this has increased the fierce competition for tendering and has particularly disadvantaged big shipyards, which have to provide this facility, compared with companies which do not have to provide it. I believe that these are ample reasons for the industry to feel apprehensive about its future.
I have approached this matter in a common sense, cool and calm manner. I have endeavoured to prepare a case which was divorced from Party politics. I do not want to use the debate on this Bill as a means of scoring off the Government on the eve of the election, nor do I want purposely to expose the. Government’s inadequacies in its handling of the shipbuilding industry. 1 think that the consequences which will flow if something is not done are too grave for this matter to become a political football to be decided on Party political lines. I pointed out earlier that even in the shipyard in Brisbane 900 skilled labourers and 400 other employees face unemployment if the industry is not stabilised. This is only one of many shipyards throughout Australia. From what I have said honourable senators will be able to see what effect this situation could have on the economy. For some considerable time the industry has been concerned and it has made numerous approaches to the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) and to the Minister for Shipping and Transport seeking consultation and discussions on matters of policy. It is to the. credit of the Minister for Shipping and Transport that yesterday he received representatives from the shipbuilding industry. I hope that the discussions that they had with the Minister will be fruitful and that as a result the industry will be stabilised.
I have taken this opportunity during the debate on the. first reading of this Bill to speak of the shipbuilding industry because I believe it is timely to do so in view of the fact that the representatives of the shipbuilding industry are still in Canberra following their discussions yesterday with the Minister for Shipping and Transport. They have continued their discussions with other representatives while they have been here in Canberra. I earnestly suggest to the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) that he ask the Minister for Shipping and Transport to give this submission his earnest consideration. This is not something which is merely desirable; it is necessary if the shipbuilding industry is to continue. If he is able to suggest something constructive which will assist in stabilising the industry he will’ be securing jobs for hundreds of people throughout Australia and also will be securing the future of the many people who are dependent on them for employment. He will be. doing a good turn for the company and the industry, in addition to which he will be doing a good turn for Australia.
I make these earnest submissions in the hope that the Minister, after considering them, will be able to come up with something constructive and in the hope that honourable senators will be able to lend a hand in assisting the shipbuilding industry, which is sadly in need of assistance.
The second point .1 wish to develop is the lack of planning in national fitness, physical education, recreation and sport. In 1939, as a wartime measure the Government of the day introduced the National Fitness Act which charged the Council for National Fitness with the responsibility of seeing to the fitness of Australians. It is to the credit of those responsible in those days that they were able to discharge their duties with credit and to fulfil the task that was set for them. I do not propose that my remarks this evening should be taken as criticism of the many succeeding officers who have been in charge of national fitness. Rather do I say that the efforts required in 1939 as a wartime measure would not be realistic or appropriate to handle the exigencies or the circumstances of the 1970s.
In the National Fitness Act 1939, provision was made for the establishment of the Commonwealth Council for National Fitness. This body of 9 people was under the chairmanship of the Director-General of Health, or his Deputy, another representative from the Department of Health, a Government representative and a representative of each of the 6 States. The membership of the Council has remained in that form ever since. When we talk about physical fitness, recreation and sport, the best parallel that we can draw is in relation to the United States of America. In 1961, the late President Kennedy established the Presidents Physical Fitness and Sports Council, but by 1970 that body had become an ineffective Council because of a lack of funds and because of a lack of professional or specialist representatives on it. In 1971, this United States body was upgraded and reconstituted. It was placed under the chairmanship of astronaut James Lovell who was provided with 14 committee men, 6 of whom were specialists in their field. I am not suggesting that the
Commonwealth Government should pui an astronaut in charge of the Commonwealth Council for National Fitness, although many honourable senators do go into space now and again, but I do implore that consideration be given to taking a lead from the United States and that specialist representatives be placed on the Council for National Fitness so that plans can be laid to bring the endeavours of that body into line with what is required in the 1970s.
Many people readily come to mind. There are outstanding doctors in sports medicine or activity medicine, as some people call it, in Australia. These people are the equal of world specialists in these fields. Coming closer to home, 1 think of Dr Kevin Hobbs, the Medical Director for the Queensland Rugby League. He is an expert in intensive training and is a world authority on the subject. He has recently returned to Queensland after spending 8 months al the Department of Health of the University of Wisconsin in the United States. He has brought back a wealth of knowledge which will be valuable not only to the sport which he represents but to sport in general. Other names which readily come to mind are Dr Ken Fitch and Dr Corrigan who were with the Australian Olympic team in Munich. I mention also Dr Tony Miller. So, the Government would not be short of nominees who could adequately fill a place on the upgraded Council for National Fitness. I believe that, if the Commonwealth Government accepts this advice and upgrades its Council, as has been done in the United States, at least we will be laying a basis for the future. But that will not be enough because a good deal of planning is required.
I do not know how seriously people accept the need for fitness in Australia today. We see changes resulting from automation and push button industry. The 35- hour week is just around the corner with even shorter working hours still to come. If planning is not done by some body to take care of the leisure time which will accrue. Australia will be faced with a leisure crisis. This in itself is a sufficiently important reason why the Government should look hard at the upgrading of the Commonwealth Council for National Fitness. If good planning and studies in depth are not made in this regard, the health of the whole community could be in jeopardy as a result of this leisure crisis. I suggest that the Government give earnest consideration to this matter.
If still further proof is required of why there should be an upgrading in the personnel of the Commonwealth Council for National Fitness and why present planning should be altered for the future, we need only refer to the report, the tabling in the Senate of which we are still awaiting, of the investigation that was carried out on the physical fitness of Australian school children by Dr Willee. Dr Willee finished his draft report in June 1971 and this Senate, despite repeated requests, is still waiting for the report to be tabled in this Parliament.
I know the reason why it has not been tabled. I have some sympathy with the Government because some of the findings of Dr Willee’s survey have shocked health officials. The report shows that Australian school children are amongst the most unfit in the world today. This is an alarming and an extraordinary situation. Australia is a land with vast spaces, beautiful beaches and all the natural facilities necessary to encourage sport. Our standard of living enables us to compete in sport and yet our school children are amongst the most unfit in the world today. I venture to say that this is one of the reasons why there has been a delay in the tabling of this report.
I have explained to honourable senators the situation concerning the leisure crisis and I have also told honourable senators about the findings of Dr Willee in his report. One of the reasons, says Dr Willee, that school children in Australia schools are unfit is the lack of physical education facilties. Seventy-five per cent of our schools do not have gymnasiums or swimming pools. Surely this is a sad state of affairs, particularly when the Government has been so generous in its subsidies to schools in relation to science blocks and libraries.
I suggest to the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) that he should make equally generous subsidies available to schools for the construction of gymnasia, swimming pools, dance halls and indoor physical recreation facilities. This would be provided in line with the policy which the Government adopts towards science blocks and libraries. I feel that this should be done. It is as important to have a healthy community as it is to have an educated community. I know the Minister will say that provision has been made in the Budget for an increase in the vote to the Commonwealth Council for National Fitness from $350,000 to $500,000. For this Council to produce this planned policy for the future of sport and recreation for Australia, millions of dollars will be required. This need is not unique to Australia. Such a plan has been adopted in Canada already, and is being pursued in the United Kingdom, France and Sou.’h Africa.
Australia is behind the times. We kid ourselves what a great sporting nation we are because we won 9 gold medals at the Olympic Games. While we are highlighting these facts we forget about the general wellbeing and the health of the average person in the community who may not have the ability to become a champion but who wishes to compete. It will not be a matter of whether he may want to compete in the future. The leisure crisis which will change our way of life is just around the corner. We will need to plan for everyone to compete. People should be fit enough to carry out their jobs, to assist industry and to help it produce more. To do this a fit community will be required.
I thank the Senate for its indulgence. The reason I have used the motion for the first reading of the Income Tax Bill 1972 to speak on the matters of shipbuilding, physical fitness, recreation and sport, is that these are matters which are causing concern in the community. They are matters which require urgent attention and it is timely for these matters to be considered now. Both items are very important. Shipbuilding is important because the jobs of people in this industry must be protected. What we are asking for, if accepted, will help stabilise the industry and will build up confidence in the economy. If something can be done along the lines sought by the representatives of industry the economy will be stimulated.
I hope the Acting Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) will take heed of the suggestions I have made regarding the upgrading of the Commonwealth Council for National Fitness and bringing it into line with the President’s Physical Fitness and Sports Council in the United States of America. If the Government does the 2 things I have mentioned it will be doing the people of Australia a good turn and will be doing something worth while for the community.
– Senator Turnbull in the broad sweep of his innuendoes included the Department of Civil Aviation and referred to the Khmer Republic. This is a country with Which we have a long and very friendly association. The country of Cambodia is in quite a singular position. My friend and colleague Senator Wilkinson was president of. the AustralianCambodia Friendship Society. Like myself he has been in that country several times. Like myself I think he is very fond of the country and its people. He would understand why Australia has had a particular interest in trying to help that country. They are a fine people. They have had their problems through the . years. Ethnically they are not of the, region. They are really of Indian stock.
– I rise to order. The first reading of this Bill which is a money Bill enables us to debate various matters. A list of speakers was supplied to the Chair. The Minister for Civil Aviation was called and if he speaks he closes the debate. 1 would like an assurance that the Minister is not closing the debate on the first reading of the Bill.
– I certainly have no intention of doing that. I am looking forward to an evening of fascinated listening to a wide range of subjects. Far be it from me to close the debate.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood) - Order! The position is that lists are supplied to the Chair. Naturally the Chair abides by them. When somebody from the side opposite the honourable senator who has just spoken wants to speak it has always been the practice to insert his name. The Clerk drew my attention to the fact that the Minister closes the debate. Consequently I was trying to have somebody pass the Minister the word when Senator O’Byrne raised his point of order. If the Minister speaks he will close the debate. I take it that the Minister does not want to close the debate.
– I seek leave to continue my remarks.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The Minister does not want to close the debate?
– Certainly not. That is the last thing I want.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - -Order! The next speaker is Senator Keeffe but before he commences I want honourable senators to understand that while the list is here, if somebody on the other side of the chamber wants to speak, the usual practice is to alternate. Senator Davidson has had his name inserted following Senator Keeffe. I want it to be clear that there is no intention of cutting off the debate. I call Senator Keeffe.
– Thank you, Mr Acting Deputy President. I want to use the first reading of this Income Tax Bill to bring forward a matter of very great importance. 1 would like to speak at length on it but to do that it would need to be left until later in the session. 1 feel that the urgency of the case is such that it needs to be brought on at the earliest possible moment. Consequently that is why I am raising it tonight. Honourable senators will recall that during question time today I asked the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) who in this chamber represents the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt) what would be done about making available voting facilities for those people who are stationed at Australia Antarctic bases. The Minister has suggested - in fact, he has promised - that he will obtain some information. I now put a case before the Minister to emphasise the urgency of the request which I made earlier today by way of a question.
First of all, let us look at the Antarctic area. By an Imperial Order in Council of 7th February 1933 the Antarctic Territory or almost all of it was placed under Australian authority. The Order came into force with a proclamation issued by the Governor-General on 24th August 1936. But in 1954 the Australian Antarctic Territory Act declared that the laws in force in the Australian Capital Territory were, so far as they were applicable and not inconsistent with any ordinance made under the Act, in force in the Australian Antarctic Territory. In 1968 responsibility for the administration of this Act was transferred from the Minister for External Affairs to the Minister for Supply. It is possible that I was in error today in directing my query to the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior. I would like the Minister to know that it may be the Minister for Supply who is responsible for administering this Territory. Over the years people stationed at these bases have almost always been precluded from casting a vote for State and local government elections. Frequently they have been precluded from casting a vote for Federal elections. I ask that on this occasion this be changed and that every person at each base be given assistance in casting a vote in the forthcoming Federal election.
This is away from Party politics. This is to give these people the right to exercise their franchise. Let us have a look at the number of people involved. On Mawson there are 25 persons; at Davis 12; at Casey 25; and there are some at Macquarie Island. I shall give honourable senators the history of each of these bases and the. way in which they were named. The station at Mawson was named in honour of the late Sir Douglas Mawson. It was the first permanent Australian station to be set up on the Antarctic continent. A second Australian research station was established on the coast of Princess Elizabeth Land on 13th January 1957. It has been named Davis in honour of the late Captain John King Davis of Melbourne who commanded a number of famous Antarctic ships. The station was temporarily closed in January 1965 and re-opened in February 1969.
In 1959 the Australian Government accepted from the United States Government custody of Wilkes Station which was established by the United States on 16th January 1957. The station from which representations have especially been made to me is Casey. This is a new station of advanced design. It was built about H miles south of Wilkes. It was opened in 1969 and named Casey in honour of Lord Casey who has had a long association with Antarctic expeditions. At Casey there is an Australian scientist who is not on the electoral roll. It is unlikely that we will be able to do anything for him between now and election day. The Government has a Bill floating around somewhere with the cockroaches at the bottom of the pile in the House of Representatives which the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) is reluctant to bring forward. In the remote chance, that it is brought forward for debate and passed I particularly request that this scientist, whose name I am prepared to supply to the Minister if necessary, and any other scientist or person working at these bases should have, the opportunity to enrol. Most of the other people are enrolled for ordinary Australian Federal divisions. Because the laws and ordinances of the Australian Capita] Territory apply I think that we have an obligation to see that every person working in this remote area receives and is able to exercise his right to vote.
But we have the big problem of transport. The length of stay depends on the time of the year when a party goes into the area. If it is a summer party it may remain in the area for 3 to 5 weeks. If it is a winter party as likely as not it will stay there for 12 or 14 months. Supplies to the area are very irregular. Usually they go in on ships which take in the new teams or the relief teams. There is some air transport into the area but it is also on a very irregular basis. Mr Acting Deputy President, through you I respectively request the Minister to treat this matter as urgent to ensure that every person listed at these bases be given the. right to exercise a vote. Some 70 people are involved - a major group - and there is no reason why the Government should not extend itself a little and at least forward applications for postal votes before the writs are issued. We all know of the indecision about the date of election, but let us not have a snap decision on the election date and neglect people who are working for this country in isolated areas. The. election date might be extended to November, or even to December as seems to be favoured by some sections of the Liberal Parly, or to January as is favoured by another section - after all Santa Claus might bring votes at Christmas and the Government may be able to afford to postpone the election until January - but under the Constitution the date cannot be extended beyond 20th January.
– When does the Democratic Labor Party say the election will be held?
– The DLP forecast the last Saturday in October, but that forecast fell through before the . Prime Minister would agree to it. I make this request in all sincerity and I hope that it will be acceded to with a fair amount of speed.
– This evening in the debate on the Income Tax Bill Senator Turnbull raised a question, with, regard to the purchase by the Government of 6 DC3 aircraft from a company called Jetair Australia Ltd. The honourable senator took the occasion to suggest, that there was some sinister quality about the price of those aircraft and the occasion of their purchase. I rise as the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs to state to the Senate what the transaction was. Before the. purchase of the Jetair aircraft in January 1971 there had been a requirement by Nepal and Laos for Australia, if she would be good enough, to provide aid in the form of civilian aircraft. Senator Turnbull ought to understand that this requirement by Nepal and Laos was for civilian aircraft. He seemed to have a complete topsyturvy notion on that point.
It was on 5th November 1969 that Nepal accepted the offer of. 1 think, 2 aircraft. It was on 2.1st November 1969 that the Department of Foreign Affairs arranged to purchase 2 aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force. It was in February 1970 that the Laotian request was confirmed. And in March 1970 ministerial approval was given for the Department of Foreign Affairs to acquire from the Air Force 3 additional aircraft. So early in 1970 the Department of Foreign Affairs, having acquired 5 aircraft from the Air Force, was proposing to refurbish them and to deliver them to Nepal and Laos. The period from the beginning to the end of .1970 was occupied in considering the cost of refurbishing those aircraft ready for delivery. Of course, it was not merely refurbishing them; it was converting military Air Force aircraft to civilian requirements, to a condition that would entitle the aircraft to a certificate of airworthiness on civilian standards. Therefore, the cost of conversion was a material item.
Two of those aircraft were purchased as between the departments at the figure of $15,000; the other 3 were, purchased at a figure of $10,000 each. So the total purchase price for the 5 aircraft from the Air Force was $60,000. By December 1970 the Department of Foreign Affairs had been informed that the cost of converting four of those Service aircraft to civilian requiements for passenger purposes was $280,000, and the cost to convert the fifth for freight purposes was $35,000. This meant a total conversion cost of $315,000. And when the conversion had been completed, the Department would have to pay an additional $50,000 for the cost of delivery. Thus in December the Department of Foreign Affairs had acquired 5 aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force, not, as Senator Turnbull guessed this afternoon, then in a condition for delivery but in the condition in which they had been delivered by the Air Force and the Department was confronted with an estimate of the costs of conversion and delivery which, when added to purchase price, would involve the Department in delivering the 5 aircraft to Nepal and Laos at a cost of $425,000. That was the position in December 1970.
Then the coincidence with intrigues this tortuous, insinuating mind of the senator to whom I am offering the explanation occurred in the form of the very sinister gesture in business affairs of 2 prominent advertisements by a company called Jetair Australia Ltd, one in the ‘Australian’ of Saturday 5th December, the other in the Sydney Morning Herald’ of 5th December. These advertisements prominently displayed to the world that Jetair Australia Ltd had for sale 6 of the best
Douglas DC3 aircraft and that the company was making an extraordinary offer for immediate sale. All other commercial representations were included in the advertisements, calling the. aircraft to the attention of any persons among the public who required DC aircraft to become interested in these aircraft offered by Jetair. On 17th December 2 senior officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs and 4 officers of the Department of Supply who were versed in the expertise of electronics and aircraft performance inspected the Jetair fleet. On 22nd December a memorandum was put to the Department of Foreign Affairs over the signature of a senior officer that the aircraft in the Jetair fleet required minor interior repairs. Some patching on leading edges to tailplanes was required. Jetair asked $60,000 per plane - that is a total of $360,000 - but during the discussions with the officers suggested that for sale of the 6 it would take $300,000. The officers at that stage suggested that $250,000 might be considered.
At that stage no Minister had been consulted either by the Department or the vendor. The Department had the appropriation which provided for this aid. The fatuity of the honourable senator who, with sinister insinuation, suggested that a Minister in charge of the Department of Foreign Affairs, with an authorised appropriation and having arranged diplomatically the need for the aid, should go to Cabinet to authorise a transaction of this relatively miniscule significance indicates the honourable senator’s complete vacuity or tortuousness of thinking. So the officers left the inspection of the Jetair fleet, with the vendor suggesting $300,000 and the Department suggesting $250,000. A recommendation was put to the head of the Department on 22nd December: ‘Offer $275,000’. Such is the sinister nature of this transaction that on 31st December 1970 the Assistant Secretary of the Department put a memorandum before the Secretary without routing it, as he ordinarily would, through Mr Shann who was away. I mention the name of Mr Shann. Perhaps I should not have mentioned any individual officers, but we in this centre of affairs know the integrity and the perspicacity of Mr Shann, as we do that of the Secretary of the Department.
– Table the papers so we can have a good look at them.
– If an allegation is made in this place it is my duty to respond to it. Subsequent procedures will take their proper course.
– If Senator Georges asked the Minister to table the papers he should.
– It is getting too strong for honourable senators opposite. The idiocy of the allegation and the insinuation is beginning to appear. On 31st December a responsible officer, through the Secretary of the Department, put a submission that the 6 DC3 aircraft of Jetair should be purchased for $275,000. So sinister is this matter that on the same day the Secretary of the Department put a written submission before the Minister to this effect: ‘We have 5 aircraft in Service configuration from the RAAF and if we go on with their conversion it will cost us $425,000 to get 5 aircraft of that nature to Nepal and Laos. We have the opportunity of purchasing the additional 6 DC3 aircraft at $275,000, the value of which was supported by inspection by responsible officers of the Department of Supply. What should we do?’ The Secretary said: If we go on with the conversion of the RAAF aircraft, firstly, we will not get the work completed until the latter half of 1971; secondly, the cost of conversion has risen so that the total involvement will be $425,000 for 5 aircraft; and thirdly, we are under pressure, on advice from our ambassadors abroad, to expedite the delivery of these goodwill aid aircraft to Nepal and Laos’. This submission of 31st December, so far from patronising so-called friends by the name of Barton of any Minister, referred to a Mr Gordon Barton, in error, as the vendor.
– Who did that?
– The Department, in its submission, conveyed the erroneous understanding that the Department thought the vendor was Mr Gordon Barton of Ipec Austrafia Ltd. That submission of 31st December went before the Minister on 1st January - within a day - and the Minister, having underlined various parts of the submission, wrote against it: ‘Approved W.M. 1.1.71.’ There is no need to produce this submission to Senator Turnbull. His friends have enabled him to see it somehow, as he declared this afternoon in the Senate. Ministerial approval was given on 1st January for the purchase of 6 DC3 aircraft from Jetair. One of the considerations that the Secretary drew to the attention of the Minister was: ‘We may, by reason of this purchase, have aircraft surplus to our requirements but even if we do and wholly write off the purchase of the 5 RAAF aircraft for which the interdepartmental account debited Foreign Affairs for $60,000 we will still be in front’. I pass to honourable senators a tabulation of figures that might enable these agile critics to understand the position.
Being in that situation and having heard one month previously that the Khmer Republic needed military aircraft - not, as Senator Turnbull ludicrously said this afternoon, civilian aircraft - the Department dispatched a cable to see whether the Khmer Republic had requirements, under the goodwill mission aid of Australia to South East Asia in the particular circumstances of January 1970, for 6 aircraft. Honourable senators if they just think, can imagine the excitement in the Khmer Republic if there were forthcoming as a gift from Australia 6 aircraft. Within a month or two after the sounding out of the generals and the Government of the Khmer Republic, the information came to Australia that the Khmer Republic would be delighted to have the assistance of the Service aircraft. Therefore the net result will appear from the figures that 1 have circulated. Although some honourable senators may be afraid to read them I hope that other honourable senators will understand, if they look at the transactions a little, that the first leg of the transaction involving the RAAF aircraft would have cost us in December $425,000 to deliver to our South East Asian friends. However, by not going on with the expensive reconversion which would not be necessary if we bought the 6 DC civilian aircraft from Jetair, we were able to save $290,000 in conversion costs and $15,000 in delivery costs. So the actual cost of delivery of the 5 Service aircraft to the Khmer Republic was $120,000 as against $425,000 if the ignorant critics of this transaction had pressed us to go on with an unbusinesslike transaction.
The cost price of the 6 DC3 aircraft bought from Jetair was $275,000. After the refurbishing, painting and making the aircraft ready for delivery - they had just been through an overhaul that would give them a reputable air worthiness of 10 years and therefore there was no cost of reconversion and very insignificant costs in relation to refurbishing - the cost, as delivered, was $360,000. Therefore, by delivering the 6 DC3 aircraft from Jetair at a cost of $360,000 and the 5 Service aircraft at a cost of $120,000 we would get 11 aircraft to 3 friendly South East Asian countries for a total of $480,000. Yet, if Senator Turnbull and his allies were to run this country they would not have taken the opportunity to buy the publicly advertised air fleet of Jetair at a price vouched for by responsible officials of the Department of Supply without any reference to the Minister. If Senator Turnbull, in his perversity and ignorance, had been running the transaction, instead of getting 11 aircraft delivered to 3 friendly countries for $480,000 he would have pushed on with the expensive reconversion of 5 Service aircraft and had them delivered for $425,000.
Without any initiative or stimulation from any Minister and without any Minister having any communication, written or verbal, with any executive of Jetair, the departmental officers took the opportunity of following up the public offer published in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ and the Australian* for the whole world to see on 5th December and bought the additional 6 aircraft and enabled us to deliver 11 aircraft to friends at $480,000 instead of 5 at the excessive cost of $425,000. As the additional 6 aircraft cost us in fulfilment of our delivery of aid an extra $55,000 we can see that the Secretary of the Department was well justified in saying in his submission to the Minister on 31st December that lt would be better to buy these aircraft even if we had to write off entirely the Service aircraft which we had purchased at a cost of $60,000.
– Do not push your point too much. Senator Turnbull is getting embarrassed.
– Once these figures are put to honourable senators the whole thing will fall into place. There is no smell in it. You will never report the facts fully and expose the nonsense of an insinuation that could come only from sinister, sinuous minds.
The Minister having approved the purchase on 1st January - and as I said before we had assured ourselves by offering at that stage to the Khmer Republic the 6 aircraft we then had available - the Khmer Republic was delighted to accept it. The Department of Foreign Affairs passed the transaction in a routine manner to the Department of Supply to complete the documents and to assure the Minister that the disposal of the 6 DC3 aircraft from Australia had the concurrence of the Department of Civil Aviation which is represented by my colleague the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton). The Department of Supply then formulated a contract. So sinister was the transaction that on 14th February the Minister stated the whole position in the form of a long Press release. A few snivelling penmen then started to construct their ideas of the transaction and that was sufficient guide for Senator Georges and Senator Turnbull to maintain their vapouring level of thought from then till now with insinuations. It is rather pitiable. If Senator Turnbull had wished to be informed of this transaction he had only to call at my office or at the office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen).
– I asked questions but you would not answer. You still have not given me the dates. I have asked you for the dates.
– What dates do you want?
– The date on which you were first offered these planes or the date on which you suggested to those countries that this form of aid was available.
– I gave them to the honourable senator. However, to enable him to understand, I will repeat them. Nepal accepted the offer made on 5th November 1969.
– I see, 3 years before.
– The honourable senator should do his arithmetic. A schoolboy would know that the 5th November 1969 is about 12 or 14 months before
December and January 1970-71. The next date is, Laotian request, 19th February 1970, and then the Khmer arrangement was made between January and February 1971. And now we come to the question of the dates of delivery of the aircraft.
– Will you table the papers?
– Let me present my case in my own way. If the honourable senator wants papers tabled there is a method of requiring it. He can come to my office and see the papers at any time. The delivery dates of these aircraft was July, August and September of 1971. I would have thought that anybody who had the purpose of explaining public transactions on a proper basis would take care to analyse the facts and, having analysed the facts, would perceive that the departmental officers having read a public advertisement for the sale of these DC3 aircraft ought to be commended for bringing to the attention of their Minister a transaction that would enable 11 aircraft to be delivered to 3 friendly countries at a price only $55,000 in excess of the cost confronting the Department in December 1970 for the delivery of 5 aircraft. If those facts find no acceptance in the Senate then, to me, business facts are given no relevance in the consideration of honourable senators.
– Mr President, would I be in order in moving that the papers that have been referred to by the Minister be tabled? Could I ask the Minister if he will table the papers?
– There is no motion before the Chair. I call on Senator Gietzelt, the next speaker.
– I rise to order. There seems to be a little confusion. Senator O’Byrne has moved that the papers be tabled. Standing order 363 states:
A document relating to public affairs quoted from by a Minister of the Crown, -
I understand that Senator Wright is such, much as he might conceal that fact-
I would suggest that it is mandatory that Senator Wright table the documents from which he has been quoting. After all, the whole gamut of this debate has been to ask him merely to table the documents relating to this matter. He seems to be refusing to do it.
– Mr President, may I intervene?
– I do not want the honourable senator to intervene. I want to finish. I suggest that standing order 363 is quite clear. Unless there is something very sinister to be hidden, Senator Wright should table the papers.
– Senator Wright, will you address yourself to the matter?
– If that motion is in order, 1 will willingly respond to it. I lay on the table copies of the relevant papers. I invite honourable senators to peruse the originals of these any time in my office. But surely honourable senators do not ask for the original file.
– Why not?
– Because it contains a lot of additional matter.
– That is what I am asking for.
– I am tabling the relevant papers from which I quoted and only the ones from which I quoted.
– The next stage is for the Senate to vote on a formal motion for the tabling of the papers. The discretion lies in the Minister of the Crown at this stage. I have no power to order the Minister to table the papers under standing order 363. The only way in which this can be done is for a formal motion to be moved. There is no motion before the Senate.
– I rise to speak on the same point of order. How can it be interpreted that under standing order 363 the Minister is not responsible for tabling the papers when the standing order says:
A Document relating to public affairs quoted from by a Minister of the Crown, unless stated to be of a confidential nature, or such as should more properly be obtained by Address, may be called for and made a public Document.
I do not think anything can be more clearly stated than that.
– The ruling was quite simple. I draw the honourable senator’s attention to the actual wording:
A Document relating to public affairs quoted from by a Minister of the Crown, . . .
The Minister has tabled the papers from which he has been quoting.
– No, he has not.
– I have.
– I rise to order. Mr President, You have said that the Minister has tabled documents from which he was quoting during the course of his remarks.
– The Minister himself said that.
– The Minister has stated that he has tabled copies of documents from which he was quoting during the course of his remarks. They are only some of the documents contained in a file of papers from which he was quoting during the course of his remarks. As 1 read standing order 363, it says:
Not a copy of a document, but a document - . . relating to public affairs quoted from by a Minister of the Crown, unless slated to be of a confidential nature,-
I interpolate to say that the Minister has not claimed that it is of a confidential nature - . . or such as should more properly be obtained by Address, may be called for and made a public Document.
I submit that standing order 363 does not refer to a copy of a document but refers to a document from which a Minister has quoted. Therefore I submit that the file from which the Minister actually read during the course of his speech should, in fact, be the document that is tabled.
– I have tabled the actual documents from which I quoted, which are photostatic copies of the originals.
- Senator Cavanagh, do you wish to address yourself to standing order 363?
– No, not on the point of order.
– My ruling, which is consistent with the standing order, is that whether or not this is a photocopy, the Minister states that he will table matters from which he quoted, and he has done so. If the Senate desires to pursue the mat ter it can only do so, on the ruling which I gave earlier, by voting on a formal motion upon notice.
– I would desire to move that motion upon notice. Should it be moved now and debated subsequently?
– I rise to order, I submit that the honourable senator has no right to give a notice of a motion at this stage.
– He has no right at all.
– Mr President, I seek your guidance. Unless the Minister is prepared to say that the documents are confidential I think it essentia] that the whole file from which he quoted be tabled. If there is nothing to hide it should be made a public document. I seek your direction as to how I can get the opinion of the Senate that this action should be taken. You say that formal notice is required.
– Give notice tomorrow.
– I have received different opinions from Senator Wright and Senator Marriott. I seek your opinion, Mr President, and I will obey it rather than the opinions of the substitutes.
– The normal order of business provides the opportunity for you when I call for the giving of notices of motion each day. That is the only method by which the matter can formally be brought before the attention of the Senate. You, as a senator, have the right at that stage to give notice.
– The Australian Labor Party supports the 2 Bills relating to income tax which are before the Senate. Both Bills have been considered by the House of Representatives. I wish to deal with some of the arguments produced during the debate on the Budget, particularly the argument that Government supporters put forward suggesting that these Bills represent a considerable decrease in the incidence of taxation on the Australia work force. Government supporters have been mesmerised into believing that the tax concessions contained in these Bills - I refer both to the overall reduction in taxation and to the increase in dependants allowances - will have the effect of lowering considerably the tax responsibilities of people in the middle and lower income brackets. This, of course, is part of the general strategy that the Government has developed. Tax concessions and increased social service payments are regarded by the Government and its spokesmen in this chamber and the other place as being the panacea for the economic blight that dominates the Australian scene at the moment.
The Australian Labor Party regards these Bills as a panic-stricken attempt by the Government to hoodwink the Australian people into believing that in fact the tax concessions are of general benefit to the taxpaying community. The Treasurer (Mr Snedden) said that, by lifting the figure for the minimum amount of income on which income tax is levied from $417 a year to $1,041 a year, something like 600,000 taxpayers would be taken out of the taxation field But, in terms of the actual saving of tax, this amounts to only $42m and, in terms of the Budget Papers before the Senate and the Bill now being debated, it represents only one-eightieth of the amount collected in tax by means of the Income Tax Assessment Act. Therefore it represents a very small concession so far as the work force is concerned. It is interesting, when one examines the Commonwealth income tax statistics, to note that 63 per cent of people paying income tax to the Commonwealth have incomes between $1,042 and $4,999 a year.
I believe, and the Labor Party believes, that the actions of the Government in this regard were designed to hoodwink the people into believing that there will be substantial tax savings for them. I would like honourable senators to consider the Budget Papers that are before us, together with the Budget Speech of the Treasurer. I refer honourable senators to Table 1, Summary of Commonwealth Expenditure and Receipts, 1962-63 to 1971-72 and 1972-73 (Estimate)’ - a 10-year period. Surely we are entitled to determine whether the Government in fact is giving the concessions that it claims to be giving in this election Budget. I point out that the Senate is being asked to support this proposition and this Budget which has been described as an election Budget. It has been said that these Bills repesent a concession of some magnitude to taxpayers. It is interesting to note from the table which I referred that in 1962-63 pay as you earn taxpayers contributed $684m of the total tax revenue of $2,876m; in other words, they accounted for about 24 per cent of total tax revenue. I think that Government supporters ought to examine these figures. This year it is estimated that pay as you earn tax will total $3, 278m and that total tax revenue will be $8,400m; in other words, pay as you earn tax represents 39 per cent of total tax revenue. In the 10- year period the amount of pay as you earn tax as a proportion of total tax collected by the Commonwealth has increased from 24 per cent to 39 per cent. I have taken the time to examine the Budget Speeches and statements issued by the various Treasurers over a 20-year period. They show that in pay as you earn tax the Commonwealth has collected an additional $7,500m.
If we examine the history of income tax in Australia we find that it was not until the latter part of the last century that income tax was levied by the States. Tasmania in fact was the first State to institute company tax. Four years later South Australia introduced a tax on incomes. By 1900 all States were taxing incomes. It is very interesting to note that in 1913 and 1914 all States raised half their revenue from income tax and company tax. It was not until the middle of World War I that the Commonwealth entered the income tax field. By the end of that war one-third of Commonwealth revenue came from income and company tax. I think all honourable senators would be aware that under the uniform tax legislation of 1942 the Commonwealth assumed full responsibility for levying and collecting income tax. In the years in which we were fighting a war, after the Commonwealth had taken over the total tax responsibility, income tax and company tax accounted for 57 per cent of the Commonwealth’s total revenue. In 1949, which was the last year in which we had a Federal Labor government, that figure of 57 per cent had fallen to 54 per cent. It was to rise to 58 per cent in the early years of the Menzies Administration, in 1969 it dropped to 54 per cent, and this year, 1972 the year in which the Commonwealth is supposed to be giving bonuses from taxation revenue - it is up to 58 per cent. This is the highest amount that has ever been collected by the Commonwealth in the income tax field, yet this is the year in which we are told that income tax has been reduced.
I think that there is sufficient evidence in the Budget Papers to support what I am saying. I refer to the document entitled Estimates of Receipts and Summary of Estimated Expenditure’, and to pages 6 and 7 which deal with receipts and expenditure at the Commonwealth level. As some of my colleagues in the other place have pointed out, despite the overall 10 per cent decrease in taxation, which is a feature of the Budget and which is the subject of the Bills now before us, the Commonwealth will receive in income tax from individuals, that is from those who pay as you earn, $439m more this year than it collected last year. So the Government is not giving away anything at all. In fact, it is still on the inflation bonanza which has characterised Commonwealth revenue in the whole of the post-war period, and particularly in the years from 1949 to 1972.
If we turn to Table 6 in the document entitled ‘Estimates of Receipts and Summary of Estimated Expenditure’, which deals with the Consolidated Revenue Fund and with the expenditure and receipts per head of population, we are confronted with an increase in taxation. This is set out in the Budget and in the 2 Bills that are before the Senate. There will be an increase in taxation of $38 per head of population, according to the current estimates for 1972-73. It is interesting to go back into time to see the incidence of income tax increases. For instance, in 1949, when the Chifley Labor Government was in power, taxpayers were paying tax of $129 per head of population. That was to rise, in 4 years, to $202 per head of population, then in 16 years to $412 per head of population and in the current year, as I have indicated, to $709, which will be an increase of $38 over the previous year. So this legislation which we are supporting does give some minor relief to the Aus tralian taxpayers, but in no way will it result in any substantial saving to the average taxpayer.
A somewhat anomalous situation arises when we examine the concessional allowances which the Government has been gracious enough to increase in the Budget and which are the subject of the second Bill before the Senate. In 1949 - 23 years ago - the concessional allowance for a wife was $208. It was increased to $260 in 1953-54, to $286 in 1957-58, to $312 in 1967-68 and now to $364 in 1972-73- an increase of less than 100 per cent since 1949. Increases of the same ratio have been granted in concessional allowances for children. I think that the attention of the Senate and of the Australian people should be drawn to the fact that in the period from 1950-51 to 1972-73, concessional deductions for life assurance and superannuation payments have, increased from $400 to $.1,200.
So if there was any equity at all in providing such substantial relief from taxation in concessional allowances for superannuation and life assurance payments, from $400 to $1,200, I think there Ls a very excellent case for increasing the concessional allowances for wives and children to $700 or $800. Although we welcome the increases in concessional allowances which have been granted in the Budget, the Commonwealth has made really no appreciable attempt to give any equity in these fields.
Let us examine also the propositions which the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) has placed before the House of Representatives and which his representative in this chamber, Senator Cotton, has placed before, the Senate in respect of taxable income. The minimum income on which tax was paid in 1949 was $208. It took 14 years - until the 1963-64 Budget - before that figure was increased by 100 per cent, to $416. It has taken another 9 years to increase the figure commensurate with the inflationary situation. So we have had the situation in which students, part time workers - particularly women who are working to supplement the family income - and young people have been paying tax on their wages which is out of all proportion to their ability to pay, which should be the basis of taxation.
In the period during which I have been a member of the Senate I have heard many references made to the policies of the Australian Labor Party. I should like to refer to the policies of the Liberal Party of Australia in regard to taxation. 1 am indebted to the Parliamentary Library for providing me, with a copy of the official platform of the Liberal Party because it details that Party’s policy on taxation. In 1946, which I would imagine would have been one of the early years in the formation of the Liberal Party, the Party adopted a policy- I am referring here to page 7 of the Party’s platform - which provided for the adoption of a 3-year programme of progressive tax reduction aimed at a total ultimate reduction of 40 per cent in all income tax rates. I think that I have been able to show by what I said previously that income tax represents some 54 per cent of all Commonwealth revenue collected. The proportion continued to rise in the years in which we had a Liberal Government. At page 13 of the ‘Liberal Platform’ issued by the Federal Secretariat of the Liberal Party in November 1948 its policy had been amended to read that the adoption of a programme of progressive tax reduction was part of its platform, with special help for the family taxpayer, particularly with reference to allowances for dependent children, medical and like expenses, and education. The maximum deduction allowed for insurances, medical expenses, etc., was to be increased.
Certainly that policy was carried out in respect of the maximum deductions for insurance, medical expenses, etc., but I do not think that on any liberal interpretation of its platform one could say that there has been a progressive tax reduction or any marked improvement in the allowances for dependent children and wives. As I have indicated to the Senate, it took the Liberal Government until 1963-64 to raise those concessional allowances.
It is interesting to try to understand the philosophy behind the Government and to attempt to analyse the Liberal Party’s subsequent documents. I refer to the. Liberal Party Federal Council’s ‘Official Federal Platform’ of 15th November 1960 and 31st May 1971 where we see that the original philosophy behind the taxation proposals had been altered to accommodate the
Government’s policy rather than to accommodate the taxpayers. At page 6 of both these booklets we find:
Tax reductions wherever practicable, consistent with the essential needs of defence, social and public services and of the economy and to preserve equity as between taxpayers.
I think it can be shown, therefore, that the policy was altered to accommodate the Government’s refusal to give any equity in the field of taxation and to place the total burden of taxation on the low and middle income groups. We have the views of the Treasurer on this subject in the documents that are before the Parliament. He said:
The Government views with concern the considerable increase in the relative burden of personal income taxation in recent years and the effects which that is having upon our economy and, indeed, our society. In particular, the single income family, the typical suburban family man, is being hit hard.
As we have indicated, we are prepared to support the Government on this legislation because it will grant some concessions, but in terms of reality and in terms of the responsibility of people to pay taxation the legislation which is before the Senate for its ratification is totally inadequate to meet the real needs of the taxpaying community.
Not only has there been this tremendous increase in taxation by the Commonwealth, but also in the same period the States, because of the economic policies pursued in Canberra, have had to increase their taxation drastically, to such an extent that in 1949 taxpayers were paying $10.45 per head to State governments throughout Australia whereas on the last figures available - for 1970 - they were paying $75.64 per head of population. I think we are entitled to say, therefore, that the Government has acted as somewhat of a charlatan in this matter. It has read the gallup polls and other public opinion polls, it has panicked and has sought in some way to create the impression that the taxation concessions, both in concessional allowances and in the overall across-the-board 10 per cent reduction, will find favour with the electorate.
We are grateful that the Government has lifted the base income which attracts taxation from $416 to $1,041. The Labor Party will increase the minimum to about $2,500 because we can see that persons who have several children and who are earning about $55 a week should not be paying any tax in direct form and that they should be relieved to the maximum extent of the responsibilities which have been placed upon them. We will be acting substantially in accord with the policies of the Liberal Party when it was formed in 1946 and as they were expressed in their Federal Platform’ in the earlier years of that Party. We recognise that the Governmentis aware that income tax has become out of proportion to Commonwealth revenue, and that is why the Commonwealth has seen fit to appoint a committee of inquiry into the taxation system. One would have expected that to be one of the first things that a Liberal Government would have done when it was elected to office in 1949, not that it would do it at the end of its term of office, after 23 long weary years. 1 do not know the personnel who will compose the committee and therefore I would not reflect on their capacity, ability or integrity. One can only assume that they are men of worth who are capable of carrying out this taxation review. It was on 11th April 1972 that the Treasurer announced that the Government had decided to institute a full-scale public inquiry into the taxation system, but it took him almost another 5 months to appoint the committee. It was only last week that he announced that the committee had been appointed. One must comment upon the composition of the committee. There will be several academic persons from the universities who, I should imagine, can be expected to look at the problem in a wide and tolerant way. In addition there are to be 2 representatives of industry. However, there is no representative of the general taxpayer or of the trade unions - no representative of the people who are carrying the substantial burden of taxation in this country.
I am not suggesting that Sir Peter Lloyd or Mr Kenneth Wood would not look al the problem from the point of view of the low or middle income earner but, as 1 have indicated in respect of the documents which were presented with the Budget this year, of the $3,250m which the Commonwealth collects in taxation, people earning less than $5,000 per annum - that is, ho. e who are earning the average weekly wage or less - are contributing about 63 per cent. Where is their representation on this committee of inquiry? 1 think we are entitled to regard the Government as acting too late in carrying out a proper evaluation of taxation and of acting in such a way as to cast very considerable doubts upon its integrity in this matter. Notwithstanding that, the Labor Party will be prepared to support the legislation because it recognises that it goes some part of the way along the path to providing substantial relief to the taxpaying community.
– As I understand it, the Senate tonight is in the course of a debate on the motion for the first reading of a money Bill. This provides an opportunity for discussion on a wide range of subjects. Members of the Opposition obviously have seized upon this opportunity and in their speeches have covered a wide range of subjects, thereby taking the time of the Senate in a way which I find singularly surprising when there is an anxiety that the people of Australia should have the benefit of the adequate and generous financial provisions which have been made for them in the recent Budget.
On the notice paper today’ we find provision for the continuation of the” debate on the Aged Persons Homes- Bill which, as honourable senators will know, provides for the doubling of the rate’ of the personal care subsidy. But because we are caught up in this continuing stalling debate - this filibustering process which has been going on this evening- approximately 360 homes for aged persons throughout Australia are being denied this money. At least 16,000 aged persons throughout Australia are being denied the proposed increase in personal care subsidy. I take the strongest objection to this filibustering process with which the Labor Party has been continuing. Let me warn the people of Australia to take note that, if this is all the care that, the Labor Party, has for the aged and needy people in our community, it does not deserve to become the Government following the election to be held this year.
Let us put this down firmly. Is not what I say right, Sir? It should be noted that this is a filibustering process hindering the business of the Senate. I take the strongest objection to it. I take the opportunity to put this firmly on the line because there are certain things which need to be said. Some things are going for the Government. Benefits are to flow from the Government’s programme for pensioners and from the wide range of other matters in which the Government has concerned itself over its progressive 23 years. Contrary to what was said by Senator Gietzelt, the 23 years of office of this Government have not been long and weary. Those 23 years have been progressive, on-going, positive and creative.
I invite honourable senators to look at the Budget Speech which has recently been presented and to consider the measures which are before the Senate - if only we could get on with them - so that needy people not only would have the opportunity to receive the benefits but also would be enabled to live out their own lives enjoying improved and increasing benefits and improved standards of living.
I take up this opportunity to discuss a couple of events of today. I look first at this evening’s Melbourne ‘Herald’ which has been distributed throughout the Parliament tonight. I turn to an article by our distinguished Minister for Education and Science, the Honourable Malcolm Fraser, which is headed( ‘Take the struggle out of education’. In the opening paragraph of his article, the Minister draws attention to the fact that going to school in some areas can be a big problem for a small migrant boy. The Minister points out that:
When be cun barely speak English, let alone write if, it makes a normal Australian education almost unattainable.
The Minister has gone on record also to point out!
This year the Commonwealth will spend nearly SSm to make sure that he and 4,000 like faim gets special English lessons to reduce and eliminate that language disadvantage.
This has been further confirmed by the announcement of the migrant education programme by the Minister for Immigration (Dr Forbes). The details of this programme should be placed on record so that the great community of migrants and new settlers who have made such a remarkable contribution to our national well being and growth may have the benefit of this programme. It will enable them to make a greater contribution in depth as well as to our total growth rate.
The Senate may be interested to know that prior to 1970 expenditure on migrant education amounted to approximately $lm annually. In 1970-71, it was agreed that there should be some kind of major expansion in this service and expenditure rose to $3,875,000. Last financial year the amount was $6,275,624. In the Budget this financial year the amount is pushed to $9,225,000 which represents an increase of 44 per cent on the amount expended in 1971-72.
The main elements in educational services for the migrant community include, in the first instance, the child migrant education programme, then the adult migrant education programme, the full time intensive English language courses as well as the well tried and successful pre-embarkation and shipboard instruction. May I take a moment to look, first, at the child migrant education programme. A total of approximately $5m to which I referred earlier is provided in the current Budget for the child migrant education programme. This is a singularly important area of migrant education as it represents an increase of some 50 per cent in the appropriation for the previous year. Not only am I talking in terms of money, rather am I drawing attention to the fact that the number of children who may take part in this has grown from approximately 8,000 some 2 or 3 years ago to 40,000. This is the number of children to which the Minister referred in his article which appeared in the Melbourne Herald’ tonight. Whilst I suppose this is the most important area of migrant education, another very important and significant area is the adult migrant education programme in both its education and its social contexts.
In the Budget presented this year the Government increased the amount provided for adult migrant education programme to $3m which represents an increase of 39 per cent over the previous allocation. I think it will be understood that the major part of this increase results from the decision made by this Government to pay living allowances to migrants attending accelerated courses on a full time basis. When I speak about courses being held on a full time basis, it is interesting to spell out to the Senate that these courses will be of some 10 weeks duration and will involve at least 6 hours of instruction each day for 5 days a week. Honourable senators will readily see that not only is a programme of money involved in this but also a programme of practical development which will have a wide ranging and special social effect.
The English language courses, for which a total of $1,200,000 is provided in the Budget, are again an intensive programme. What appeals to me is that the number of centres for full time intensive courses throughout all the States as well as in the Australian Capital Territory, will be increased from 12 to 17 with their annual capacity raised to well in excess of 2,000. Interestingly enough, in the Senate today a document has been distributed on the migrant education programme for the last year. This represents an increase and an improvement on the information contained in the report which has been distributed by the Minister. The standards of migrant education centres in all capital cities have improved and the centres will provide a focal point for migrant education in each State. There are new facilities for intensive courses, full time courses and classes for special groups with particular emphasis being placed on migrant women with a view to caring for the family. The Minister for Education and Science then dealt with another important area of education when he referred to the problems faced byAboriginal children. In the current Government education programme special attention is provided for Aboriginal children who, around Australia this year, will receive Commonwealth study grants to help them advance themselves. I think it is important to put on the record in the Senate that there is to be no such things as a means test or academic test. All that is needed is the general view that there is a reasonable prospect for the Aboriginal to improve himself through further study. It is firmly hoped that a large number of Aboriginal children will be able to benefit from this arrangement which will cost about $3.7m. All of this is part of the Commonwealth education programme for 1972-73.
The figures have been spelt out before but I think it is important that they be spelt out again because total Commonwealth expenditure on education has more than doubled in 4 years. It increased from something like $190m in 1968 to $426m in 1972. The major increase in this amount is in Commonwealth payments to the States which increased from $206m last year to $250m this year. Special attention is being concentrated on the grants to the States for universities and those very important and significant institutions known as colleges of advanced education which are making such a remarkable contribution to education throughout the Commonwealth. Also large amounts are being provided for research projects. Having been involved with the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts I have come to know something of the value of educational research. People from the Australian Research Grants Committee have put before the Senate Committee the need for extra funds and for extra’ attention to research. The cost of this will total SI44m which is an increase of $15m over last year. Also of advantage to the Government’s education programme is the continuation of unmatched capital grants. Some provision is made for technical training, teacher training and various other activities. Tn 1972 an amount of some $63m is provided as against $46m last year.
The education programme of the Commonwealth has included Commonwealth finance for state school buildings. This represents an increase of some 25 per cent. In this Senate reference has been made to the 5-year programme involving no less than $215m. This will be for capital development of government schools and it will also include independent schools. This programme is to commence in July next year. Of this amount I say with emphasis that $167m is for government school buildings and $48ni for the independent sector. It is obvious from what I have, just said that Government expenditure on schools and teachers colleges is heavily weighted in favour of government schools. Another factor in the Government’s education programme deals with scholarships. This provides a great opportunity for many people to undertake further education. What is more, in the current programme the scholarship establishment has been increased in number. It provides for big changes in the secondary schemes. I think that some idea of the extent to which this scheme is moving is indicated by the expenditure figure which is expected to approach some $77m. This is an increase of $30m on the present figure and it is quite a substantial increase indeed. The total number of scholarships which are involved in this programme will increase from 70,000 to nearly 130,000.
All of this requires a background of a strong and contemporary teacher education system. As honourable senators will recall the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts carried out a study in relation to the Commonwealth role in teacher education. We brought down a considerable number of recommendations which provided for Government assistance to teachers colleges and particularly preschool teachers colleges. Some of these have already been the subject of legislation in this chamber. All of this proves that the Government is concerned not only with education but also with a diversity in educational style, forms and expenditure which recognises that in its programme education administration is largely and almost, entirely within the responsibility of the States. Some of the programme which I have outlined - it is only part of the programme - indicates that the Government is adhering to this idea of diffusing, spreading and providing opportunities for decentralisation and diversification. What is more, the Government’s policy on education has provided massive amounts of money to all levels of education. We have heard talk about migrants, Aboriginals, universities, colleges of advanced education, scholarships and pre-school teachers colleges. A whole range of these are receiving the benefit of a programme of educational development which is being instituted through State authorities and emphasised through government schools. Assistance is also provided to the independent school sector. The Government provides for this dual stream, diversity and flexibility in education. This is being proved to be a success and the Government is certainly deserving of people’s support so that the programme may continue its successful way.
I contrast this with the Labor Party’s policy on education and this talk of an Australian schools commission which will have power to control every individual school in Australia. Dress this proposition up in any way they like, this is the background to it and this is the programme which has been spelt out and laid down. This would destroy existing State control over education. It would eliminate that diversity, seriously restrict and, I suspect, finally destroy the independent schools which have made such a valuable contribution to education in Australia. These are some of the things which I wanted to spell out in order to show that even when we have a first reading debate on a money Bill there are some worthwhile things to be said that are in favour of a positive programme in education and related fields.
– This debate is most peculiar in that it is the first reading of a- money Bill, as Senator Davidson who haS just resumed his seat said. Many honourable senators on this side, with the exception of Senator Gietzelt who spoke to the Bill, took the opportunity, which is available under Standing Orders, to bring up matters which in the opinion of honourable senators are in need of early rectification and which show to a great degree some mismanagement by the Government. No-ohe can condemn the issues which have been brought up. When we hear what Senator Turnbull has brought before the Senate on the first reading of this money Bill we are thankful that the Standing Orders give us an opportunity to raise such matters. I do not want to enter into the matter related to Ipec Australia Ltd. Opportunity to do so may be given in a subsequent motion relating to the advisability or justification for tabling certain documents.
One was surprised that Senator Turnbull made a direct challenge to the Government. Even I think that he imputed improper motives to the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) in being friendly with a director of Jetair Australia Ltd. One can realise the extent of the accusations made by the honourable senator. One would hesitate to say that such serious allegations show some defrauding of the Commonwealth for the purpose of bestowing favours. But then the honourable senator said: ‘You can prove me untruthful by presenting the papers.’ Tonight we heard a long ministerial statement which wandered all over the place. There was a certain degree of irregularity in it and it cast certain suspicions in that someone from the Department on 31st December, New Year’s Eve - perhaps they were affected by the festivity of that occasion - mistook Jetair for Gordon Barton of Ipec when they inspected the planes which had ‘Jetair’ stamped all over them.
– And approval was given on 1st January - a holiday.
– Approval was given on 1st January. I suppose to secure this approval the Executive Council met on 1st January. There is no let-up for Ministers. Therefore there must be some suspicion about the figures and the dates as read to the Senate. Senator Turnbull could be proved to be speaking untruths or speaking irresponsibly if the very thing that he asks to be done - that the papers be tabled - was done. Every attempt was made to avoid tabling those papers.
– The papers were tabled.
– No. Some extracts from the papers were tabled but the files were not tabled. No doubt the Government forces would combine to ensure that a resolution that the papers be tabled is defeated. Senator Turnbull has made accusations which could be proved incorrect by the papers being tabled, but the fact that they have not been tabled means that his most serious allegations cannot be proved incorrect. We are aware of the dodging by the Minister to ensure that they are not tabled. There is something to hide, everything to hide, if the accusations made by Senator Turnbull and his serious alegations against certain departments, particularly the Prime Minister’s Department, are correct. I want to mention the sanctimonious hypocrisy of Senator Davidson.
– I rise to a point of order. I submit that that is not parliamentary langauge. It is offensive to any parliamentarian, and on behalf of Senator Davidson I ask for withdrawal of that remark.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood) - I ask Senator Cavanagh to withdraw that remark. It is not right to accuse any person of hypocrisy because the word indicates dishonesty.
– I will withdraw it because possibly it was too strong. The sanctimonious humbug that goes on here-
– 1 rise to a point of order. I ask you, Mr Acting Deputy President, not to be trifled with in that way, by the honourable senator substituting sanctimonious humbug’ for ‘sanctimonious hypocrisy’.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood) - Senator Cavanagh, since you are aware of parliamentary practice, I think I ought to ask you to withdraw that remark. It implies certain qualities about a person which I do not think the average person would care to have implied about him.
– What word do you ask me to withdraw? Is it the word humbug’?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood)- Yes.
– All right, Mr Acting Deputy President, I will withdraw it. 1 do not want to offend the Chair. I could substitute the word ‘inanities’.. Maybe that would get over it without the necessity of withdrawing the other word. .
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - I think you could express it in other strong terms to which exception could not be taken.
– So much that was insincere and wrung out in a sanctimonious voice for the purpose of getting on the air and the shedding of Christian tears over; the microphone was all a waste of time, for he is the very individual who has done more filibustering in this chamber than any other senator. It is not true to say that any time taken up on this first reading debate delays the operation of benefits under the Budget. The legislation which carries the benefit will come into operation either on the date stated or the date proclaimed no matter when it goes through this House. If the Government wants to pay a benefit from any date then that can be stated in the Bill and it will not be opposed on this side of the House even if the date is earlier than the date on which it could be proclaimed. This could be done just as the Government found it convenient to do in the recent legislation validating certain ordinances and as it found it convenient to do on the industrial legislation when it was before this chamber. If speaking on this Bill could delay the operation of any benefits under the Budget, members on this side could perhaps justify it insofar as they had some criticism of the Government to make. But Senator Davidson could not justify his taking up of 20 minutes speaking about matters about which he has the right to speak when the appropriate legislation comes before the House, only for the purpose of disseminating political propaganda over the air tonight. That was the purpose, and that is why one is led to use such strong language as ‘the sanctimonious hypocrisy that goes on from time to time’.
Does any honourable senator recall the occasions when Senator Davidson was used to talk out legislation or Bills before this House so that the vote would not be taken? Does any honourable senator recall the motion by Senator Murphy to refer to a committee the question of medical and hospital costs which were to bring benefits to the community and that for the last 35 minutes on that occasion Senator Davidson talked and talked about nothing relevant to the Bill for the purpose of permitting half past 10 to be reached before the question was put? He so incensed the Senate that the Senate, in disgust at the attitude of this particular individual, voted against the motion for adjournment and continued to sit until the legislation went through. This is the man who is critical today for no reason other than that he had the opportunity of speaking on the air.
I rise on the first reading of this money Bill to talk about a particular matter, namely, conditions at the Puckapunyal Army camp which is, I understand, the induction centre for Army recruits. Recruits I have spoken to have told me that they spend 10 weeks of their initial training at Puckapunyal before being drafted to other camps. Many national service personnel are inducted into this camp. Despite some resistance to national service and to being victims of the ballot, and causing a lot of worry to their parents by being away from home, they win a l:/t of admiration from their parents. It is not without pride that some parents recall that their sons whom they have cherished for 20 years now wear the Queen’s uniform and are being trained in the honourable and heroic profession of defending their country, making this country safe and engaging in Commonwealth defence projects. One can imagine the pride of such parents.
At the end of the 10 weeks introduction to Army training an open day is held at the camp which parents can attend to see the advancement of their children who have been conscripted into the camp. An open day was held at Puckapunyal on Sunday, 10th September, for the parents of the troops, and it was with pride that 3 busloads of parents from South Australia travelled to Puckapunyal to see their darlings in this camp, to view their progress and to observe the great service that they had entered into, and the good conditions^ - that they were now part of a big organisation. A number of other parents travelled by car. Approximately 5,000 parents, sweethearts and wives of the men in training assembled at this Army camp last Sunday week.
The troops did a kind of slow march onto the oval, with an officer giving them directions. He was described to me as ‘the little chap with the red sash’. He gave an order which apparently the., troops thought was an order for a normal march. It was not. When his order was not obeyed, and despite all these people there, he used every 4-letter word that is in ‘The Little, Red Schoolbook’. This Army officer used vile vituperations in the presence of citizens - mothers, fathers, sisters and sweethearts of these Army recruits.
– I expect he thought he had the liberty of the new South Australian outlook, the Dunstan outlook.
– That expression of the Minister’s is an expression of approval because someone in South Australia has condoned the use of this language, so if it is good enough for South Australia, it is good enough for the Army. It is not good enough for people who have had church upbringing - Christians. Mothers and fathers who have not spoken to their sons in terms other than terms of endearment did not send their sons to the camp to be. abused and to be sworn at by an Army officer. I suggest that the Minister, rather than justifying the use of the language because it may have been used elsewhere, should have an inquiry conducted into the incident.
– It was objectionable.
– It was more than objectionable. It should never have been used in the Government service. It was such that those present protested by raising their voices and shouting to the officer to treat these men like humans and not like animals.
One young soldier had sticking plaster under his chin. The story was that the previous day, during rehearsal on the parade ground, he had fainted and had cut his chin on his bayonet. The cut needed stitching. As he lay stunned on the ground one of the servicemen, seeing the blood, sought to go to his assistance. The officer in charge, in true Askin style, said: ‘Let the bastard die’. That was the effect on the officer of the cut under the lad’s chin. The young man was later taken to sick bay and stitches were inserted in the cut. He was on the parade ground the following day with plaster under his chin.
– Has the honourable senator brought this matter to the attention of the Minister for the Army?
– I hope I am doing so tonight, through the Minister.
– Is this story as reliable as some of the reports of protests in Adelaide?
– Never mind about protests. I will give the Minister due credit. He is possibly the only one who is prepared to take an interest in the matter and see that it is reported to the responsible Minister. Everyone else is trying to cast doubts upon the story so there will not be an investigation.
– Who is?
– The honourable senator is interjecting, for a start. Senator Webster is another.
– Did you see this incident or are you relying on evidence given to you?
– I have the names of at least half a dozen parents who will verify this story if an assurance is given to them that no disciplinary or vindictive action will be taken against their children who are still in the Army. If this assurance is not given we will have to wait another 18 months before the names can be given. The young soldiers left the parade ground and went to a clear area by the huts where an order was given to them to disperse and they dispersed in that they broke formation. The parents, thinking that the soldiers were dispersing, rushed to greet their children. Obviously it was not such an order. The officer turned upon the parents and used filthy language. He may have had a grievance against the parents because of the way they had protested on the oval. He told them - I do not know how to say it - in the words of ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ to get off his ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ paradeground, which was a clearing in front of the huts. While all the parents had pride in their children, it was only then they learned, because of the names that the children were called, that all of their children were illegitimate. Every reference to them was ‘bastard’ - Pick up that chair, you bastard’. This was the manner of address to the troops on that occasion.
The reports are that the beds and the wardrobes in the huts are overturned, and that if anything is broken that is just bad luck.
– Overturned by whom?
– By Army officers, for some reason or other, if something is found wrong in the huts. One lad left an unemptied ash try in the hut so the cigarette butts were scattered on the floor, the ash tray was thrown on the floor, a heel was stamped on it and it was broken. One dropped his rifle on parade. He had to stand and yell, until he was hoarse in the throat: T love my rifle’. I believe that it is a usual Army custom. He had to repeat, until he could say it no longer: T love my rifle’. This is the humiliation that lads who are inducted into the Army have to suffer. As one lad said, although he was not a conscientious objector and although he had no great objection to military service, he would rather have spent 18 months in a civil prison than 10 weeks in that camp. That is what lads who are inducted into the Service have to face That is why we cannot get recruits for the Permanent Army. This matter needs investigation.
– The honourable senator is not suggesting, is he, that the officer to whom he referred is anything but most exceptional?
– He was in public and he behaved in this way. I assume that it was not exceptional behaviour as other officers were there. If it were exceptional behaviour, he would have been demoted or would be out of the Service by now. I am suggesting that this conduct is common to the Service. Already there have been 3 attempts at suicide - 2 of wrist slashing and one of hanging - by lads in that camp. This conduct is driving to destruction, breaking the spirit and humiliating lads to get them to conform with orders issued under the military system. This system has to be changed if we are to have a defence force. On no account should mothers have to return home and worry about what they saw of their lads who have another 14 months to serve under the tyrannical and oppressive conditions which operate in Army camps.
– I was disappointed to hear Senator Cavanagh refer to my colleague Senator Davidson in the way that he did. I was interested to hear him make reference to Ipec Australia Ltd and the sale of aircraft belonging to Jetair Australia Ltd. He is very interested in transport matters. I recall that not long ago he made reference to the business venture that is being contemplated by the Australian Council of Trade Unions and Sir Peter Abeles of Thomas Nationwide Transport Ltd. I thought that Senator Cavanagh’s speech was an astute speech. He said that he was not in favour of the partnership, no doubt because he realised that the effort of the ACTU with regard to the running of Bourke’s store was a lamentable example of business ineptitude. I can understand his interest in the TNT-ACTU merger.
I would like to take the opportunity to say something on income tax matters. It is time that the people of Australia realised what income tax would mean if the Australian Labor Party ever came to govern ment in this country. The best description of this appeared in an editorial in the Australian’ of 24th August. I would like to read this article because I believe the editorial sums up pretty well what the people of Australia must contemplate. The editorial is headed: ‘Whitlam must explain tax policy.’ I shall read to the Senate what is contained in this article because of what Senator Gietzelt said in regard to the taxation policies of this Government which has led this country to prosperity over a long period of time, lt has led the country to a stage where most of the working people of Australia can afford not only one motor car but two of them. I believe that we are enjoying at this stage a degree of prosperity comparable with that of any other country. It is time that we took a bit of notice of what is said in this editorial which I believe sums up the situation. The editorial states: lt is now clear that the most embarrassing question anyone can ask Mr ‘.Whitlam during the election campaign will be whether he is prepared to guarantee not to raise taxes if Labor wins office. The Budget debate so far has been remarkable for a crushing silence from. Mr ‘Whitlam on this point, lt is all very well -for Mr Whitlam to claim that the Budget’s average1 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 rale 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 J 1 00m to pensioners and unemployed; reducing sales lax; raising unemployment benefits; extra, spending on schools and hospitals; pre-school education; free university education; a national ipsurar.ee scheme; and regenerating urban public transport. The inescapable conclusion is that Mr Whitlam will not be cutting income lax; he will be raising it, by 10 per cent or even more.
I must remark that what this editorial said is very accurate. The editorial posed the question: ‘From where is the money going to come?’
Opposition Senators - Oh!
– Obviously members of the Australian Labor Party are very sensitive on this matter. They talk about this Government’s policy with regard to income tax. but when we start pointing out one or two home truths in regard to Labor’s policy they scream like a mob of stuck pigs. The editorial went on:
In the absence of any explanation from Mr Whitlam to the contrary- and the screams that come from Opposition Senators - it can only be assumed that he would have to finance his promises by increasing the tax burden on the middle class - the group which makes more than the average wage of $98 a week, . . .
I will not read any more because it is an embarrassment . to honourable senators opposite.
I would like to refer to an interview which took place on the Channel 9 programme ‘A Current Affair’ with Mike Willesee on Monday of this week. During this programme the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) was interviewed. During the interview Mr Willesee said:
If the Labor Party can’t win now why should it ever expect it can win?
Mr Whitlam replied:
It’s hard to soy why it should win in other circumstances if it can’t win now I’ll grant you that. I don’t believe hi over dramatising these issues Now or Never yes I think that’s too dramatic.
He was referring to the fact that Mr Willesee said it is now or never as far as the Labor Party is concerned.
– It is time.
– Yes, it is time. That is right. That is what had Mr Whitlam so upset. Mr Willesee asked:
As a leader In personal terms Now or Never.
Mr Whitlam replied:
Oh, no. No. I mean I suppose I’m the only leader in the Federal Parliament of any of the parties who could remain leader if his party didn’t win.
I doubt very much whether that would be a fair statement. However, let us go on to the reference Mr Whitlam made to taxation. Of course, he probably read the editorial in the ‘Australian’, which I have just quoted to the Senate, a few days before and felt that he ought to refute what was contained in that article. Mr Willesee said:
Well of course the greatest single impact you can have on anybody is to alter the taxation structure firstly the income tax structure. Are you going to do that?
Mr Whitlam replied:
Well let me get this clear first the Commonwealth’s revenue, that’s it’s taxation income, dou bles every 7 years so if you’re suggesting that there’s going to be any, increase in taxation rates I can say to you flatly and directly no.
What about re-structuring.
Mr Whitlam replied:
Well the whole. Well this involves really what concessions you make in order to reduce the Commonwealth’s income or to reduce the amount which the Commonwealth takes from various people, what concessions you make, what exemptions you give and very obviously we would be reducing the tax that people on the lowest incomes paid.
– That is a little eva.sive, Senator.
– It is. Mr Willesee then asked:
Does that mean you’ll increase the tax on the higher incomes.
Mr Whitlam said:
No it doesn’t. You do not increase the rates of tax on anyone. As I say the revenue, since what was it this year, the Commonwealth’s expenditure’s about ten thousand million. Last election year it was seven thousand million before that it was a bit over five thousand million.
Here is the Leader of the Opposition saying that he will lower income tax and that everything in the garden will be lovely. But the people of Australia just wonder when they hear of some of the promises that the Labor Party has made already, such as on social services and the introduction of the Labor Party’s national superannuation scheme. What will this mean in terms of a net cost increase? It will amount to a mere $435m.
– Who worked that out?
– Those are the words that have flown from the mouth of your shadow minister on many occasions.
We then go on to the proposal for a free medical service staffed by salaried doctors and a free national hospital service based on the public ward standard which would cost a mere $5 20m more than what we are committed for at this time. I could go on and talk about education. The Labor Party makes flamboyant promises in regard to education which would cost $546m more than we are committed to at the moment. When talking about our Government’s policy, it should be remembered that it has been responsible with regard to income tax and in every other respect. I wonder when I read these figures what would happen if the Labor Party ever took over the Treasury bench. I am quite sure that the people of Australia would regret that to their dying days. I am sure that that unhappy event would reduce their standards of living in a way that is dreadful to contemplate.
I would like to conclude my remarks by referring to a matter that I heard on the Australian Broadcasting Commission radio programme ‘PM’ last Friday. I was driving home from my office and I listened to this programme as I frequently do. I find that the programme is most interesting with respect to current affairs. A young man was being interviewed who was a high school boy from a Victorian high school. He was interviewed because he was organising a strike in that school. Apparently the reason was that freedom of speech had been put in doubt in that school. Someone had apparently made some reference to the principal of that school and obviously had been reprimanded. This had excited the attention of the student action group. I was interested to hear the next question put to this young boy. He was asked whether the trade union movement was interested or encouraging this strike. He made no reply. He was asked further whether the Australian Communist Party was interested in the strike. He said that this group had been encouraged by the Australian Communist Party by its advertising the strike in its newspapers. . I felt that this was rather significant, because in the education field we are finding that there is agitation amongst young people. I believe that this is a sinister threat to the young minds of Australian school children. I think that we had evidence today that in Australia other strikes are encouraged by the Communist Party. I understand also that there are other leftist elements involved in that regrettable incident.
I conclude by suggesting to the people of Australia that when we consider taxation we have to admit, as a government that this is a matter for review. The Treasurer (Mr Snedden) has taken a lot of trouble in selecting a committee which is of a very high calibre to look at the complete taxation structure in Australia, something that I believe is overdue. The need has been recognised and I am sure that although it will take some time to achieve the complete results the Government can look forward to a much more effective taxation method in the future. It will only serve to benefit the people of Australia and continue the element of prosperity that has prevailed in this country over the last 23 years.
– I rise to speak on the first reading of the Income Tax Bill 1972 because of certain remarks that have been made in the Senate today by certain honourable senators. I want to refer to allegations that were made against the Australian Labor Party by Senator Little. He said that if the Labor Party were elected it would legislate for abortion, homosexuality and pornography. I want to point out to Senator Little-
– I said that it was the policy of many of the enthusiasts in your Party.
– The honourable senator said that we were committed to it. I denied that, and I deny it again. I want to point out to the Senate and to Senator Little that abortion is not Labor Party policy. If ever legislation were introduced into any parliament we would vote according to our consciences, as was the ‘ case in the South Australian Parliament which has been the only parliament- in - Australia to legislate on and legalise abortion. I want to put on the record that this was done by a Liberal Party Government and a Liberal Party Minister in the person of Mr Robin Millhouse.
We know that in most cases the Australian Democratic Labor Party always supports the Liberal Party and that what keeps the Liberal Party in office as the Federal Government is the fact that the DLP gives the Government its preferences. But the Labor Party has never legislated or attempted to legislate to legalise abortion. That has been done only by a Liberal Party government.
– But ‘ you have not repealed it.
– No. As far as homosexuality is concerned, it is not part of the Party’s policy to liberalise the laws in this regard. If such a Bill were introduced into any Parliament the members of the Labor Party would be given the opportunity to vote on it according to their conscience. Again, it is not the policy of the Australian Labor Party to legalise pornography. Of course, Senator Little accused Senator James McLelland of saying that was Party policy. I refute that. Earlier in the proceedings today Senator Young from South Australia asked a Dorothy Dix question in relation to censorship in South Australia. He said by way of imputation that the Australian Labor Party was going to open the doors on censorship and that anything would go. To back up his question, Senator Young quoted a headline from the Adelaide News’ of Saturday 16th September. That headline read, in big black type: ‘Censorship out for South Australia if Labor returned’. I have no doubt that Senator Young reads the Adelaide ‘Advertiser* but he did not quote the article in that newspaper on 18lh September which is headed: Tribunal may fix obscenity rules’. It is quite plain that Senator Young was trying to impute that under a Labor Government in South Australia the floodgates would be opened on censorship, and pornography would be allowed to run riot. But I think he should at least have had the good grace to quote the denial that was printed in Monday’s ‘Advertiser’. I want to quote from that article to refute what Senator Young imputed today. The heading is: Tribunal may fix obscenity rules’. The article states:
Introduction of a tribunal in South Australia to fix the standard of publications was approved by a special State confernce of the Australian Labor Party at the weekend.
The convention approved the plan after the Premier (Mr Dunstan) told it that a committee which had been studying obscenity, laws had come to the conclusion that adults should be free to hear, read and view what they wished in private or public.
He said the committee had also concluded that persons and those in their care, must not be exposed to unsolicited material offensive to them.
If the South Australian Government puts the new policy into effect, South Australia will be the first State in the Commonwealth to regularise censorship laws by establishing guidelines for controls which will be exercised by a special tribunal.
Australian Labor Party leaders deny this means the virtual abolition of censorship in South Australia.
They say it would regularise a confused ‘publish and be damned’ situation in which there is no authority to determine acceptable standards.
South Australia would be the first State to spell out procedures for the classification of literature, similar to the Commonwealth’s film ratings.
The Publications Classification Tribunal, as it will be known, will have power to classify any; published material as suitable for unrestricted distribution or for restricted distribution only. It will also be able to refuse to classify.
As to the offensiveness of unsolicited material and the protection of persons under 18 from exposure to objectional material, the tribunal must pay regard to community standards and to any decision of Commonwealth authorities on tha same or similar material.
To put the record straight, I say that I was a delegate who attended that special conference in Adelaide at the weekend. I shall read from the minutes of that meeting something relating to the obscenity rule. These are the recommendations brought forward by an agenda committee which examined the censorship question. The relevant motion was moved by Mr Dunstan, M.P., and seconded by Mr Martin. Mr Dunstan moved that the proposed policy be adopted and it is now the policy of the Australian Labor Party. Before reading from the minutes of that meeting I point out that all meetings of the Australian Labor Party, all its conventions and State council meetings, are open to the public and to the Press. We hide nothing of what takes place at our meetings, unlike the Liberal Party which closes its door to the public and to the Press. We are not ashamed of the debates that take place within our Party.
– That policy is of only about 2 years duration.
– It is not of 2 years duration. It has been so all the time. I have been in the Labor Party in South Australia. It is on record for all to see that we are not afraid of the public or the Press attending our meetings. I point out that the Liberal and Country League does not adopt this policy. The motion to which I referred earlier was as follows:
Law Relating to Publications
The censorship laws to conform with the general principles that adults be entitled to read, hear and view what they wish in private or public and that persons (and those in their care) be not exposed to unsolicited material offensive to them.
For the purpose of implementing the principles in paragraph 1, a tribunal to be known as The Publications Classification Tribunal’ be established.
The tribunal to have power in relation to any published material:
to classify as suitable for unrestricted distribution; or
to classify as suitable for restricted distribution only; or
to refuse to classify.
In making any such determination the tribunal to seek to implement the general principls in paragraph 1 and, as to the offensiveness of unsolicited material and the protection of persons under 18 years of age from exposure to objectionable material, to have such regard as it thinks proper to current community standards, and to any decision of Commonwealth or other State authorities in relation to the same or similar material.
Where published material is classified as suitable for restricted classification only, the tribunal may impose all or any of the following restrictions -
as to sale distribution or display (other than by parents or guardians or persons authorised by them) to persons under 18;
as to display generally or in particular places or circumstances;
confining sale or distribution to adults making direct inquiry for the material;
restricting or prohibiting delivery other than to the purchaser in person;
prohibiting or restricting advertising.
It shall be an offence to sell, distribute or otherwise deal with a restricted publication in contravention of any restriction imposed by the tribunal.
Notwithstanding any law relating to obscene or indecent material, it shall not be an offence for a person -
to print or produce classified material;
to sell, distribute or display such material where it has been classified for unrestricted distribution; or
to sell, distribute or display restricted material in accordance with the restrictions imposed.
Where material has not been classified, the ordinary laws relating to obscene and indecent publications shall apply.
By no means can Senator Young, or Senator Little or his partners in the Democratic Labor Party, accuse the Australian Labor Party of opening the doors in South Australia, or in any other State where it is in government, to pornography. I have put that on the record and it cannot be disputed.
I refer now to the efforts of Senator Young this morning to bring the Australian Labor Party into disrepute. Since I was elected to the Senate I have found that on most of the occasions on which
Senator Young has risen to his feet to ask a question he has prefaced his question by asking the relevant Minister whether his attention has been drawn to a newspaper article. In the main the newspaper article concerned has referred to something about the Labor Government in South Australia, to the trade union movement or to people who have some difference of opinion with the Commonwealth Government over the National Service Act. We in the Labor Party well realise the reasons behind his imputations. Senator Young does not refer at any time, of course, to the problems in his own Party in South Australia at the present time. I will quote from an article which appeared in the ‘Canberra Times’ on 16th September. The article is headed Country Party hopes - LCL split to leave vacuum’. It states:
The Leader of the Country Party and Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Anthony, predicted last night that the Liberal Movement within the South Australian Liberal and Country League would gain control of the party, leaving a vacuum for the Country Parly to fill in South Australia’s rural areas. . . .
A copy of his speech was issued in Canberra.
Like all other senators I had a copy of that speech delivered to me and I wish to quote part of it. Mr Anthony, the Deputy Prime Minister, delivered it at Kapunda in the mid-north of South Australia. He had this to say:
The political situation here in South Australia is developing in such a way, that the Country Party could quite suddenly find itself called upon - indeed requested by a large section of the people of this State - to meet the representational needs of people outside the metropolitan area of Adelaide. It’s quite obvious there is a game of power politics being waged within the Liberal and Country League which could well bring fundamental changes in the structure and attitudes of that organisation. It would seem the outcome could well be controlled predominantly by Adelaide at the expense of the steadfast rural elements.
When Senator Young comes into this chamber and mentions things that take place in the Australian Labor Party or the trade union movement with which we are affiliated - we are proud to be affiliated with it - he does so to draw a red herring across the situation which exists in his own Party. I agree with the sentiments expressed by Mr Anthony at Kapunda. One only has to move around the country areas of South Australia to see what is taking place. In fact the people of South
Australia have endorsed the editor of the United Farmers and Graziers journal to contest the next Senate election as the Country Party candidate. Of course, that action has thrown a lot of confusion into the LCL establishment in South Australia.
There is a person in South Australia who is doing something to clear up the problems that the LCL has. The person is Mr Steele Hall, an ex-Premier of the State. He has been so concerned about these problems and what is taking place that he is now resorting to some of the tactics that the Federal Government has used on many occasions in relation to ballots within the trade union movement. The Federal Government has maintained, through the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch), that all ballots within the trade union movement ought to be court controlled or conducted by the State electoral office. This is the very thing for which Mr Hall has asked. He has asked that the State electoral office in South Australia carry out all future LCL ballots for elections of officers of that Party and for endorsement of candidates. I shall quote from the issue of the ‘News’ which was published in Adelaide on Friday 8th September. This is what is stated under big headlines reading ‘Hall quits vote talk’:
The Liberal Movement leader, Mr Steele Hall, today walked out of LCL headquarters after a clash with LCL officials over a check on votes in the ballot for party president.
Mr Hall claimed he had been denied the right to check the validity of delegates who attended the LCL’s annual general meeting last week.
Mr Hall went to the LCL offices today following his earlier request for an examination of delegates’ admission tickets to ascertain how many delegates each branch had at the party’s annual meeting.
He said he had had a phone cull from the general secretary of the LCL, Mr R. Y. Wilson.
He believed he was to be given a chance to examine the cumber of admission tickets from delegates.
I presented myself for such a scrutiny, this morning, the ballot box was opened, but I was prevented from examining the admission tickets,’ he said.
After extensive argument for nearly an hour this refusal was confirmed and the box was locked without the scrutiny proceeding.’
Mr Hall said he was at a complete loss to know why the LCL administration was refusing this elementary check.’
I repeat that the unreasonable and unjustified refusal and delay by the LCL can only raise suspicion that there is some reason why, the tickets should not be checked,’ he said.
Of course, the criticism that is always coming from the Government side is that malpractices take place only in the Labor Party or in the trade union movement. But here we have an ex-Liberal Premier of South Australia levelling the same accusations at his own Party. So it ill-behoves honourable senators opposite to stand up in this place and level imputations against the integrity of the Labor Parly and the trade union movement. I hope that in the future we will see no more of this type of thing being dished up day after day in order to try to ridicule, in particular, the Government of South Australia.
An imputation, by way of an interjection, was levelled tonight by Senator Wright when he talked about the Dunstan era and what Dunstan would do. Mr Dunstan is the Premier of South Australia. He has been elected to office by more than 53 per cent of the electors of South Australia. In every election since I have lived in South Australia - and I went there in 1950 - the Labor Party has polled more than 50 per cent of the votes cast. But because of the gerrymander which existed in that State for many years, we were not able to form a government until Mr Steele Hall, who believes in electoral justice, introduced an electoral redistribution after the 1968 elections.
– We get 700,000 votes in the Federal election and cannot get a member in the House of Representatives, and we do not hear any protests about that.
– Senator Byrne will have to talk to the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt) and to the Government which he supports. He cannot blame the Labor Party.
– Would you undertake to change it if you took office?
– We would not give Senator Byrne any undertaking. He gets undertakings from the Government in return for his preferences. I want to put on record that after the redistribution took place in South Australia the Labor Party received less votes at the 1970 election than it received at the 1968 election when it could not win the government. But in 1970, after the redistribution, with a lesser percentage of the overall vote than we received in 1968 we went back into Government with a majority of 7, because there was some sort of electoral justice.
I have heard honourable senators opposite talk about unemployment and the maladministration of South Australia by the State Labor Government. They have criticised the State Labor Government and have said that it cannot run the State efficiently. But they do not tell the people of the country that the Labor Party has a majority only in the lower House in South Australia. Although we received between 52 per cent and 53 per cent of the votes in an election for the lower House, we can get only 4 members out of 20 members elected to the upper House. Although we want to get legislation through the Parliament in order to govern the State as it should be governed, in lots of cases the legislation is blocked by the upper House which is elected by a minority of the people; if is elected by people who have a vote according to the acres they own and not according to the number of people who live on those acres. These are the things that bear scrutiny when we hear honourable senators opposite criticising the Labor Party.
Tonight we heard a speech delivered by Senator Jessop. I say a ‘speech’, but it was made up of quotes from editorials in various newspapers and from transcripts of radio and television programmes. He quoted all of these. I want to remind honourable senators that when I spoke in the Senate last week on the Budget I quoted an article from the ‘Australian’ - the very same newspaper from which Senator Jessop quoted tonight - which referred to what the Labor Party would do in regard to taxation if it is elected to office. Senator Jessop takes what is stated in the newspaper as being the gospel. But when I quoted from an article by one of the leading correspondents of the ‘Australian’ last week, a person by the name of Alan Barnes-
– He is from the Age’.
– I am sorry, lit was Mr Ramsay who whote the article in the ‘Australian’, pointing out the policy which was enunciated by Mr Menzies in 1949 in relation to the abolition of the means test. When I referred to that article I was ridiculed by honourable senators opposite who said: ‘You cannot take any notice of that paper, that is not right; why quote that?’ But Senator Jessop came in to the chamber tonight and quoted a leading article in the ‘Australian’ as though it was the gospel.
– Did he pick a good day?
– He did. That is why I am standing up here tonight-
– It must have been a good speech. He got under your skin.
– He may have got under my skin. But what I am saying here tonight is that what is stated in the ‘Australian’ is taken by him as being the gospel. Yet honourable senators opposite said that what the same newspaper printed last week could not be believed. These are some of the things that we on this side of the chamber take in our stride. I have noticed that when some of us on this side of the chamber get up to refute these things it hits tender spots and the Government does not like it. Senator Jessop went on to say that the Australian people would be very sorry if they elected a Labor government at the next election.
– Wouldn’t everybody?
– I do not think the people will be sorry. We will rely on the electors of Australia. We will accept their decision as we have accepted their decisions in the past on whatever the date may be - when the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) is given an answer to the prayer which he said on television he had made. He is praying for the return of his Government. No doubt he has asked the divine person on what date he should go to the people. He is waiting on that answer. When that day comes we are prepared to go to the people and accept the decision that they make, as we have accepted it in the past.
The other matter that I want to raise in the few moments remaining to me refers to the statement which was made by Senator McManus tonight, that we on this side of the chamber have been talking nothing but guff during the last 2 days. If Senator McManus thinks that the debate which took place in the Senate all day yesterday was guff, I wonder whether he thinks the same thing about the announcement which was made tonight by the New South Wales Premier who offered a reward of $20,000 in order to try to solve the problem about which we were talking guff in this place all day yesterday.
– But he is a Liberal. You are talking guff for the ALP.
– Of course, Senator McManus does not speak very often in this place, and he would deny the right to any other honourable senator who is elected to this place by democratic franchise to stand up and say what he wants to say on behalf of his constituents in this Parliament.
– That is not so.
– That is what Senator McManus says, and it is the same as We heard Senator Davidson say tonight. Senator Davidson said that we were carrying out a filibuster. If we were carrying out a filibuster, the Government had the remedy to prevent us from doing it. If the Government had wanted to use that remedy it could have done so. However, I think that the contribution which was made yesterday and today by Labor members has been worth while. We have pointed out to the people a lot of the things that they did not know before. We have brought these things to their attention and I hope that after the election we will move to the other side of the chamber and that honourable senators opposite will move to this side of the chamber. That is all I have to say.
– I know that the hour is late, but I want to refer to 2 or 3 matters on the first reading of this Income Tax Bill. The first matter to which I should address my attention is the reply that the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) gave this evening to accusations made by Senator Turnbull against the Department of Foreign Affairs when the present Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) was Minister for Foreign Affairs. I listened with great interest to the remarks of the Minister for Works this evening when he, on behalf of the Government, was replying to the accusations by Senator Turnbull. In fairness to the Minister, I thought that until he mentioned the date of 31st
December 1970 he had presented a pretty reasonable case in rebuttal of the argument presented by Senator Turnbull. But coming to the date of 31st December, during the course of his remarks the Minister for Works said that the submission that was made by the Department on that date, so far from being a patronising submission-
– Order! It being 11 p.m., in accordance with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– Yesterday in the Senate I raised a question with the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) on the following lines:
Is the Attorney-General aware that the Croatian Liberation Movement magazine ‘Spremnost’ makes reference in its columns to the Ustasha and has frequently written commendatory articles about its activities both in and out of Yugoslavia? Is he aware that the editor of this journal is a leader of the Croatian Liberation Movement in Australia and also a prominent member of the Liberal Party Migrant Advisory Council in New South Wales? ls the Minister also aware that another senior member of the Croatian Liberation Movement, a senior public servant, Mr’ Kokic, is employed by the Department of Labour and National Service Employment Counselling Service in Melbourne? If so, what does the. Minister propose to do about these people who are openly and actively associated with the Croatian Liberation Movement?
In replying to my question the Minister said that he was unaware of the matters to which I had referred. Later Senator McManus took exception to what I had said and asked the following question:
I direct a question to the Attorney-General concerning the question asked previously by Senator O’Byrne in which he named persons who were in the employ of the Commonwealth, said that they were unworthy to be in that employ and asked for action to be taken against them. Because an important issue of civil rights is now involved, is not the appropriate action for the honourable senator to take in such a case to place the evidence before the Public Service Board for investigation first rather than to blacken the character of these persons in the Senate where the senator concerned has the protection of privilege and the people concerned have no power to defend themselves?
In replying to Senator McManus the Minister said:
I think that Senator McManus’s question is indeed timely. It is very easy when feelings are aroused and there is a sense of apprehension in the community for people to fling about accusations on the basis that they are helping the situation in some way. I cannot believe that Senator O’Byrne is helping the situation if he is prepared to make accusations without evidence to back them. His interjection during the course of Senator McManus’s question: ‘They are throwing bombs around the place’, highlights the problem to which Senator McManus directed attention. Everybody in this community has the right to have his reputation preserved.
Finally I draw attention to Senator Greenwood’s reply to Senator Wheeldon when he said:
I believe that the appropriate course to take - 1 have endeavoured to follow it - is to ensure that this place ls not used for scandalous imputations under privilege.
Tonight on television Mr Lovokivic, who according to tonight’s programme on ‘This Day To-night’ is the editor of ‘Spremnost’, told his interviewer that he was a member for 10 to .14 years of the Liberal Party Migrant Advisory Committee. He was asked about the Croatian Liberation Movement. For the information of honourable senators I should like to read some extracts from the. handbook ‘Hrvatskov Oslobodilackog Pokreta’ which is the Slav language for Regulation Book of the Croatian Liberation Movement’. During yesterday’s debate the name of Mr Kokic was mentioned and he also was confirmed by Mr Lovokivic as being a member of the senate or committee of the Croatian Liberation Movement. It was suggested that I was slandering these people, but the accusations that were made have now been proved to be correct. These people were members of this organisation and Mr Kokic is a member of the Public Service in Melbourne. He is also a member of the committee of the Croatian Liberation Movement to which I shall refer in a moment. I shall now proceed to read some extracts from the Ustasha handbook, the Regulation Book of the Croatian Liberation Movement
– Did you say the Ustasha handbook?
– This is the Regulation Book of the Croatian Liberation Movement and it is known as ‘Hvratskog Oslobodilackog Pokreta’
– But not as the Ustasha handbook.
– These are the words for Croatian Liberation Movement.
– They are not the same thing.
– They are.
– They are not. You know nothing about it.
– Let me read it to you. This was issued in Buenos Aires on 14th December 1967 by the President of the Croatian Liberation Movement, Dr S. Hefer, deputy fuhrer to Pavelic. Page 1 mentions the duties, aims and centres of the Croatian Liberation Movement and states that this movement is based on the testament of Fuhrer Dr Ante Pavelic and aims to centralise and reinforce the work of all belonging to the Croatian Ustasha movement. At page 2 it states that the centre of the Croatian Liberation Movement is always the place where the President resides unless the President appoints another place. It then mentions the principles of the Croatian Liberation Movement and states that they are based on the principles of the Croatian League of Rights, established by Dr Ante Starcevic, and also it puts into effect the principles of the Croatian Ustasha movement laid down by Fuhrer Dr Ante Pavelic. At page 3 it states that the Croatian Liberation Movement will collaborate with any movement which has not sinned against the Croatian Liberation Movement and is not working against it. At page 4 it states:
Every Croat and Croatian working with HOP must help HOP morally and materially.
Page 5 states:
Alliance of Croatian United Youth of the World is part of the main body of HOP and their directions come from the first congress which was held in Montevideo in 1961.
Different Central Bodies.
The organisational work ofHOP at present has 5 centres:
States of South America
At page 6 the following appears:
As you see in the Croatian liberation fight and within HOP there exist the following central bodies:
Central Committee of Croatian Associations, South America (SOHDJA)
Main headquarters of Croatian Army in North America
Central Committee of United Croats
Central Committee of Croatian Associations Australia (SOHDA)
Central Committee of Croatian Associations Europe (SOHDE).
All these bodies inform the President of HOP about their work and they send him and the Central Committee regular reports. A special duty is to organise the membership and to collect the material means to achieve the aims of HOP.
Page 7 states:
Senate of HOP.
Mr Lovokivic and Mr Kokic are both members of this body and when this gentleman was interviewed tonight he said: We do not call it the senate; we call it the committee. There are 18 members in Australia.’
– Any Cabinet Ministers?
– I shall give you the line-up in a moment. All these bodies inform the President of the Croatian Liberation Movement about their work and, as I said, they send him and the central committee regular reports. This document states that the Senate is the main organ of the Croatian Liberation Movement. It has 100 senators. The number may be increased with the permission of the President of the Croatian Liberation Movement. Senators are elected for 3 years. The Senate as a whole, in consultation with the President of the National Liberation Movement, draws up the general political and ideological policies of the Movement.
On page 8 we are informed that every centre has 20 senators. On page 10 it is stated that the President of the Movement has his own deputies and that they are appointed from the senators. They perform the duties assigned to them by the President. The number of deputies in Cabinet at present is 7 and this may be increased on the recommendation of the Central Committee., All the deputies do their duty on the basis of the testament and views of Fuhrer Dr Ante Pavelic.
Page 12 is headed ‘Offices of the Croatian Liberation Movement.’ It states:
Under the heading ‘Discipline and Honorary Court’ at. page 14, we read:
All members of the Croatian Liberation Movement must be under strict discipline, do their duty and honour this regulation book. Everyone of the centres has an honorary court of 3 members which deals with anybody who betrays the work and aims of the Movement. Beside these courts on each continent there is a central court which has 7 members, one of whom must be a professional lawyer.
Page 16 records that the regulation booklet was approved by the President, of the Croatian Liberation Movement, Dr S. Hefer, Buenos Aires, on 14th December 1967.
I turn again to the interview tonight on This Day Tonight’ with Mr Lovokivic. He said that he did not know of the existence of a military office in Australia. He admitted that Mr Kosic was a member of the Croatian Liberation Movement Committee. He said that the organisation upholds all ideas not only of that organisation but even the Croatian Peasants Party, the Croatian Party of Rights and all Croatian political parties. It includes the members and the former members of the Ustasha organisation.
– Did he say ‘members’ or did he say ‘former members’?
– He said: ‘It includes the members and the former members of the Ustasha organisation’. But Senator Greenwood denied that there was any such connection. Mr Lovokivic was asked about violence in this interview and he said:
It all depends from which point you look at it. First of all violence quite naturally gives you in response another violence. If the Ustasha movement was following these means, it means another violence must have preceded that particular one.
– From what is that quotation taken?
– These are the words transcribed from a tape taken of the interview tonight. Mr Lovokivic was asked whether violence was justified. He said-
– It is an odd coincidence that the tape just happened to be ready there. Just an odd coincidence!
– The interview was on television for everyone to see. In response to that question he stated:
Not justifies it - that was the only probable means and way of expression at that particular time.
He also proudly stated that he had been a member of the Liberal Party Migrant Advisory Committee since its inception some 10 years or 14 years ago. Any national representative could become a member of the Liberal Party without being forced or asked to join that Party. Then he was asked about funds. He was asked:
Would some of the money collected here be used to help the guerrilla fighters inside Croatia?
– Collected where?
– Collected in Australia. That was the question he was asked. He replied:
I would not go so far as to say there are guerrillas in Croatia because that expression could be interpreted wrongly but I would say that money helps the Croats at home to raise their voice for liberation of the country,.
– That is nearly as bad as the Corns collecting and giving it to-
– -Look, let us deal with that another night. This is a most important issue. Yesterday, the AttorneyGeneral agreed with Senator McManus that 1 had used the Senate to defame these people.. I had asked a straightforward question. I did not mention that both these persons were public servants. I repeat what I asked the Minister yesterday as reported at page 894 of Hansard. I asked: ls the Attorney-General aware that the Croatain Liberation Movement magazine ‘Spremnost’ makes reference in its columns to the Utasha and has frequently written commendatory articles about its activities both in and out of Yugoslavia?
That oan be checked at any time.
– I asked you to put the question on notice. You have that same question on the notice paper at the moment.
– No, I have not. You answered this question. My question continued:
Is he aware that the editor of this journal is the leader of the Croatian Liberation movement in Australia -
This was confessed tonight.
– It is question No. 2442.
– It is not the same question. You did not ask that it be placed on the notice paper and I did not place it on the notice paper.
– It is on the notice paper.
Senior O’BYRNE - I did not place it on the notice paper and the Minister did not ask me to do so. He gave me an answer to the question. My question continued:
Is he aware that the editor of this journal is the leader of the Croatian Liberation Movement in Australia and also a prominent member of the Liberal Party Migrant Advisory Council in New South Wales? Is the Minister also aware that another senior member of the Croatian Liberation Movement, a senior public servant, Mr Kokic, is employed by the Department of Labour and National Service Employment Counselling Service in Melbourne?
Senator McManus accused me then of defaming these people. I asked a question but I did not expect the Attorney-General to answer it because he has been evading and avoiding all these pertinent questions which have been asked of him. For some reason or other, he does not seem to wish to involve himself properly in the serious nature of this terrorism-
– Just kicking the old Ustasha can again; that is all.
– Most people are concerned that in Sydney on a Saturday morning-
– Not a shred of evidence!
– There were not shreds of evidence but there were shreds of people’s bodies lying on the streets of Sydney.
– Let us know who did it?
– That is what we want to know. We want the AttorneyGeneral to use all his energies and his facilities to find out who these terrorists are. Today, for instance, the Attorney-General was asked a reasonable question by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy). The Leader of the Opposition asked whether the Attorney-General would make available some reward to seek to bring about the apprehension of the people responsible for the bombing outrage in Sydney. The Attorney-General said that this was a most irresponsible thing for the Leader of the Opposition to suggest. But the Attorney’s own colleague in the New South Wales Parliament this afternoon said: ‘We must apprehend these terrorists. We, the State of New South Wales, offer a reward of $20,000’. Is he irresponsible or is the Attorney-General irresponsible when he acts and replies in the way in which he does to these questions for which we have every justification to ask? We want to find out why this secret organisation is working here and why these people who have been given Australian hospitality are forming these cells here from which arise these hatreds and bitternesses which had their birth in the backwoods of Croatia and parts of Serbia and Yugoslavia. We know that this area of Europe has been the hotbed of European discontent.
– Now you are becoming racist. You are getting on to racist lines. I would stop that if I were you.
– We know that because history tells us. Look at Austria and Serbia. Where did the First World War commence? It started in Serbia. Franz Archduke Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in the area of which I am speaking. That is where the First World War started. The point I am making is that our efforts are directed towards trying to get the Attorney-General to be more positive about investigating not only the outrages which are going on in this country such as the bombings, burnings, threatenings and all these things-
– Yes, and the school burnings for instance. What about students in dissent? Since they started 41 schools have been burned down. None was burned down before they started.
– It would be people with a mentality like the honourable senator who would burn them down. It would be childish people, subnormal people. However, in my view the AttorneyGeneral, whatever his purpose, seems to be covering up. I believe that the tie-up is with the Australian Democratic Labor Party which, according to my information, complained about the Yugoslav flag being flown in a public place in Cooma. The DLP conference condemned the flying of this flag and said that the Government should not tolerate it because it was an alien flag. This indicates that the DLP is hostile to the present Yugoslav Government. This gives encouragement to the fanatical people who have come here and taken an oath of allegiance to Australia but who are paying allegiance to an international secret organisation. If the huge organisation which is employed by the Attorney-General does not have the ability to sort out the people who are in this secret body then the people in the list of 100 names which the Ambassador gave to the Prime, Minister (Mr McMahon) yesterday should he asked to make a declaration that they are in no way associated with the secret organisation. They should be given the option of becoming decent Australian citizens or they should be sent home. This is the penalty which people who come to Australia as our guests should face, even though they become naturalised, if they commit so many of these acts which are completely foreign to the Australian way of life.
– You have no proof of anything.
– This is your defence.
– Let us have an example. Let us have some evidence.
– The honourable senator would not support a reward but he would in relation to property. When some nut said to the managing director of Qantas Airways Ltd: T want $50,000’ the managing director was so excited that he wrote down an extra nought and gave $500,000. People do not realise this. The
Government was prepared to give a reward to apprehend this person. This is something which is not generally .known but the tape recording which was taken and presented at the court revealed the. demand made by Brown was for only $50,000 but the managing director was so excited when he wrote the figure down that he put an extra nought on the end. The Government gave a reward to recover that money and it did recover it. But here are people who will not be compensated. I have not heard any honourable senator on the Government side asking a colleague in the Senate about compensation for those people who have been maimed and cut about by these explosions. What are they going to do for the rest of their lives? There has been no thought for them at all. The Government is always, defending the saying: ‘Prove who did it,’ This is always the attitude of Government supporters. But I would also like to know why the Attorney-General is in his funk-hole in relation to going on to television. Why is it that the media has been trying to have Senator Greenwood go on to television? Usually if it suits him he is the first one to go on.
– He went on one night and did Hawke over like a dinner.
– Did Hawke! The honourable senator has a queer idea. I do not know what his view is of being done over, if one of the participants was a Hawke, Greenwood was a sparrow. I ask the Attorney-General why it is that he is absolutely scared to go on television? All the people are asking him. The Press is asking him simple questions on matters of public importance but he goes for his life. He will not have a look at them. That shows that he is covering up.
– He is too busy chasing Croats.
– Yes. he is chasing Croats. 1 think the television people wanted to ask him a few questions as Minister in charge of our police and as a Minister who is always talking about law and order. This is what is exercising the minds of people throughout Australia: who is safe in this country when there are elements like this in the community who can plant bombs and carry out guerilla and commando tactics for which they are being trained in Australia? Why does not the
Attorney-General go back to the newspaper record a little bit? He should look at some of the headlines such as: ‘Police Foil Croatians training camp plan.’ I am not going to develop that. Here I have another one which states: ‘Farmers claim convoys move at night.’
– What is the date?
– It is 6th July 1972. Another headline appeared in the Hobart Mercury’ and it stated: ‘Claims terrorists train in Australia’. One in the ‘Australian’ of 7th July states: ‘His aim - to get war leaders and train recruits.’ Another one in the ‘Canberra Times’ of 5th July states: Raiders “trained in Australia” ‘. What is the Minister doing about all this? Are all these people conspiring against him? Have they all plucked some idea out of their minds just to embarrass the AttorneyGeneral or are they concerned about the well-being of Australia? I ask. the AttorneyGeneral why he will not appear in front of television. Will he answer that simple question?
– When did 1 refuse to go on television?
– All this week they have been trying to get the AttorneyGeneral on. television.
– How does the honourable senator know?
– I do know. I started off to point out to Senator McManus that his friend, if he is his friend, Mr Kokic in Melbourne who is employed in the Commonwealth Employment Service is a member of the senate or committee of the Croatian Liberation Movement. I have outlined the tentacles of this movement which spreads through three or four continents. It is an organisation of bitterness, hatred, anger and aggressiveness which exists throughout the world and which is being imported into this country. The biggest penalty which could be imposed on these people would be to send them back home. I want the Attorney-General to start on that process. We have deported others who have been criminals in this country. We have deported individuals. There is plenty of precedent for deportation. I believe that we have to root out these people lock, stock and barrel and send them back home to their hill-billy land in the woodlands of Croatia. I hope that they enjoy the rest of their life there.
– I too viewed the television programme ‘This Day Tonight’ and the interview with Mr Lovokivic. I came to a conclusion different from that reached by Senator O’Byrne regarding a number of the statements made by Mr Lovokivic Lest anyone should in any way misunderstand why I rose to my feet I point out that I have done so as one who, some 15 or 18 years ago, helped proudly to form the Liberal Party Migrant Advisory Council. So good was that Council and so effective has it been that the Australian Labor Party, as Senator Mulvihill well knows, has tried many times to form a similar organisation with exactly similar objectives. But it has failed to do so. Let me make this clear: The Liberal Party Migrant Advisory Council was formed, with other undertakings formed by banks and by community bodies throughout the country, to help migrants to assimilate in this country - for a fine and proper motive. It is a voluntary body. Mr Lovokivic stated correctly that no migrant member of the Migrant Advisory Council is asked to become a member of the Liberal Party. Those migrant members are elected by their national groups and they meet, I think, monthly with representatives of the Libera] Party at the Federal, State and local government levels to exchange views on their problems and to get help. The Migrant Advisory Council is in no sense a political body; it is no sense Liberal Party political. It is designed to assimilate migrants. Let any Labor Party senator rise and condemn the institution and its objectives and I shall be very happy to send to each of these organisations the condemnation of the Labor Party.
– Are you talking about the Croats?
- Senator O’Byrne attempted to pin a tail on a cat. When he finds that the cat is lively and scratches, let him accept it. If anybody in the Labor Party wants to condemn the Liberal Party Migrant Advisory Council now, let him do so, because I assure the Labor Party that I will send a copy of Hansard to each migrant group. About 20 of those migrant groups in Australia, proudly led by their leaders, acknowledge the very great work that is done by that Council. Equally I believe it true to say that Mr Lovokivic was a delegate elected by the Croatians, though I do not know whether he is still a delegate. I have no doubt that the Croatian leaders would have had similar contact over the years with the Labor Party. I hope the Labor Party has made that contact.
Having said that and put it in perspective, I think it important to put in perspective also that sadly and tragically in the post-war years to this country have come people from 10 or more countries from behind the Iron Curtain - Poles. Czechs, Hungarians, Rumanians, Estonians. Lithuanians, Latvians and Yugoslavs. All have come with one common tragedy: They have been driven from their homes, they have been forced out by the tyranny of communism, the military tyranny, the bloody murder of communism. That is why they are here. What has been stated about freedom movements in this country is common to the Hungarians, to the Czeches and to the Rumanians. I can take honourable senators to any one national group and show them freedom movements, liberation movements which are of course endemic to the group, because they all live with the hope that one day the tyranny of the Iron Curtain will end and they can be free.
– Does that justify what happened in Sydney?
– Senator Cavanagh knows that I have said I will have no part of any kind of violence. Of course, nothing justifies violence. But one can start with a basic assumption, namely, that the Croats and the Hungarians - and does anyone deny the Hungarians the right to have a liberation movement? Does anyone do so?
– In Australia, yes.
– Do you deny them the right to have a liberation movement, and the Czechs and the Poles? Let us have this said because the migrants themselves will be thoroughly interested to know it. They will be thoroughly interested to know that the national aspirations of human beings to seek freedom for their country from the tyranny of communism is being rejected by the Labor Party. As I understand it, nothing is known to implicate in any way either Mr Lovokivic or Mr Kokic with any kind of violence. I ask Senator O’Byrne and I ask the Labor Party whether they know anything specific that will in any way implicate the 2 men who have been named tonight with any kind of violence at all. If the answer is no - and it is - then a terrible potential injustice has been done, because we have set up a star chamber here tonight, we have convicted these men by implication. We have done this kind of thing: We have said this-
– We have not; they have.
– Yes, I am talking about the Labor Party. They have said that these men are leading members of the Croatian Liberation Movement, and then the Labor Party spokesmen have said it is the Croatian Liberation Movement which has caused this violence - that is what has been implied - and that these men are guilty men. What kind of country are we living in when we try to convict people before we have any evidence at all? That is the nub of the situation. The AttorneyGeneral as the protector of freedom in this country has stood proudly in this Parliament to defend freedom.
– You are a humbug.
- Senator McAuliffe, I know you regret saying that. Will you withdraw it?
– With respect to the Chair, I will.
– I do not seek Senator McAuliffe’s respect. If what I have said makes me a humbug then I shall proudly go through life being a humbug.
– Then why ask for the remark to be withdrawn if you are proud of it?
– I did not ask for the withdrawal.
– Why don’t you be more temperate in your approach to things?
– Order! the whole Senate is being intemperate at the moment.
– Let me express in very temperate terms what I want to say and if it appears to be humbug, let the Opposition tell me. The principle of British justice is that a man is innocent unless he is proven guilty. Is that humbug? The next situation is that yesterday I told the Labor Party that if any members among them had specific evidence of any man being connected with any crime or allegation of crime it was their duty to give it to the AttorneyGeneral or his officers, or to the police officers. I understand that no such evidence has been given, only that there has been conviction by implication. As I understand it, what Mr Lovokivic said tonight with the TDT interviewer trying to pin Ustasha upon him was this: T am an active member of the Council of the Croatian Liberation Movement. That movement embraces all those people who believe in freedom and independence for Croatia’. I ask Senator O’Byrne to deny that.
– Who were members of Ustasha.
– The interviewer said: ‘And the Ustasha?’, and Mr Luvokivic used a form of words to this effect: ‘Including those who formerly followed the beliefs of the Ustasha because the Ustasha had as its goal freedom for Croatia’. That is an essential paraphrase, but to suggest tha; from it the Croatian liberation movement was said by Mr Luvokivic to be the Ustasha is to corrupt the whole basis of the situation. If any member of the Croatian movement or any other migrant or any Australian is found guilty of violence I will roundly condemn him.
– Why condemn him? Kick him out of the place. This is no place for that sort of thing.
– Kick him out.
– When I call for order, I require order.
– I know that you have called for order.
- Senator Devitt, would you repeat your remarks to me?
– I said that I know that you have called for order.
The PRESD3ENT - I call Senator Carrick.
– The interesting fact about the whole situation is that a parallel factor, equally wrong and equally violent, is the allegation that international communism, quite strong as such, is operating here to provoke and to intimidate migrants.
– Where is the evidence?
– That allegation has come forward with equal strength, migrants alleging that it is so. That is why my view is that as soon as the police inquiries are completed it would be a very good thing to set up a royal commission to check situations of this kind. If we are to allege that certain people are causing violence, we must look equally at the fact that there is a strong allegation of violence by communists in the trade union movement.
– Does the honourable senator think that two wrongs make a right?
– I do not say that two wrongs make a right. The allegations are parallel. It is alleged that provocation and intimidation by international communism is one of the reasons for and a primary cause of response by Croat independents. If it is true that secret police are in this country they should be sought out, identified and expelled. If anybody in this country is using diplomatic privilege for the purpose of intimidation, the same thing should happen to them.
I rose to say three things. The Migrant Advisory Council is a proud and effective body which has made a great contribution to migrant welfare. That is acknowledged by all national migrant leaders. The men named tonight have had no specific allegations made against them, and the people of Australia should know that that is so. I reject the idea of a star chamber trial. While opposing violence, I ask that there be in Australia a human understanding that all people who have been forced out of Iron Curtain countries have, in their hearts, a natural hunger to form freedom bodies in the hope that one day they will return to their countries. This is an aspiration that they almost certainly will not achieve, sadly enough.
– Does the honourable senator suggest that they have a right to bomb people in Australia?
- Senator Milliner’s interjection has been answered by me a dozen times.
– The honourable senator has not convinced us. He is apologising for them.
– Tell us about the spies. Did not the honourable senator know that the Government put spies in a friendly country.
– The background orchestration seems to go on. One thing that I have said repeatedly is that one form of violence is the violence of words, and that is as much a form of violence as is physical violence. We hear this tonight. I make clear the position that I adopted in the Senate yesterday. In common with my colleagues, I oppose all forms of violence.
– Does the honourable senator? We would not have known.
– Let Senator Milliner and his colleagues read the Hansard report of my speech. I make it clear to them that we are no apologists for violence of any kind. If there are apologists for violence, they sit on the Opposition benches and for 20 years have hidden and excused the violence of the Left. They talk of apologists but let them claim that over the years they have denied communist violence and communist intimidation. Let them deny this. If there are apologists, they are on the Opposition benches.
I conclude by saying that the Parliament should not condemn a man until he has had a fair judicial trial. I repeat that the waving of pieces of paper and the mouthing of allegations are in no way substitutes for hard facts. If any member of the Labor Party knows anything about particular acts of violence let him say so, otherwise he should not do harm to justice by alleging things of people without any facts.
– I do not propose to dignify the farrago that we heard from Senator O’Byrne by giving a long answer. I do not think it merits a long answer. He gave the answer to his own allegations. When Senator Carrick said that by accusing people of being members of the Croatian Liberation
Movement Senator O’Byrne. was accusing them of being responsible for the violence, Senator O’Byrne said: T did not say that’.
– I did not say it.
– There you are. What is there to answer? He said that they are members of the Liberation Movement but he does not say that they are responsible for the violence. He has answered his own allegation. I think that his speech was of such a nature that it does not deserve to be dignified by giving it a reply, but he mentioned the Democratic Labor Party. He referred to what was said by Dr Cairns on a previous occasion this week. On behalf of the DLP I delivered a statement in which I denied what Dr Cairns had said. I referred to what he had done. I regret that the sections of the Press which gave prominence to Dr Cairns’ allegation did not give any publication to my denial, on behalf of the DLP, in my speech yesterday. When I see that sort of thing happening I come to the conclusion that the Press code of ethics is a work of fiction.
In Australia there is hardly any organisation of migrants from behind the Iron Curtain which does not have a liberation front. There is a difference between a liberation front and a body which indulges in violence in this country. That is what Opposition senators do not appreciate or understand. There was a liberation front in this country which had members with names such as O’Byrne, Mulvihill, Cavanagh and McManus. As Opposition senators know, there was a liberation front, and the leader of their Party was one of the heads of it.
– Did they blow up people?
– That is what I said. Opposition senators should be clear on this. They do not appear to be. There is nothing wrong in having a liberation front as long as its members stand merely for the liberation of a country and do not use violence or illegal methods to bring that about. There is nothing wrong with that.
– Senator O’Byrne said that the Liberation Movement had nothing to do with the bombings.
– Senator O’Byrne. has said that Senator Cavanagh referred to the occasion when a prominent member of the Labor Party assisted in the burning of the British flag in the gutter on St Patrick’s Day. He would not have much trouble remembering that. Let us be sensible about it. People are allowed to have a liberation front as long as it does not indulge in breaking the law or resorting to violence. This is one of the principles on which we act in this country.
Members of the Opposition are accusing and attacking these people for doing what was done by Marshal Tito. Marshal Tito left Yugoslavia, went to Russia and became the head of the Comintern section which dealt with Yugoslavia. It was his duty to organise revolution and overturn the government of the country by violent means.
– Is this not happening in Australia?
– I can only say from my knowledge of the history of the Labor Party in this country that the Labor Party never downed or attacked the right of people to condemn tyranny in an overseas country and it conceded their right to form an organisation by peaceful means to advocate freedom in that country.
– What if it was a communist country?
– I will repeat what Senator O’Byrne has said. He said that the liberation front does not blow people up. Senator O’Byrne is my authority for the the fact that the liberation front therefore cannot be attacked I think that what has been said in this debate is completely ridiculous and does no credit to the Senate.
Finally, I want to say that the Australian Democratic Labor Party - and I repeat my statement which the Press apparently does not want to publish - has had no association at all with any form of violence; we condemn the violence; and once the police report comes before the Senate we will support an inquiry for a royal commission if this course of action is justified.
– How long would you wait?
– Look, this is just one great piece of nonsense and the honourable senator knows it.
– 1 rise to try to bring a bit of temperate and factual discussion into this debate. I draw the attention of the Senate to Yugoslav members of the Australian community who visit the United States of America or North America in general. I specifically refer to the visits of Mr Kokic and, to a lesser degree, of Mr Rover. I and others have argued that the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Greenwood) has not been as frank as he should have been in this area. We all know - Particularly Senator McManus and no doubt Senator Hannan - that since the 1920s North America has abounded with various Slav groups of various ideological inclinations. Many of these groups were formed as benefit associations before the Roosevelt era because of a lack of social service benefits. In the immediate post-war years some of these groups changed their aims.
The Labor Party is vitally concerned - and Senator Garrick referred to this - about whether by definition these groups are benefit associations or are Ustasha or Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood type organisations, as was mentioned by Senator James McClelland yesterday. The Labor Party is concerned about the aims of these groups. It is concerned about the transcript to which Senator O’Byrne referred. We want to know what are the aims of the associations. We want to be told the aims of the associations in Latin America or North America that were visited by people such as Mr Kokic and Mr Rover. Honourable senators opposite may say that they are only benefit societies. I have said that some of them are. Tt is quite obvious - and I throw this directly at the Attorney-General - that nothing could be said if Mr Rover and Mr Kokic went overseas on friendly society work. But obviously Mr Rover was engaged on some nefarious work; otherwise his passport would not have been taken from him by the Australian Government. This is the crux of my argument and I shall continue to hammer it. I want the Attorney-General to tell me why Mr Rover’s passport was withdrawn. This is why I link Mr Kokic with these activities.
I did not come into the Senate to talk about this gentleman. However, well over 12 months ago I gave the Minister for
Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) an opportunity to explain just what Mr Kokic’s role was in the Commonwealth Department of Labour and National Service. I did not go to the Press seeking headlines on this matter. I visited Endeavour House and other hostels in Victoria with the Labor Party’s immigration committee. Staff people came up to me. I had this material evaluated before I wrote to the Minister for Labour and National Service. After all, people’s work was concerned. I shall be giving honourable senators a fair, full report of what transpired. They told me that Mr Kokic dealt with job placements and the standard technique, which I have quoted before in relation to Mr Lesic, was that he would ask: ‘Are you a Yugoslav or are you a Croat?’ I was told that if they said they were Yugoslav he would question them about their political outlook. Therefore the work placements may not have been as good as they could have been.
I did not go to the Press with this story. I wrote to the Minister and he disputed it. He claimed that Mr Kokic did not have that power at Geelong and other places. This comes back to the link I am suggesting now. If Mr Rover went to North America, it is obvious that some of these revolutionary and semi-revolutionary operations caused the authorities here under the AttorneyGeneral to feel that he was an embarrassment to this country. In Mr Kokic’s case it was not simply a matter of going over on a benefits society matter. The Minister for Labour and National Service raised that matter. He said: ‘If a Liberal man here went to a Conservative group in Britain or if a Labor man here went to the Social Democrats should he be debarred from the Public Service?’ I say no, he should not. I am pointing out the Minister’s reluctance to explain why Mr Rover’s passport was withdrawn. From the transcript that was provided tonight it is impossible for me to say that Mr Kokic could have been in the Public Service in the same area. I do not have any xenophobia about that. We all have inner prejudices. The point I am making is that there is no doubt that, according to the oaths and obligations of the society - forgetting the bombs - in his eyes it was infra dig for a person to say ‘I am a Yugoslav’ if he came from Croatia. That is the temperate argument I am advancing to the Minister tonight.
I want to deal with 2 points that Senator Carrick made when he manned the battlements. He spoke about migrants and their feelings about liberation. I went along with that to some degree. I even went along with something Senator McManus said about drawing the line. But as my colleague Senator Devitt said, that line should be made perfectly clear. Having said that, where Senator Carrick and probably all Government supporters are culpable - I will deal with the inconsistency of the Democratic Labor Party as well - is that the Government accepted diplomatic ties with Yugoslavia. I advocated that, not because I am a Marxist but because I thought that our foreign policy was showing some maturity. I am certain that Senator Carrick was a powerful man in the Liberal Party, either at State Council or Federal Council level. The effect of diplomatic ties with eastern European countries must have been discussed. At some point that was the bite of the bullet.
There is no doubt that some of these migrants feel that the Government has let them down. At some stage the Government has to say: ‘It is bad luck, chum. We have to look at the matter in its proper perspective.’ That is where the Liberal Party has had its difficulties. The proof of it came out when Senator Carrick boasted about his organisation. I think it is senseless to emulate the boast in that song ‘Anything you can do I can do better’. That is the line the Government is taking. When the crunch came and spearheaded the policy of portability of social service pensions, the Government was in a jam. Senator Kane, about 8 members of the Labor Party and a vast number of migrants attended the monster rally at the Paddington Town Hall. The migrants said that they felt that the Liberal Party had used them. When I asked what they meant by ‘used you’ they said: ‘When there is an open seat and the Labor Party is a certainty and the Liberals cannot win, they offer the candidacy to a New Australian’. From the statistics one can see that in seats like Sydney and Chifley the Liberals ran candidates like that; they threw them to the wolves. I do not think it is fair to anybody. That is the point I make.
The other point is that the Government has played politics on this matter. The Minister for Works (Senator Wright) usually runs a pretty tight ship. He is no fool. But the Government has tried to jam things. This morning I asked a legitimate question to which the Department of Foreign Affairs could have given an answer within an hour. In view of the wrangle that Senator Hannan engaged in, I said rightly: Is it not a logical conclusion - this has been the motivation of the Government’s original diplomatic ties with Yugoslavia - that if an infinitesimal minority of the Yugoslav community has its way and becomes linked with some subversion in Yugoslavia and a fragmentation develops then Rijeka and all these other Adriatic ocean ports could be made available to the Red fleet and it is quite possible that the power balance between NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries will be distorted.
I know that some of my colleagues say that that is an extreme view. Of course it is. But it is the Liberal Party’s stock in trade to talk about power balances. It amazed me when Senator Wright, who has a good working knowledge of foreign affairs, said in answer to a question that he wanted to obtain a reply in depth. He knows in his heart that if I was at the office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and I asked a top officer that question he would have answered in the affirmative. I know that Senator Wright is an astute parliamentarian. He did not want to give that answer because I would have drawn the justifiable conclusion from it that we have to look at world politics and that it was a setback to some of the extreme elements of the Croatian community. I lay the position on the line. These are the facts. This is the thing that worries us. It is not a case of burrowing unnecessarily. The plain fact of the matter is that this is the type of situation that he developed. Senator O’Byrne referred to this newspaper. Senator Greenwood could have said at some time: I have looked at this mass of material. There is nothing here that is seditious or inflammatory’.
As a matter of fact, I agree with Senator Carrick and his comments about publishers who inflame people. But I know, as does the honourable senator, that in some parts of Europe people have been born in bloody circumstances. I agree with him. There is a double reason why some of these editors have to be cooled off. If we are to unburden the facts of what happened in Senator Carrick’s Party and my Party, I could state what happened on a number of occasions. I am sure that the people involved will not mind my repeating the story because some of them could have been political acquaintances of the honourable senator. At one State election the Labor Party did not have as much money as the Liberal Party. We had to decide in what ethnic groups we would advertise. Make no mistake about it; like the Liberal Party, we advertised in some of the bigger newspapers. In the Yugoslav community we had to choose between the ‘Yugoslav-Australian Journal’ and a newspaper called ‘Zar’ which means glow. Mr Ubantick and Mr Menart are men who, while I do not say they are members of the Liberal Party, are active and prominent supporters of it in many ways. We made a simple choice. The editor of the Yugoslav-Australian Journal’ had always insisted on balance and objectivity. Sometimes taking a centre position is not a popular posture. We told the other newspaper that we would not give it any advertising. Since then, it has gone out of circulation. The yardstick that we applied was the type of editorial, which we had monitored. This is the point I am making: I have never said that every conservative is a fascist or that every radical is a communist. This is an area in which far too many people jump the gun.
As Senator Carrick would know from his service in World War II, people of Yugoslav origin living in Western Australia served in that war and might even have received a Victoria Cross - many of them have also served in other fields such as the sporting field - but those people have never indulged in stupid escapades designed to change the boundaries of Europe again. It is true that people have nostalgic memories. There is no doubt that that is true in many areas. But there is no reason why Senator Greenwood would not have been able to plough through these newspapers and launch prosecutions for the utterances that have been comparable to the situations when Labor Party Attorneys-General have had to do unpleasant things. If ever a man was traduced in this country, it was Doctor Evatt. When he had honest feelings about the matter during the period of the cold war, which is not like the situation today, he prosecuted Lance Sharkey. It might be said that historians will say: ‘‘What did Sharkey say?’ I am dealing with realities. I say this to Senator Greenwood: If he can offer me an alternative to Dr Evatt’s prosecution of Sharkey and against people of the extreme right, we will say that he is applying equal standards. I refuse to believe that, after getting monitored accounts since 1963, there is not one paragraph in one of those newspapers that the Attorney-General or his predecessors could have used to bring this matter out into the open. The position is that the whole situation has been glossed over. I want to be very fair tonight to the Attorney-General. It is not that I am grovelling to him, but I have been under extreme provocation from Senator Carrick.
I have a mass of papers in front of me from a Hungarian called Ivan Szabo of 1/516 Sydney Road, Balgowlah. I wish to say at the outset, Mr President, that I do not intend to make the Senate a bear garden; I would like simply to table a letter from him complaining about certain problems. I say quite sincerely to Senator Carrick that this man left the Liberal Party because he felt that Sir Robert Askin was uncharitable to him over a landlord and tenancy matter. I am simply going to table the letter, and not embellish on it. I just want to combat Senator Carrick’s implication that everyone who joins the Liberal Party’s Migrant Advisory Council reckons he gets 100 per cent support. I am not blaming Senator Carrick, but in order to defend the Labor Party and myself I have been forced to table this letter in the Senate to show that as many Liberal supporters as Labor supporters get disenchanted with their Party. I could have made a lot out of this publicly. I would not have drawn it to attention but for the fact that Senator Carrick tried to make out that the Labor Party has done nothing for migrants or that the Government has been better than the Labor Party in its treatment of migrants. I table this letter and I ask that it be included in Hansard, Mr President.
– Order! Firstly I wish to settle a point of procedure. Senator
Mulvihill, you cannot table a document on your own initiative. You can do so only if somebody asks for it to be tabled.
– I apologise, Mr President. I ask that this letter from Ivan Szabo be incorporated in Hansard at the conclusion of my speech.
– How long is it?
– Three pages.
- Senator Mulvihill, you will recall that I have given a ruling that some control should be exercised over the quality of matter that is incorporated in Hansard. Therefore, I think I should have a look at the letter before asking whether leave is granted for its incorporation in Hansard.
– I would also like to see it before saying whether leave is granted.
– I will ask at a later stage whether leave is granted as I understand that Senator Douglas McClelland is anxious to catch my attention. I call Senator Douglas McClelland.
– It was not my intention to speak in this debate until Senator Carrick made certain remarks-
– Mr President, I must raise a point of order at this stage. I would like your ruling as to whether an honourable senator can commence an address on a particular subject before the address of the previous speaker has been adequately disposed of. I refer to the letter that Senator Mulvihill has sought to have incorporated in Hansard.
– It is only a mechanical operation. If honourable senators have no objection, we could do it in that way. On the other hand, if you want to follow the procedures strictly I will have to hold up the business of the Senate.
– The only reason I have raised this matter is because the incorporation could be opposed, Mr President.
– My ruling was that I would have a look at the letter and if 1 thought it was of a doubtful nature I would give it to either the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate or the Leader of the Opposition to have a look at it.
– May I have leave to utter 2 sentences, Mr President? Before leave is given to incorporate a document in Hansard we on the Government side of the chamber expect, if circumstances permit, the courtesy to be extended to us of having the opportunity of perusing that document beforehand.
We will come to the same type of thing at question time with you when you want material incorporated in Hansard.
– Leave will be refused if honourable senators opposite get cranky.
– I ask for leave to make a very short statement, Mr President.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– Let us be a little more reasonable about this matter. This is the first time in the 23 years that Senator Wright and I have been here that I can ever recall somebody asking to be allowed to peruse such a document. You, Mr President, take a very sensible attitude. You are trying to reach a compromise with either Senator Wright, Acting Leader of the Senate at the moment, or myself on the Labor side as the Acting Leader of the Opposition. You have asked us to look at this matter. However we have no special rights in this regard. If every honourable senator demands the same right that Senator Wright is now demanding, clearly we will get to an impossible situation. In all the years that we have been here there has been no such request when somebody has sought to table a document. After all, that course was taken only to save time. If Senator Mulvihill or anybody else seeks to table a document–
– Senator Mulvihill cannot seek to table it.
– I am sorry, he asked for it to be incorporated in Hansard. I apologise for using the wrong term. If somebody refuses the request, Senator Mulvihill can simply read it. Are we not cutting off our nose to spite our face? Saving time was the idea behind asking for this letter to be incorporated in Hansard. Surely we know what we are talking about. We know the general situation. Let us be a little reasonable about this matter. Obviously the letter relates to the debate. Surely the document is not subversive. Why is this suddenly being done after all these years? I repeat that the request was made only to save time, to give greater accuracy and to try to assist the running of the Senate. Surely Senator Wright can let this document be incorporated. If he refuses, let him refuse in the first place and then Senator Mulvihill can read it.
– Mr President, may I just explain. I will not object to the reading of the document.
– But I shall.
– I see. I just point out that the letter contains allegations referring to matters in relation to the AttorneyGeneral which certainly would not be permitted to be said in this chamber. If read out of a letter in this chamber they would be completely unparliamentary.
– Order! Is leave granted to Senator Mulvihill to incorporate the letter? There being objection, leave is not granted. I call Senator Douglas McClelland.
– I rise to a point of order. I suggest that Senator Mulvihill has not completed his remarks. At least he has the right to read that letter.
– This is a new matter. If some other honourable senator wants to read the letter that is all right with me. I now call Senator Douglas McClelland.
Opposition senators - Oh, no.
– Leave has not been granted. We are at cross purposes. Senator Mulvihill cannot table the letter. Other senators can request that he table the letter. He may ask for leave to incorporate it in Hansard and leave has been refused.
– He still has the floor.
– -I called Senator Douglas McClelland merely for what I thought was the convenience of the Senate. The situation is now de novo and I regard Senator Mulvihill as still being on his feet.
– Thank you, Mr
President. I did not want to hold up the Senate. I repeat that I did not so much want to be combative with Senator Greenwood as to destroy the myth held by Senator Carrick about anyone who becomes part of a Liberal new Australian organisation. All parties have their successes and setbacks. But I point out to Senator Carrick that that is not always the case. I had pointed out that Ivan Szabo claimed to be identified with the Liberal Party in the Farrer electorate and had stated that Mr Fairbairn had let him down. It was in that tenor that I deliberately raised the matter. I did it deliberately to refute the idea that we had not done anything in relation to migrants and that our record is shabby. I said that the very existence of this fellow’s complaint meant that in effect the situation is not quite what it seems. That was why I trumped the honourable senator’s ace. That is what it boiled down to. I would not have got the letter if the honourable senator had not spoken in a high handed manner. I had the job of answering him. That is why I did it. That is all I wanted to do.
I will not read all these documents. As a matter of fact the history is simply that this fellow started off identifying with the Liberal Party organisation in Farrer. He lived in Albury. He had a tenancy problem.
I have some difficulty in deciphering the gentleman’s writing but I understand that he saw Mr Askin and met some of Senator Greenwood’s officers. Honourable senators will appreciate how conciliatory I have been in this matter. His squawk is that one day he could not see the Attorney-General. I said that the Attorney-General was here at question time and went out. He is arguing that the Attorney-General was dodging him. I am quite happy to have made my point. When I have had a victory I can be magnanimous. I content myself by saying that the gentleman’s name is Ivan Szabo and he lives at 1/516 Sydney Road, Balgowlah. He is a dissatisfied member of the Liberal Party’s new Australian organisation. I will leave it at that because I have proved my point.
– I wish to make only a few remarks about this matter. It has arisen in a peculiar way, namely, from the discontent of Senator O’Byrne with a reply he received. We should get straight the fact that bombs were planted in Sydney obviously as reprisals against an opposing force. Personal injury and property damage resulted. This is not a normal part of Australian life and it is not something that we should condone. We are all in agreement that the culprit should be found and punished. The question arises whether terrorist organisations, about which our security force should have known, have been planning operations in Australia. If so, our security force should have stopped those organisations before the stage was reached of bombs being planted in Sydney.
Senator Carrick may feel quite justified in his belief that complaints should not be made about this incident because while it could be claimed as having been instituted by right wing organisations, it is claimed that left wing organisations are carrying out espionage within Australia. Senator McManus has said that all groups have their own liberation fronts within Australia. I remind him that there is not a communist group in Australia about which our security organisation does not have full information. If the likelihood of violence from a group operating in Australia exists, the Commonwealth has a responsibility of ensuring that its activities do not reach the stage of violence. I rose to speak mainly because Senator Douglas McClelland was called out of the chamber. He has now returned and he will more capably carry on the argument than I can.
– I regret that when Senator Mulvihill was speaking 1 was called out of the chamber. I am concerned about some of the remarks that have been made in this debate tonight by Senator Carrick who spoke, I assume, on behalf of the expeditious actions of the New South Wales Police, as a number of other honourable senators do. An outrageous bomb attack took place in Sydney last Saturday. But for the expeditious actions of the New South Wales police very serious casualties could have resulted. Saturday was a bright and busy day in Sydney. The city was packed with people because the grand final of the rugby league competition was being staged between the Manly and Eastern Suburbs teams.
– They would not get a crowd there.
This is a very serious matter. I inform Senator Hannan that at 11 a.m. on that morning I had to meet my young son on that very corner to take him to the football. As someone is praying about something else, I, too, am praying to God that I did not make the time 11.30 on Saturday morning. I mention that to show just how serious and how close it could have been to members of the Senate. It sickens me to hear Senator Carrick get up in this chamber and ask by rhetoric: ‘Are the Czechs entitled to have their liberation movement here? Are the Croats entitled to have their liberation movement here? Are the Hungarians entitled to have their liberation movement here?’ The answer to that, I say emphatically, is no. If they want to live in a democratic community and take part in the affairs of a democratic community, they can offer themselves to Parliament, to be judged by their fellow citizens either as independents or as members of a political party.
As Senator Carrick was speaking, my colleague Senator Devitt interjected and said: Let them take their troubles home’. What went on in Sydney at 11.30 on Saturday morning transformed the city into a city of gloom. Suddenly the people of Sydney were saying: ‘What has been going on in Belfast and what has been going on in Saigon, and something akin to that which unfortunately went on in Munich is going on in this verycity of ours’. But this Government sits here and says that it is a matter for the New South Wales police. I have never heard such pussyfooting, humbug and poppycock in all my life because, with great respect to the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood), that is what he said yesterday. I asked him this question:
Can the Attorney-General say whether any Commonwealth police are involved in the investigations that are taking place in connection with the terrorist bomb attacks in Sydney during the last few days?
At page 894 of yesterday’s Hansard the Attorney-General is reported to have replied:
The investigations into the incidents in Sydney arc being carried out by the State police of New South Wales. The Commonwealth police, as far as I am aware- and he is the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth- are not directly involved in those investigations although they are in close co-operation with the Sydney police and they have their own avenues of investigation which they have been exploring. 1 say to the Attorney-General that that is not good enough. He should have offered the services of the Commonwealth police to the New South Wales police to apprehend the people involved in order to ensure that they were caught at an early stage.
– It was only about a week or two ago you were saying that they were incompetent because they could not catch Mr Johnston.
Senator DOUGLAS MCCLELLANDThey might not be able to catch Mr Johnston. At least the Attorney-General might let them try to catch these terrorist people. But no, the Commonwealth police are there only in an advisory capacity. What was it that a former Commonwealth Police Commissioner said - the present Commissioner of Police in Queensland? He was quoted in the ‘Australian’ of last Monday as having said that he believes that the bombings in Sydney might have been the work of the Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood. The Queensland Police Commissioner was not only expressing an opinion; according to the report, he was expressing a belief.
Senator Greenwood, in reply to another question I asked, said:
I notice that Senator Douglas McClelland did not talk about any tourist organisation; he talked about the Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood and the Croatian Liberation Movement. That there has been a Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood - I think its initials are HRB - in Australia in times past is undisputed, but I understand that its activities nowadays are minimal.
If that is not a revolutionary organisation and if that is not an admission that the organisation is not still in existence then I do not know what is. Perhaps the Commonwealth Police or the Attorney-General will contact the Queensland Commissioner of Police to find out what gave him reason to believe that the bombings in Sydney might have been the result of the work of the Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood or the Croatian Brotherhood Revolution, or whatever it is called.
Someone said that there is international communism in this country. Perhaps there is but at least the Communist Party is a lawful entity, according to a referendum that was conducted in this country. The decision of the Australian people was to allow the Communist Party to engage itself in the political and democratic processes of this country. But I daresay that if the Australian people were asked whether these foreign liberation movements that are operating in Australia were to be tolerated in this country they would have an overwhelming answer to that question.
Now let me come to what Senator McManus had to say earlier, and I deeply regret that no member of the Democratic Labor Party is in the chamber at this stage to hear what I have to say. Senator McManus complained that Dr Cairns had said that the Government had not taken action because members of the DLP and those who were connected or might be connected with this bombing are interconnected in one way or another and that because the Government was frightened of losing DLP preferences the Government was pussyfooting about the idea. Senator McManus rejected that contention of Dr Cairns and said that despite his rejection of that contention the Press had not given publicity to what he said. In the last 8 years there have been 15 bomb attacks in Australia involving Yugoslavs or Croats, and before that there was burning of flags. There was a continual burning of flags in the township of Cooma, in New South Wales.
– There have been stabbings of Yugoslavs in Whyalla, South Australia.
– Senator Cavanagh says that there have been stabbings of Yugoslavs in South Australia. This sort of activity has been going on in this country for a decade but not enough attention has been paid to it by the Commonwealth Government. I mentioned the burning of flags in Cooma. I will quote something which was written in the Cooma ‘Monaro Express’ on 30th September 1964. The article, headed ‘Flag brings criticism’, reads:
The Australian Democratic Labor Party has condemned the Cooma Council for flying the Yugoslav flag in Centennial Park.
The flag was recently destroyed by 3 Croats who were fined $2 in Cooma Court, lt had been damaged or destroyed on 5 previous occasions.
Council was told on Monday that the Democratic Labor Party’s New Australian Council thought it was objectionable that public money was used for such an ill-advised gesture.
That is the New Australian Council of the DLP- said it represented many former political refugees who fled their countries to escape the scourge of communism.
The letter added, ‘We consider it highly offensive that achievements of migrants in Australia should be commemorated by the display of a flag of the oppressors of their homeland.’
The unsatisfactory situation was highlighted by the recent incident in which the flag was removed and destroyed by angry migrants.
Council agreed that the Party-
That is the Democratic Labor Party - be informed that:
AH flags flown in Centennial Park representing other nations are officially recognised by the Commonwealth Government;
That the New Australian Council of the Party be made aware of the oath of allegiance sworn by new Australian citizens when being naturalised that I will faithfully observe the laws of Australia and fulfil my duties as an Australian citizen’;
That as Australian citizens they must accept what is recognised by the Commonwealth Government.
Alderman r. c. Englebrecht said: ‘What is good enough for the Commonwealth Government should be good enough for the other organisation’.
All I say to this Government is that it should admit that if it had known before these people came to Australia that they would go on in this country as in fact some of them have been going on, and as it would appear that some of them are still going on, it would not have agreed to them coming here in the first place. But now that they are here and now that they are conducting themselves in this un-Australian way, it is the responsibility of this Government to grasp the nettle and take firm action not only to apprehend the culprits but also to make sure that the same sort of thing does not occur again anywhere in Australia. As I said yesterday, the great tragedy about the way in which the Government is reacting, or the way in which it has failed to react, is that the Australian public has become quite cynical about whether in fact this Government is interested in tracking down these people. By its inertia, by its inaction, it appears to me that the Government is only giving encouragement to others who might be contemplating similar action to go ahead and adopt the attitude that the Government will not take very much interest in the matter. Apparently the anti-Labor Government of New South Wales has offered a reward for the apprehension of these people. I urge this Government to do the same. I do not know whether it intends to increase the amount that has been offered as a reward by the New South Wales Government or whether it intends to get on with the task by making available the Commonwealth Police to assist the New South Wales police in an endeavour to catch these culprits. The sooner this sort of thing is cleared up the better it will be for Australia and all who live within its shores.
– I enter this melee briefly to refer to to one or two matters raised by Senator Douglas McClelland. Like very many other honourable senators, I am getting heartily sick and tired of the synthetic indignation poured across this chamber in respect of a charge which has been wholly unsustained. I do not intend to traverse that matter now. I am sick and tired also of pointing out that senators on this side of the chamber are just as much opposed to terror and horror on all sides, whether it be from the right, the left, or the centre, as any honourable senator opposite. I draw attention to Senator Douglas McClelland’s statement that he believes that none of the migrants are entitled to work for the freedom of the countries whence they came. Most of them have come here to escape communist tyranny, and the honourable senator should know that.
– Where is your evidence in that direction?
– I have spoken to hundreds of migrants who have told me that they came here to get away from communist tyranny. There is no doubt about that. I want to make quite sure that Senator Douglas McClelland is expressing the views of his Party when he says that these people are not entitled to work, even as Senator Carrick points out, within the law. for the freedom of their own country so that it can get away from the iron heel of communism. Of course, the honourable senator did what members of the Labor Party do in things of this nature. They arrive at a verdict and then look around for evidence. A gentleman was pushed out of the window and killed at the Yugoslav Club in Sydney on Saturday. For some reason or other, this serious event has not been referred to by honourable senators opposite. But not even they in their wildest flights of imagination would suggest that the dreaded Ustasha pushed this poor unfortunate man out of the window.
I have heard talk about the burning of the Yugoslav flag. I am disgusted to hear such indignation expressed about the burning of a Communist flag when supporters of the Australian Labor Party have stood and watched the burning in public of the Australian flag. Their supporters have burned the Australian flag in public. Yet honourable senators rise here synthetically indignant about the burning of a Communist flag. Do not let us have this nonsense in this chamber.
As I have said, the Australian Labor Party has already convicted the right-wing Croatian movement, the centre Croatian movement and even the left wing Croatian movement. There are some left wing Croatian movements. This morning, the Press carried a story which looks like torpedoing the whole of the nonsense which the Opposition has promoted in the last 2 days. That story stated that the shocking bombing in Sydney may have been the result of a family fued and have nothing whatever to do with politics.
– Well, let us discover the facts.
– That is exactly what we want to do. We want to assist the police to complete their investigations and to prosecute to the utmost limits of the law anyone who is found guilty of a breach of the peace of this nature. If we are to talk on political points - it is not my intention to raise these points - it is just as likely that the KOS, which is the overseas arm of the UDBA, would be as likely to arrange and fake these incidents as the so-called dreaded Ustasha. I know that this is a revolutionary thought. I know it is silly to say so, but I prefer to wait to see what the evidence is before coming to a decision.
– Mr President, I had no intention whatsoever of entering this debate tonight until I heard the complete hypocrisy of Senator Carrick and Senator Hannan.
– I object to the word hypocrisy’.
– Complete hypocrisy, I repeat-
– I ask that the word hypocrisy’ be withdrawn.
– Order! ‘Hypocrisy’ is in the list of words the use of which is forbidden in the Senate, Senator Milliner.
– Well, I substitute the words ‘political poppycock’, Mr President. To my way of thinking that indicates that the honourable senator is not only hypocritical, but also stupid-
– Mr President, I do not object to the word ‘stupid’, but I object to the word ‘hypocritical’.
– Order! I have already stated that there is a list of words which over the years have been regarded by senators as words which should not be applied to another senator. Senator Milliner, I would be grateful if you would be obedient to the habits of the Senate and withdraw the word ‘hypocritical’.
– In deference to your ruling, Mr President, I accept your words of wisdom entirely. But I do say that if we are to be subjected to such stupidities as have been raised tonight we are entitled to ask why members of the Government are saying these things. Senator Carrick in all his purity said that the Liberal Party had encouraged migrants to enter into its scheme of things. He said: ‘We did not ask them to join’. Of course the Liberal Party did not ask them to join. But it did everything possible to influence these migrants to vote for the Liberal Party. The minds of these migrants who came within the sphere of influence of the Liberal Party were poisoned against the Labor Party. The Liberal Party is still doing this. Let there be no question about that. I challenge Senator Carrick to say that on no occasion did he discuss politics with these migrants. The honourable senator holds his hands up as though he is pure. I say that every political party has endeavoured to assist migrants. Do members of the Liberal Party think that they are the only ones who have done this? If they say this, they know that it is untrue.
– I did not say it.
– The honourable senator implied it. In fact, if his halo had slipped it would have choked him. That is not the right attitude. How does Senator Carrick justify his attitude of introducing international communism into this serious debate? Yesterday he even brought in the painters and dockers. What in the name of hades have the painters and dockers to do with the fact that people have almost lost their lives as a result of these bombings?
– It has a lot to do with murder.
– I charge the honourable senator with not having raised this matter in the Senate or elsewhere until such time as this debate began. I do not want to be objectionable - not much! - but I think I could charge the honourable senator with failure to report to the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) things that he knows, or thinks he knows, about the painters and dockers. He failed to do so and therefore I do not think he is a very good citizen. How can the honourable senator justify dragging these elements into this debate? Why does he not denounce the Premier of Queensland who says that the Australian Labor Party is responsible for the bombings? The Premier of Queensland is Mr Bjelke-Petersen.
– He is a nut.
– He may be a nut; I do not know. I am not calling him that. I am saying that, if Senator Carrick is fair dinkum in saying that he does not think we are responsible for this, why does he not condemn one of his own people for saying that we are responsible for it? The honourable senator would not do this because he likes to try to besmirch the Australian Labor Party. However, the Australian Labor Party will rise superior to any of the tyrannical words he has used tonight. It will rise above any of his unfounded criticisms.
Senator Hannan bought into this debate, and what did he say? He said that all migrants who come to Australia were from Iron Curtain countries - from communist countries. When challenged he said that hundreds of them came from such places. How many migrants have come to Australia? I have spoken to more migrants in Australia in a week than the honourable senator has spoken to in 5 years. I know many of the migrants who have come here. The grinning hyena, the AttorneyGeneral, now comes into these proceedings with his stupid inane laugh. He is the bloke who dumped the previous Prime Minister. He sold his vote for a portfolio. Senator Hannan can meet me anywhere he likes and I will take him to more migrants who came to Australia voluntarily than he can say came here under duress. I suggest that Senator Hannan should not make such stupid statements in future.
All that Senator Webster can see is a com under every chair. He buts in with interjections about communism. What in the name of goodness has communism to do with the fact that the Attorney-General and his officers have failed to arrest the people responsible for these bombings? The Attorney-General knows quite well that the Communist Party headquarters in Queensland were bombed some time ago.
– The Democratic Labor Party headquarters were burned down.
– They should have been burned down years ago. A culprit was soon found for that crime. If I am not tralian Labor Party for the expose it has Surely the Attorney-General must admit that the people of Australia are particularly frightened at this time. We in this chamber are frightened, as is shown by the improved security arrangements that have been made. I applaud the Presiding Officers for taking these precautions. But this is an indication that these things can spread. We believe that there should be an inquiry into the whole matter. The Prime Minister has said that he would be agreeable to having a royal commission. Surely if your own Prime Minister has said that there is some justification for it. But the AttorneyGeneral has said: ‘No, we will not have any part of that.’ We are concerned. We do not charge any member of the Liberal Party with being a party to these troubles. I hope that no-one on the other side of the chamber will have the audacity to say that we on this side of the chamber are responsible. I hope that the AttorneyGeneral will denounce the Premier of Queensland who has said - not suggested - that members of the Australian Labor Party are responsible for the bomb outrages. Even at this late stage I ask the Attorney-General to see that a royal commission or something of that nature is instituted so that the people of Australia can feel reasonably sure that nothing of the nature of these events will occur again.
– I am sure that the nation is indebted to the Australian Labor Party for the expose it has given to itself this evening. I am not referring to the vaudeville act and buffoonery in which honourable senators like Senator Milliner who has just resumed his seat engaged. I am not referring to the offensive expressions and the smears that have been thrown at supporters of the Government, because we are accustomed to that. What I am referring to is the revelation of the standards to which the Australian Labor Party adheres. We have seen those standards in many of its institutions, branches and organisations in times past. We have seen those sorts of things in the Shortland electorate, in the trade union defence committee in Victoria and in the outright expulsions from the Victorian Labor Party of people who were never given any opportunity to defend themselves and who, notwithstanding the muchvaunted reforms in that organisation, have still not been readmitted to the Australian Labor Party. Of course their crime was to say that there were people in the Australian Labor Party who were friends of the communists. What about the man who said that there were friends of communists in the Australian Labor Party Executive? As a member of the Australian Labor Party, an executive member of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, was denied the right which his membership of the organisation gave him. He was denied the right, which election by his colleagues in Tasmania accorded him, of attending a Federal Executive meeting of the Australian Labor Party.
These are things of the past. Of course in this year - which is going to be one more year of disappointment for the Australian Labor Party - the image of the Australian Labor Party is supposed to be swept under the carpet so that people will not have occasion to remember it. Unfortunately for the Labor Party, all that will go by the board because of what we heard! tonight. We heard Senator O’Byrne’s accusation that if certain persons are members, of an organisation then it does not matter whether that organisation is a terrorist organisation or not. He says, in effect: They should not be here. Let them prove their innocence.’ The Hansard record will show that Senator O’Byrne based his whole case on the proposition that if there arepeople against them the finger of suspicion is lifted they should prove their innocence. I assure the honourable senator that he will never forget making those remarks,, because they are going to be used against the Australian Labor Party. I believe that, tonight we have seen the sort of tactics in. which the Australian Labor Party will engage.
Senator O’Byrne is not the only person’ who revealed that all this fine talk about the rule of law and great principles of justice which we heard last week is just a facade. There were other speakers who’ revealed their attitude. Senator Carrick - I think that there have been many occasions when Opposition members have accepted views which Senator Carrick has objectively and honestly put forward - wastonight stating the classic principle to which every member of the Government unerringly adheres. That principle is that it is our system of justice that every man is presumed innocent until he is proven guilty. But what happened when Senator Carrick was making those statements?’ Constantly he had to stop because of the sneers and jeers from members of the Australian Labor Party. It was, as he described it, an orchestration which really revealed’ what they were about.
Of course, we had also the statements, from one or two members of the Opposition that all these people - and ‘all these people’ meant the 500,000-odd members of the Croatian Liberation Movement - should be thrown out of Australia. ‘We donot want them here’ says Senator Devitt. And on what basis is that to happen? Senator Mulvihill has asked me on many occasions whether we will amend that provision of the Crimes Act which allows Australian citizens to be deported. But we are not hearing anything about that from
Senator Mulvihill now. It shows how selective the Australian Labor Party can be when it thinks it can make some political mileage. And what were Senator O’Byrne’s remarks while Senator McManus was speaking and pointing out that many of these people have come here as refugees from Communist countries and that we must recognise that in almost every one of these Communist countries there is a liberation front? Senator O’Byrne’s interjection was: ‘What a great shame to have a liberation front’. Is that the attitude of the Labor Party? Are there friends of the Communists even in this Senate? I am pleased to see that there is no immediate reaction to that remark because I think that members of the Australian Labor Party appreciate that what they have been engaging in for the last 2 or 3 days is the old tactic of guilt by association, guilt by smear and guilt by accusation. That is to say, one assumes a person to be guilty and makes the facts fit one’s thesis.
What we have learned over the past 2 or 3 days of the Australain Labor Party’s approach to these matters is essentially revealing. We also have the tactic of the repetitious lie which is the weapon of all those who have totalitarian tendencies. What I have heard tonight from Senator O’Byrne is a repetition of something which has been nailed time and time again. He brought out the Press cuttings with the headlines of training camps in Australia, cuttings bearing a date sometime early in July this year. Those matters were investigated and this conclusively proves the point which I am making. There was a Press statement - and I have referred to this a number of times - issued by me in which every one of those allegations was detailed and explained, and it was shown that there was no basis in truth for what was in those newspaper headlines. That Press statement was given quite an amount of publicity in the major newspapers of this country. I was asked yesterday why I was reading out the Press statement again. I said that obviously people are not giving any credence to it. So what do we have tonight? Senator O’Byrne once again came out with these old headlines seeking to make some capital out of them. It was like the old story which Senator Wriedt told yesterday about what happened at
Wodonga some 8 or 9 years ago and the question which somebody asked yesterday: Is there a training camp in Queensland? Of course, this has been denied. This is what I meant by the tactic of the repetitious lie. If one states something often enough it will be believed. But I do not believe that the Australian people will be taken in by this. I thank those who have raised this adjournment debate for their revelation of what the Australian Labor Party really is.
– I shall be brief. I have been amazed that after a 2-hour debate on the question of bombings in Australia the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) could rise in his place and not say one word about those bombings. He talked about all sort of things that had absolutely nothing to do with them. Yesterday 1 challenged him on the question of the Ustasha training with the Citizen Military Forces and I pointed out to him that he had said nothing at all. His story completely conflicted with that of the previous Minister. We heard not one word from him. One of them lied - the Attorney-General or the senator that we heard before him. The Attorney-General is not man enough to stand up in this place and say so. It is very clear that he is dodging the issue of bombings in Australia, even though this debate has gone on for 2 hours. He has that silly grin on his face again. How he can sit there and laugh when people are being blown up in Australia is beyond me. I think that he must be mentally affected. How can he do so when bombs are going off and people are being near killed? Senator Douglas McClelland this evening pointed out an incident of this which brought it home to us, yet the AttorneyGeneral sits there and laughs.
I said to him yesterday as gently as I could, because I had some sympathy with the situation in which he finds himelf You ought to stand aside in this present situation so that this terrible thing can be cleaned up.’ I say tonight that he should resign, and that if he will not resign the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) should sack him because he is not doing his job by the Australian people. While bombs are being planted in Australia he sits there laughing and refusing to say one word about it. I have nothing more to say. I merely underline the fact that the AttorneyGeneral laughs and sneers and refuses to face up to a situation. All he can talk about is that some people come from Communist countries. Some of them did and-
– That is a pack of lies.
– And you are a pack of lies, if you want to say that to me. All Senator Hannan worries about is that people have come from Communist countries. He has said nothing about the fact that some have come from Fascist countries.
– Is that so?
– Of course.
– Have you heard me attack Franco?
– Do not wriggle off the point. The Attorney-General is not fit to hold office. If he had an ounce of manhood he would resign, and if the Prime Minister had an ounce of manhood he would sack him.
– I rise to acknow ledge a pigmy in the form of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition who has tried to court a headline which yesterday was uttered by an even more inferior unit of the Opposition. Senator Willesee got up and had the effrontery because of his incompetence and his position to challenge the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Greenwood), to make a remark that yesterday appealed to some headline writers. He thinks that is giving deputy leadership to the Opposition which was so properly described by the AttorneyGeneral whose responsibility in this matter needs no underlining by me. Yet that the Senate should have to witness such an antic from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition at 1 o’clock in the morning because he is seeking headlines of this sort is astounding.
– I wish to announce that later this morning it will be my duty as your President to meet a delegation of representatives from the House of Councillors and from the Diet of Tokyo and that therefore I have asked Senator Wood to take the Chair at 10 a.m.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 1 a.m. (Thursday)
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
(Question No. 2292)
asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
Senator WRIGHT- The Minister for Labour and National Service has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply, upon notice:
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN- The Minister for Supply has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Dealing generally with the subject raised, much of the information sought would not normally be available to the Department of Supply but has been provided by Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Ltd (AWA Ltd) on request.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
Senator WRIGHT- The Minister for Labour and National Service has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
At the end of June 1972 nearly 100 Aborigines were employed by State and local government authorities on these special work projects. Increased numbers of Aborigines are expected to be employed under this scheme as a result of the greatly increased grants to the States for Aboriginal advancement already announced for 1972-73.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD- The Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
I refer the honourable senator to the reply given by the Minister for Primary Industry to a similar question on 31st August 1972 (Hansard, page 1001).
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
Senator GREENWOOD- The Minister for Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Under the provisions of the Public Service Act, the promotion of officers to departmental positions under the Permanent Head is the responsibility of the Permanent Head and the Public Service Board rather than the Minister, lt would, therefore, not be appropriate for me to intervene in departmental staffing matters or attempt .to influence particular promotion decisions.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
Does the Department of Immigration, either itself or through the Committee on Overseas Qualifications, maintain a blacklist of colleges and universities in Britain and the United States of America which award sub-standard degrees; if so, will the Minister make that list public so that potential migrants will know where they stand in relation to the acceptance of their qualifications in Australia.
Senator GREENWOOD- The Minister for Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Neither the Department of Immigration nor the Committee on overseas Professional Qualifications maintains a ‘blacklist’ of colleges and universities in Britain and the United States of America which award sub-standard degrees.
The decision as to whether a particular qualification gained overseas meets the standard required in Australia is a matter for decision by the appropriate authorities i.e. the respective statutory bodies and professional associations and, in the case of persons wishing to undertake postgraduate studies here, the Australian university or other tertiary institution concerned.
To safeguard the interests of migrants with professional qualifications, the Department of Immigration encourages them to have their qualifications assessed by the appropriate Australian authority before committing themselves to migration. Advice and assistance is provided by the Department without charge to the inquirer.
– On 13th April 1972 Senator Jessop asked me a question without notice as follows:
My question, addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science, follows upon a previous question put to the Attorney-General by Senator McManus. I refer to the improper use of Commonwealth Government funds paid by the universities to student unions and used for the payment of fines or otherwise to assist those who might be in breach of the law. I ask the Minister whether the attention of the Australian Universities Commission can be drawn to this matter so that the individual governing bodies, that is, the Councils and Senates of the universities, may be invited to give it earnest attention.
As I stated at the time, I believe that this is a serious matter, and that the Minister I represent would give it serious consideration. The Minister for Education and Science has now provided me with the following comments:
Student union fees are collected by universities from all students. The benefits paid under the Commonwealth University Scholarships Scheme include all compulsory fees, comprising tuition fees and other statutory fees levied by the universities. These fees include student union fees and are paid direct to the universities on behalf of each student who holds a Commonwealth University Scholarship. Student union fees are then made available through the normal administrative processes of the universities to student associations.
I am sure that the honourable senator’s concern that student funds may be used for purposes other than the normal functions of the student organisations, is shared by the majority of members of both Houses and of the public in general.
University Councils and Senates are aware of the public disquiet which has been engendered by the use of student funds for certain purposes. I have only recently written to Vice-Chancellors about this and have sought information on any action which has been taken or is proposed in relation to the control of expenditure from student funds for purposes which may be inconsistent with the broad purposes of the universities.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 20 September 1972, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1972/19720920_senate_27_s53/>.