27th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Magnus Cormack) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I present the following petition from 21 citizens of the Commonwealth:
To the Honourable the President and Members of the Senate in Parliament assembled.
The Humble Petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That surveys have shown that a substantial percentage of children in Australia have learning disabilities, and therefore require suitable remedial education.
That remedial services for these children in Australian Pre-School and State Primary, Secondary and Technical schools are seriously impoverished by lack of funds.
That shortages of School Medical Officers, clinical and educational psychologists, child psychiatrists, speech therapists, social workers and remedial teachers are causing frustration, un-happiness, and emotional instability for large numbers of individual children and their families.
That in many cases there is a correlation between education failure and juvenile delinquency, with a resultant economic loss to the community.
Your petitioners most humbly pray that the Senate in Parliament assembled will take immediate action to provide sufficient funds for the Stales to finance the setting up and maintenance throughout Australia of:
Special training courses for experienced teachers in remedial education for children with learning disabilities at all levels. (Pre-school, infant, primary, secondary and technical).
Fully-equipped multi-disciplinary regional resource centres.
Special training facilities for child psychiatrists, clinical and educational psychologists, (and development of graduate programmes designed to produce an adequate number of highly qualified diagnosticians in all areas of learning disabilities).
Multi-disciplinary research into all aspects of learning disabilities.
And your petitioners, as in duly bound, will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
– Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate assure the Senate that the Australian Government will not support President Thieu in any opposition to the United States-Hanoi moves towards peace in Vietnam?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI was going to say that that was really a naughty question in the sense that the Leader of the Opposition knows, as we all know, that he was asking me to comment on Government policy, and it is even hypothetical Government policy.
– I ask the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral: Did the Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board say that as the law stood at present he had no option but to ban the broadcasting of electoral material in the statutory period before the Charlestown by-election? Does the Government intend to uphold the present law by enforcing this ban placed by the Broadcasting Control Board? If not, what action does it propose?
– I am unable to say what the Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board has said regarding the Charlestown by-election, butI would have thought that it is absolutely clear that as far as the Charlestown by-election is concerned, which will occur on18th November, the provisions of the Broadcasting and Television Act would prevent the broadcasting of any election matter relating to that election between midnight on Wednesday, 15th November, and the close of the poll on the following Saturday. I would have thought that, whether or not the Chairman ofthe Broadcasting Control Board has said that, the provisions in the legislation are clear if one looks at them.
The Senate will recall that in 1969 an amendment was passed to the relevant section of the Broadcasting and Television Act which indicated that the Board had a function whereby it could exempt from the generality of the provisions those broadcasting and television stations whose programmes would not be received in the area where an election was being held. I understand that all but the broadcasting and television stations receivable within the Charlestown area have been so exempted. But there has been publicity on a much wider issue, to which currency has been given over the weekend, and that matter is presently under investigation by me and by officers of my Department.
– I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate a question to which the country is entitled to an answer. Will he assure the Senate that the Australian Government is giving complete support to the United States in its endeavours to reach peace in Vietnam?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONThe question really does not need any answer from me because it must be apparent, even to the most humble person in Australia, that all our efforts have been in the spirit of attempting to get ultimate peace. To suggest to the contrary, by implication in the question, I think is improper.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs seen reports that a young South Australian journalist, Mr Dennis Hannon, has been arrested in Afghanistan for having allegedly attempted to smuggle hashish out of that country? Can the Minister say whether the report is correct? If so, what information has he concerning the welfare and whereabouts of Mr Hannon?
– Yes, I have seen reports relating to the arrest of the person to whom the honourable senator has referred. He was arrested in Kabul on 22nd October, along with 2 others. The 3 have been jointly charged with the possession of one gallon of liquid hashish. Our Embassy in Islamabad has been in regular contact with the British Embassy in Kabul which has arranged regular visits to Hannon, and interest is being taken in the sufficiency of his rations and his personal welfare. It is not yet known when he will be brought to trial. Our embassy will continue to take a close interest in his welfare.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. If America signs the draft cease fire without the agreement of President Thieu in Saigon, will all allied forces in South Vietnam be withdrawn within 60 days? Will the 140 Australian advisers be included among these withdrawals or will our troops be required to stay in Vietnam under the agreement signed last March between Australia and Saigon?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI am not in a position to answer that question at question time, but I certainly will have it referred to the Minister for Defence without delay.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science. A poll taken in Australia recently showed that education was the No. 1 issue for the forthcoming election. Therefore, I ask the Minister: Is he in a position to tell the Senate whether there has been during the past weekend an important expression of attitude by a significant section of the public towards the Government’s education policy and whether that attitude was also expressed towards the so-called needs basis education policy of the Opposition?
– I have no doubt that the honourable senator’s question refers to the recent important announcement by the Prime Minister that an important 5year programme was laid down to ensure stability in aid to independent schools. It will be remembered that in May last that policy was announced and a Bill is before the Senate at present. Briefly, it provides $167m over the next 5 years for capital purposes for State schools and $47m for capital purposes for independent schools. It also puts on the basis of regular principle aid on a per pupil basis for pupils attending independent schools. The Commonwealth will grant to the independent schools 20 per cent of the costs incurred per pupil in government schools. In reply to the specific question, I think it is true to say that in the broadcasts and the public expressions of the discussion of this principle it has been seen as an important guarantee that on a basis of some principle non-government schools are assured not only of per pupil revenue grants but also of a basic contribution to their capital requirements.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation say whether a veteran from Vietnam, who lost parts of both his legs during his 96 days in Vietnam, has had his $1,000 per annum retirement benefit stopped because he is now able to earn more than two thirds of his original Army pay, which was $5 1 a week? If so, will he take steps to grant the $1,000 per annum as an act of grace or some other payment which cannot be reduced so that other injured veterans do not have their desire to improve themselves reduced?
– Certain repatriation benefits are available to men returning from Vietnam. The honourable senator has asked me whether I am aware of a particular case. I am not, but I have seen a report of it.I would have to seek the details from the Minister for Repatriation. Although the newspaper report gives the name of the lad concerned I would have to go through the files to get some information for the honourable senator.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Supply: How many firm orders have been received for the Australian aircraft named the Nomad? Have any orders been received from any foreign countries? If so, what countries have ordered the Nomad?
– As the honourable senator knows, a Nomad aircraft attended the Farnborough air display. A second Nomad is now in France on tour where it will be seen by people who are likely to be interested in buying this aircraft. We are hoping that they will place orders for it in the future. I have an inkling that someone asked me a similar question the other day. I asked that it be put on the notice paper and I do not think it has yet been answered. As far as I know, no firm orders have been received by the Department of Supply for the Nomad. 1 am hoping that orders will come, not only from military people but also from people engaged in civil aviation.
– My question, which I address to the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, follows the question directed to him by my colleague Senator Willesee. Is it a fact that the Government removed the legislative provisions relating to network transmissions from the Broadcasting and Television Act in 1965 and stated that in future the situation would be covered by way of regulation? It is a fact that no regulations covering networks have since been drawn up and that the problem of network transmission is one of the difficulties now being encountered in regard to the provisions of section 1 1 6 (4) of the Broadcasting and Television Act? Did the Government in 1969 insert into the Act section 116 (4a) which provides for exemptions for stations that do not transmit into an area which is the subject of a particular election? Did the PostmasterGeneral on 12th October 1970 advise the Federation of Australian Commercial Broadcasters that despite numerous representations made to him the Government had decided at that time not to pursue any amendment to section 1 1 6 which would completely lift the restriction on the broadcasting of electoral matter from midnight on the Wednesday preceding an election until after the poll closed? Is it a fact that the Australian Broadcasting Control Board is merely carrying out the Government’s legislation? Is it not more appropriate for the Deputy Prime Minister now to be criticising the Government of which he is a member for failing to amend the Act rather than the Australian Broadcasting Control Board for implementing the Government’s legislation?
– Senator Douglas McClelland’s question has many aspects but insofar as he seeks to build a foundation upon which to pass judgment on what the Deputy Prime Minister has said, I do not accept it. As I understand the provisions of section 116 of the Broadcasting and Television Act insofar as they relate to matters which were raised by the Deputy Prime Minister, the point which has been raised has never before been canvassed. As I understand it, it is simply a matter of interpretation of the provisions of the section. As I said earlier, that matter is currently under investigation by me and officers of my Department. I understand that the position, whatever might be the problem, relating to network transmissions to which the honourable senator has referred, has no bearing upon the particular question raised by Mr Anthony. Whether the PostmasterGeneral made a statement about the matter on 12th October 1970 is unknown to me, but the Government’s policy is that the period between midnight on the Wednesday preceding the polling day and the close of the poll on the Saturday under our law is a period in which no election matter may be broadcast. That of course is the law as it stands at the moment. What I have said may have clarified the position. I can only add that the basic question raised by the Deputy Prime Minister, which is a novel one, is being considered and I hope to be able to give a clear statement on it as soon as the investigation has been completed.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I preface it by saying I understand that one of the matters of negotiation for a Vietnamese peace treaty is the reunification of Vietnam. I ask the Minister: Is he aware whether there are any provisions in the Vietnamese peace treaty providing for free elections in North Vietnam in conjunction with free elections in South Vietnam? If not, are we to assume that the Communist Government of North Vietnam believes in free elections only in non-communist countries?
– It would be recognised by all of us, I think, that negotiations mentioned in the honourable senator’s question have reached a very delicate stage, and we are maintaining our consistent practice of abstaining from commenting upon the subject matter of those negotiations, particularly those confidential conversations of Dr Kissinger and his assistants.
– My question is directed to the Attorney General. I refer to the article appearing in the ‘Australian’ newspaper of last Friday over the name of the AttorneyGeneral. I ask him: Did his negotiations with that newspaper to secure the publication of his version of the Jetair case include threats of action for libel and criminal libel? If so, does he regard such an approach as a proper use of the hitherto respected office of AttorneyGeneral?
– It has become customary in recent times to have snide allegations made without a basis of fact to them in the hope that some publicity will be given to the allegations irrespective of the answer. My answer to the honourable senator’s question is categorically no; no suggestion of any such character was made.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I ask the Minister whether his attention has been drawn to Friday’s inaccurate comment by one, Dr Jim Cairns, on the present peace negotiations in Indo-China. In view of the fact that Dr Cairns seems to believe that the current peace terms were available from Hanoi 6 or 7 years ago, will the Minister outline to the Senate the fundamental changes existing between those and the current peace terms?
– Mr President, I rise on a point of order. No question should be argumentative. This question is argumentative in that it introduces the name of Dr Cairns, refers to something that he said and then describes that as inaccurate. I submit that it is out of order.
– Order! I do not uphold the point of order but I draw the attention of the Minister who has been invited to respond, firstly, that he should not respond in an argumentative way, and secondly, that in answering the question he should not make a statement.
- Mr President, in answer to your well-timed comment I might say that I overheard a sotto voce remark that I never do give an argumentative answer. I can put the Senate at ease by repeating to Senator Hannan that notwithstanding the injection of Dr Cairn’s name into the question, which would attract comment of a vigorous nature on most occasions, I believe that the negotiations that have been carried on over the last 3 or 4 weeks have reached such a delicate stage that it would be inappropriate to make any [comment whatever publicly here in Australia on them.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence: Will not the rejection by the Government of the recommendations of the Jess Committee for a new, modern and upgraded defence forces retirement benefits scheme be a serious blow to the morale of serving members of the defence forces and pose a substantial deterrent to the recruitment and retention of personnel? Does this not indicate that the Government has set a priority for the preservation of the defence capacity at a level substantially below that which its protestations to the contrary would have us believe? Finally, is the Minister aware that an Australian Labor Party government will adopt the Jess Committee scheme in its entirety?
– Order! I recommend to the honourable senator that when he asks questions he heed the words of advice from the Leader of the Opposition.
– Somebody once said: ‘You cannot get hurt for listening.’ Quite obviously, I do not accept the background of the question and the pontification of what would be done by the Australian Labor Party if it were ever in office because, in any event, it is not going to be in office. Over the last several days the Minister for Defence made a statement on this very subject. 1 think the proper thing for me to do is to obtain the statement he made and either put it down here or make it available to the honourable senator.
– Is the Minister for Health aware of a statement published in the Press during the recent visit of Mr Detwiller, a Canadian authority on health care, who introduced the Canadian health scheme in the 1950s? Did the Minister note that, according to this gentleman, the involvement of the individual by paying the hospital and the doctor helps keep costs of a medical scheme down and that any proposed changes to Australia’s voluntary system should be approached carefully? Is it a fact that countries such as Canada which have government sponsored health schemes are experiencing extreme financial difficulties due to over utilisation? Does the private study of the Australian health care system by Mr Detwiller indicate that Canada is contemplating a change to the voluntary health scheme at present operating in that country?
– I met Mr Detwiller in Vancouver when there was an opportunity for him to put his views to me. Much of the background of the person whom the honourable senator has portrayed is reasonably accurate. I understand that at the present time Mr Detwiller is a lecturer at a university in relation to health economics. He was out here; in fact, he was in this Parliament House several weeks ago. The days go by so rapidly that I cannot pinpoint the day. He paid a courtesy call on me. [ was then under tremendous pressure and could not give him much time. But he did speak to me and 1 thought it would be appropriate if he visited the honourable member for Oxley, Mr Hayden, in the other place. I said that if Mr Detwiller had any views to express it would be fair enough for him to visit the shadow Minister for Health and make his views known to him. I understand he did that. That is as much as I know in relation to his visit. The burden of the views he has expressed to me is that he is, in fact, a very strong advocate of the type of system which we practice in Australia today with particular emphasis on patient participation. 1 am not talking about other participation. He is a very strong advocate of patient participation in any governmental health service such as we have in our concept of the common fee and our pharmaceutical benefits. This is quite consistent with what the honourable senator has said. In Canada I spoke to the national Minister for Health and certain provincial Ministers for Health. The cost factor there is becoming a very critical thing. Indeed the relationship beteen the central Government and the provinces has become very critical in relation to the burden of the cost of health services.
– Does the Minister for Civil Aviation believe that the recent appeasement by the West German
Government of aerial hijackers has seriously disrupted the solidarity of nations which are concerned with combating hijacking?
– Without wishing to reflect in any way on any other country or its Government, as one cannot and should not do, I simply say that we have taken a very serious, positive and strong attitude towards all these affairs. We are naturally concerned if the attitude is not uniform. Equally, we want to find out what is the precise position before we make any public comment. But the honourable senator can be quite sure that we will never abate our position.
– I address my question to the Minister for Health. On Thursday last I asked the Minister a question in relation to research into the areas of personal stress and mental health as it is related to heart disease. In reply the Minister indicated that he hoped to give in due course a full answer confirming his earlier answer. I ask: Has the Minister such an answer available? If not, can he arrange for me to receive it in due course?
– I do not know whether there are any over tones of scepticism in the words ‘due course’. But ‘due course’, I hope, will be this day.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, as representing the Prime Minister. Has the Minister seen the announcement by the Canadian Government of its preparedness to send a peacekeeping force to Vietnam after a ceasefire? What initiatives does the Australian Government intend to take to assist in securing peace in Vietnam?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONThis is also a matter of Government policy which I will need to have referred.
– I ask the Minister representing the Treasurer: Does the Minister recall questions in the Senate on matters of retirement allowances and superannuation which drew attention to the tax disadvantage which applies to self employed persons when compared with the financial benefits available to employed persons? Has the Minister conveyed to the Treasurer the concern expressed previously in the Senate on this matter? Can it be expected that the Government will act on this in the near future?
– Whenever a question is raised in this place in regard to a portfolio that is not directly held by a Minister here the procedure is followed whereby the substance of the question is relayed to the relevant department. Equally, a system is invoked when questions are raised, for instance before the Estimates Committees and the like, whereby the relevant point of view expressed by an honourable senator is conveyed to the department concerned. The system should work so that a reply then flows back to the honourable senator who made the inquiry. I cannot particularise on the item to which Senator Webster has referred. But I can see to it that those who are on my staff and on other staffs, who have the responsibility for this conveyor system, are checked out to make certain that his representations were properly sent along as they should have been.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior. I refer to the announcement that the policy of transferring to Canberra Commonwealth officers now located in Melbourne, which was previously deferred, is now likely to be recommenced. Can the Minister give any details of the number of officers so affected and can he say whether accommodation will be available for them? Also, is it a fact that after 5,000 single persons in Canberra had lodged applications for bachelor flats, the National Capital Development Commission decided to stop construction of them? Is there any policy being commenced by the Government to provide homes for single officers in the circumstances 1 have mentioned?
– I know that the general policy is to begin movement of people in certain departments from Melbourne particularly, to Canberra. I cannot give the honourable senator the timetable or the numbers involved, but I will find that out for him. Equally, the honourable senator can be sure that the movement programme will be such as to equal an accommodation programme. The honourable senator will need more detail than that. I will arrange for this to be given to the honourable senator.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. In view of the fact that it is being widely claimed that the cost differential between concrete and timber sleepers for use by the Commonwealth Railways could be as high as$15m in favour of concrete sleepers, can the Minister say whether his colleague the Minister for Shipping and Transport, Mr Nixon, called for 3 reports from the Bureau of Transport Economics before making a decision in favour of timber sleepers? If the Minister did call for 3 reports, why is it that he did not mention this when making his announcement on 22nd October?
– The question contains a number of queries and is largely based upon the word ‘if. 1 am unable to help the honourable senator at the moment with an answer in precise terms. I have given a lot of answers on the concrete sleeper versus timber sleeper situation based upon the limited information which 1 have had. I do not think it will be possible for me to get any more information within a few days but I will try to obtain an answer for the honourable senator before the Senate rises.
– In directing a question to the Leader of the Government inthe Senate, I refer to the new advertising code of ethics announced earlier this week by the Media Council. Is the Minister aware that the 2 newspaper advertisements recently inserted on behalf of the Liberal Party breached that code of ethics? In particular, the latest advertisement, which quoted Mr Calwell as saying, ‘It was a wonderful Budget’, breached the code of ethics which states:
Testimonials must honestly reflect the sentiments of the individuals represented.
The use of unemployment figures for individual States in the first advertisement breached the ethic which states:
Statistical data quoted in advertisements shall be neither misleading nor irrelevant.
Finally, can the Minister assure the Senate that future advertisements for the Government parties will not breach the advertising code of ethics?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI think the honourable senator referred to the Media Council. 1 must admit that I am flying blind in relation to that aspect of his question. 1 have not seen the advertisements referred to and am not in a position to give any judgment about them. I would like to be better informed before I comment on the subject matter. I understand that there was some reference to this matter in another place last week but I will have to inform myself on it.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts whether his attention has been drawn to statements by the DirectorGeneral of the Port of London Authority, Mr John Lunch, referring to the factual and quite magnificent results of that Authority in cleaning up the pollution of the River Thames. He said: ‘In 15 years we have turned the Thames from a stinking river that only eels could live in to a clean river.’ is the Minister aware that the Port of London Authority has set up a water pollution consultancy division and is desirous of establishing a branch of it in Australia? In view of the major pollution problems in many of our rivers and the recommendation of the Senate select committees on both air and water pollution that overseas expertise be availed of in meeting our problems of pollution, will consideration be given to encouraging the formation in Australia of a branch of the consultancy division J have referred to so that water pollution problems can be directed to it on a national basis?
– I have not seen the statements to which Senator Laucke has referred, though 1 think the transformation which has occurred in the River Thames as a result of deliberate and conscious policies to rectify the pollution in that river over recent years is becoming fairly widespread knowledge. I would have thought that there was no doubt that determined efforts had produced results. I am sure that the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, whom I represent in this chamber, is well aware of what has been done and what can be done in comparable areas in Australia. Senator Laucke will appreciate that following the report of the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution, action has been taken by the Minister in conjunction with the States to create a greater awareness of these problems and to assure the States of the co-operation of the Commonwealth in any activities they propose to undertake which are designed to achieve the ends that the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution had in mind. Whether there is a case for taking the specific action which Senator Laucke mentioned is a matter for the Minister but I will ensure that the honourable senator’s question is directed to him for his consideration.
– Does the Minister for Civil Aviation not consider that the Japan, Hong Kong area offers a great opportunity to increase inward tourist traffic to this country? If so, could he inform the Senate whether any steps have yet been taken to secure cheap air fares for both single and return journeys between that area and Australia, as distinct from package tour fares? Also, are negotiations under way in regard to the provision of cheap package tour fares between that area and Australia?
– Yes, this is a very important area for Australia; and yes, we certainly are active in the field of trying to increase the flow of people, both northbound and southbound through Hong Kong, between Japan and Australia. After the ministerial meetings with the Japanese Ministers in which I was fortunate enough to be involved, we issued as part of the broad communique a statement about the civil aviation intention of the 2 countries, which is to operate a pool system and to prosecute increased tourist traffic. The negotiations are in progress. We are trying to extend the opportunities for both the people of this country and the people of Japan. I thank the honourable senator tor his great interest inthis matter.
– Is the AttorneyGeneral aware of the state ment made by Mr G. O’Donnell, who is Chairman of the Australian Copyright Council which represents authors, publishers, musicians, composers and journalists, that universities are contributing to the gross erosion of authors’ and publishers’ rights through the use of photocopying machines and that the universities themselves are denying their purpose as a community of scholars when they authorise large scale photocopying on their campuses? Has the AttorneyGeneral seen Mr O’Donnell’s further remarks that the Copyright Council has been pressing the previous AttorneyGeneral and the present Attorney General for 3 years without serious response and that the present Attorney General has now deferred any action until after an international conference on the subject next year? Will the Minister reconsider this matter as one of urgency, having regard to the effect that it is having on the earnings of authors, composers and journalists, and ask his Department to prepare amendments to the copyright law which will cover photocopying and the other new technologies that have developed?
– I wish the resolution of the problems that Senator Douglas McClelland has canvassed were as simple as was almost implicit in the way he put his question, namely, that it is just a matter of drafting a few amendments to the Copyright Act. This is a vexing question which has taxed my predecessors as it is taxing me, because the way out of this problem is by no means easy. The problem does not apply only to Australia; it is a matter which is world-wide in its implications. I think it is prudent to await the outcome of international discussions on the matter before proceeding to a positive response. As to whether or not there should be some right attaching to authors which would enable them to receive the benefit of the use of their works, even where the use of those works is obtained by photocopying processes, I point out that it is not only in universities that photocopying is utilised. I understand that all honourable senators and members of the House of Representatives have the same access to photocopying facilities and can use photocopying in the same way as universities can. It has a widespread usage. I have indicated to Mr O’Donnell that the matter is under my consideration and it is also under the consideration of my colleague, the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, Mr Howson, because he administers, for example, the Commonwealth Literary Fund. I can say to Senator Douglas McClelland only that this is a problem of great complexity; I am conscious of the many difficulties which are involved and, likewise, the feelings of the authors upon whose behalf he would have put his question. I shall consider the matter, but I do not offer any prospect that I would make a decision before the international conference to which I referred.
– My question is directed to the Attorney General. Was there any communication from him or from his Department in respect of the article by Mr Evan Williams on Jetair Australia Ltd which appeared in the ‘Australian’ newspaper about a week ago in which it was suggested that the article was being examined by the AttorneyGeneral or his Department to determine whether it might form the basis of a prosecution for criminal libel?
– I indicated before that I had made no threat or intimidation of the character the honourable senator indicated in his earlier question, and I emphatically repeat my answer that I had not. I did not have any discussions with the ‘Australian’ until I wrote a letter in which 1 enclosed material upon which the article which subsequently appeared was based, and after I sent that letter I had a discussion with the editor of that paper in which he indicated that perhaps it should be touched up and the legal embellishments with which it was replete put into a more journalistic form, and that was done.
The basis upon which the honourable senator asks his second question is, as far as I am concerned, completely without foundation, and I am quite sure that my Department would not have undertaken such a course without letting me know. As far as my Department is concerned, I am not aware of any such action being taken. If it was taken it was not on my instruction and it was certainly without my knowledge. I do not believe it was taken. It was not taken by me.
– In accordance with the order of the Senate, 45 minutes of question time having nearly elapsed, there is time for one more question.
– I ask the Minister for Health-
– I raise a point of order. Mr President, will you call some honourable senators from this side to ask questions? You have called three or four from the other side in succession.
– That is correct. That is perfectly true. I call Senator O’Byrne.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Health. What financial assistance has the Government given to the tragic victims of the drug thalidomide in Australia? Has the Government supported them in their claims for just compensation against the manufacturers of the drug? If not, does the Commonwealth intend to give them this support?
– I am not aware of any circumstances relating to the question as proposed, but I will seek an answer to it as soon as we conclude question time. If we are to have another question time before the Senate rises I will have a response then. If we do not have another question time I will see that the answer is otherwise provided to the honourable senator.
– Question time is now concluded. With the concurrence of honourable senators, all questions on notice to which answers have been received from Ministers and are available will be incorporated in Hansard. 1 now reply to Senator Townley. Senator Townley, I keep accurate statistics of the questions that are asked in this place. You have averaged11/2 questions per question time, which I think is a reasonable allowance for an independent senator.
– I seek leave to move that question time be extended for a further quarter of an hour if necessary to complete questions.
– The order laid down by the Senate was that question time should be for 45 minutes unless otherwise ordered.
– Unless otherwise ordered.
– Are you moving that the order be rescinded?
-I thought the order was that question time should be for 45 minutes unless otherwise ordered.
– You may ask for leave. Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
Motion (by Senator Cavanagh) proposed:
That question time be extended to 3.30 p.m.
(3.19) - I would be perfectly willing, with the concurrence of honourable senators, to extend question time, for instance, for another 10 minuses, but I just cannot give an open order because we had an occasion when we had questions for11/2 hours. With your indulgence, Mr President, 1 would be happy to extend questions to the half hour.
– The Senate must concede that its previous order be rescinded or that question time be extended. The question is that question time be extended to 3.30 p.m. presumably Eastern Summer Time, excluding Queensland.
– Senator Cavanagh has indicated to me that he is agreeable to the suggestion made by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson). I suggest that time would be saved, Mr President, if you put the question now.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I call Senator Townley.
– Before I ask my question, Mr President, I wish to indicate that I do appreciate the way in which you always recognise me. I was a little critical that the other side today had 3 or 4 questions consecutively.
– Is the Leader of the Government in the Senate aware that the flooding of Lake Pedder in southern Tasmania is unnecessary from an engineering point of view and that the lowering of the water level by a few feet would save the lake and not materially reduce the amount of power generated? In view of the recent decision to use wood sleepers instead of concrete sleepers in the construction of thetransAustralia railway a decision which some people hold was made with employment in an area of Western Australia in mind will the Minister ask Cabinet to investigate granting a sum of approximately$9m to Tasmania for the explicit purpose of the building of a channel around Lake Pedder, which would enable the lake to be saved, would not interfere unduly with the production of power and, importantly, would create employment and goodwill in southern Tasmania?
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONIn my role as Leader of the Government in the Senate and in representing the various portfolios that I do, I am brought into areas of controversy quite frequently. It would be a brave man who would steam into the Lake Pedder issue, which, I understand, is a matter of some disputation in the Apple Isle. All I can do is have this question, insofar as Commonwealth intercession or Commonwealth aid are involved, referred to the relevant department. I cannot make any comment on its merits.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. It refers to the possible resumption of nuclear testing by the French. Has the Minister any definite information as to whether France is likely again to explode a nuclear device in the Pacific later in the year as reported? Referring to the statement today by the responsible New Zealand Minister concerning a further protest by New Zealand, 1 ask: Are any new moves proposed by Australia, New Zealand or other Pacific countries to initiate efforts to prevent such tests going on?
– The view is held that it is very probable that France will go ahead with nuclear tests. The honourable senator will be reminded that Australia was one of the 12 countries which initiated a move at the United Nations to oppose the French tests. That move attracted great support.
– Pending finality of consideration by the State AttorneysGeneral of the question of illegal telephone tapping and telephone bugging, I ask the Attorney-General whether he knows of any plans by the Government to tighten up on the importation of listening devices by private inquiry agents?
– As I understand it, the inquiry by the State AttorneysGeneral, which is being currently carried out by Professor Morrison of Sydney University, and which is an inquiry authorised by the Standing Committee of AttorneysGeneral, is not related specifically to telephone tapping.The law with regard to telephone tapping is quite clear. Unless a person is authorised in the particular circumstances set out in the statute, telephone tapping is unlawful. That is the position in this country. The importation of telephone tapping devices is not a matter which comes within my responsibility. I will have a look at the question and refer it to the Minister for Customs and Excise. I will ask him to supply such information as he can to the honourable senator.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science, ls it a fact that the Tasmanian Minister for Education has informed the Commonwealth Minister for Education and Science that the Tasmanian Labor Government will not participate in the Commonwealth’s proposals for provision of assistance to independent schools pursuant to a long term programme? Have any other State governments given any such indication? If this is a fact, will the Tasmanian Labor Government’s refusal to co-operate lessen in any way the Commonwealth’s programme for assistance to independent schools as well as its very substantial assistance to government schools in the States?
– It is a fact that the Tasmanian Government has not yet agreed to match the Commonwealth Government’s formula of 20 per cent of the per pupil cost being granted to the independent schools. It will be remembered that the Commonwealth’s proposal was that the Commonwealth would make a grant to independent schools over the next 5 years, representing 20 per cent of the cost of a pupil in the government schools and the States were invited to match that with 20 per cent from their own resources making a total grant for the benefit of independent schools on a per pupil basis of 40 per cent of the cost. At least one other government in the Commonwealth has not yet undertaken to make that matching grant. I should like to be more definite in my information before mentioning the actual government concerned. The honourable senator asked whether the Tasmanian Government’s decision would decrease the funds available to independent schools. I should think that as the Commonwealth has proposed that per pupil grants should be on the basis of a definite formula it is obvious that any deficiency by a State will be felt by the independent schools.
– I address a question to the Minister for Civil Aviation. Is the Department of Civil Aviation negotiating a new fuel policy with the airlines? Are the airlines endeavouring to reduce the amount of fuel carried for emergency purposes so as to increase payloads? Can we be sure that the Department will resist such a move?
– The honourable senator may always be sure that the Department of Civil Aviation will resent any move and oppose any move that is not in the interests of genuine air safety and efficiency of the airline system in Australia. That goes without saying. The particular point the honourable senator mentioned is not within my knowledge but I shall find out more about it this evening.
– Last Friday leave was sought to incorporate in Hansard a reply by Senator Drake-Brockman to a question asked of him. Through some omission it was not incorporated so I now invite Senator Drake-Brockman to rectify the situation.
– On 12th October 1972 Senator Gietzelt asked me a question regarding the involvement of Royal Australian Air Force personnel in the refurbishing of DC3 aircraft purchased from TransAustralia Airlines by Jetair Australia Ltd subsequent to the purchase of the aircraft. I have investigated the matter, and can now inform the honourable senator that neither maintenance records nor questioning of the relevant RAAF personnel has revealed any evidence of refurbishingbeing carried out by RAAF personnel on the ex-TAA aircraft subsequent to the purchase by Jetair and prior to the purchase by the Commonwealth.
– Is it desired to post pone or rearrange the business of the Senate?
Motion (by Senator Murphy) agreed to:
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Leader of the Opposition moving a motion relating to the order of business on the notice paper.
– I move:
The motion relates to the Commonwealth Electoral Bill 1972 which is to provide voting rights for 18yearolds.
– For the reasonsI have given on 4 previous occasions the Government opposes the motion.
That the motion (Senator Murphy’s) be agreed to.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Magnus Cormack)
Majority . . . . 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
– by leave - Following the Government’s announcement of its invitation to Sir John Overall to be Commissioner of the National Urban and Regional Development Authority, there has been speculation about a successor to him as Commissioner of the National Capital Development Commission. It is the Government’s intention to appoint Mr William Charles Andrews, O.B.E., to this position for a period expiring on 19th November 1973, the eve of his 65th birthday. Mr Andrews was appointed as an Associate Commissioner in April 1959 and has acted as Commissioner at various periods.
– by leave - Mr President, do 1 understand correctly that the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) has indicated that an invitation has been issued to someone to take office under the National Urban Regional Development Authority? If that is correct, may there be some explanation given as to how an invitation has been issued in respect of a matter upon which, the Senate has not yet made a determination? Order of the day No. 1 relates to the National Urban and Regional Development Authority Bill 1972. Am I to understand that the Government is acting so presumptuously that it is no longer necessary to await the Senate’s concurrence to a measure before an announcement is made on the basis that the measure has become law?
Senator COTTON (New South WalesMinister for Civil Aviation) - by leave - Within the limits of my knowledge, Senator Murphy is under a misapprehension. I think this matter became a known fact quite some time ago. 1 have just made a statement on behalf of the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt) that I think has already been made in the other place. I have made it here on his behalf simply as an act of courtesy. I cannot go beyond that except to say that Senator Murphy’s remarks will be directed to the attention of the Department of the Interior and that 1 shall seek to get an accurate picture of the situation for him.
– I am sure that Senator Murphy will accept that undertaking.
– It is all I can do.
Debate resumed from 24th October (vide page 1818), on motion by Senator Drake-Brockman
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– On behalf of the Australian Labor Party I move, the following amendment to the motion for the second reading:
Leave out all words after ‘That’, insert - the Bill be withdrawn and redrafted because, in its present form, it creates a mere investigating and advisory body which will have no authority -
to cope with the problems of urban and regional development;
to deal with the continuing growth of capital cities and regional centres and to integrate plans for transportation and .’and use;
to co-ordinate the allocation of resources which affect urban and regional development; and
to implement positive policies to ecafe new forms of urban living to overcome the chaos of our cities, particularly Sydney and Melbourne’.
It is clear that this legislation, which was the subject of a question a few moments ago, is a piece of post-Budget legislation in the sense that it was not provided for in the Budget allocation of funds. Clearly it is another example of indecent haste by an indecisive leader of an insecure government which is seeking to create in the dying stages of this Parliament an authority for the purpose of attempting to indicate to the people of Australia that there is a crisis of some description in urban affairs. This is the cutest piece of window dressing that has been before the Parliament in the last week or so. I am sure it will be seen as such by the people of Australia.
The Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) interrupted the proceedings of the House of Representatives several weeks ago to make a statement on urban affairs. I would like to draw the attention of the Senate to a statement he made on television Channel 7 in Melbourne on 5th March this year. He said: ‘Why commit yourself when it isn’t necessary?’ It is clear that he is committing himself in the establishment of this authority under this legislation because it is necessary. For proof of the insincerity of the Government and its principal spokesman, the Prime Minister, I would like to refer the Senate to a statement that the Prime Minister made at a civic reception in Springvale Town Hall, Melbourne, Victoria, on 19th May 1972. Among other things he said:
There are some people in public life who find it fashionable these days to say that we have a crisis’ in our cities, and that our problems are similar to those of comparable cities overseas. Such claims are, of course, wildly inaccurate.
He went on to describe the aim of the Government as follows:
We have, within this area of national economic policy, continually increased and improved our allocations to State and local governments. Before people become carried away with labels like ‘urbanisation’ or ‘urban affairs’ or the ‘challenge of the cities’, they should stop for a moment to consider the billions for schools, for housing, for roads, for hospitals that has come out of the many years of practical co-operation between the Commonwealth and State Governments under a Liberal-Country Party Government.
It is clear that the Prime Minister is probably the last person in Australia to accept the realisation that Australia suffers from an urban crisis. The Prime Minister has finally seen the light, but it is the light which is coming out of the, end of the tunnel - because the Government is coming to the end of the line. Many words have been written over the last decade about our urban scene and about our dirty polluted sprawling cities being the result of our past indifference. So many words have ‘been written about a Jack of co-ordination, a lack of foresight, hindsight and planning that I am sure many people have come to recognise that our environment is not planned despite the efforts of many wellmeaning public officials in the State and local spheres. Part of the cause is that there has been no Federal interest in these matters and responsibilities for our cities are divided among far too many public authorities. The Commonwealth has never considered the consequences of its own economic and social policies.
The Commonwealth is now beginning - at the end of a 23-year term of office - to say: ‘Well, we recognise now that with so many of our people living in the cities Australia has become the most highly urbanised country in the world, so we have to try to do something about the problem’. Speaking in the House of Representatives the Prime Minister said that ‘lt is most important that the Government take responsible action which will influence the distribution of population and economic activity. It is rather strange, having regard to statements that he made only 5 months ago, that he should come to that conclusion. The last 23 years of Liberal-Country Party indifference will be characterised as the middle ages of Australian polities’.
Our social services, our living standards and our environment have all been pushed aside by this Government and by its predecessors. Undoubtedly when the history of our country is written it will be recalled that the 1949 election was a disaster so far as Australia was concerned. 1 would like the Senate to have regard to what the Minister for Post-War Reconstruction, Mr Dedman, had to say in 1949 on regional development. He is recorded in Hansard as having said:
If we are to develop to the full a country the size of Australia there should be the greatest possible balance in the distribution of population. We are looking to increase our population by large scale immigration. This will require new secondary industries to provide employment opportunities. These should be provided by developing the relatively smaller industrial centres rather than by the continual development of Sydney and Melbourne.
It is pretty clear that this Government has stood on the sidelines in the 23 years since it assumed office in 1949. Whilst it adopted and carried forward the immigration policies of the Federal Labor Government ot the preceding period it rejected that Government’s propositions relating to decentralisation and regional development. In the past 23 years the population in our rural areas in relation to our total population has, according to figures which are freely available from the Parliamentary Library, shown a decline from 31 per cent to 14 per cent. The Australian population has grown very considerably. In the post-war years - the period in which the Commonwealth Government was a Liberal-Country Party coalition - the Australian population increased by something in excess of 40 per cent. A very big proportion of that growth came about as a result of the immigration policy. I draw the attention of the Senate to the fact that of the H million people who have come to our shores in the period from 1950 to 1972 the statistics show that threequarters have settled in the major capital cities throughout Australia. 1 think the people of Australia will see this as another case of policy stealing. This Government is notorious as a policy scavenger. We have in recent times had introduced legislation on foreign investment, a matter which has been constantly put before the Parliament by the Australian Labor Party. We have seen legislation placed before the Parliament on restrictive trade practices, child care centres and monopolies. The Government has ordered an inquiry into poverty, whereas earlier this year the Prime Minister said that it was not necessary. The Government now proposes to abolish the means test. Tn 1961, 1964, 1966 and 1969, when the Australian Labor Party included this as part of its policy, the Government said that the nation could not afford it. As soon as peace is achieved in Vietnam, probably we will see the Liberal-Country Party Government pinching the foreign policy of the Australian Labor Party.
These policies are plain imitations of the Labor Party’s policies because this Government is incapable of producing the real thing. 1 think that the Government generally can be described as a hyena government, lt sits on the sideline picking the bones of its opposition. The Oxford Dictionary describes the hyena as an animal with powerful jaws but poor hindquarters. Certainly, this Government has powerful jaws, because over the last 6 or 7 weeks we have seen so much legislation forced through the House of Representatives and the .Senate in an attempt to make up the ground which the public opinion polls clearly show the. Government has lost in the community, lt is interesting to note that some 11 days before the Prime Minister made his first statement on this matter in the House of Representatives, which was on Tuesday, 19th September .1972, we received in the Parliamentary Library a copy of ‘Focus’ which is the official journal of the Australian Democratic Labor Party. In that journal there was an article calling for the Government to establish a policy in regard to cities. It stated:
One of the most significant things the Prime Minister, Mr McMahon, could do to ensure his re-election later this year would be to make it clear he appreciates the problem of the ‘cities’.
Nothing is included in the policies of either the Liberal Party or the Country Party from 1949 to 1969 to indicate that they have any realisation of the problems in the cities. Of course, the Country Party suddenly has seen the need to become fashionable and to talk about the quality of life and decentralisation. It has placed big advertisements in the Sydney newspapers. But it has had opportunities to do something about these problems in the years during which it has been the junior partner in the coalition Government. It is a rather ludicrous and irresponsible action on the part of the Leader of the Country Party, Mr Anthony, to be talking about the need for decentralisation. That Party has had the opportunity to do something in this field and clearly has not accepted any responsibilities until the last few weeks before the 1972 elections.
The rural community is represented in the Houses of Parliament by the powerful Country Party, whose influence generally is exerted on behalf of the graziers rather than the people who live in the provincial towns and cities. As a consequence, there are many Federal government departments and State government departments, marketing boards, research bodies such as the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and other organisations and many subsidies for farmers that all carry out the policies enunciated by the Country Party. Yet we have never seen any meaningful attempt on its part, to establish policies associated with life in the cities. So the Country Party’s new-found interest in decentralisation has to be seen as plain political opportunism. Of course, the present New South Wales Government in the 6 years it has been in office has spent a great deal of money in endeavouring to arrest the decline in population in rural areas and to have industry established in a great number of country centres. But it has failed. It has baulked at the responsibility of establishing regional growth centres because of the. obvious political disadvantages which would accrue to the Country Parly. The efforts of the State LiberalCountry Party Government in New South Wales largely have been dissipated by not having an association with long term regional planning. Everyone concerned with decentralisation recognises that it is essential to establish centres with a population of about 100,000. They then become self-generating bodies capable of attracting population and industry and of standing on their own feet in relation to urban matters.
Since 1955 the Commonwealth has appropriated $4,000m in excess taxation. Probably a better term would be that it has misappropriated this amount, because it has put it in trust funds and has failed to make any of it available for improving the quality of life in the urban areas or for carrying out any meaningful policy of decentralisation. In terms of population, the people of Sydney have paid $825n and the people of Melbourne have paid $7 16m in excess taxation. This works out at about §300 per head of population. For New South Wales the figure would be SI, 377m and for Victoria the figure would be SI, 034m. If properly applied, this money would have enabled the quality of life in our cities to be improved and would have arrested the decline in population in our rural areas.
The Government is on record as refusing time and time again to accept any responsibility for these matters. I have said before - 1 repeat it in the terms of our amendment - that the Government makes no financial assistance available for this purpose. It proposes to establish an authority which will pontificate and seek to plan some policies associated with regional development, but it will do nothing that would enable the State governments and the semi-government and local government authorities to carry out the improvement of the quality of life which, in the thinking of the Prime Minister in his newfound conversion to a policy of decentralisation, is so much needed.
Official documents from the Commonwealth Auditor-General show that in 1962- 63 the Commonwealth gave 25.1 per cent of its national revenue to the States in capital grants and reimbursements. In 1971-72 the level dropped to 24.8 per cent. I hope that time will be available to me to draw to the attention of the Senate and the Australian people the hypocrisy of the Government in talking about establishing an authority which will change the whole fabric of our society, which will arrest the decline of the quality of life in the cities, and which will bring about a regeneration of life in our rural areas. The problem is not only a philosophical one. Of course, we will challenge the Government that it is on that point that it is in error. The problem ako has its basis in the evolution of the structure of governments in Australia. The major services which are essential to the quality of life fall within the province of the State governments and their various instrumentalities which obviously are very jealous of their sovereign rights. The responsibilities are handed down to a myriad of government departments and agencies and ad hoc bodies. Clearly these bodies have to compete in the financial queue every year for sufficient, or insufficient, funds to carry out their responsibilities.
We have local government authorities. No Federal government can talk about urban matters or regional development without relating them to the problems of State finance, semi-government finance and local government finance. To take but one example, about 140 bodies have a say in the provision of services and in the planning of the Sydney metropolitan area. In most of the other States, with the exception of Queensland, the picture is the same. The Commonwealth accepts its responsibility to raise the bulk of taxation but until now it has washed its hands of urban affairs. If we are really to interest ourselves in these matters we will be required to make heavy investments of public funds and to carry out this plan in consultation with the States. How can we talk about the quality of life and urban affairs if we do not have some regard for the fact that more than i million people of Australia in the major cities are still awaiting sewerage services?
Let me quote from a document published on 9th May 1972 following the Conference of Australian Water and Sewerage Authorities in Sydney. It was estimated that about $2, 500m would need to be spent in the next decade if the authorities are to keep pace with development and to make a reasonable impact on the backlog of works. The Commonwealth has been asked time and lime again to make funds available to these ad hoc bodies to carry out their responsibilities, but it has refused. In 1970 Mr Whitlam tried to draw the attention of Parliament to this need by moving the following motion:
The need for the Commonwealth to assist the finances and functions of semi-government and local government authorities.
On purely Party lines, including the Country Party and its Leader, Mr Anthony, the House of Representatives rejected that proposition. The ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ had this to say at the time:
The Federal Treasurer is making a serious mistake in casting aside the financial problems of local government as readily as he did in replying to the Opposition “s urgency motion in Parliament this week. Washing his hands of a grass-roots problem which is bedevillingthe large urban populations of Australia will not win the Government friends.
Some 6 months later the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ had this to say:
Australian politicians spend a great deal of time these days talking about the ‘quality of life’ issue. Yet local government, which exercises fundamental control over this field, is continually spurned by superior governments.
I wish to refer to recent occasionsI am talking of the period from 1950 to 1972 on which requests have been made of the Government in this regard. A public convention of the Australian Council of Local Government Associations was held in Melbourne in 1950. Mr Menzies was the first Prime Minister to be invited and to attend such a convention. Recently the present Prime Minister attended such a convention here in Canberra. The official record of the 1950 convention states:
Mr Menzies demonstrated his keen appreciation of the need for placing Local Government on a sounder basis when he advocated the calling together of representatives of Commonwealth, State and Local Government not for a day or two but for a prolonged examination of responsibilities and resources andthe steps necessary for readjustment.
Time will not permit me to read more than a few extracts from the record of the proceedings of the 1965 conference of the Australian Council of Local Government Associations. The Prime Minister of the day, the late Mr Harold Holt, said:
You wrote to me on 21st January, forwarding two resolutions in regard to local government finance which your Council adopted at its Conference in November 1964.
As I note that the first resolution is substantially similar to that which was conveyed to me early last year I can do no more than restate and confirm the Commonwealth’s attitude to the proposal as previously explained to your Council. Under the established constitutional division of responsibilities and financial arrangements between the Commonwealth and the States, it is for the Stale Governments to evaluate the needs of local authorities and to meet those needs from within their own resources.
Lest anyone should imagine that the Prime Minister has had a change of heart, let me read what he had to say on 10th August 1971 in reply to a letter from the Australian Council of Local Government Associations:
The Commonwealth is, of course, very much aware of the difficulties faced by local government authorities throughout Australia and we will certainly examine closely any report that might be submitted to us on local government finances.
Incidentally, such a report subsequently was submitted. The Prime Minister went on to state:
However,I emphasise that the Commonwealth’s basic attitude remains that it is a matter for State Governments to decide on the revenue resources that should be available to local authorities to enable them to provide the various community services for which they have been made responsible under State laws.
On 20th July this year the Prime Minister condescended and finally agreed to meet representatives from the Australian Council of Local Government Associations having declined previously but having felt the cold winds of change blowing. The official report of that meeting states:
The Prime Minister recalled that at the recent Loan Council meeting, the limit of local government borrowings without the approval of the Loan Council had been raised from $300,000 to $400,000. This was a clear indication of the Federal Government's concern for local government and it was hoped that this liberalisation would improve the range of local government activities.
Since 1964 local government authorities throughout Australia have been restricted to borrowings of $300,000 and, with the effluxion of time and inflation, the additional $100,000 does no more than make up for the loss in the value of money.
The Prime Minister finally was prevailed upon to attend the 1972 Conference of the Local Government Association which was held in Canberra. Of course, he used the opportunity to attack the policies of the Australian Labor Party. He offended most of the delegates by adopting a party political attitude. He attempted to indicate to that conference that the Labor Party would adopt a very dramatic approach to local government; that it intended drastically to alter the whole structure of local government. I refer now to the official policy statement of the New South Wales Branch of the Local Government Association which was presented to Mr Whitlam and to all members of the Government parties. On page 6 it states:
It has long been the view of local government in New South Wales that there are areas or administration which call for attention at a level between that of the State Government and that of the local council. . . .
It is in the urban situation, however, that the role of a regional council or as it would more appropriately be termed, a metropolitan governmentcan be more clearly seen and is certainly more urgent.
I quote that because the Prime Minister said that it was the Australian Labor Party’s policy to abolish many local councils and to establish regional bureaucratic organisations. The document continues:
If we take the Sydney region as an example, we have the situation of the nation’s largest concentration of population, being without any politically responsible body to act as its spokesman. Sydney, in fact, is a classic example of the ‘fragmented’ governmental structure. At local level there are some 40 municipalities and shires, and at regional level there are a score or more of semi-government or other statutory bodies, dealing in each case wilh only one type of service, and covering most or all of the Sydney region, but lacking any type of common boundary. Ultimate responsibility for the metropolitan region rests wilh the State government, which is necessarily responsible to the whole State, not the metropolis.
So the views of the Leader of the Australian Labor Party, who is attempting to get a better rationalisation of local and semi-government authorities, represent part of the change in the whole urban scene. Accordingly, we drafted the amendment in order to bring to the Senate’s attention the need to adopt a much bolder attitude to the whole problem of urban affairs. The problem cannot be solved unless the Commonwealth becomes intimately involved. Mr Whitlam - a year ago - stated:
It is an Australian paradox that the authority which accepts the greatest responsibility for raising and allocating funds for housing and roads should not accept a parallel responsibility for planning the use to which these funds are put, or ensuring that other authorities adequately plan such use.
Professor Winson, when referring to urban affairs and the question of State and semigovernment responsibilities, stated:
The Commonwealth is planning major projects such as a new international airport, which vitally affect the city.
He was referring to Sydney -
Its defence areas around Sydney Harbour are outside the control of city planning. The Commonwealth is responsible for the role of immigration and for trade, for industry and for shipping. There is no doubt the Commonwealth has a large influence in the cities. But it does not acknowledge its responsibilities. The problem of the cities requires money and only the Commonwealth can provide the money on the scale required.
That brings me back to the point I made earlier: The Commonwealth has not attempted in this legislation, nor did it in the Budget which was debated in this Senate less than a week ago, to provide a financial assistance so that the Authority, or the State, semi-government and local government bodies, will have the financial means to tackle the problems facing our nation, whether they be in the urban areas or in the rural communities. Under this legislation the Prime Minister seeks to establish an organisation based on himself and the 6 Premiers. What a rare dish - for these 7 gentlemen to sit at a table and expect to agree on national planning. It will be a septilateral monstrosity; it will be most unlikely to reach any agreement on the whole question of urban and regional development.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired. Is the amendment seconded?
– 1 second the amendment.
– I believe that the Bill now before the Senate is one of the most important Bills to come before this Parliament not only in this session but in recent years. I heartily congratulate the Government, as no doubt will all of those people who for many years have, been advocating the decentralisation of industry and population, and I refer particularly to the many individuals from rural areas. I believe that the Bill, which must receive the support of the Senate, will lead to a reversal of the centralisation which has bedevilled Australian society for 60 or 70 years. It is fair to say that only the Australian Labor Party would oppose such a measure, and that has been indicated by the amendment which the Labor Party has introduced into the Senate this afternoon.
The Bill envisages the establishment of a national Authority. The name of the Bill is the National Urban and Regional Development Authority Bill 1972. Through that Authority the aims regarding decentralisation of industry and population will be achieved. Senator Gietzelt indicated the attitude of his Party, which is the main Opposition Party in this place, to the measure before us. By referring to a number of statements he has sought to suggest that his Party thought up this proposal and that his Party would be the one to take drastic action in relation to this matter. Of course, any member of Parliament can say that he was the first to think up any matter which is debated in the Parliament. But I think most people in the community would agree - and, with due respect, I think Senator Gietzelt would agree - that only one party has been talking about this problem of decentralisation for many years. Admittedly, there will be no Federal or State intervention in this matter until 1973, but by the passage of this Bill we will ensure that we will achieve that which has been sought in Australia for many years.
In the time that I have been in the Parliament it was probably Sir John McEwen who made the first statement about the need for decentralisation. For many years the Australian Country Party has debated this subject in its Party room and has examined propositions which it was hoped could bring about an adequate decentralisation scheme. I do not know how regularly the Australian Labor Party has sponsored deputations to the various Minister on this subject, but over a number of years I have been involved in having groups of country mayors bring their problems to the Federal Government. A body known as the Australian Council for Balanced Development has held important conferences in Canberra on the subject of national development and on many occasions its views have been put to the Government by Government supporters.
Decentralisation has been spoken of for many years, but I think it is fair to say that the talk has come mainly from the rural sector of the community. I remember Sir John McEwen saying that a basic decentralisation would not be achieved until enough people in the community were impressed with its necessity. Although in previous years many people have spoken of the great need to bring about an equality of interest between rural people and city dwellers, and the necessity of bringing to the more decentralised areas some of the benefits that we know are attractive in city living, it has not been possible to achieve this because of the general allocations of finance in the States.
There are important matters which demonstrate the different attitudes among the various Parties. For example, the Country Party feels that the main way of bringing about decentralisation is a proper parliamentary representation of rural areas. There will not be strength of representation of rural areas if the official policy of the Labor Party is followed. What are the genuine interests of the Labor Party as declared in its policy of one vote one value - whatever that may mean? Of course, the purpose of that policy is to give a concentration of parliamentary representation to the densely populated metropolitan areas of Melbourne and Sydney. The Labor Party does not really believe in giving adequate representation to the people in rural areas. Yet those who live in rural areas have a great disadvantage in means of communication, in the physical features of their electorate or because of the great area which has to be covered by their members of the Federal and State Parliaments.
I think it is well to note the interests of the Labor Party in this matter, lt does not particularly want to see proper and adequate representation of rural areas; it would rather see representation concentrated in the city. That would never help us to achieve a redistribution of the population. It is all very well for members of the Opposition to stand up in this place and say what they think about decentralisation, but the very philosophy of the Labor Party just does not allow for what is needed. After a number of years perhaps the pressure of the Country Party’s attitude will bring a general recognition by the people in the great metropolitan cities that great problems do exist in the metropolitan areas today. The increase in crime in the cities is so much greater than it is in the country. In the cities, employees and employers waste an hour of their time each day sitting in their vehicles waiting to get through a line of traffic. The loss to the community must involve millions of dollars every day. On the other hand, if one worked in a good rural town which had industrial development one would have a pushbike ride of 10 minutes from home to the door of the office or to the place where one earned one’s income.
I invite honourable senators to consider the problems of extending sewerage lines to serve the big cities or of bringing water to cope with the vast growth in population in Melbourne or Sydney? The demands on the financial resources of State governments have become unbearable. The greatest problems that have been experienced over the past few years have prompted the metropolitan population to say: ‘Yes, we agree with a proposal that has been propounded and endorsed by rural people for many years; the pollution problems of the cities is so great today that we must do something immediately.’ The size and growth rate of the cities has to be restricted even further. Canberra now faces the problem of a low hanging cloud of smoke, which I saw when I flew into this city at 8.30 this morning. The problem is brought about by the need to dispose of waste and it comes about also through exhaust emissions of motor vehicles. I suggest that, in this new era, office blocks and homes in Melbourne and Sydney, and perhaps even in decentralised cities such as Canberra, should have reasonable conditions in which to work and live. However, I suggest that one of the greatest problems in air pollution arises from the great use of oil, in whatever form it might be, which is used in the airconditioning systems hat are regarded as necessary in all great office blocks which we build these days. That is a major cause of air pollution which will remain with our major cities for many years, and I believe that it is a matter to which we will have to give further attention in the very near future.
What is sought by the Federal Government in this particular legislation indicates an approach different from that of the Labor Party. Opposition members would want to be able to say to the State governments: ‘We are going to direct you to do something.’ I do not know what success they would have with their Labor State
Premiers in attempting to assert that Mr Whitlam has much greater wisdom than have the Premiers of South Australia or Western Australia, who would like to see their States develop in the way they decide, or in asserting that Mr Whitlam has any greater wisdom than Sir Robert Askin or the former Premier of Victoria, Sir Henry Bolte. They had wisdom and they had the view that their States should have growth. They brought about growth in the cities in their States. I doubt the wisdom of cities with a population of up to 4 million people and there is even talk of doubling that population. But that is what the Premiers wish to do.
High rise flats have been built in nearly every major city. I believe that they represent a blight on past planning because such development has been to the detriment of the living standards of the families in them. The Housing Commission of Victoria has built a high rise development block of 15 storeys. On the 8th floor of that block 35 children are living. I notice that a Minister is shaking his head, indicating what a blight it is that young people should be living in those conditions on the 8th floor of a block of flats in North Melbourne. Our planning has been entirely wrong and it will be changed only by agreement between the Federal Government and the State governments, not by the Federal Government’s saying to the States: “This is what you will do.’ Agreement will never be reached in that way.
A national authority is to be established, to be assisted by advisory authorities. Congratulations for the initiation of this legislation are due to the people who have fought for it for so long, and certainly to the coalition Federal Government for accepting that it is necessary. Senator Gietzelt used some very interesting and forceful expressions in this debate. He said that our present Government is a hyena government. I though that was rather an abusive term until I heard him define a hyena government as one which picks on the bones of the Opposition. Perhaps that is appropriate because this Government has been picking on the bones of the Opposition for 22 years. 1 think Senator Geitzelt predicted accurately that the Federal Government will still be picking on the bones of the Opposition at the end of this year and only a skeleton of the Opposition will remain.
– Will you tell us what a hyena is?
– I think the comments of all honourable senators who are interjecting are correct. Undoubtedly it will be a skeleton shaking in the Opposition at the end of 1972. Senator Gietzelt referred to the proposed meeting of Premiers with the Federal Government as a rare dish. I do not know whether he wishes to apply that term to the 3 Labor Premiers of Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. I think it is a rather offensive term to use. The Premiers have been elected by the people in the States and I believe that they wish to develop the States in the interests of the people. I do not think that a meeting of such important individuals is a rare dish. A meeting of men of such ability will be to the advantage of Australia in forming a two-fold approach to rational development of the urban areas of the great cities. 1 do not envisage an immediate reversal of the development of the suburban areas of Melbourne but there may be a new approach to the allocation of people. There may be greater concentration of people in those areas. Within 12 months we should see something of a change. Commonwealth finance will be made available for selected growth centres on terms agreed with the State Premiers. Commonwealth and State government offices will be encouraged to go to centres such as the Wodonga/ Albury centre. A wonderful centre could be established around Portland, Victoria. Shepparton in Victoria also could become a fine growth centre, as could Mildura. The Gippsland area of Victoria has wonderful natural resources and a greater concentration of people could be effected in that region. It has a wealth of water resources and untapped natural resources. 1 am sure that the people there will be delighted to hear of this measure.
– Would it not be better if the Chowilla Dam had been built?
– The Opposition opposed that work until it was sure that a Labor Premier wished to bring it about.
Then the Opposition agreed. The Opposition has suggested 4 points. The first point is that it wishes to have the Bill withdrawn.
– We will bring in a better one.
– That is a typical interjection. Honourable senators opposite always wish to write something out of existence before they have a better policy. The basis of this legislation has been the aim of the Country Party for many years. The first party to comment on this measure was the Country Party. The Leader of the Country Party, the right honourable Doug Anthony, has produced a document titled “The Best of Both Worlds’. It contains details of a programme which the Country Party suggests should be called ‘SPREAD’. That seems to me to be a particularly appropriate name for a programme of regional expansion and development. In the document Mr Anthony wrote:
For years country people and the Country Party fought almost a lone battle for decentralisation. The word was used so much that people grew tired of hearing it. They ‘switched off’ when it was mentioned. But today there is a new stirring. City people are joining with their country friends in a new understanding of what decentralisation really means. Australians right across the country are coming to realise that decentralisation does not mean just a better deal for country people - but that it holds the only real hope of tackling the frightening problems of our cities. Country people now have new allies in their fight. We’ve got to sweep on until we win the battle against the frustrating and choking effects of centralised population and industry growth.
That is certainly an accurate summation of what many people believe. I think that many members of the Opposition today believe that it is necessary to restrict in some way the greater concentration of industry and population in our city areas. I think every honourable senator should wholeheartedly endorse this measure. The Government has most appropriately pla.xd on record its interest in this matter. Surely the choice of Sir John Overall to head the authority is one of the greatest steps that the Government could take. No man is better positioned or more knowledgeable to serve in that capacity than Sir John Overall and I congratulate him on accepting the appointment. I have the greatest pleasure in supporting this most important measure.
– The Democratic Labor Party welcomes the introduction of a measure of this nature and in particular this measure. What is contemplated in the Bill is the creation of an authority under a council of Ministers to investigate the whole matter or urban and regional development. The administrative task in that field has been given to a most distinguished Austraiian who is a world authority in this field. We welcome the Bill because it is apart from anything else in pursuance of our general attitude. This is a period in Australia’s history when there must be a fundamental assessment of many areas of Australian life. If one examines the presentations of the Democratic Labor Party in many fields over recent years it will not be by accident that one will see that we have sought to have national investigations of many important matters. We have done so because we feel that there is at the moment a catch-as-catch-can approach to great national problems, the solution to which can be discovered only after a fundamental examination and assessment of what is required. Therefore we have suggested, in turn, a total examination by a commission of the rural industries and a fundamental examination of the rural sector; we have had referred to a Senate Select Committee the question of drugs; we were responsible for the creation of the Senate Select Committee on Foreign Ownership and Control to examine the erosion of Australian control and ownership of our national resources; we have had referred matters of education in the field of deprived children and in the field of children living in isolated areas and, if necessary, financial assistance.
Our whole attitude has been that this is a time for national stocktaking because Australia is now planning a great national future in a completely new and changing world. To do that merely on the basis of seizing a situation and trying to adapt our national policies to it must be completely unacceptable and totally ineffective. Therefore as this is one of the great national problems - the question of urban and regional development - it is only proper that it should be investigated at the instance of the national government with the co-operation of the States so that it may be examined in depth and in breadth and a solution finally presented. That is why on general grounds we welcome this proposition. We may have some qualifications in general terms, but fundamentally we accept the proposition, and for that reason we oppose the amendment which has been propounded by the Opposition. 1 do not agree with Senator Gietzelt’s comment which he made, I think, while Senator Webster was speaking that this is only an advisory body, As I understand it, this is an investigatory body which will examine the problem and come up with solutions. Whether it goes on from there as an administrative or an advisory body is another matter. But at this stage it has been given a particular charter, it is created under a council of Ministers and it is to bring in its report about two-thirds of the way through next year and is to present propositions and solutions. Therefore to dismiss this body as being ineffective and merely an advisory body is in my cogitation a complete misapprehension of the purpose of the Bill and the purpose of the creation of the authority which is proposed in the Bill.
Australia is in a very difficult position in relation to decentralisation and to the agglomeration of great numbers of people in major cities and towns. So much of our population is concentrated on the eastern perimeter of the continent and so much of that is concentrated in one or two spots on the eastern perimeter. This is due to our geography, the nature of the inland, great distances and many other factors. Therefore a real problem is imposed by the sheer geography and history of this nation and now the nation must set about trying to rectify what geography has denied us and what national history has failed to appreciate. That is the purpose of the creation of this body at this time. The contemplation is that this body will investigate the creation of regional cities and towns as a means of avoiding growing congestion with the attendant problems of the major cities on the eastern littoral.
This proposition may have particular appeal to the great urban areas of Sydney and Melbourne. It must necessarily be slightly less attractive to Queensland, because the Queensland position is different, again due to geography and to the dispersion of resources. For example, in the far north is the separate and independent sugar industry; it is substantially concentrated in that area though it comes right down the eastern littoral; there are great mineral deposits in the north-west, at Mount Isa, and beef and sheep industries are established in other parts. One sees a natural dispersion of cities and towns and population by virtue of the distribution of resources. Therefore while we have a concentration in an undue degree of population in the capital city of Brisbane in the south-eastern corner of the State, the general distribution of population and the general distribution of regional cities and towns has been very much greater in Queensland than in any other part of Australia.
If, therefore, the national resources are to be allocated in substantial sums for the alleviation of the problems in Sydney and Melbourne, we welcome that because those cities have serious problems - particularly Melbourne, since Victoria is a small State. There is an undue concentration of population in Melbourne, and to a slightly lesser extent in Sydney. 1 repeat that the Democratic Labor Party welcomes the move to alleviate the problems for those 2 cities, but I would sound a note of warning for the State of Queensland, that the allocation and the diversion of national financial resources to the alleviation of these 2 great urban problems must not be allowed to obscure the situation in Queensland where there may be a problem not of the same intensity but where nevertheless there are regional cities and towns which await their own future development. In other words, Queensland must not be permitted to allow such a situation to develop in that State as has developed in New South Wales and Victoria. But Queensland must be assisted in that role, and the diversion of financial resources to southern Stales to the exclusion in any great degree from Queensland would be totally unfair to Queensland, the State which 1 represent.
On the question of population distribution it is interesting to compare the Queensland situation with those of some other States. According to last year’s census 64 per cent of the Australian population live in what are termed major urban divisions. New South Wales and Victoria have higher urban concentrations - 69 per cent and 72 per cent respectively - than the concentrations for other States of Australia and higher than the national average. In Queensland, however, the percentage is only 45 per cent, only Tasmania with 33 per cent having a lower percentage of concentration. In Queensland 35 per cent of the State’s population is found in other urban divisions, that is, in provincial cities and large towns. The remaining 20 per cent is to be found in strictly rural areas. These figures mean that Queensland’s population is already widely dispersed - and much more so than that of any other of the mainland Stales.
I submit that a realistic policy for Queensland so far as this matter is concerned would be at least the retention of the ratio which is spelled out for Queensland in the figures which I have just quoted, that is, the 45:35:20 ratio. That may not be ideal, more particularly because of the vast extent of the State and the fact that the capital is situated right down in the south-east corner, but if not totally acceptable, it is not a totally unacceptable distribution of population. If the national resources are to be allocated for this purpose, as far as Queensland is concerned there should be at least a diversion in a proportionate amount to sustain the situation which now exists and not allow it to deteriorate. I say this because we know that pressures are already operating, as Senator Gair said by way of interjection while Senator Webster was speaking, which indicate that this ratio could be lost. The reasons may be many and diverse but it is a fact that many people in the rural areas are unfortunately passing over their small town trading centres and buying in the larger urban centres of the cities or the major provincial towns. Of course, that may be a matter of sheer domestic economics. We know that prices in these more remote places are much higher than they are in inner city areas. Therefore the solution may well be the equalisation of rail freight rales. I think, and I have always thought, that this is one of the greatest remedies that has not been applied to try to sustain our more remote areas.
Unless we have a national average price for various products so that a person buying a motor tyre al Winton, shall by some method of rationalisation, or some mode of equalisation, pay the same price for the product as would be paid in Sydney or Melbourne, inevitably there will be this diversion of purchasing power and the flight of commerce from rural areas to urban areas. Finally there is a loss of interest in the country areas, with the closure of small stores in provincial areas and, to a greater extent, in rural areas. Practical solutions like this must be advanced. It is all right for me or anybody else to come forward rather sporadically with this type of suggestion, but obviously this is only one of the many suggestions that could be presented as to how this problem should be solved. There must be a body that can take into account all the propositions, problems, difficulties and suggested solutions. That is the body that is contemplated and is being created by this legislation. That is why we particularly welcome it. We say that if this problem is not unique to this country it is certainly in a condition of great aggravation because of the physical and other historical circumstances to which I have referred.
It will take a master plan to try to find a way out of the extraordinary perplexities and great difficulties. We know that a body such as this cannot be expected to find all the solutions immediately or in a very short space of time. We know that a final solution to this could cause great disturbances to the Australian community, because if we are going to project proper policies of decentralisation and for the sustenance of people and of commerce in rural areas and sustain the economy in the rural and more remote areas of the Commonwealth, then we have to interfere and have to rationalise the various rural industries and the lives of those associated with them. That will be very difficult. It can be done only when the matter is thoroughly examined. This is why the Australian Democratic Labor Party has been consistently concerned at the persistent refusal to examine the problem in depth. I think the absence of a master plan is one of the problems that face the rural sector of the economy and the whole of the non-urban areas of Australia. As I say, I feel that it is surely time that in this Commonwealth we embarked upon investigations that will emerge in, say, 5-year projects, whether in the field of rural production, the field of automation or many other fields such as conservation. What we want are national targets, and at the moment there are very few national targets in this country. It is only when we have national targets that we will discover how we arrive at those targets, the steps we take, the finance we require, what the techniques are that are to be applied towards the discovery of the solution. It is only in that way that, finally, we can come up with the answer. We hope with great confidence that the administrative or investigatory body set up will find practical solutions that can be readily applied.
I think the only practical way is the way contemplated in the Bill, and that is co-operation between the Commonwealth and the States. After all, within the constitutional framework the States have immense responsibilities for the development of the States and the sustenance of their people. Substantially the Commonwealth has control of the available sources of finance, lt is only the marriage of these 2 things and with goodwill from all concerned that can finally lead to a solution. Therefore I say that the Bill projects a very practical approach to a very difficult problem. For that reason I do not feel that the criticism which is implicit in the amendment moved by the Australian Labor Party has the validity that warrants its support and acceptance. 1 do not think that this body is some sort of an innocuous advisory body. It is doing the job that must be done, under the most distinguished chairmanship which can bring the necessary skills-
– Does the honourable senator not agree that there is a problem?
– 1 hope that my remarks indicate that 1 realise that there is. I have used terms like complexity, problems arising from geography and history-
– Problems arise because of lack of Government involvement.
– I am not here to recount what may have been a lack of interest by governments in the past of whatever political denomination, and whether State or Federal. That is not my purpose. My purpose here is to indicate that this is a practical approach to a problem which, up to now, has not been properly examined. This is the only practical way in which it can now be examined. Persons who will bring the necessary skills have been appointed. We hope that from this body will come these solutions because this problem is rather like conservation: there are as many propositions as there are people presenting them; there are as many solutions as there are those who put them forward. But it is only by these being welded together and presented to a body that can assess their validity and integrate their application that we can get a solution to this problem. There is no genuine, legitimate and understandable national concern about how Australia is developing. We are concerned about our resources, about their ownership and control. We are concerned about many things. But to have concern is not sufficient. We must manifest our concern by examining and tackling the problems. People running around and saying this should be done or that should be done and articulating from 1,000 mouths a thousand different solutions is not good enough. One stream of ideas must emerge from an authority to which a contribution will be made by those interested. Then we will come up with a national plan. That is what I hope will emerge from this legislation.
I am sure the States will welcome this participation by the Commonwealth. Senator Gietzelt says it may be belated. Probably it is belated. If it is belated that is regrettable, but nevertheless we must acknowledge that over the years there have been rather violent conflicts between State and Commonwealth interests and State and State interests. To have achieved this national approach is something which is extremely gratifying. I hope it will result in what we hope and for which we have been searching for so long. With those few words I indicate that the Australian Democratic Labor Party supports the Bill and opposes the amendment moved by the Australian Labor Party. We hope that next year, when the report comes from Sir John Overall and the investigatory body under his control, we will find presented to the Senate some practical ideas which can be implemented within the financial and time resources of the government of the day with the support of the Parliament. We hope that we will see the gradual strengthening of the whole of the Australian nation. We hope that no longer will this be a nation living on the perimeter of the millions of square miles which is Australia but a nation which, in length and breadth, is peopled by viable communities in the most remote areas sustaining life, sustaining production, and having all the amenities, all the assistance, all the educational opportunities and all the commercial possibilities that are now available in such large measure in urban areas. The Democratic Labor Party supports the Bill.
– I believe that this Bill has been brought before the Parliament after a considerable, amount of careful thought and with the full support and encouragement of the. back bench of this side of the chamber. What has happened in Australia over the years is quite clear to us all. The reasons why the urban sprawl has occurred mainly on the eastern seaboard of this country are quite apparent. Obviously the main reason is that the facilities and resources were there and that is why the population sprawl occurred. Of course we recognise this. In order to overcome the problem there must be the greatest possible cooperation between governments at al] levels in attacking it on a national basis. I believe that this Bill provides the formula for just doing that.
Decentralisation is a subject that has been of great interest to me ever since I began my political career. I recall that very early in this career I made a speech about the need for developing regional centres such as the northern Spencer Gulf area in South Australia and other parts of Australia that had a reason to be developed. Senator Webster drew attention to this in his speech. He said that there are areas in Victoria that have reason to be, developed. One has to have a basic commodity, one has to have the basic resources available and one has to have the transport available in order to dispose of those resources. For that reason it is necessary for governments at all levels to take a good look at this problem and to act as a team in order to promote regional development.
Regional development has been the subject of a great deal of comment in recent times in South Australia because the South Australian State Government has chosen to develop an area in the vicinity of Murray Bridge which is situated about 50 to 60 miles from Adelaide. This may well be a good proposition. But 1 believe that in order for regional development to be completely successful one should look al an area that is in excess of .1.00 miles from a capital city. The northern Spencer Gulf area of South Australia contains the large towns of Port Augusta, Whyalla and Port Pirie. Here we have an ideal situation because this area is connected by rail to other parts of Australia. However, the standardisation link between Crystal Brook and Adelaide has to be tidied up before rail transportation from this area is completely efficient. I hope that in the near future the State Government will recognise the need to overcome its problems in the metropolitan area - perhaps the siting of a railway station or whatever the problems arc - so that this line can be completed very quickly.
An adequate transport system is an essential ingredient as far as regional development is concerned. Another requirement is sufficient natural resources. I submit that the Spencer Gulf area of South Australia has natural resources that would justify the establishment, for example, of a petrochemical industry. Natural gas can be provided by a pipeline about 30 miles from Port Augusta. Port Augusta is a power generating centre. Vast quantities of gypsum can be found to the north of the Spencer Gulf area. I believe that a petrochemical industry somewhere in the northern Spencer Gulf region would be a viable proposition. Vast salt leases are available in that area as well. I think that all of these factors go hand in hand. In my view, the local government authorities, the State Government of South Australia and the Commonwealth ought to look at the possibility of developing that part of South Australia. There are other areas in South Australia which could be considered. For example. Mount Gambier, Millicent and Port Lincoln all have something to offer in this regard.
I would like to comment on what Senator Byrne said about transport and the need to rationalise transport costs. I have thought for a long time that it would be a good proposition for the Commonwealth Government to pay regard to the possibility of taking over the interstate railway systems. I am of the opinion that if that were done the Commonwealth could do something about rationalising transport costs to all parts of Australia.
– You are a centralist.
– I am not a centralist, senator. But 1 believe that any State government would agree that railways are costly. 1 am quite sure that the proposition that the States should retain the responsibility for intrastate and urban transport whilst the Commonwealth handles national transport is a sensible one. The costs that the States would be saved in regard to servicing interstate railways could be well put to increasing the efficiency of public transport in the metropolitan areas. Urban transport of course, is a problem that has to be solved within the very near future. I feel sure that urban transport is one of the most significant problems facing the metropolitan areas of our cities today. Recently I noticed in Adelaide that the South Australian Railways Commissioner suggested that there ought to be one authority to look after urban transport. I think that this is a good idea which ought to receive the encouragement of all governments.
I want to point to the costs of the proposition that is before us at the moment. 1 recall having written an article for a publication earlier this year. I took the trouble to extract some information friom magazines and technical material that was available to me in respect of some of the measures that were taken in the United Kingdom with regard to decentralisation. I found that some of the measures in force to influence decentralisation of industry in the United Kingdom were: 40 per cent cash grants for plant and machinery; 25 per cent building grants given to service industries as well as manufacturing; discretionary loans and grants, including the possibility that the Board of Trade in the United Kingdom could subscribe to shares and stock; resettlement and removal grants for workers; grants to local authorities to rehabilitate derelict land and improve basic public services; controls on factory development in prosperous regions under industrial development certificates; and a wage subsidy of £1.10.0 as a regional development premium for each adult male manufacturing employee in the development areas for at least 7 years. These are the sort of things that are being suggested in the United Kingdom. 1 do not suggest that all of them should be applied here. But no doubt these are the methods that our authority will examine under the Bill. The authority will be examining ways and means of encouraging people to move out of the more populous areas into the country regions which have a basic reason to be developed.
Regional areas would have to grow to a population of about 100.000 before they could become self-generating. I think it is important that we should bear this in mind when deciding which areas are to be developed. I feel that there is a need for committees to be formed on a local regional basis to look at the possibility of their own areas being considered. These committees should be prepared to make a submission to the authority as soon as it is established.
– 1 think this Bill envisages that, does it not senator?
– That is exactly what we want to do. The Commonwealth will encourage regional development and will co-operate with the States, with local goverment authorities and anyone else who is interested in the problem of decentralisation.
Finally I want to congratulate the Government on appointing Sir John Overall to head the authority. He is a man who is well known throughout the world for his capabilities for developing areas, in particular the national capital. I wish him well in his future task which is of great significance to the people of Australia. I support the Bill and reject the amendment put forward by the Opposition.
– I thank the Senate for its consideration of the Bill, particularly those honourable senators who have contributed to the debate. I am quite sure that the points that have been raised - the officers have taken note of them - will be studied carefully later on. I was disappointed at what Senator Gietzelt said in support of his amendment. I had looked carefully at it, and I expected to see a case of some substance put up for the withdrawal and redrafting of this Bill; but I regret that the honourable senator spent a good deal of his time referring to the actions of the Government and of the Australian Country Party in particular. He tried to paint the picture that the Parliament was being presented with a Bill which was being rushed through at the last moment and which had not received careful prior study. T draw the attention of the honourable senator to the fact that on 19th September 1 made a statement in this place on behalf of the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon), announcing that the Government proposed to take new initiatives immediately, in co-operation with the States, towards a better balance of population distribution and regional development in Australia.
– September this year or last year?
– This year. One does not make a statement just out of the blue. The making of a statement entails a good deal of prior study and compilation, and to my mind this matter has been under study for some considerable time. I do not want to canvass the ground that honourable senators have canvassed, but I do want to go on record as making certain points. First of all, I make the point that this legislation seeks to create an expert objective body capable of making balanced recommendations to the Government. That, I believe, and in view of what Senator Byrne has said, is a very important matter. Because of the wide area at which this National Urban and Regional Development Authority will have to look, the Government at this point does not want to place any hamstringing direction on the Authority. The Authority will have to operate in an area which comes under State governments and Commonwealth authorities. Therefore, because of this wide area, the Government believes it desirable that there should be some reserve provision for ministerial discretion. Mention was made of this during this second reading debate and it is one of the matters to which the Opposition objected.
The main approaches to be taken in cooperation with the States will be towards the provision of assistance for regional growth centres and sub-metropolitan centres. As has already been mentioned, the sub-metropolitan centres are to be located close to the existing capital cities. The Commonwealth believes that turning its attention to centres which can be designed, planned and developed in a positive way, as has been done with Canberra and the new urban regions around Canberra, is the most direct and positive contribution that it can make. Therefore, it is the Government’s decision to concentrate on providing such centres, and this decision is motivated by a sense of urgency and a desire to see practical results. It is believed that if action of this kind is not taken the populations in both Sydney and Melbourne will double by the year 2000, as Senator Webster pointed out. The Government will be looking to a practical solution aimed at reducing the growth rates of these 2 cities very steadily by attracting people to other centres, thus providing a better distribution of population, better environmental conditions and better conditions for the conduct of trade and industry. All these things have been mentioned already by those who have spoken in the debate.
This Authority will be seeking to ease and minimise the problems that currently beset cities. Sydney and Melbourne will be aided by practical action to reduce their growth rates and the pressures on existing facilities and growth programmes. Again these points have been mentioned by Senator Byrne, Senator Webster and Senator Jessop. It is the Government’s intention to seek discussions with the States on both ministerial and officer levels as soon as possible. The target date for the report on the 5-year programme, 30th June 1973, will necessitate extensive practical discussions by officers of the relevant departments and the new Authority, and these talks will be sought at the earliest date. The proposal for the Commonwealth administrative body has been developed over a number of months and there are a number of options available in respect of the administrative action which could be taken. Senator Byrne referred to some of them. It is believed that the best way to face up to this problem is to establish a statutory corporation rather than some other organ of government. The way in which the new Authority will operate, the nature of its relationship with the States and the types of recommendations it brings forward will all have a bearing on the final form of the legislation.
The present Bill is interim in the sense that it does not try to say everything on the problems that were pointed out by honourable senators during the debate. It is not interim in the sense that it implies the setting up of an unproductive hamstrung authority. What the Government is doing is setting up an authority which can have discussions with the States, local authorities and any other bodies from which it may seek information, over as wide an area as possible, in the fist place in order to determine the lines along which it will direct its future examination. The legislation can be reviewed following the Government’s consideration of the 5-year programme in June 1973. Those are some of the points which I believe are vital to a consideration of this legislation. On behalf of the Government, T cannot accept the amendment that has been moved by the Opposition. The Government believes that this Bill is urgent and must be passed so that the authority can be set up as soon as possible to carry out an examination and be in a position to make some recommendations to the Government next year before final legislation for a 5-year programme is drawn up. For those reasons, I commend the Bill to the Senate and indicate that the Government will vote against the amendment moved by the Opposition.
That the words proposed to be left out (Senator Gletzelt’s amendment) be left out.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Magnus Cormack)
Majority . . . . 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 18 October (vide page 1 609), on motion by Senator Cotton:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– The Metal Working Machine Tools Bounty Bill follows up the major recommendations of the Tariff Board report on metal working machine tools. The report pointed out that the production of machine tools, including power fed drilling machines, grinding machines, lathes and other special purpose machine tools formed the nucleus of a machine tool industry in this country and that the assistance by way of bounty and tariff protection will assure the retention of the experts and the expertise necessary for this highly technical industry to remain viable. The changes in the duty payable have already been effected and this Bill implements the recommendation relating to bounty assistance. The level of assistance by bounty will be assessed on 334 per cent of factory cost instead of the Tariff Board proposal that the bounty should be based on a percentage of the selling price. The eligibility for the bounty commenced on 14th April 1972 and will continue until 30th June 19 7 when there will be a further review of the industry by the Tariff Board. The Opposition supports this recommendation and the consequent Bill that is before the Senate, and gives it a speedy passage.
– in reply - I thank Senator O’Byrne for his comments and I see little point in adding to his already distinguished remarks.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 18 October (vide page 1610), on motion by Senator Cotton:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– The purpose of this Bill is to grant financial assistance to the States of Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania. Queensland is to receive SI Om, South Australia S21m and Tasmania $7,600,000. These payments are in accordance with the recommendations of the Commonwealth Grants Commission in its 39lh report. The special amounts that have been paid overall have been for the purpose of assisting the States which are classified as claimant States. While I would like to go into detail relating to the need for this assistance for both Queensland and South Australia, I feel that I should draw the attention of the Senate particularly to the position in which we find ourselves in Tasmania where, through our very difficult geographical position, the transport problems which are unique to Tasmania put a very severe strain on our finances. Development in that State is being inhibited in very many areas and our State is not advancing at anywhere near the rate of growth and the standard of development of the mainland States. Not only does this place a great burden on Tasmanian industries and the Tasmanian people but it also points up very strongly that the contribution of Tasmania to the national economy is less than it might be, given more favourable circumstances.
We feel that the payment Tasmania is to receive under the Bill does not fully take into consideration the difficulties being experienced in developing Tasmania to a level comparable with the mainland States, taking into consideration the separation of our State from the mainland by Bass Strait and the absence of alternative forms of transport, such as road and rail transport, to sea transport that are available to the other States. We also have a small population which has a different structure from that of the other States and which requires greater expenditure on education and hospitals. Unfortunately the immigration programme that has been in operation for the last 25 years has not benefited Tasmania to the same extent as other States. The population growth of Tasmania is the lowest of all the Australian States and is showing a deterioration. Our percentage population increase is such now that very serious consideration will have to be given, particularly in view of the debate that has just taken place on urban development and decentralisation, to the great need for more industries in Tasmania and a build up of Tasmania’s population.
We also have a relatively slow rate of industrial development, and it is becoming more difficult for the authorities in our State to be able to attract new industries because of the great disadvantage of our isolation and the additional costs of freight and shipping to take the bulk of our production to the mainland and overseas. Although the cost of living in Tasmania compares favourably with the other States, we have a lower level generally of personal income, which in turn tends to discourage many of our younger executive types from staying in Tasmania and they migrate to the bigger metropolitan centres which offer the incentive of higher salaries. Over the years Tasmania has had to bear the burden of the economies of the past inasmuch as we have a rail system which was based on the 3-foot 6-inch gauge, and because of the geography of our State this system is not as adequate as other railway systems in Australia.
One of the main factors that militates against Tasmania’s development is the fact that so much of our exports, being primaryindustrial, have traditionally gone to the United Kingdom and to Europe. We see a big change in emphasis taking place because of Britain’s entry into the European Common Market. This poses a very great problem to the Tasmanian Government, but we feel as though it is not a Tasmanian problem; it is a national problem. The government assistance we will need to readjust the pattern of our exports is growing more and more. The employment situation in Tasmania is causing Tasmanian people a great deal of concern. At the present time 2.24 per cent of our work force is unemployed. This is creating serious difficulties for people and also the State Government. Unemployment has always been a big problem in Tasmania because of the seasonal nature of many of our industries. While the Commonwealth has tried to assist in grants for rural unemployment relief, it has not in any way solved the continuing problem that Tasmania is experiencing. As I mentioned before, we are faced with the situation that our secondary industries have not expanded sufficiently. Even the reverse is the case. Some of our industries have already moved away to the mainland and others have indicated the possibility of this change taking place in their operations. Growing unemployment and slackening of industrial activity in our State means a continual decline in our industrial potential.
While 1 would like to give a wider view of the position that is existing in our State at the preseent lime, I would like to emphasise the position that, we are in with regard to our shipping costs. This is the vital matter that affects so much of our exports and imports to and from Tasmania and has a very big bearing on the whole of our future. Although the Australian National Line has given a very fine service to our State over the years and has in the past tried to hold the freight rates down, growing costs in every direction have caused shipping costs to rise to such an extent that they are becoming a very serious problem. In 1970 the Senate Standing Committee on Primary and Secondary Industry and Trade, as it then was, in the course of its investigations of the freight rates on Australian National Line shipping services to and from Tasmania found that a high proportion of the costs associated with transporting goods to and from Tasmania by ship was made up of internal transport and wharfage costs which added to the overall expense of sending goods to and from Tasmania, despite the efforts made by the Australian National Line to avoid increases in its freight rates. Although the Commonwealth Grants Commission is working on a formula which it applies to most Australian States, I believe that more emphasis should be placed on the position in which Tasmania finds itself as a result of its isolation.
Discussions have been held recently as to whether Tasmania should not sever its connections with the Commonwealth. Discussions of this type are a sign of discontent, rather than a practical solution of Tasmania’s problems. The proposition has been put forward that Tasmania could become a duty free State. People would be encouraged to visit Tasmania from the mainland not only as tourists but also as private individuals seeking to obtain duty free many of the commodities which attract high rates of duty in Australia. In this way Tasmania’s business activity would be increased. The fact that this line of thought is being considered in Tasmania should impress upon the Commonwealth Government and the Commonwealth Grants Commission that the people of Tasmania are suffering disadvantages that are not suffered by people in other Australian States.
Whilst the grant that is provided through this legislation will to a certain extent relieve some of the financial difficulty that Tasmania is experiencing, the amount is still insufficient to provide the stimulus needed to achieve a viability and prosperity for Tasmania in the future. However, at this late stage of the parliamentary sittings, there is not much more which can be done to alter the situation. We make this plea to the Grants Commission and to the Commonwealth Government. I can assure Government supporters that a future Labor government will give close consideration to meeting many of the difficulties Tasmania is experiencing. We hope that this will be one of the keys to a brighter future for Tasmania and that a new government adopting a new approach will find different ways to assist Tasmania to achieve its share of the great benefits that are enjoyed by other Australian States.
– I rise merely to say that the Australian Democratic Labor Party supports this Bill. As a Queensland senator, I wish to comment on the fact that the Bill is unique in the way that its provisions affect Queensland. For the first time in its history, Queensland has become a claimant State through the Commonwealth Grants Commission. Provision is made in this Bill for the payment to Queensland of an assessed amount, to be reduced by the sum of any amounts paid to it under the Queensland Grant Act 1972. Provision is made also for Queensland to receive in the next financial year a payment based on any special grant assessed by the Commonwealth Grants Commission for the purpose of achieving equalisation between Queensland and the more populous States of New South Wales and Victoria, which is the basis for the financial assistance provided by this Bill.
There has been some suggestion that Queensland, by applying to the Commonwealth Grants Commission, has lost some measure of budgetary independence. But I think that such an argument has little substance. Relations between the Commonwealth and the States are such that a great deal of mutual trust exists in relation to the necessary supervision by the Giants Commission, which is a condition precedent to the grant of any money. In this respect there would be no undue interference with the financial affairs of Queensland. This additional money will be of tremendous benefit to that State, lt is recognised that for many years Queensland has been suffering a disability which is rectified now under the new scheme by the new formula by which this additional assistance is to be made available. Therefore, we welcome this Bill as a first indication of additional Commonwealth assistance and we hope only that it will not be unduly long before Queensland reaches a position of financial equality with the other States that makes an approach to the Commonwealth Grants Commission unnecessary.
That is the aim of each Australian State but, desirable as it may be, this is not immediately achievable by each State. Nevertheless, with the ongoing provision of adequate finance, gradually we will see a diminution of the financial and economic differences among the States until the stage is reached when the present operations of the Commonwealth Grants Commission will not be necessary. In the meantime, Queensland welcomes the additional grant. Although this assistance will be given, there will be no interference with many rights cherished in Queensland, including Queensland’s free hospital system. This will remain untouched as we believe it should be untouched. Therefore, the moneys that are provided by this legislation will go into the general development of Queensland and will be of tremendous advantage to that State which has so much to do in the field of development. The Australian Democratic Labor Party supports the Bill.
– The Bill before the Senate is an annual measure which deals with assignments that have been made by the Commonwealth Grants Commission. The main purpose of the Bill which we are discussing is to arrange for grants to be made to the various States. The grants made will be $1Om to Queensland, $7.6m to Tasmania and $2 1m to South Australia. These 3 claimant States made application to the Commonwealth Grants Commission under the provisions of section 96 of the Constitution. We on this side of the Senate propose to support the Bill. We feel that the Queensland Government has acted correctly and properly in making an application to the Commonwealth Grants Commission for this additional finance.
The Labor Party sincerely believes that the State of Queensland is entitled to receive this additional finance from the Commonwealth Government. Some years ago it may have been argued that when a State made an application to the Commonwealth Grants Commission for assistance it placed itself in the category of being a mendicant State and so, in effect, would be governed by default because the Commonwealth Government would reserve the right to examine the accounts and the finances of the State. The attitude could have been adopted that whoever was the lender would call the tune as far as government of the State was concerned. In latter years a change has occurred in the format governing financial relationships between the States and the Commonwealth.
Honourable senators will recall that at the Premiers Conference in June 1970 it was decided to grant an additional amount of S2 per capita to the States of Victoria and New South Wales for each of the ensuing 5 years. At that conference the Queensland representatives pointed out that the granting of this additional finance to Victoria and New South Wales would have obvious effects on the standards of and comparisons between these States and Queensland and other claimant States. So pertinent was the argument at the time that the then Prime Minister invited those States which felt that their finances would be injuriously affected to make an application to the Commonwealth Grants Commission for assistance. At the time it was pointed out also that, regardless of the magnitude of any grant given to Queensland, its needs would far exceed the amount that would be given to that State.
Consequently, the Queensland Government prepared a submission to the Commonwealth Grants Commission. In its submission the Queensland Government outlined its disabilities. Having considered Queensland’s position, the Commonwealth Grants Commission allocated in May this year an amount of S9m to that State. This Bill provides for an additional Si Om to be granted to Queensland. The total grant made to Queensland for this period is approximately $20tn. I understand from the Commonwealth Grants Commission’s report that there is still under consideration a completion amount. When the Treasury officials and the Commonwealth Grants Commission have completed their investigation of the audited accounts of the Queensland Treasury, this matter will be further considered.
This brings me to the point that when the Queensland Grant Bill, as distinct from the Bill we are discussing now, was before this chamber in May of this year I made strong allegations about happenings in Queensland. I said that there was an attempt by a syndicate of bookmakers to take over the gambling business in Queensland. During that debate I said that they were adopting Maffia-type tactics, intimidation, strong arm tactics and standover methods to gain control of gambling in Queensland. I raised the matter during that debate because I thought that action should bc taken to investigate my claims. The State Parliament had not met for 9 months and as a State election was imminent the matter had to be raised somewhere. I felt that if this attempted takeover were allowed to go unheeded it would have a serious effect on the revenue that would accrue to the Queensland Government from taxation on gambling enterprises. At that time, to give some idea of the magnitude of gambing and the importance that taxes on gambling plays in the revenue producing machinery of all States, I evidenced that in the 45-week period up to the time 1 was speaking in May an amount of $86m had been invested through the Totalisator Administration Board alone in Queensland. This amount did not take into account bookmakers’ turnover tax and other items of revenue. At that time I appealed to the Minister in charge of racing in Queensland, Sir Gordon Chalk. If he had not heard of the allegations he possibly would hear of them now that 1 made the allegations in the Commonwealth Parliament. I thought that if he found the allegations were correct he should do something about them.
– Mr Deputy President, I rise on a point of order. I am anxious that Senator McAuliffe should have an opportunity to develop a debate on this Bill relating to the grant to Queensland in accordance with the recommendations of the Grants Commission, such grant to help Queensland lift its standard of living to that of the other States, but I cannot see that his reference to bookmakers’ problems in Queensland with some supporting material is adding to this debate. I suggest that he should be ruled out of order.
– Mr Deputy President, I disagree and in support of my contention that I am in order I refer to the point of order that the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) raised when I was speaking in May. Because I lacked advice on whether he was right I did not reply at that time, but since then the Commonwealth Grants Commission has published its 39th annual report for 1972. Apparently it has made an in-depth study of the effect that gambling revenue has on the finances of the States and for the first time in a report has devoted 5 pages to this subject. The argument that I am dev- eloping is designed to show that if action were not taken - it has been taken since - Queensland’s taxes on gambling would have been seriously affected. The Commonwealth Grants Commission apparently regards this matter as important because it has made pertinent references in its report to the lack of effort displayed by South Australia and Tasmania in not encouraging more gambling pursuits in those States. With respect, I ask that I be permitted to proceed. I can deal with this matter later, but if the Minister will be patient and tolerant
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wilkinson) - Order! A point of order has been taken concerning the relevance of the material the honourable senator is introducing into this debate. At the moment 1 cannot see that the honourable senator is straying from the point he is making in criticising the Bill. It seems to me that the honourable senator is in order. The point of order is not upheld.
– I did not seek to embarrass the State Minister in any way but 1 felt, in conscience, that the matter had to be raised. After I made statements when debating the Queensland Grant Bill I spoke subsequently on the adjournment debate and sought leave to table 9 lengthy documents supporting the allegations that I had made. What happened on that occasion is now history. I was refused leave by 2 Ministers.
– You sought leave to incorporate the documents in Hansard; not to table them.
– I sought leave to incorporate them and leave was refused. After I completed reading the documents Senator Rae moved a motion to force me to table the documents. What he did not know is that when leave to incorporate them in Hansard was refused I voluntarily offered to table the documents. It is to the credit of the Senate that Senator Rae’s motion was defeated. After that motion was defeated Senator Wright rose in his place. I had attracted the heavy artillery of the front bench. He unleashed a personal attack on me and said my actions were cowardly, that I acted in a cowardly manner in trying to defame people under the privilege of the Parliament, that I had attacked a Minister of the Crown in another State and had not given him an opportunity to brief someone to defend him here and that he, the State Minister, was unable to defend himself. The essence of what Senator Wright said was to imply that I was a coward and had acted in a cowardly manner. Senator Greenwood also spoke on that occasion. I shall quote his exact words lest it be suggested I am quoting him out of context, lt is to his credit, however, although it was in the early hours of the morning and he was in an angry mood, as was Senator Wright, that he did not make any personal reflections on my character. He devoted his attention to a point of order concerning whether what I was saying had any relevance to the Commonwealth Parliament. At page 2042 of the Senate Hansard of 24th and 25th May Senator Greenwood said:
Not a word which was mentioned tonight by Senator McAuliffe about the alleged omissions of, or actions which ought to be taken by, the Queensland Minister who is in charge of racing and bookmakers in Queensland has any relevance whatsoever to a matter which affects this Commonwealth Parliament.
What rot from a responsible Minister. I have never heard a more ludicrous statement. The Minister said that what I was speaking about had no relevance for the Commonwealth Parliament. Earlier in this present debate I have instanced that the Commonwealth Grants Commission for the very first time in a report has devoted 5 pages - pages 78 to 82 - to dealing with taxes on gambling. It makes some pertinent observations with which I do not have time to deal, but I will be only too happy on another occasion to debate this further. The Grants Commission made a study in depth of the influence that gambling in the various States has on the revenue producing machinery available to the States. It makes the pertinent observation that unless South Australia, which it criticises for its religious and cultural background, and Tasmania give more attention to raising revenue from gambling they cannot expect to receive sympathetic consideration from the Commission. The Commission pointed out that one of the standard States, New South Wales, raises $40m annually from poker machines and that the revenue raised in Victoria the other standard State, through the activities of the Totalisator Agency Board places Tasmania and South Australia at a disadvantage compared with the 2 standard States. What rot it is for the Attorney-General and for the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) to take points of order and suggest that what I am talking about has no relevance to the Commonwealth Parliament. Each year $936m is raised by the States in their own right. One-eighth of that sum is raised from taxes on gambling activities. Is it not important to query whether or not the taxes that should be accruing to Queensland are being eroded by a syndicated takeover of the gambling industry in that State?
This brings me to a very important point, and that is what has happened since I spoke previously in this chamber about the syndicated takeover of bookmakers. The paddock bookmakers association in Queensland held a meeting. By an overwhelming majority it removed from office the 3 officials whom I mentioned in May and replaced them with other officials. To use racing parlance, they have been tiptoed out of their positions. That association vindicated the claims that I had made in the Parliament and supported completely all the allegations that I had made. I am happy to tell the Senate that as a result of my intervention in this Parliament sanity, confidence and fair play have been restored to the dealings of the bookmakers association in Queensland and the State Government has no need to worry whether the taxes on gambling due to it will be correctly paid.
The most important thing is that 2 weeks after I made these statements in the Senate a gentleman who works hand in glove with the 3 people whom I mentioned and who is a very close associate of the 3 men was at a function that was attended by my parliamentary secretary. This man approached my secretary and said: ‘I have a message for your boss, Senator McAuliffe. I want you to tell him that if he continues to make in Parliament these allegations about my friends or mentions me in the Parliament in future he will be dead within 2 years - 6 months on either side’. There was no other inference left in my secretary’s mind than that this man would bump me off. A week later an anonymous telephone call came to the rugby league headquarters at Lang Park, asking for me. The Secretary of the
Queensland Rugby League said that I was not there. A similar threat was made to the Secretary over the telephone to convey to me. As if that was not bad enough, 3 weeks ago after I alighted at Mascot from an aircraft from Brisbane and while I was in a queue waiting to re-book to Canberra, I was approached by one of the 3 men whom I had mentioned in the Parliament, and a conversation transpired. I gave him more than he gave me. At the end of the conversation he said: ‘I will get you and do you in’. There was no doubt that it was a threat because another senator was standing nearby, and thought I could have been in trouble and walked over in case I needed any assistance.
I am documenting all that evidence and 1 have consulted a solicitor in Brisbane. In the very near future I will be handing it to the responsible authorities. I do not scare easily. I am not scared of any of these individuals. They are of such a calibre that I think you could beat a battalion of them with your felt hat. But what does concern me is that individuals or creatures like this can be walking around the city, continuing their intimidation of and standover methods against a member of the Commonwealth Parliament. I seek leave to continue my remarks later.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
(5.59) - After consultation with other leaders, 1 move:
That, unless otherwise ordered, the Senate at its rising adjourn until tomorrow at 10 a.m., and that the times of sitting be - 10 a.m. till 1 p.m. 2 p.m. till 6 p.m. 8 p.m. till 1 1 p.m.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– Before the suspension of the sitting I was expressing concern that individuals whom I mentioned in the debate on the Queensland Grant Bill in May were allowed to continue with their intimidation and standover methods not only against other people in their profession but also now against a senator of the Commonwealth Parliament. One would have thought that these men would have heeded the warnings that were given to them in this Parliament last May, that they would have mended their ways and started to behave themselves. Before I leave this topic I would like to reply briefly to the allegations that were levelled against me by the Minister for Works (Senator Wright). I take into consideration that this happened in the early hours of the morning when the patience and tolerance of honourable senators had been severely tested by the reading of 9 lengthy documents. But at the same time I cannot let what he had to say go unanswered because the people to whom I have been referring, or their agents, have circularised in Queensland, to my embarrassment, Senator Wright’s remarks that I was cowardly in my action.
I have many shortcomings but I do not think that among them is a lack of moral or physical courage. One does not receive an honourable discharge from the Australian Imperial Forces after 5 years service, 31/2 years of which were spent in an overseas theatre of war, including the siege of Tobruk; one is not appointed President of the Queensland Rugby Football League, to be the symbol of the major sport in Queensland, unless one is a decent citizen and a man of integrity and unless one has been active in community affairs and is of good character. I have had continuous membership of a great political party the Australian Labor Party extending over 27 years. I am in the top echelon of that Party in Queensland, on its Queensland Central Executive. I serve on committees at State and Federal level. I represent the Australian Labor Party in this chamber and I represent the people of Queensland as a senator in the Commonwealth Parliament. Those 3 claims that I make in all sincerity and modesty should suffice to refute the claims of cowardice that have been levelled against me by Senator Wright. I shall let the matter rest there and leave it to individual senators to judge for themselves who is right and who is wrong in the matter.
I turn now to the States Grant (Special Assistance) Bill. Soon after the report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission was tabled in the Parliament a report appeared in the Brisbane ‘Telegraph’ of a statement attributed to the Federal Minister for Housing, Mr Kevin Cairns, the honourable member for Lilley in another place. The report read:
Report backs free hospitals. ‘The Commonwealth Grams Commission’s report tabled in the House of Representatives today indicated the Commission’s support for the Queensland free hospital system,’ the Housing Minister, Mr Cairns, said today.
I challenge the Minister for Housing, any other Minister or any Government supporter to show me where the report says that. I have read the report very carefully. It analyses the hospitals position in the other States but it makes no mention of an annysis of the position in Queensland. The Minister for Housing has juggled an>’ turned the truth about so much that it is unrecognisable as a fact.
To give the true position regarding free hospitalisation in Queensland I will quote the figures of the Queensland Treasuer. In his report last year he said that the free hospital system in Queensland cost $79m. In his Budget Speech this year he said that the cost had risen to $88m. Honourable senators should remember those figures - S79m last year and $88m this year, an increase of S9m in the cost of free hospitals in Queensland. Queensland has been the recipient of 2 special grants from the Commonwealth, one in May this year of $9m and an increase of Sim in the one we are debating tonight, making an amount of $10m. So the expenditure on free hospitals in Queensland has increased by S9m yet the additional revenue from the Commonwealth to Queensland is Sim. How on earth can anyone reconcile that with the statement made by the Federal Minister for Housing that the Commonwealth Grants Commission is supporting Queensland’s free hospital system?
In the limited time at my disposal I want to deal with the poor effort made by the Queensland Housing Commission in relation to the Slates Grants (Dwellings for Aged Pensioners) Act of 1969 as distinct from the Bill we are discussing. In 1969, S25m was allocated for expenditure by the 5 States on the erection of home units for single age pensioners. It had to be spent within 5 years. Queensland’s allocation was S3. 69m. Let us look at Queensland’s record in this regard. In the first year of operation, 1969-70, out of a total of 665 home units for aged people that were constructed in Australia, Queensland’s effort was nil. In 1970-71, out of a total of 1,433 home units for aged people that were constructed in Australia, Queensland’s contribution was 18. In the last report that was tabled quite recently, covering the period 1971-72, out of a total of 2,748 home units constructed in Australia, Queensland had completed 18 and had promised to construct another 154. Being generous and taking into the calculation of Queensland’s effort the promise of 154 home units, one finds that Queensland has under construction or has completed construction of 172 home units out of a total of 2,748. In terms of dollars and cents, Queensland has spent §769,206 in 3 years out of an allocation from the Commonwealth Government of S3. 69m. This is not money that has to be met by a matching grant or that has to be subsidised by the State Government. It is free money that Queensland is not prepared to spend. Possibly the most harassing effect of the whole situation is that Queensland is showing a complete lack of regard for the age pensioners in that State.
The lack of enterprise of the Queensland Housing Commission can also be associated with a serious industrial dispute that has occurred at Queensland Alumina Ltd’s works at Gladstone. The company has suspended operations and, as a result, 1,200 men have been dismissed from their jobs. The trade union movement and the ALP in Queensland accept that there has been an excessive number of disputes at Gladstone. It would be foolish to do otherwise. But instead of indulging in recriminations on who is to blame and who is not to blame it would be better to look at the reasons for the dispute. In my opinion, the main reason for the situation at Gladstone is the lack of planning, the lack of accommodation and the lack of decent working conditions. With the workers it is not money. It behoves the Commonwealth Government, the Queensland Government and the Gladstone Town Council to shoulder their responsibilities, do some planning and arrange some finance to alleviate this position. It is no good saying that they cannot get the money. Quite recently, by the stroke of a pen. the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) gave New South Wales SI 5m so that Sir Robert Askin could balance his Budget. There is a responsibility on the tripartite system of government - local. State and Commonwealth - to do something about it. Responsibility also rests on the shoulders of Kaiser Engineers and Constructors Ltd and Queensland Alumina Ltd. They should join forces with the local authority, the State Government and the Commonwealth Government in planning, making finance available and providing the workers of this town with decent living conditions - housing and hostel and caravan parking. If they did this they would eliminate the industrial unrest that is worrying not only the people of Gladstone - the men and their families - but also the State of Queensland generally.
– I shall be brief, I support this legislation which last year provided Queensland with §9m and this year will provide it with Si Om. Despite what Senator McAuliffe said, there are no ties to this money. Queensland will not have to change the set-up of its free hospital system. I point out that Queensland supplies the Australian nation with a substantial part of its export income. Queensland’s balance of trade overseas is very much in our favour but ils balance of trade with the other States is decidedly not so good, lt is the opposite. Queensland spends more in the other States than the other states buy from Queensland. The amount of export income that Queensland earns for Australia’s balance of trade is fairly substantial.
Many companies in Queensland have their head offices in other States, particularly in the capitals of Sydney and Melbourne, so the profits they make in Queensland are not credited to Queensland but to the taxation revenue and income, of other Stales. This is another reason why Queensland should receive a share of grants from the Commonwealth Government. Queens land has great developmental projects under way and these will continue to increase the prosperity of that State. They will help substantially in gaining income for Queensland. It is hoped that in the not too distant future Queensland may not need Commonwealth assistance but for the time being such assistance is of tremendous help to that State.
The previous speaker, Senator McAuliffe, referred to the situation at Gladstone. I think he knows, and all honourable senators know, that Gladstone has mushroomed quickly and that despite all the spending by the Gladstone town council in providing such services as water, sewerage and electricity, it cannot possibly keep pace with the development of that town which is fast becoming a city. Houses cannot be built fast enough. Most people would agree that those who work for and gain their livelihood from the companies in that town are entitled to decent living conditions but it is a physical impossibility to provide such conditions almost overnight. The town council can only do its best. 1 forget the actual figures, but the Gladstone town council has spent a lot of money in the last four or five years in providing and expanding services for its people.
– This is an area which could be helped by regional development.
– That is so. The area must progress. I commend this Bill to the Senate and wholeheartedly support it.
– It would be a brave man who would oppose legislation of this nature and I do not pretend to be particularly brave in this regard. I cannot for the life of me understand Senator Lawrie who said that everything was rosy in Queensland when for the first time in Queensland’s history it has had to become a mendicant State. How can he justify his claim? He said that housing could not be provided overnight for the workers of Gladstone. Nobody wanted it overnight. Gladstone has been going for 5 or 6 years and there is still a desperate need for houses for the workers there. I shall not enter into the merits or demerits of the dispute at Gladstone. All I say is that if any government embarks on projects such as the one at Gladstone it is that government’s responsibility to see that decent living conditions are provided for workers on the site. I leave this topic now because I believe there are more important things affecting Australia. 1 question where we are going in the matter of finance in Australia. The Queensland Government has sought financial assistance by way of Commonwealth grants. I suppose it justified its claim before the Commonwealth Grants Commission but it amazes me that a government can have the temerity to try to justify a claim for financial assistance when it has recently increased the salaries of State parliamentarians by 10 per cent and in its last Budget provided wage and salary increases for workers throughout Queensland. I do not object to this but the self same government and the Commonwealth Government are forever saying: ‘Go to arbitration for wage increases’. I repeat that in the last Budget the State Treasurer introduced legislation to give salary increments to workers in State Government institutions. I have no objection to that because this is what the trade union movement sought but how can a State claim that it is broke when it increases the salaries of its parliamentarians by 10 per cent, not by legislation but by order in council, when it can introduce into its Budget the functions of the industrial court and when, also, it can announce that it will build a new parliament house within the next 5 years at a cost of about $17m? How can that State say that it is broke or potentially broke?
– What do you say about South Australia?
– I do not know anything about South Australia. It is for the honourable senator to parade the virtues of South Australia. I am telling the Senate what has actually happened in Queensland. I do not know about South Australia. I feel sure that my colleagues will be quite ready to defend the South Australian Government. I turn now to another aspect of Australian finance. Under the present financial system we have Loan Council meetings at which the Commonwealth Government provides money to the respective States. Apparently they all go away quite happy. I know that the Queensland Premier came away from the last Loan Council meeting saying that it was magnificent what Queensland had received from the Commonwealth
Government. The New South Wales Premier said that he was very satisfied and that it was the best deal he had ever had from the Commonwealth Government. But when the New South Wales State Government introduced its next Budget it cried that it had to budget for a deficiency of Si 5m and so the Commonwealth Government came to the assistance of New South Wales and loaned it SI 5m. I know what will be the effect of that loan. It will be a gift to New South Wales. 1 have in my possession a letter addressed to Mr Cumming Thom as Secretary of Senate Estimates Committee A. I will not read it all unless I am challenged.
– Order! I query whether the honourable senator can refer to a private letter to a Senate committee in the plenary session of the Senate.
– I am informed that a question was asked at a meeting of the Estimates Committee and it was stated that the information would be supplied later. This is that information. Part of the letter states:
There will, of course, have to be legislative authority for the loan and, as the Minister Assisting the Treasurer said in his statement to the House on 27th September last, this ‘will be sought after the new parliament is convened’.
That is the loan, or the alleged loan, of S 1 5m to New South Wales. Whether it is a loan, or a gift is not of consequence at this point. The point is that the New South Wales Government went away from the Loan Council meeting saying that it was quite satisfied with the amount of money it had been allocated, and shortly afterwards introduced a Budget which provided for a deficit of $1 5m. I do not know - nor would anybody in this chamber - whether my suspicions are correct, but I suspect that the New South Wales Government budgeted for a deficit of SI 5m because it believed that it could go to the Commonwealth Government and get a loan or a gift, whatever one wants to call it, of that amount.
I am pointing out - I hope successfully - the stupidity of the financial arrangements in Australia today whereby the States go away from Loan Council meetings eminently satisfied and declaring themselves to have received a particularly good go from the Commonwealth Government and, within a short space of time, budget for a deficit. We have seen the Queensland Government increase parliamentary salaries by 10 per cent, not by legislation but by order in council. We have seen it take over what I believe to be the function of the State Industrial Commission and award incremental salary increases to the members of its Parliament, and announce that it proposes to build a new and permanent Parliament House. I repeat that the New South Wales Government budgeted for a $15m deficit. 1 plead with honourable senators to examine just where we are going with the finances of Australia when we are allowing things of this nature to happen. 1 do not know what my colleagues from South Australia will say in relation to this matter. I leave it entirely to them to defend their situation. But what 1 have read of the Commonwealth Grants Commission’s report indicates to me that there must be a reevaluation of where the finances of Australia are going. The Grants Commission has said to South Australia, in effect, that it has too much culture and not enough gambling. That is its determination of the situation with respect to South Australia. Earlier today we heard people objecting to the Commonwealth making arrangements without first conferring with the States. 1 suggest that this is an intrusion into the rights of the State of South Australia. I shall conclude on this note-
– Hear, hear!
– I will not conclude my remarks if the honourable senator does not want me to do so. If I were to utter the stupidities that were uttered by Senator Lawrie tonight - his was just a fillingin speech - 1 could go on for quite some time. 1 hope I have pointed out why 1 believe it is in the interests of the nation that we should review our financial arrangements so that there will be a more equitable distribution of our finances throughout Australia.
– Before the Senate is the major matter of special assistance grants to the States. Surely it is a matter which must go beyond petty State politics. I cannot let the opportunity go by without expressing my appreciation and, indeed, gratification that an amount of $21m is to be provided to South Australia in accordance with the recommendations of the Commonwealth Grants Commission. The purpose of this Bill - I think we should keep close to what the Bill really provides for - is to authorise the payment in 1972-73 of special grants of $1Om to Queensland, $21m to South Australia and $7. 6m to Tasmania. The method used by the Commission to determine the extent of such grants is to calculate the amount of money necessary to bring the budgetary position of a claimant State up to that of the 2 most populous States, which are taken as being the standard, after allowing for differences between the financial practices of the States concerned and their efforts to raise re.venue and to control expenditure.
I have always regarded the special assistance grants provisions of our financial arrangements as being one of the most desirable and necessary nationally oriented aspects of governmental finance within the federal concept. Here we have, particularly in respect of the smaller States, the real benefits of our federal system. The important aspect of this legislation is that it ensures to every State equality of opportunity to provide essential services on a common standard, despite the immediate disabilities the less populous States have in generating a capacity for revenue raising within their local taxing fields as compared to the larger States. Looking at the position purely on a population basis, my own State of South Australia has approximately 10 per cent of the population, but it has much more than 10 per cent of the total area of Australia. That immediately brings into the picture the costs involved in providing such essential services as water reticulation. By the way, we have a lack of rain over a large area of our State.
– It is the driest State in the Commonwealth.
– That is correct. Only 10 per cent of South Australia’s surface area enjoys more than 10 inches of rain a year. There is a fringe area which is well watered and beyond which water must be taken, be it to Whyalla, Port Augusta, Port Pirie, Woomera, right across to the Eyre Peninsula or towards the southeast. We have huge problems in South Australia in respect of water reticulation. As well as the very great cost involved in providing water reticulation in South Australia, there is the high cost of providing good roads over many miles of country.
If we in South Australia are to have equality of opportunity throughout the country insofar as the provision of necessary services is concerned, be they water reticulation or the provision of roads, education or hospitals, which are all requirements of society, we need this sort of assistance. Without it we just could not make ends meet. Without it we would not be able to match the better conditions which apply in other parts of our great nation. Here we have a most admirable equalising system, as it were. I recall very vividly when in about 1963 or 1964 South Australia emerged from what was regarded as a mendicancy situation; it got away from requiring assistance from the Grants Commission. But, with the pressures of modern requirements, it again looks to the Grants Commission for support. I make no apology at all for that. 1 can see in this legislation a provision which will ensure to the whole of the nation equality of standards as nearly as can be arranged bearing in mind the history of taxing determinations on the part of a given State and its expenditures in order to qualify for the receipt of a certain amount of money. I repeat that it is most gratifying for me to see this amount of money being devoted to my State under this legislation. I applaud the provisions of this Bill, which give real strength and meaning to federation in Australia. I support the measure.
– in reply - I will not reply in any particular order to the remarks of those honourable senators who have participated in the debate, but only according to my sense of the priorities of the occasion. I must say that I was extremely disturbed at the observation made by Senator McAuliffe that threats had been made upon his person. We in this place have a great responsibility to the people of Australia. Although we are of various political persuasions and attachments, we represent in this chamber the great mass of the people of Australia. The Senate reflects, in its composition, the broad political trends of the Australian community. When one hears from the mouth of an honourable senator that he has been threatened in the pursuance of his duties, as he sees them, I think one should become quite concerned because 1 think we can fairly say that we are all one of another in this place, that we are above politics and we seek to serve our country. I do hope that this matter will be brought to book and that you, Senator, will take the proper course of action with the responsible authorities such as the Commonwealth Police or anybody else to make sure that your situation is defended. I think we would all support you in that - very much so. I think you understand what 1 am saying. I note that your personal character is one which you defend, and properly so. I think you are entitled to do that. I do not differ from you except to observe in passing that your attachment to one great game is an admission, I am sure, that there are other great games in this country and one would not want to be found as an Australian senator admitting that the game of Australian Rules is perhaps passing off the stage. I do not think I would be that brave at this stage.
Senator McAuliffe referred also to the Commonwealth Grants Commission making observations on gambling on certain pages of its report. It did make observations on State governments raising revenue by taxes on gambling but it did not single out any particular State as against another. It made the general observation that the States were attracting revenue by this process. The Commission did not make any moral judgment nor did it differentiate. It simply said that if this is what one State seeks to do as against another State it is a matter for the judgment of that Senate, and that the financial consequence for it as against another State is a matter for that State to determine. I do not take too long on this because I think we are all conscious of the fact that we are in the closing stages of a very interesting and great parliamentary session and one wants to see the work progress. While one is anxious to be involved one has to restrain oneself slightly. I think Senator McAuliffe understands my feelings. I have tried to communicate them to him. 1 hope that as far as he personally and his personal safety are concerned the matter will be resolved satisfactorily and properly in his own interests and indeed that of all honourable senators.
Senator O’Byrne made some observations about the situation in Tasmania. I think it is fair to admit that there is an element of justice in what he said. The Commonwealth Grants Commission operates on a certain premise and this premise is set out in the second reading speech. Briefly it is to calculate grants which will bring the claimant States’ budgetary positions up to those of the most populous States taken as ‘standard’, after allowing for differences in the calculation of their accounts in order to try to get a State back to a comparable base. One might observe in passing the history of the Commonwealth Grants Commission in this country. The Commission has operated since 1933. I think its first finding was in 1934. At no stage since 1934 and until 1972 - a span of 38 years - has the Parliament seen fit to differ from a finding of the Commission. This is a notable tribute to it, because it is in a situation of trying to achieve some equality.
There have been times when certain States have been in the claimant field, have passed out of it and have returned. I refer to such States as Western Australia and South Australia. This is to be expected in a country like Australia where the oldest States, Victoria and New South Wales, are the largest States and it is fair and proper that in a federation we should all seek to help each other. Senator O’Byrne believes that Tasmania needs extra help. If that is so it is a case for reference to the Commission in the process of time. This Bill is not opposed. What we are dealing with are observations made by various honourable senators on behalf of their own States. The Grants Commission confines itself to public finances. It does not attempt to set itself up as an economic planning agency nor would I believe, in my own heart, that it is the right body to do so. It sets out to achieve budgetary equality. I think Senator O’Byrne would understand this matter.
Senator Milliner said that the financial arrangements between the Commonwealth and the States would stand some review and adjustment. This follows the observations of Senator O’Byrne and indeed would follow my own view. The federation cannot be static. It will never be constant; there will be some States which will be better off than others. There will be some
States which will suddenly emerge in a pre-eminent position. Western Australia is a notable case. Suddenly it took off, although it has had a temporary slowing down. But with the great resources of this country one could expect that at any point of time any one State might suddenly make a dramatic surge forward. In a federation I think it is fair to say that we ought always to be vigilant in regard to equality of opportunity within the total Australian resource. I am not the responsible Minister, but 1 am not unsympathetic to the case Senator Milliner made nor indeed to the case put by Senator O’Byrne who said that you could look at a situation by trying to achieve a better balance.
Always in financial affairs you are dealing with the prospect of doing something based upon historical experience and always there is some degree of time lag involved. But in the Grants Commission situation there is room, as the second reading speech shows, for adjustment hoth upwards and downwards. If one State is found not to have had enough then compensation can come later. If a State is found to have had too much then adjustment can be made. One cannot be fairer than that. I do not wish to see the Grants Commission become anything more than a budget equilibrium instrument. I do not want to see it become an economic planning agency. This would give too much power, in my opinion, to too few people. The broad position that we should always be seeking is to be flexible in adjustments financially. In a federation of the various Slates - some wealthier than others - this is a reasonable course, I think, to pursue in the Commonwealth Senate.
I think Senator Laucke struck a note with which we would all agree. This is a matter above Party politics. We are not involved in a political argument. We are involved in representing the various range of State views coming as we all do from the various States. We are seeking to ensure that within the Australian federation of States we will as far as possible achieve some equality of opportunity, and it is in that spirit that this Bill comes forward with provision for grants in particular to Queensland. South Australia and Tasmania. I note that it is not opposed but people have made various observations upon it. I do not think I would aid the process any more by pursuing my remarks. I might say in passing that were it earlier in the session ] would be persuaded to do some more work on this because I am of the view that within the federation (financial adjustment is a field that lends itself to quite some degree of extra work.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 25 October (vide page 1899), on motion by Senator Cotton:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– The Opposition does not oppose this Bill. In the context of the restrictive trade practices legislation this Bill is a minor section, but nevertheless it is an essential machinery part of the negotiations which have always existed between shipowners and shipper bodies. Essentially it is a move to consolidate the negotiating bodies on behalf of the shippers, lt will bring about the creation of the Australian Shippers Council which will be empowered to negotiate directly with the shipowners on all conferences operating in Australian export lines of trade. Undoubtedly this is a step forward and the Opposition welcomes the step that has been taken.
But, of course, it does not solve the basic problem with which exporters, importers and shippers generally are concerned, namely, that they are dealing with a conference system. It is not particularly important what sort of machinery is established, although the better the machinery is the better the chance to exact concessions from the conferences. The fact is that we are still dealing with one and the same group of shipowners. As we know, this is not a new situation. The conference systems have the overseas trade from this country to other countries tied up as they have had for decades. Despite the problems and complaints that have existed and the fact that we know there are shortcomings in the system, this Government has never appointed any committee to make a proper investigation of that conference system. Of course, this is in contrast to the policy adopted in Canada and the United States of America. In the case of Canada, a royal commission was appointed to inquire into how the conference system affected that country. The United States of America has a very strong legislative and regulatory body - the Federal Maritime Commission - which is given wide powers in exercising jurisdiction over those conferences. It is interesting to consider for a moment how strongly those powers are expressed in the United States Shipping Act of 1916. It is in contrast with the legislation in this country. Section 15 of the Act states:
The Commission shall by order, after notice and hearing, disapprove, cancel or modify any agreement, or any modification or cancellation thereof, whether or not previously approved by it, that it finds to be unjustly discriminatory or unfair as between carriers, shippers, exporters; importers, or ports, or between exporters from the United Slates and their foreign competitors, or to operate to the detriment of the commerce of the United States, or to be contrary to the public interest, or to be in violation of this Act, and shall approve all other agreements, modifications or cancellations.
These are the sorts of powers that are necessary if the enormous commercial power of the conference system is to be combated. This is not to suggest that the conference system is all wrong and all bad. I have spoken on this subject before in the Senate and conceded this. I say again that there are certain aspects of the conference system which must find acceptance. Shippers generally are looking for 2 important things in overseas shipping services. They are looking for the cheapest freight rates they can obtain and for regularity of service. Largely, the conference system does provide the second item: It gives regularity. However, the freight rate position is a much different story.
The report of the Australian Canned Fruits Board gives us some examples of the sorts of increases that have taken place over the last one or two years in the shipment of canned fruits. For example, the conferences serving the east coast of North America trade announced their intention during 1971 to increase the freight rate by 25 per cent to SUS59.10 with effect from 1st January 1972. Likewise, the conference serving ports on the west coast of North
America - the Australian, New Zealand and South Sea Islands Pacific Coast Conference - announced a 25 per cent increase from 1st January 1972. Again, the Northbound Shipping Conference increased its freight rates to the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and Okinawa by 20 per cent as from 1st February 1971. I could quote more of these examples of the sorts of increases that shippers in this country have to live with almost every year.
Although no official committee of inquiry has been appointed by the Government over the years to look at the conference system, the Australian Woolgrowers Council appointed a small committee in late 1970 to look at this question of conferences and how they affected the wool trade. I am sure that this committee would not claim to have made a completely exhaustive inquiry into the system. Nevertheless, it produced a very informative report which, amongst other things, had this to say:
The Committee strongly opposes the continuation of one closed conference on the UKEurope/ Australia trade and the Australia/ UKEurope trade.
It strongly opposes also the establishment of any similar closed conference on other trades from Australia.
Competition is essentially advantageous to the shipper and the Committee believes that the closed conference system works towards elimination of any competition.
Of course, this is the essence of the problem. In fact we are dealing with companies that are working together to ensure that their returns from the trade are as they want them. Any less efficient operator within that conference system brings down the general standard of efficiency of conference shipping. There is not a great deal more that it would be pertinent for me to say tonight because nothing I would say would be likely to influence the Government in the slightest way at this stage. After the elections - all the indications are that this Government will not be returned to power - it will become the responsibility of the new government to look closely at the whole of the conference system. It will not run away from it and go along with the friends of the present Government, as has been the case for so many years.
The annual report of the Australian National Line makes some interesting com ments. Of course, the ANL as a government body or shipping line is in a unique position to assist Australia’s exporters and importers in the overseas trade. It is stated on page 8 of the report:
The ‘Australian Enterprise’ has now been in service for approximately 3 years-
This is on the Japan run - . . and has more than adequately coped with the share of trade given to The Australian National Line by the Conference. Substantial over-earnings above Conference entitlements have been made in each financial year of the ‘Australian Enterprise’ operations. Some measures of relief have been obtained through constant negotiations with the Conference, and notably settlement, normally due every year, has been deferred until expiration of the 4£ year agreement.
As to the future, previous Reports have indicated the Australian flag ambitions in this area. The current southbound pooling agreement expires at the end of 1973 and a great deal of progress has been made wilh ;he Conference towards satisfying these immediate aims hy way of a trade share agreement. . . . lt is obvious that, with the expectations of a greater share for the Australian flag, and the rapidly increasing growth of trade between Australia and Japan, further Australian flag tonnage is needed from 1974 on.
In the previous annua) report the Chairman of the Australian National Line said that there was a lot to be said for the conference system but that there was a lot to be said against it. The Australian National Line cannot be expected to take on or challenge the conference system without the support of the Federal Government. It has never had that support and it is never likely to get it from the present Federal Government. The Australian National Line should be the lever whereby we can devolop better overseas shipping services to this country. There is no question of the success of the Australian National Line which this year has made a profit of approximateely $250,000 on its overseas trade.
– Or was it last year?
– Although I have been rudely interrupted by Senator Wright, I am concerned only about the position this year. It is sufficient to say that the overseas services of the ANL, as the Chairman has said in his report, have demonstrated the ability of Australian flag vessels to operate efficiently in overseas services. Opportunities for extending participation into other liner trades are under continuing examination.
I dare say that there is much more that we could say, but at this stage of the life of the Parliament there is not much to be gained by doing so. I think it should be made quite clear that this Government has accepted the conference system over the years. There has been no attempt to examine it. It is quite obvious that the Government has been prepared to go along with its friends in the British shipping companies over many years. After this year when this Government has been defeated we can look forward to a different approach to overseas shipping and we will have some new ideas coming forward under a Labor administration.
– in reply - One notes in a sense of reality that the Opposition docs not oppose this measure. Indeed. Senator Wriedt, who is the Opposition spokesman, made the point that it was a step forward and that the Opposition welcomed it. Then he made some general observations interlarded with the comment that at the end of the year, after the election has taken place, there will be a new type of government. All I want to say is that I will buy Senator Wriedt a dinner if this comes about, and 1 feel fairly safe in making that offer. I put an upward limit of SI 5 on what he can eat his way through.
– I thought it might be at the old pie shop.
– lt will not be a pie shop dinner; I will do the right thing. However, I feel fairly safe. He has this promise from me that if his Party wins the election I will buy him a dinner with a limit of S15 that he can eat his way through.
– Can we all come?
– No. Senator Wriedt and I would be most agreeable dinner companions, but it. will not happen. Senator Wriedt made some observations and I wish to be as brief as I can in replying to them in order to facilitate the passage of the Bill. He said that he does not oppose the Bill and neither does his Party. Indeed, he said he welcomes it and that it is a step forward. It has been suggested by him that the Australian National Line cannot enter conferences. One reminds the Senate that it was this Gov ernment, which will remain in office after December 2nd, thus saving me SIS, that introduced the Australian flag vessels into overseas shipping services, and by the provisions of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act has protected the rights of efficient Australian flag operators to enter the overseas trade. Government owned and privately owned flag vessels are operating now in 4 of our overseas trades - to the United Kingdom and Europe, to Japan, and to the east and west coasts of North America.
Some criticism was levelled by Senator Wriedt - indeed, it has been levelled by others in other places - at the Government’s policy of support for the conference system. Exporters require regular shipping services wilh known rates of freight which only the liner system of shipping provides. This is very true for Australia which is distinct from its major markets and quite distant, with a long coastline and widely separated ports from which exporters require to have lifted a very diverse range of products to more than 250 overseas destinations. The Government’s acceptance of the conference system is subject, of course, to the safeguards provided in the Restrictive Trade Practices Act. This ensures that the conferences are obliged to enter into meaningful negotiations with shipper bodies on rates and other conditions. They are free to obtain and use more competitive shipping arrangements if these are to their commercial advantage. Indeed, products served by liner vessels are shipped today by charter arrangements now that export volumes have been increased. The essential fact of the matter is that the vast majority of the Australian shippers give their continued support to the conference liner system which provides the predictable and regular service that they need to develop their export trade. They are agreed that there is no practicable alternative.
In the spirit that Senator Wriedt entered the debate - he said that the Opposition does not opposite the Bill; it treats it as a step forward; in fact, it welcomes this legislation - I do not think that I would help the Senate by going on any further. I suggest that the measure might well be disposed of.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 25 October (vide page 1915), on motion by Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– On behalf of the Australian Labor Party, I move the following amendment:
At the end of motion add, ‘but the Senate is of the opinion - (a) that the Commonwealth Government should take the initiative to establish child care centres to meet the needs of working mothers, and should do this on a basis of priorities, to give maximum advantage to a maximum number of families, rather than leave the provision of this service to the chance interest of employers and local authorities, and (b) that child care centres should be within the province of the Department of Education and Science, and should be part of a pre-school system developed progressively throughout the nation’.
Pre-school centres, or the lack of them, have been the subject of a great deal of concern in the community, not only to parents but also to psychiatrists and teachers. The community generally has been very critical of the Government’s failure to provide these essential services for the very young members of our community. I am sure it was the realisation of this that prompted Mr Gorton in the 1970 Senate election campaign to say on 4th November - almost 2 years ago - at the Malvern Town Hall: 1 now announce a new objective to which we give very high priority. That is, the establishment of child care centres for children of pre-school agc.
In Australia, as in other advanced countries overseas, married women - including those with children of pre-school age - are entering regular employment in increasing numbers. Thus, in the decade 1960-70 the number of married women in the work force almost doubled - from 9.3 per cent to 18.3 per cent.
We wish to ensure that the children of these women have every opportunity for the fullest development in both the emotional and physical sense. Studies made by the Department of Labour and National Service show that existing facilities to ensure this are woefully inadequate.
It is therefore somewhat surprising that at the end of the parliamentary session, in one of the last dozen Bills to be passed through this House - it was one of the last Bills to be passed through the House of Representatives - we should be seeking to bring into effect a promise that was made during the 1970 Senate election campaign. Subsequently the Federal Government changed its attitude and its Prime Minister, and the well made plans of Prime Minister Gorton were relegated when Mr McMahon became the Prime Minister. Soon after Mr McMahon became Prime Minister, the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch), in reply to a question in the House of Representatives, said:
During the 1970 Senate campaign the Government announced as a new Commonwealth initiative a scheme to assist in the operation of childminding centres. . . .
Then he we:. t on to say:
These facts have not changed and neither has the Government. What has changed is the economic situation, which may be a matter of some surprise to the Opposition. It is because of this Government’s appreciation of the importance of restraining inflationary pressures in the community that we determined a policy of curtailing Commonwealth expenditure.
This has been the policy of the present Prime Minister for a considerable number of years. T had hoped to say something about this matter in the previous debate on urban affairs. I draw the Senate’s attention to statements made in the 3 years in which Mr McMahon was the Federal Treasurer. I refer, in particular, to his Budget speech for 1967-68 in which he said:
One reason why wc have drawn the reins on public spending more tightly than before is to provide room for balanced expansion of the private sector. For some years now the public sector has been setting the pace and doing so strongly.
He said more or less the same thing the following year and the year after that. The Budget documents for the year ended 30th June 1972 show the Commonwealth expenditure and income in the years 1970-71 and 1971-72. The Minister for Health (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) in his second reading speech on Appropriation Act (No. 2) 1972- 73 drew attention to the fact that the child care scheme will cost the Commonwealth $4.8m. In 1970-71, which was the year immediately associated with the statements of ex-Prime Minister Gorton to which I have referred, the Commonwealth took $430m out of Federal revenue and put it into the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve Fund, and the following year it took out another $543m. So the Commonwealth took almost $ 1, 000m out of circulation and put it aside in a trust fund, and something like $2, 750m of that amount still remains in that fund.
In 1970 the Commonwealth expressed the view that there was an urgent need for child care centres, and Mr Gorton said that he would give the matter very high priority. Now we have the Government saying that it is prepared to allocate §4.8m in the current financial year for child care centres, that the expenditure will rise to $6.5m in a full year, and that in the first 3 years of the scheme approximately $23m will be made available for this purpose. I challenge the Government to prove that the expenditure of such a small amount of money as is involved here would have created any of the inflationary pressures for which the Commonwealth itself was responsible, because if one examines the Budget income from 1970-71 through to the current year one finds increases in every sector of Government expenditure. The Government was prepared to put aside this important question of child care centres.
Let us look at the Bill itself. Child care must concern itself with mental health - an integral part of the problem - with the welfare of working mothers and with their pre-school children. But where we differ from the Government, as we have said in our amendment, is that the Government is making no attempt to provide for the educational or mental health aspects in the establishment of child care centres. The Government will place the responsibility for those matters largely on the people in the community who are prepared to activate themselves either at the industrial or the local level. The Government is placing the responsibility on any well meaning people in the community who are prepared to band together to assist in establishing child care centres. It has been established beyond any reasonable shadow of a doubt that there is a need for a loving and continuous relationship between any child under 3 years of age and its mother or, if the mother is dead or is not able to fill tha: role, some mother image. This is very important for the mental development and subsequently for the personality development of the child. When one considers that at the present time there are 1,261,610 children under 4 years of age in Australia, one can appreciate the great and urgent need to provide child care facilities.
The Minister in his second reading speech drew attention to the fact that at the present time in Australia there are some 80 child care centres operating on a non-profit basis. What a great indictment it is of our society and of the Commonwealth which took 21 years, to 1970, to realise that there is a social need for child care centres and which has taken another 2 years - 23 years in total - to bring this legislation before the Parliament. At this rate, clearly millions of young children in our community will not have the advantages of a proper child care relationship with their mother and with other children. The principal objective of the Commonwealth is set out clearly in a pamphlet entitled ‘Women in the Work Force’ which was published by the Department of Labour and National Service. The pamphlet states:
The Department -
After all, this must be said to represent the Government’s viewpoint - is interested in the developing role of women in the work force and is concerned with encouraging the best possible use of the talents and abilities of Australian women.
In introducing this legislation the Government was not concerned for the child or for the mental health of the child or the mother. Those who advocate an increase in the number of working mothers do so in order to increase national productivity. Those who permit an economic situation in which mothers are forced to work jeopardise the mental health not only of the mother but also of future generations.
A great deal of research has been carried out into the area of children under 5 years of age. I have been surprised to find that the Government largely has ignored a great deal of the advice which is available. The Plowden report - this was a report in the United Kingdom; the British Government has made many surveys and has carried out a great deal of research in these areas - states: lt is generally undesirable except to prevent a greater link to separate mother and child for a whole day in a nursery 5 days a week.
It recommended that mothers of young children should be encouraged to spend as much time as possible with young children or, if there are economic pressures that require a mother to go to work, then governments need to give consideration to the provision of special allowances in the form of financial relief to a mother so that a mother is not separated from a child under 4 years of age. Most mothers go to work for economic reasons. It is true, and I think it can be established across the board, that some women find the need to work for their own mental stimulation. However, if a government were sincere it would give a substantial allowance to those mothers who would otherwise elect to go to work, to stay at home to care for their young children. It is recognised that some mothers want child care centres for their own self-fulfilment. It is true, having regard to the state of health of the mother or the state of home and tensions, that some children would benefit from the tensionfree environment which they would probably find in a child care centre. Nevertheless, experts say that the overriding consideration is that 3 to 5 years is the most desirable age for the child to have a mother relationship. We certainly agree that each individual varies. Therefore the legislation needs to be very flexible.
If the Government really wanted to play its part in this area of child care and also give some recognition of the. economic pressures in our community on the low income groups it should set out to organise part time work rather than full time work generally. I am sure that the. Government would find and the community would find that this overall would be in the interests of the child. Differences exist about the centres themselves. It seems to me that the legislation which the Government has before this place seeks to give overemphasis on having these centres established at the place of work. It is true that a great number of people have differences of opinion in this area. Specialists who have studied the problem find that it is difficult to come to any conclusion but I think, largely speaking, that child care centres should be established in the community. They should be part of community life. They should be self acting organisations, probably under the care, control and management of the local authorities, with local committees seeking to operate them in the interests of self management.
The Commonwealth should provide adequate subsidies so that the emphasis is on the educational side and not so much on the raising of finance, which is the principal factor in the activities of the existing child care centres in Australia. In his second reading speech Senator Greenwood drew attention to the fact that about 80 child care centres are operating on a nonprofit basis throughout Australia. There is abundant evidence to show that large numbers of privately run child care centres are conducted without adequate provision in a backyard fashion by untrained people giving no really detailed or fundamental attention to the development of the personality of the child. It is true that the legislation seeks to make a movement in the direction of improving this problem by giving some encouragement and initiative to those who are prepared on the industrial level or the local level to establish additional child care centres.
Part (a) of the Labor Party’s amendment is a move to provide for greater Government involvement in the setting up of centres throughout Australia. The Government’s aversion to Commonwealth controls is again manifest in the legislation. Instead of taking the initiative in this proposal the Government proposes to encourage interested groups to do its work for it. The thought that immediately springs to mind here is: If there is no interested group to set up centres in an area even though there is an urgent need, no centres will be established. It will be just bad luck for mothers and children living in those areas. The Bill assumes that there will be no problem about it. Clearly if there were no problem there would be no need for the Government to take this belated step wilh this legislation. I ask the Minister: On what basis or on what research or information is this assumption founded? I believe there is none. This is a simple error in the drawing up of what can only be described as a piece of hastily drawn up legislation. Making available unmatched grants is no guarantee that centres will be supplied in all regions where they are necessary.
It is clear that this Bill is but another piece of pre-election propaganda such as we have seen in recent times. It is a show piece for the Liberals’ campaign. ] shall outline some of the facts which justify those remarks. The Bill makes provision for only 3,000 children in the first full year. In the Minister’s second reading speech he stated a figure of 150,000 preschool age children whose mothers are working. At this rate it would be 50 years before the Government’s plans could cater for the present needs, and that is not having regard to the increase in population. The Government shows its contempt for the intelligence of the people of Australia when it slates that this Government’s initiative is a tangible expression of its very real and proper concern for the welfare of children. This Government’s initiative - hardly the right word - is designed as nothing more than a vote catcher in the coming election. There is a vast difference between passing a Bill such as this and actually setting up a comprehensive policy and framework to achieve the desired objectives.
In a feature article in the Sydney ‘Sun’ several months ago it was pointed out that at present only 40 pre-school teachers graduate from training colleges each year but facilities have improved and the intake next year will be doubled. So the question of providing trained teachers, which I know the Government has recognised as part of the problem, will be a major obstacle to giving every child whose mother has to work the right and facility to do so. Of course, that does not take into consideration those mothers who want to work for their own reasons - not necessarily economic reasons - and who want to avail themselves of the facilities of a child care centre. Clearly the priority question which we stress in our amendment is going to be of great significance.
If the Commonwealth were in control it would be able to keep a low uniform fee for this service. Surely this is an important factor in the consideration of the whole matter. Fees should be low enough to enable everyone to avail themselves of the facilities. Of course, if the emphasis is to lend encouragement to working mothers the question of fees becomes a very important consideration. But there is nothing in the legislation to ensure that the fees will be minimal. The New South Wales Child Welfare Department has expressed concern at the number of unqualified and often indifferent housekeepers and nannies who are caring for children in their own homes. If charges are not removed altogether or kept to a minimum this undesirable situation which is now rampant in the developing areas of the major cities will be allowed :o continue. Sister Emms, the occupational health nurse at a small arms factory in Lithgow has made some relevant comments about this matter. In a report entitled ‘Pre- school Centres in Industry’, prepared by a sub-committee of the Industry Standing Committee of the New South Wales Association for Mental Health, a body subsidised by the New South Wales Department of Health, Sister Emms had this to say:
I have seen and heard of sick children being bundled out of their homes to be handed over to untrained people to be minded. In my opinion a number of these children are not adequately fed or cared for. I think this makes the children feel unwanted and insecure and that they will be the problem children in the future.
A number of cases from this report should be referred to because they give some indication of the sort of problem which exists in our community at the moment. Cases occur of children left unattended in cars. There are other children not being given any real consideration by the people whose responsibility it is to look after them. Sometimes children are left in their homes while a parent working at a nearby factory has an arrangement with the factory to go every so often to check whether they are alive and well. These sorts of abnormal situations which exist within our community are surely matters which must concern those of us who have responsibility in government. The Labor Party feels that the only way to put an end to these occurrences is to minimise the charges and establish more child care centres of a higher quality. The only way that this can be done is through a government run, government subsidised scheme. According to the New South Wales Department of Child Welfare existing child care centres cater for only 2.8 per cent of pre-school children and only 6 per cent of 3 to 5-year-olds. A subcommittee of the New South Wales Association for Mental Health expresses the opinion that in many areas the situation is even worse than the figures indicate.
The sub-committee points out that privately run centres are usually concentrated in the middle income areas and that numerous low income areas with large populations are virtually without centres: examples include Villawood, Green Valley, Fairfield and Botany. It is interesting to note that about 50 child care centres are already operating in Canberra. If that same ratio applied right throughout Australia the resultant situation would be one that this Parliament could be much more happy about than it is at the moment. Sweden, a frontrunner in this field, aims at catering for 80 per cent of pre-school children. The Australian Capital Territory caters for 31 per cent of 3 to 5-year-olds. What is the figure the Government has in mind for the whole of Australia? I think we are entitled to compare the S23m which the Commonwealth says it will make available over the next 3 years with the $1,00Om that the Government has taken out of revenue in the last 2 years since Mr Gorton made his famous pledge in 1970 and say that the sort of money we are asking for is not beyond the financial resources of the Commonwealth.
One of the few desirable features in the Bill is that the relocation should be according to need while the great shortage exists. We are pleased that some recognition has been given to this factor. I will take it one step further and say that placement should be on a part time basis where possible and while the shortage lasts. Judging by the provisions of the Bill the shortage will last for many years if this Government is returned at the election at the end of this year. I think we should also consider the granting of a special allowance to mothers of children under 3 years old, as is done now in some of the more advanced countries such as Hungary and Austria, so that the financial pressures which force women to work during this period are eased, if not removed altogether. That treatment brings into sharp relief the failure of the Government to pay decent allowances to young mothers to encourage them to stay with their children in the early formative years.
I would like to now discuss where these centres should be situated - near the home or near the place of employment. There is considerable diversity of opinion about this point. Some authorities such as Professor Hugh Philip, Professor of Education at Macquarie University, have expressed doubt that such industrial centres are in the best interests of the child. Further matters should be considered when talking about locating centres in or around factories or in industrial areas, especially if they are to be set up and controlled by employers. It has been suggested that one drawback to these proposals is that the employer would gain a lien on the mother, who may tolerate adverse working conditions in return for care of her child. Mr G. W. Ford, a senior lecturer in industrial relations at the University of New South Wales, warns of the possibility of new industrial issues arising between management and unions if firms become involved in the establishment of such centres. He considers the possibility of some unions taking the view that firms would be tying people down and consequently reducing their bargaining position. He considers, and I and the Labor Party agree, that community centres are more desirable so that no complications would occur if there were lay-offs or strikes.
I will use the rest of the time available to me to discuss a matter which I feel is directly related to a Bill such as this one. The issues of a Bill of this nature are not just those concerned with the caring of children. They are just as much concerned with the issue of women in society. It is a sad reflection on a western male-oriented society such as ours that this matter has received so little attention in the past, lt is contemptible that such an important matter is only now being brought forward. European, particularly Scandinavian, countries made advances in this field as long ago as 10 years. For too long men in legislatures such as this Parliament have been prepared to compel women to stay at home and occupy themselves with domestic duties. While most women who work are forced to do so for purely financial reasons, large numbers of them are seeking employment for other than financial reasons. They are seeking mental stimulation in an effort to break out of the kitchen, bedroom and vegetable bonds in which men of the past have kept them. Every assistance must be therefore given to women wishing to break out of the traditional housewife role. This Bill directly relates to their ability to do so. As I said earlier, it is disgraceful that the commencement of any initiative has not occurred until the end of 1972. lt may seem ridiculous to be talking about women’s rights in 1972, but it is even more ridiculous that there is a need to do so in 1972. While there is a shortage of places in child care centres, we agree that priority should be given to the children of working mothers and that special arrangements should be made to enable the closest relationship between the working mother and the child. However, in the long term, when these shortages are overcome I feel that free child care centres should be available to all mothers so that those who wish to pursue careers and interests in the same manner as men may do so. The provisions of this Bill in our view are totally inadequate and display just how out of touch the Government is with trends and sociological changes occurring in Australia and all over the world. We suggest that the Senate consider the amendment that we have proposed because it will place the question of priorities rather than the needs of industry in the forefront. It will insist upon the emphasis on education being part of the overall consideration of the Bill. It should not be seen only in the limited concept of child care centres.
At present about 25 per cent of mothers with children under 6 years of age are working. This has some significance despite the fact that some of these working mothers are engaged in profit making ventures within their own homes. However, there are still over 150,000 pre-school children whose mothers work outside the home. For this reason I believe that the Government has needed to give attention not only to the matter of child care facilities but also to the introduction of a measure which will provide adequate child care facilities for these 150,000 pre-school age children. This social change has already happened. This Bill is not an inducement by the Government to encourage women with preschool age children to enter the work force, but rather I see it as a Government reaction to the social change which has already occurred. It is necessary to look at some of the terms of this Bill and perhaps relate them to the requirements of Australian children and the working mothers of the future.
I think we should look at some of the aspects of the Bill because the honourable senator who has just resumed his seat did not mention what I considered to be one of the most important aspects of the Bill - the amount of $200,000 which has been set aside for research. Many matters of research in other countries have been quoted but I feel very encouraged that there will be a continuing research programme within Australia looking at Australian conditions and deciding what sort of childcare facilities we would like to see provided. I believe that establishment of a child care standards advisory committee which has been provided for under this Bill to advise the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) on the range of facilities that will be covered by the unmatched capital grants is quite important. The fact that we shall have a child care standards advisory committee, I believe, will give continuing relevance to the needs of the children and to the needs of the working mother.
I would think too that the committee will take its own research into areas which will show they way in which a woman may exercise her choice to combine the role of motherhood and homekeeper while engaging in profitable employment for which she has no doubt been trained. I think that the research which will explore child care - that is day care, after school care and holiday care - will also be an important part of the work which needs to be done in Australia, looking at Australian conditions. One should remember that within Australia there are not so many families with different age groups of people within the family structure. We have very much a family structure of parents and children rather than the other generations which are involved in some other countries of the world in close living conditions.
The appointment of a child care research committee will also be provided for under this Bill. The advisory committee and the research committee seem to me to be 2 aspects of the Bill to which 1 can give support; because whilst there are some 150,000 children who need day care while their mothers are working as a result of social change, T would like to think that we would evaluate, too, the implications of the mother of the pre-school child being employed outside the home. If we wish to use the full potential of Australian women some of whom are professionally or commercially trained, some of whom wished to be career women exclusively and some of whom wish to combine the dual role of homemaker and parent and to be gainfully employed, we would want the oportunity to exist for these women to have the right to choose. After all, is this not fundamental to Liberal Party philosophy, that there is the right of the individual to choose? The right to choose, of course, can only be realised if some of the necessities which make that right to choose possible are established, and this probably is not exclusively a government responsibility. On the other hand, however, if there is to be a right to choose by a woman for her self-expression and the way in which she interprets her role as a parent and as a responsible member of the community, then 1 feel that in this particular case some action by the Government was necessary.
Under this Bill it is hoped to establish some 50 new centres catering for, perhaps, 3,000 children. When one looks at the prospect of 150,000 children in the preschool group, the provision of 3,000 child care places in the first year does seem to be rather limiting. However, I think it would be agreed that if one were to inter pret properly what is needed, 3,000 child care places in the first year is an advance on what is already available and maybe it will be the means of determining the best type of child care we can provide.
Another part of the Bill which has not received a great deal of attention at this stage is the incentive which it provides for qualified staff of pre-school teachers and nurses. This Bill will provide half of the salaries as an incentive to the centres to provide the qualified staff which could offer the best type of care and the most intelligent interpretation of their role as people who are caring for children for some hours each day. I would like to think that the incentive which is given under this Bill will be exercised to the extent that qualified staff are available in the community for this service.
Under this Bill also the standards to be set in the child care centres are to be in the hands of State or local governments and must meet their requirements. I would hope, too, even in accordance with the amendment of the Opposition that the child care centres would not be simply child minding centres or maintenance centres. I would like to think that they would be developmental; but I do not see at this stage that we should link them with what we term a ‘pre-school education programme’. I should like to think that they will be developmental of the child who spends several hours each day in them, and I feel sure that if there were emphasis on qualified staff this developmental process would be a natural evolution of the child’s growth as he or she attended the same centre for several hours each day.
– It would not be natural to separate it from its mother.
– There would be separation from the mother which I feel would be better catered for if qualified staff were assessing the growth of the child in the various stages and were able to develop better the processes through which the child could understand and use those several hours each day. The 80 child care centres which are at present in existence in Australia on a non-profit basis have already some of the facilities that we would see as being necessary. However, [ would hope that the new programme which gives an incentive to the qualified staff would enhance the facilities which are available in the future and would mean that these child care centres are perhaps more desirable for the care of the younger child.
Assistance is provided at 3 levels under this Bill: There is assistance to the child who will be cared for in the centre, assistance to the family and assistance to the community. I agree with the medical views which have been expressed this evening that inadequate and unsatisfactory child care can contribute to emotional disturbance particularly if it is child care which is given when the child is at a tender age - under 3 or 4 years. I would hope that there is a parental responsibility to be exercised here and that the child under 3 or 4 years who would be cared for in the child care centre would be more likely to be the child of a single parent or the child of a person who is ill or incapacitated and who needed the particular opportunity to have specialised care facilities. For this reason I welcome the provision in the Bill that facilities will be given in priority to those children who have special needs or to- those parents who have special needs.
I think that the children of mothers who are unable to care for them or of the single male parent who is occupied in earning income for the family will need to have Specialised care such as we envisage will be provided under this Bill. If one considers the opportunity to give priority to children in special need; if one considers the fact that we are establishing a research programme which we believe will be a continuing process and which will take into account the future needs of Australian children in their own conditions; and if one understands that there are these grants to give an incentive to the centres to employ trained staff, then I think honourable senators will agree that the Government has approached what is a social concern in a very practical way. I believe the Government’s approach shows that it places emphasis on the role of the family and the responsibility of the mother to the child. It is using this opportunity to set a pattern of child care centres which We hope will be of advantage to children, which will enable the mother to make her choice as to whether she combines her role of mother and some career. I hope that this will develop a pattern for the future according to our needs in Australia.
I was interested in the comments about Hungary and the home care allowance which is given to women there. My recollection of the statistics in relation to that country, where women have been working and perhaps working without choice for a very long time, is that with the introduction of a home care allowance some 75 per cent of the women, or an even greater percentage, elected to accept the home care allowance rather than employment outside the home. This gives me some feeling that the research which we undertake may lead to some conclusions which, at this stage, are not evident. I would like to think that the research which is undertaken will show the attitudes of Australian women towards their dual role. We might find an election by many Australian women - who work purely for economic reasons - to stay in the home if a home care allowance were provided for them.
Some reference was also made to Finland. A short time ago I met the director of the child care centres of that country when she was visiting Australia. It was of great interest to me to have, the opportunity to talk to someone who had been engaged in the supervision of the Government’s child care centres in Finland for some 30 years, I think, and to hear of her experiences and her understanding of this facility which has been provided in that country where the proportion of married women who work and have pre-school children is very high indeed. All of these things are interesting to us as Australians. In one sense perhaps they are part of the social change which women have demanded for themselves. I think women have the right to evaluate the way in which they interpret this social change. If we see the role of the mother as being a fundamental ethical and cultural influence and if, at the same, time, we wish to allow women to exercise the right of choice which I mentioned, then I believe that a Bill such as the one which the Government is now introducing is necessary for Australia at the present time. I believe that the Government’s reaction to the change which I mentioned is timely.
I support the Bill, with emphasis on the results of the research programme which is being undertaken. 1 hope that the S23m programme which has been announced by the Government will be interpreted intelligently, wisely and with due regard for the needs of the children of Australia. 1 hope that women will be protected in their responsibilities and given some choice as to the way in which they see their role. Above all. I hope that the research will provide a means of establishing a type of facility which will not be of emotional detriment to the very young children of Australia.
– The Australian Democratic Labor Party will allow the Child Care Bill to pass. It does not conform with the ideas which we have expressed in relation to the family. We recognise that in our community there is a necessity for some help in this area. I have listened to the speeches which have been made to date. As a father who has found no generation gap in his family because it was never allowed to develop, 1 shudder when I hear people talk of children under 5 years of age and of the tender age of 3 years being placed in the hands of trained staff. When do they feel they are being loved? Today I see trained staff teaching our young people at universities. These young people go in normal and adjusted. They are not in the universities under trained staff for very long before they develop all sorts of queer attitudes towards society. Of course, I know that this applies only to the minority who receive the Press publicity. Probably, if we searched the statistics, we would find that these young people arc from well adjusted homes and are not children who went to part time orphanages which are now given the very special name of child care centres.
For a long time now we, as a civilised community, have recognised the deficiencies of orphanages. We have tried to take children out of institutionalised circumstances when, because of fate, they have no parents of their own to love them. For them to feel loved they have to be placed with families where they can be absorbed in a normal atmosphere. I listen to the alleged experts who are suggesting that we must institutionalise the care of children where people are forced by circum stances - and even where it is their own desire - to abandon a 3-year-old child for 8 hours a day 5 days a week to the care of an institution with expert, trained staff. Expert in what? Expert in pre-school education which have heard mentioned? Does their training teach such staff to pay personal attention to the individual child, with its enormous curiosity about the terrific experience of life and living? Such a child wants special and personalised care to help it adjust to the challenges and fears which this great world must have for the mind of a 3-year-old child. Such a child runs to a well trained expert - who has no personal interest - al the same lime as, perhaps, 10 or 15 other children do.
And the child returns to what? Perhaps the parent is a widower or a widow. If there are such circumstances it is regrettable that we have to create these places rather than having those children cared for in circumstances similar to those which we try to provide for orphans, which is in a home atmosphere. The average mother who has one or two children might not be specially trained. She may have no ambition to go out to work and if subsidised she might readily take a third child such as a 3-year-old, to share in the love of the family for the day. There would be no specialised nursing knowledge or anything like that; but there would be love, a family atmosphere and personal attention for the child. From my experience in dealing with children as a parent, I think this is far more important than knowing the germ content of the water which they may drink. I am horrified to know that 80 per cent of the children in Sweden have access to child care centres. I wonder what sort of a nation Sweden will become in the future? I hope it is not complaining about the generation gap because, if it is, that is where it started - at 3 years of age.
What is the destiny of the child who comes home after 8 hours in a child care centre to a mother who is exhausted by 8 hours of employment in a factory or a shop and who is faced with preparing tea for her husband and one, 2 or 3 children as well? The child who has come home from the baby care centre is thrust out of the way while the urgent duties of feeding the rest of the family are engaged in. Then it is packed off to bed to sleep. In the morning it gets up to chaos and confusion and then goes off to the child care centre again. Of course, Saturday is the time for the child to be loved. Then, instead of giving him love, the parents spoil him because of conscience. 1 am not speaking from personal experience, but I have been told by people who have spent a lifetime in pre-school education about the position in the world today. One woman rang me only a fortnight ago and said that in America they are abandoning the idea of child care centres as they are regarded as evil institutions that are causing all sorts of troubles. So we say that we are prepared to allow this legislation to pass if we can find nothing better to fill the gap in our community where the need for them is unavoidable. But we should be doing everything that we can to discourage this need where it is not absolutely necessary.
People are not having families of 6, 7 and 8 children in the general sense now. Some do, and they do not seek child minding centres or anything of this nature. Some women find a marvellous destiny in dealing with 6 or 7 different personalities in a developing country which requires far greater intelligence than is required for the manufacture of shoes or handbags or for stitching a tag on a shoe or a bit of lace onto a dress. A woman may be stitching lace onto the same type of dress all day; yet people talk of careers for women. On the other hand a woman may have 4, 5 or 6 children with completely different personalities which need to be loved. She has to meet the challenge of the adjustment of personalities within the family circle. I would prefer to see our society pointing to the idealism of a career of this character once a woman embarks upon it rather than have it say: ‘Let us snatch you from the bondage of the bedroom and the kitchen and so on’ - a domain which is all her own. There are many modern appliances to take much of the drudgery out of a woman’s life and to leave her far more time than was available to our parents and grandparents to enjoy the intricacies of family life and the wonders of developing new lives and new personalities. I would rather view the problem from this aspect.
The Australian Democratic Labor Party has always stood for the family. I can assure honourable senators that that is our attitude. We regret the need to institutionalise anything of this character at all. We have long advocated an increase in child endowment to stop the economic pressures that are forcing mothers to consider this type of neglect. The child who goes to the child care centre for 5 days a week for 8 hours a day, as envisaged in the second reading speech of the Minister, comes home to chaos and confusion, is swept off to bed to sleep, is awakened in the morning to similar chaos and confusion when the family is getting off to work, and in the process is dumped somewhere with strangers who do their best. These people have to deal with a number of children and it is beyond their capacity to treat the children individually. As a result the institutionalised aspect of these organisations must creep in. Children in these circumstances are unloved. They have no individuality and they are unwanted. They are raced home to be spoilt at the weekend by parents and then they face another week of the same sort of chaos and confusion. Is it any wonder that we have a generation gap? How can the child feel secure with constant changes in the people who are advising, helping and directing it? The child just gets to know and understand the personality of the expert who may be helping it in a part time capacity during the week when it has to adjust to its own parents at home again at the weekend. Once the weekend is over the child is sent to the child care centre again.
No-one with any feeling for the child or the family could think that there was any possibility of improving the standards of civilisation by taking such a retrogressive step as is envisaged under this legislation. Surely in our grandparents generation we had begun to move away from the ideas of placing in orphanages children who were faced with the necessity of being reared by the State because their parents had died or had abandoned them. Today we try to place orphans as much as we can amongst other families and although not the whole of the gap can be bridged at least part of it can. There are far better ways of handling this problem than is envisaged in the legislation before us. I am glad that part of the Bill - this is one of the things that help us to allow the measure to pass - provides for scientific research. If the trend in Australia follows the pattern of other counries, particularly the United States of America on the advice tended to me, it will be discovered that these places are not the solution to the problem at all. We would like to see a subsidisation of the child, perhaps in the atmosphere of a family circle, rather than what is contained in the Bill. Whilst such an environment may not have the scientific technical perfection of the trained mothercraft nurse, it will at least have the softness of the family home and family background.
The Bill seeks to provide §23m for the purpose stated. This is not much of an expense for the Commonwealth. A lot of this money will come from the mothers who go to work. Of course, the mother will pay taxation and the fathers will be unable to claim a rebate for them. Therefore the Commonwealth coffers will be further filled by the taxation it is clearing from this area of activity. The sum of S23m will be put back. Indeed, I would think that the Commonwealth would be gaining. But let us see what our society as a whole is losing. Let us note how child delinquency figures continue to rise. Any child psychiatric expert will tell us today that this is mostly because of neglect in the family. Is this neglect in the form of a lack of food, clothing or shelter, or is it neglect of the time necessary to establish proper relationships - a neglect of time in which the child can feel wanted, special and loved in a family circumstance? How can it feel loved when the only time it spends time at home for the majority of the week it is asleep? When does such a child learn to understand the personalities of its parents and make the necessary adjustments to live in harmony with them? It will not be able to do this if it is a constant resident at a child care centre.
A woman with a lifetime of experience in pre-school teaching expressed very strong views to me on this matter. She described these institutions as 8-hour-a-day orphanages or mother neglect centres, not child welfare centres. I hope that the Government will keep these things in mind and will not anticipate the demands of the labour market, which some experts say is over-supplied. We are making provision in the main under this legislation for mothers who may not need to be in the labour market and who could do a far more important and worthwhile job in the home circle if we were to ease the economic pressure that is forcing them out to work. The policy of the DLP has been for an increase in child endowment to keep pace with increases in the cost of living. We cannot get the Government to listen to us to the extent that we would like.
– But you always support the Government.
– The Government will spend the money, of course. Do not tell me, Senator Georges, what you would support, because we have given your Party opportunity after opportunity to support us on these policies. The Labor Party has never supported us at all. The honourable senator is amongst those who are grizzling and saying that the unemployment figures are the greatest threat the country has ever known when he knows as well as I do that there are many people who have 2 jobs and many families who have 3 jobs. The recognised Opposition of this country has abandoned the principle of the family society and has endorsed, and indeed not only approved but sponsored, the permissive society that is wrecking the family community.
– And has advocated higher child endowment.
– Yes, you advocate it when you think of it, and you are a long way behind us in terms of amounts and everything else.
– And they also have abandoned the principle of one man one job.
– Of course they have abandoned the principle of one man one job. That deflects me from the principles I am outlining in relation to child care centres. It brings me then to the amendment.
– Come home to the family bosom and poverty.
– It depends on what Senator George’s vision is as a member of the Australian Labor Party and what my vision is as to what constitutes poverty and if Senator George’s mind does not rise above monetary matters and materialism, let me assure him that mine does. He thinks of poverty only in terms of the wealth that people have and seems to spend most of his time being jealous of somebody who has $1 more than he has. He wants to call them capitalists and himself pure because he is a working man of some shape or form. I do not know what his job is. I understand that he owns businesses too. There are as many wealthy lawyers, doctors and other people in Senator George’s party as there are in any other party, lt is not a matter of material wealth it is a matter of poverty of love, poverty of attention and care that we are talking about and it is completely above the minds of the people who suggest that they represent the working class. The working class does not want to be in the position where mothers are forced by economic circumstances to accept employment. However many mothercraft nurses there are, when a child is taken to a child care centre where there are a number of ot’-.er children and trained scientific staff, it is in an institution.
– You talk so much rot.
– If Senator Georges has abandoned his children to this type of rearing I hope he will not suffer the recriminations that many do when they find that there is a generation gap.
– You are so far behind the times.
– I am glad I am so far behind those times because I feel that those times are the ones which are creating the enormous problems throughout the world today that we did not have when life was not geared to this tempo. In those days people played their role in life and a mother was with her children in a home. In that home she was the most important person in a family group which sometimes numbered 7, 8 or 9. Today she can work in a factory or a shop or in any of the 99 per cent of vocations which are open to women, leaving aside the specialised vocations, such as a fashion career or medicine. But the women in these specialised vocations do not constitute the great mass of women who are working. Where are the great careers of the majority of them? Is it putting the wiggle on top of a chocolate all day and sacrificing the enormous love and affection that her children can develop for her?
– You are responsible for that situation.
- Senator Georges would not take the women out of the factories. He sits here advocating that they should be put into them. I want to say something about the amendment and if Senator Georges is still interjecting when I have finished with the amendment he will go plum crazy.
– You support the Bill?
– Of course we are allowing it to be passed because there is no other way suggested. But the Democratic Labor Party is on the march and its membership is growing. The day will come when people will realise the limitations of the philosophy of permissiveness that the Opposition is selling them. Already there is great fear amongst mothers in this community that they have been sold a pup in the ideas on dope taking that members of the Opposition put forward, as well as ideas on the unlimited access to pornography with no censorship. Mothers are becoming fear stricken at the effects these ideas are having in their family circles and they are turning back to what one might call the foolish old-fashioned ideas of people concerned with the family itself.
– I rise to order. An honourable member is entitled to speak but, with due respect to the Chair, Senator Little has been consistently interrupted and it is impossible for other honourable senators in the chamber to hear him. I think, Mr Acting Deputy President, that you should call the Opposition to order.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Lawrie) - Order! The honourable members opposite will cease interjecting. I call Senator Little.
– I shall endeavour not to provoke honourable senators opposite with common sense they do not understand and will deal merely with the amendment. The amendment states: thai the Commonwealth Government should take the initiative to establish child care centres . . .
That is what the Commonwealth Government has done within the ambit of what is possible for it to do. The Commonwealth Government cannot march into the various States of the Commonwealth and start slapping a Commonwealth-imposed child care system on them.
– Why not?
– The Commonwealth Government would probably be thrown out by the States because, under the Australian Constitution, this is an area which is within the jurisdiction of the States. The Commonwealth Government can give grants to the States and stipulate that those funds will be used for specific purposes. That is what the Bill does.
Members of the Australian Labor Party have suggested that some improvement in the system could be effected by removing the responsibility for child care services from the jurisdiction of the States, which may already have at least some knowledge and staff in this field, putting this entire area of welfare - from the far north of Queensland to the depths of Western Australia - under the control of a department of experts in Canberra. Of course, what members of the Opposition are suggesting is the further institutionalising of the institutionalisation that has already been suggested and to which I object anyway. So, the Democratic Labor Party does not accept the first amendment moved by the Australian Labor Party. It is silly to suggest an amendment which is impracticable. Indeed, that honourable senators opposite want to take from the State governments the jurisdiction over child care centres seems to indicate a lack of confidence in the State Labor governments. Perhaps members of the Labor Party consider the State Labor governments to be of a temporary nature; I leave that to them to decide. Surely honourable senators opposite feel that the State governments would be better equipped to handle this field of welfare and would handle it better than if the whole area were institutionalised in Canberra where the Labor Party does not even have a government of its political complexion. Or have honourable senators opposite lost confidence in the marihuana-taking, pornographic advocacy of the members of the parliamentary Labor Party who hold those views? Can honourable senators opposite not bear the idea of people-
– Mr Deputy President, I take a point of order. I suggest to you that Senator Little is casting aspersions on members of the Australian Labor Party. On 2 occasions he has referred to members of the Labor Party being interested in por nography and drug taking. I suggest that you should ask Senator Little to withdraw his comments. There may have been so much uproar in the chamber that you did not hear his remarks, but others heard them.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Lawrie) - Senator Little, do you want to speak to the point of order?
– No, I do not want to speak to the point of order; I thought it was nonsense.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- I think you should refrain from referring to members of the Australian Labor Party as you have been doing, and continue with your speech.
– I am sorry that I mentioned the members of the medical profession who are also members of the parliamentary Labor Party and who have advocated marihuana for everyone. 1 am sorry that I mentioned them at all and I will not persist in mentioning them.
– Mr Deputy President, I must raise a point of order here because Senator Little specifically said that a member of the medical profession who is, he implied, also a member of the Labor Party-
– I did not imply it; I referred to Dr Cass who is a member of the parliamentary Labor Party and who advocates marihuana.
– That is where Senator Little is wrong and I ask that he be made, to withdraw his remarks, because on no occasion has Dr Cass advocated the use of marihuana. To imply that is to reflect in a lying way about this member of Parliament and 1 ask-
– If it is balderdash, then Senator Jessop is in the same position, because if he implies that about Dr Cass, he is just as much a liar as is Senator Little. It has never been advocated. The basis of my point of order is that Senator Little’s remarks are highly objectionable. Senator Jessop’s remark by interjection in respect of Dr Cass is also highly objectionable and I suggest that both honourable senators should be made to withdraw.
– I will withdraw the remarks if they are offensive to Senator Georges. I and the rest of Australia must have mistaken what Dr Cass said;I will look forward to his explanation.
– I rise on a point of order. Standing order 418 provides that no senator can use offensive words against members of either House of Parliament.
– What were the offensive words?
– Senator Little has said that Dr Cass-
– My words were couched in the best of-
– May I have some order, Mr Deputy President? If I am rising on a point of order 1 am entitled to be heard.
– So was I when I was making a speech. You are squealing now. You cannot take it.
– I will wait for you to call order, Mr Deputy President.
– I will be orderly, Mr Deputy President.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Lawrie) - Senator Little has withdrawn that remark already.
– No, he has not. He has said that he withdrew the remark if it were offensive to Senator Georges. The fact is that he has used offensive words and words that are perfectly untrue about Dr Cass, who has never advocated the use of marihuana. To make it clear, as has been pointed out in this chamber and in the other place, he has never advocated the use of marihuana but is opposed to the use of marihuana.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Little will you unconditionally withdraw those remarks?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Little has agreed unconditionally to withdraw the remarks.I call Senator Little.
– We are all wrongthe whole of Australia.
– Mr Acting Deputy President, Senator Little has said: ‘We are all wrong the whole of Australia’. I put it to you that that is not an unqualified withdrawal of the offensive remarks about Dr Cass.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Senator Little has already withdrawn what he said. I call Senate Little.
– Mr Acting Deputy President, he then said: ‘We are all wrong the whole of Australia’. I put it to you that that is abrogating his withdrawal of the statement about Dr Cass, and I ask you to call on him to withdraw that remark.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! There is no point of order. .
– I move:
That the ruling be dissented from. (Senator Wheeldon having submitted in writing his objection to the ruling) -
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Lawrie) - Order! Is the motion seconded?
Motion (by Senator Greenwood) agreed to:
That the motion for dissent requires immediate determination.
- Mr Acting Deputy President, I have moved dissent from your ruling that there was no point of order. The circumstances leading up to my moving the motion were as follows: Senator Little had said in the course of debate on the Child Care Bill that certain medical practitioners who were Labor members of Parliament had advocated the use of marihuana. One of the persons he named specifically in clear terms as a person who advocated the use of marihuana was Dr Cass. Both Senator Georges and I then called on Senator Little to withdraw that statement, which was an offensive remark about a member of the House of Represesentatives, in accordance with the Standing Orders of the Senate. He said that he would withdraw the remark if Senator Georges were offended by it. Upon a further request being made that he should withdraw it, he withdrew it but having said that he withdrew it, he said that if the substance of our objection was the case all of the people of Australia were wrong about this.
– That is right.
– The fact that Senator Webster, who would be representative of some of the duller members of the community, agrees with Senator Little shows the extent to which this sort of statement can have effect upon the population if it is made repeatedly. I had occasion to take a point of order against Senator Carrick not so long ago when he made similar statements about both Dr Cass and myself. The fact is that if someone then says that the whole of Australia knows this, or words to that effect, after he has withdrawn his remark, the implication is obvious that only a formal withdrawal is being made in accordance with the forms and ceremonies of the Senate, but that in fact everybody knows that Dr Cass is advocating the use of marihuana. Dr Cass has made it very clear that he is opposed to the use of marihuana. Dr Cass has made it very clear that in common with some other members of Parliament - and 1 am one of them - he believes that there ought to be a change in the present criminal sanctions against the use of marihuana. To say that one is opposed to the imposition of criminal sanctions on some behaviour is quite different from saying that one is advocating that behaviour. It is completely different.
I do not believe that someone should go to gaol for being a member of the Australian Democratic Labor Party; but that does not mean that I am advocating membership of the DLP. The same argument applies to advocacy of legislation and advocacy of use of marihuana. I believe that in allowing that statement to remain in Hansard and in allowing Senator Little to repeat that statement, you Mr Acting Deputy President, in saying further that no point of order arises in relation to the statement that the whole of Australia knows these things, are upholding a statement which is clearly in breach of the spirit of the Standing Orders. Senator Little should be called upon to withdraw that statement.
– I wish to speak to the motion. I have been in the Senate for the whole of this evening’s debate and I have listened intensely to the comments that have been made by Senator Little-
– And intensely. I have heard every word which, I suggest, cannot be said by a number of members of the Opposition. About 20 minutes ago, members of the Opposition present in the Senate chamber numbered exactly nil.
Opposition senators - No.
– Not one Opposition senator was here. The very vocal senator, Senator Wheeldon, who has just spoken, was in the wings of the Senate some 5 minutes ago and rushed into the chamber to take his seat to rise immediately on a point of order directed against Senator Little. Whether he was listening in his room, I do not know; but I certainly know that he was not in the Senate. Senator Wheeldon suggested that I was one of the less intelligent members of the Senate. I do not object to that statement because the honourable senator is very rarely in control of himself in this House and some senators question why that is. Nevertheless, that is not quite the point of the debate at the present time.
I listened to Senator Little and to you, Mr Acting Deputy President. Senator Little made an unqualified withdrawal of his comments to which the Opposition objected. There was a fullstop at that point. When Senator Little resumed his remarks, he quite rightly said that the general view associated with Dr Moss Cass in the mind of the Australian public persisted. I have great respect for Dr Moss as a doctor and as a gentleman. However, there is no reason why Senator Little should be called upon further to withdraw his remarks. He made an unqualified withdrawal of your request, Mr Acting Deputy President. No reason exists for anyone to dissent from your ruling.
– I wish to speak to this motion. I was making a speech in which I was persistently interrupted in the most immoderate terms by Senator Georges and others. At no stage did 1 squeal about this behaviour. Speaking specifically to the motion, I point out that I did withdraw the statement that was made about Dr Cass. I did say that I and the whole of Australia were misled. I think that 1 was right in saying that, because Dr Cass did say on this subject-
– The honourable senator did not say ‘misled’; he said ‘wrong’.
– Well, I said ‘wrong’, if Senator James McClelland wishes me to be more specific. I accept that correction. That is fair enough. Dr Cass said this-
– What are you reading from?
- Dr Cass said-
– From what are you reading?
– If what I read about Dr Cass is not right and this is a publication which is available-
– What are you reading from?
– I will tell you in a moment what 1 am reading from. I will repeat the exact words used by Dr Cass on the subject. This was part of a statement thatit was issued on behalf of 5 members of the Commonwealth Parliament.It appeared in the ‘Australian’ on 21st March 1970. The 5 were: Dr Klugman, Dr Jenkins. Dr Cass, Dr Everingham and Senator Wheeldon. The article sets out what Dr Cass, supported by these gentlemen, said. It reads:
I think that marihuana should be available to people who want it. ] think it should be legalised’ ALP M.H.R., Dr Moss Cass, in a joint statement with a number of other Australian M.H.R.s.
I think that on the basis of that statement 1 was at least entitled to say that I and the rest of Australia were wrong. I notice that no member of the Opposition denies that that is a true statement of the exact words. If they wish to refer to the publication of that date, it is there for them to see. I do not see that I have added any offence. I have withdrawn the original remark to which objection was taken.
- Senator Little said that the article from which he read was taken from the Australian’. I suggest that the document be tabled so that we can have a close look at it. because he is compounding his act tonight by referring to an authority which 1 believe to be not properly based and not to represent truly what the men referred to have said.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Lawrie) - The honourable senator will have to move that the document be tabled.
– I move:
-I have every willingness to table the document. The extract was taken from that publication and republished by the DLP paper. Surely if the statement was not true Dr Cass would have taken steps to correct it.
- Senator Little is endeavouring to mislead the Senate.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! The question is:
That the document be tabled.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - The question now is:
That the ruling of the Acting Deputy President be dissented from.
Question resolved in the negative.
– I claim to have been misrepresented. Senator Little has said that a statement was issued in the ‘Australian’ by some members-
– He gave the date on which it was published.
– Yes, he gave the date.
– Do you contradict it?
– I am contradicting it.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! Does the honourable senator claim to have been misrepresented?
– I claim to have been misrepresented. Senator Little claimed to be quoting from the ‘Australian’. He said that he was quoting a statement which appeared in the ‘Australian’, which statement has been issued by Dr Cass, Dr Klugman, Dr Everingham, Dr Jenkins and myself, advocating the use of marihuana. I claim that I have never made a statement to the ‘Australian’ in conjunction with one or more of those persons, advocating the use of marihuana or advocating anything else.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT -I call Senator Little.
There is another section that ought to be tabled.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
- Mr Acting Deputy President-
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired. (Extension oftime granted)
-I thank the Senate for its indulgence in granting me the extra time because I have lost a fair bit of my time. I was dealing with the Opposition’s amendment to the Bill when I seemed to arouse their ire. I think that I dealt effectively with the ineffectiveness of paragraph (a) of the amendment. Paragraph (b) reads as follows:
That Child Care Centres should be within the province of the Department of Education and Science, and should be part of a pre-school system developed progressively throughout the nation.
It is not the policy of the Party to which I belong to conduct a pre-school system for the whole nation from Canberra. The requirements in a continent as vast as Australia differ widely. We feel that it would be much better to conduct the system on a localised basis with grants from the Commonwealth. We would not support a proposal for child care centres to be placed in the hands of departments of education, even in the various States.
We feel that the matter is one more of a social character and a medical and health character than of education. The greatest threat in child care centres is not to the physical well being of the child but rather to its mental well-being. We do not believe that taking children of 3 years of age and treating them as subjects for education and science would greatly improve child care centres. I have made suggestions that child care centres should be less institutionalised where such care is unavoidable where mothers or widowed fathers are forced to have their children cared for by somebody else during certain vital hours. We should subsidise private families to fill the gap as that type of care would held less danger of psychiatric damage to the child than any institutionalised system. That is why my party opposes this part of the amendment as well. It supports the Bill and opposes the amendment.
– The interest that the Senate has shown in this Bill indicates that it is one of the most important Bills which has come before the Parliament this year.It is one of great interest in relation to child care in Australia. There is no opposition in the Senate to this Bill. Perhaps that would confine honourable senators at this late hour to agreeing on the very important matter contained in the Bill. The Opposition agrees with the legislation but wishes to add an opinion to the end of the motion that the Bill be read a second time. I find myself very much in agreement with the comments that have been made by Senator Little. I am very concerned with the problems that I see coming about in the community with a further breakdown in the family life of some people. Senator Little’s comments can be taken further. There is no doubt that some people in the community must avail themselves of the services of child care centres. The Government has levelled this legislation at the quality of those child care centres. In his second reading speech the Minister for Health (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) said: . . the Government some time ago established a special section within the Department of Labour and National Service … to examine problems relating to the employment of women. Its work has included an investigation relating to needs in child care, particularly the needs of working mothers. Its studies covered developments in the field of child day care in most other industrialised countries.
I think that indicates that the Federal Government has not gone into this matter lightly. There are people in the community who very definitely need the assistance of child care centres. I hope that they will not be availed of by people purely for the benefit of having a second person in the family working. They should be availed of by single mothers, by fathers who have been deserted and by the people in whose family there is a person who is helpless or physically incapable of getting out. I believe that all of these matters indicate the necessity for the proper organisation of the child care centres in the community. Perhaps the background to the necessity for these centres can be highlighted by the fact that there has been a progressive increase in the number of single mothers in our community. I suggest to the Commonwealth Government that it should take note of the problems of the mother who has no husband to see her through her difficulties.
An organisation in Victoria, called the Council for the Single Mother and Her Child, is looking for not only assistance from but also recognition by the Commonwealth Government. 1 plead with the Commonwealth Government to give this body consideration in the years to come. At the moment the single mother receives the sum of S27.75 a week. Any maintenance she receives from the father of her child is deducted from that amount. She is also not allowed to earn anything above that amount. On the other hand, the widow’s allowance is $34.50 a week. The States differ in the cash benefits that they grant to the single mother. For example, in its latest Budget the South Australian Government decided to permit such a mother to earn more. 1 plead that case to the Commonwealth Government.
T wish to deal with one matter which should receive the particular attention of the Senate in relation to child care. The Government has emphasised the fact that it will grant capital assistance to non-profit organisations and also aid in relation to the employment of professionally qualified staff by such organisations. I direct the Commonwealth Government’s attention to the views of the Australian Federation of Child Care Associations on this subject. Much as one may admire those who are willing to do this work for no return to themselves through municipal or church organisations, I put it to the Government that 80 per cent of the child care organisations which are established in the community at the present time are professionally oriented child care associations.
If the Government does not see its way clear to help these organisations by way of assistance towards the payment of the salaries of qualified staff or the making of capital assistance grants, there will be created in our society something which I believe will have an adverse effect on child care. For instance, if the assistance provided is aimed purely at those children who are in need insofar as the assets and background of their families are concerned, there will be created an institution for purely that type of child. I believe that there should be an integration of the child care activities which are being provided at present. When that care reaches a standard which is acceptable and competent according to Commonwealth Government or State Government standards, and the institution providing it is recognised as a child care institution, that institution should in fact receive the, Commonwealth Government assistance. lt has been suggested by the Australian Federation of Child Care Associations that various undesirable consequences will flow from the Commonwealth Government’s attention to one particular sector. In order to confine my remarks, I seek the concurrence of the Senate to the incorporation in Hansard of the comments which have been made by the very renowned Australian Federation of Child Care Associations on what are. the undesirable consequences which may flow from the Government’s attitude on this matter. I ask that they be incorporated in Hansard.
– Senator Webster, I have ruled previously that 1 would like to see the material which honourable senators seek to have incorporated in Hansard before permission is given for its incorporation. I should be grateful if you would have the material delivered to me.
– Mr President, you have made 2 different declarations in this respect. Once when 1 sought to incorporate a document in Hansard you informed me that it was one you should see beforehand. On another occasion you informed me that, provided the Senate gave its approval to the incorporation of material and it had been described by the senator concerned, it would be incorporated. Those are 2 different declarations. My understanding is that when a senator has described-
– It requires only one voice in the Senate to refuse leave to have a document incorporated in Hansard. In order to avoid this and in order to avoid circumstances which have existed in the past and which are well understood I have merely asked, as a matter of good manners, that you deliver it to the table. That is all.
- Mr President, do I take it that that is your ruling which stands at the present time and that for the document to be incorporated-
– All I ask is that you deliver it to me at the table so that I may look at something which honourable senators may subsequently take objection to. That is all.
- Mr President, will you acknowledge that the last time I presented you with a paper so that you could see it before it was incorporated in Hansard you told me it was unnecessary to do that and that provided I outlined it to the Senate and it was acceptable it could be incorporated?
– What is the extent of what you are seeking leave to have incorporated? How many pages are there?
– I outlined it before I sought leave to incorporate it.
– You did nothing of the sort. Will you let me have a look at it please?
– If we wish to hold up the time of the Senate I certainly will do that.
– It is not a question of holding up the time of the Senate. One of the attendants may deliver it to me.
– I will deliver it myself. 1 wish to incorporate part of this document which I hand you.
– You may go back to your seat. Senator Webster, you say that you wish to include in Hansard only part of this. What is the part you wish to include?
– Will I advise an attendant on this?
– No. Do not take these points. You sought the leave of the Senate to include in the proceedings of the Senate a document. When you delivered it to my desk you then said you wanted to include only part of it. I just want to know what you want to do. What part do you want to include in the proceedings of the Senate; that is all? Will you indicate it to me?
– With due respect, Mr President, you have me somewhat concerned on this matter. I advised you that when I was speaking I said that I wished to incorporate in Hansard the comments which were made by the Australian Federation of Child Care Associations which suggested that this legislation was undesirable. You will see 3 parts of the way down the column on the first page comments made by that association. It is in the last paragraph.
– This is not what you sought leave to incorporate.
– lt suggests that there are areas of this legislation which are undesirable. That is what I wish to incorporate.
– So you want to incorporate the part commencing with the words: ‘These undesirable consequences’?
– I think it continues over on to the next page.
– Order! We are getting quite absurd in this. Senator Webster asked for leave to incorporate a statement made by the Australian Federation of Child Care Associations. I then asked Senator Webster to deliver the document so that I might look at it. Senator Webster chose to come to my desk and submit the document to me. When he submitted the document to me he said he wished to incorporate only part of it. I have now looked at the document. The honourable senator subsequently indicated to me that he wished to incorporate part of page 1 of the document which commences “These undesirable consequences lie in 2 main areas’ and that part on page 3 which commences ‘The solution is’. All I want to know is what the honourable senator wishes to have included in the proceedings of the Senate. If he indicates to me clearly and unequivocally what part of the document he wants to have incorporated I will seek the leave of the Senate to incorporate it.
– The regrettable part about it, Mr President, is that you have the document. In actual fact, prior to my request to incorporate this document, as you will find tomorrow, I outlined in my comments that area which I wished to have incorporated. It was the comment on those undesirable matters which may flow from this legislation. I thought that was quite clear when I said it prior to seeking leave to incorporate it.
– Order! Senator Webster has a document which 1 have looked at and in relation to which I consider it proper and appropriate that he should ask for the leave of the Senate to include that, portion which begins with the words ‘These undesirable consequences lie in two main areas’. It goes on to page 2 and ends at the first sentence on page 3. 1 suggest to honourable senators that they can, without any doubt, give leave to Senator Webster to incorporate that portion of his document in Hansard. Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) - These undesirable consequences lie in two main areas:
– This document indicates the concern of some people in the community who have been associated with this child care function for a number of years. I ask the Minister to take note of the comments that have been made. If the assertion is correct that 80 per cent of the child care establishments in action at the present time are conducted by professional organisations, surely there will be a detraction from the work that they are likely to do.
– There are also commercial operations and the purpose of the Government’s Bill is to help non-profit organisations. In the passage of time the number of commercial operations will drop.
– I think the problem would be clear so far as I am concerned, even in relation to commercial operations as opposed to those which may be philanthrophic or non-profit operations. However, this Bill is an important matter. There is no opposition to it in the Senate and I conclude my remarks by saying that I give it my full support.
– I want to enter this debate only briefly to clear up some ideas in the minds of some honourable senators in regard to the Bill. Senator Gietzelt and Senator Guilfoyle spoke on the lines of the Bill, but 1 was disturbed at the understanding of this Bill shown by Senator Little and Senator Webster. This was one of the problems facing the Opposition with this Bill because there seemed to be in the minds of a number of people some doubt as to what a child care Bill was and whether it also included a pre-school Bill. They are 2 totally different things. A preschool teachers association would be entirely separate from a child care association. When Senator Little said that he did not want child care for every child in Australia and that he did not want the sort of system that existed in the Australian Capital Territory, I do not know whether he was aware of the system in Canberra. The pre-school system in Canberra which caters for a large number of children does not take the children for more than half a day. It takes one group in the morning and another group in the afternoon. The children are not separated from their families.
A child care situation is entirely different. It is a situation in which the mother has to work and an endeavour is made to give that mother some assistance by looking after the children while she is unfortunately unable to do so. Child care would provide care for the child all day. The Opposition felt that this was one of the areas that was not spelt out properly. We did not want necessarily to provide child care for every child in Australia. What we would like to see would be a preschool education for every child, which is an entirely different proposition. The Government has recognised some of these points and has written into the Bill the provision that those in charge of child care centres should be approved by the child care association. This is a different sort of proposition altogether. All I want to do is clear up some of these misconceptions because there is quite a difference of opinion as to what is meant. Senator Guilfoyle and Senator Gietzelt knew, but I do not think anybody else knew. I hope the Minister understands the difference between them and knows that a child care centre is not a pre-school centre. That is where our difficulty lies. This Bill receives our support but we feel that the amendment should be passed to try to help the matter.
– 1 would like to say a few words on the purpose of the amendment and to respond to what Senator Little had to say. As most honourable senators know, the Australian Labor Party, like the Government Parties, meets to consider what should be the policy of the Party in relation to legislation. When the Labor Party committee met to consider this legislation it had in mind, firstly, that the proposition contained in the Bill was too closely allied to industry. As everybody knows, the provisions of the Bill are to be administered by the Department of Labour and National Service. The Secretary of the Department has the right to decide certain questions and, in some cases, to make awards of up to $26,000. I think that is the figure. But in actual fact, as we all know, the whole proposition stems from the question of the entry of married women into the work force and so on. the Labor Party believes that to accept the principle of the Government’s proposal without trying to persuade the Government to do something else would have the result of getting away from the social objective, which should be to do what the amendment provides.
The amendment states that child care centres should be within the province of he Department of Education and Science and should be part of a pre-school system developed progressively throughout the nation. Having this in mind, it is possible in a rationalised and industrialised society to place too much accent on industry and on the requirements of industry and to leave the obligations on employers and people who are too closely related to industry. That is the reason for the amendment. It certainly does not have the connotations that Senator Little talked about, namely, that these centres would become institutionalised. What we put forward is the very reverse of such a system. We want the Commonwealth Government to have child care centres as one of its priorities, but certainly we want it to separate them from the close relationship which in the future they will have with industry. As
I pointed out, the provisions of the Bill will be administered by the Department of Labour and National Service, and there is no doubt that, bit by bit, the administration of these centres will be dovetailed into the aims, obligations and needs of industry. That is why we have moved the amendment, which is certainly not the reason put forward by Senator Little.
– in reply - The Senate has been discussing a Bill, the character of which is indicated by its long title. It is a Bill for an Act to provide for assistance by the Commonwealth in respect of places where children under school age may be cared for during the day and in respect of research in connection wilh the care of children and for related purposes. What the Government proposes by this legislation is to provide a sum of money, estimated in the first 3 years of the scheme to be some $23m, which will be expended on capital and recurrent grants for the purposes of establishing these child care centres. Another $lm to be provided over the same period will be expended on grants for the purpose of research and evaluation in the area of child care. The. essential purpose of this Bill is to ensure that what is an existing need is met, and it is designed to meet it by providing for nonprofit organisations which do have child care centres or which are prepared to establish child care centres the means by which those centres can be financed.
We have heard in a quite interesting debate a number of comments by way of support for the project - I think that has been the general view of the Senate - but also we have heard reservations as to whether or not particular lines of development are the best lines upon which the minding of children whose parents are unable to look after them throughout the day should proceed. I mention in passing that Senator Little suggested that there might be centres in which there is provision for children to be minded in the family. Of course, this is an alternative to child care centres which are in a sense institutionalised. Senator Little thought that some provision may be made whereby families can take into their homes children of working parents and other parents who cannot look after them. The second read ing speech indicated that this was one of the matters which it was contemplated would be looked at as part of the research committee’s activities for which grants will be provided. The Government does not believe that this is the only scheme or that this is the scheme which must comprehend all developments in this area. It realises that there is a need. We must endeavour to overcome that need. Let us hope also that by the research which is contemplated we can find other ways in which the needs of what is a pressing social problem can be met.
This is a Government initiative in which we are acting to solve a serious community problem which has evolved as a result of the present community’s activities, and is reflected in the rising proportion of married women in the labour force. The proposed child care sheme is concerned with the welfare of children, with particular emphasis on the welfare of those children who have special need of alternative care while their parents are working, sick or otherwise unable to care for them. It is not a scheme which is designed to encourage mothers and those responsible for the caring of children to put their children into these centres and go out to work. That is not the incentive or the intention of the scheme. What the scheme is designed to meet is the existing problem of working mothers and others who are unable to give their children the care that they require throughout the day and to provide a means whereby that care can be provided better than it is being provided at the -moment, to have the proper physical arrangement where children can be looked after, to provide the professional staff who can give the appropriate attention and to do something which is not existing at the present time.
I imagine that the substantial criticism raised by Senator Gietzelt was that the Government has chopped and changed over this matter. I think that is an approach which, with all respect to him, does not do credit to the Government’s proposals in this area. Over a long period the Government has given considerable care and attention to the appropriate means of overcoming this problem. The initial research was commenced in 1965. and I think most honourable senators will recall that in late 1968 a document was published by the Department of Labour and National Service concerning the children of working mothers. It will also be remembered that Mr Gorton, as Prime Minister, during the Senate campaign at the end of 1970 indicated that the Government intended to introduce a scheme of assistance in respect of child care centres for children of working mothers. Early in 1971 that scheme, with the full concurrence of the Government, was temporarily shelved not because there was any intention to drop the scheme - there was never any statement to that effect - but because there was an economic situation which necessitated some restriction of Government expenditure. Earlier this year the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) and also the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) indicated that the Government was again giving consideration to this matter and, of course, it was announced in the Budget in August this year that the Government proposed to establish a child care scheme.
It is a scheme which has been researched and developed by the Government after full consideration of all the representations and submissions which have been made to it, and we believe it is a viable scheme, capable of meeting the objectives which have been set out for it. A number of points have been raised by various honourable senators and to the best of my ability and in the time available 1 propose to comment on each of the matters raised. I think there is generally a full appreciation of what the scheme comprehends, but I think there is a lack of perception in some places about why particular alternatives have been chosen in preference to others. Firstly, it should be recognised that employer organisations, simply because they are employers, are not eligible for assistance under this scheme. But any person or group could take the initiative to establish a non-profit organisation that would be eligible for grants. Any such organisation, however, would need to offer priority of admission to children in special need and to be open to serve the community, and not restrict entry into the child care centre to children of employees in a certain industry. The child care scheme, moreover, is not restricted to children of working mothers. Children of single fathers and children of parents who are sick and incapacitated or who are otherwise unable to care for their children during the day are eligible for admission to the centres.
It was also raised - I think by Senator Gietzelt, and it is implicit in the amendment which the Labor Party has moved - that this scheme should not be administered by the Department of Labour and National Service but should be administered by the Department of Education and Science. In one way I thought that Senator Wilkinson raised a substantial point which is some answer to the amendment which his own Party has moved. There is a difference between pre-school centres and child care centres. Whilst there may be a case for pre-school centres being within the administration of the Department of Education and Science, or coming within the overall responsibility of that Department as far as the Commonwealth is concerned, I do not think there is the same case for child care centres being administered by that Department. The Department of Labour and National Service is the Department which has initiated this scheme. Its recognised research centre has undertaken all the initial work which led to the evolution of what is now proposed.
For example, the Women’s Bureau is part of the Department of Labour and National Service. That Bureau did the original research and had the carriage of the development of this scheme. In short, the Department of Labour and National Service has the expertise which has developed over a number of years, to administer this scheme successfully. I think it should also be pointed out, because a comment was made in the course of the debate concerning the extent to which psychiatrists have been consulted, that the Government consulted with the Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists in developing the scheme. That College gave great co-operation and provided guidelines which will be followed for the care of children.
It will be appreciated from the second reading speech that one of the things which the Government proposes to establish is a child care standards committee which will seek to enable these guidelines to be uniformly applied and which will also enable the appropriate standards to be required as one of the conditions of a grant. I have stressed, and I repeat, that the whole scheme is aimed at the proper care and development of children. The purpose of the scheme is to rectify a problem that already exists, namely, that a large number of children are currently being left in a number of unsatisfactory centres. At the present time there are 150,000 pre-school children who have mothers who go to work. Most of these women have to make arrangements for the care of their children. Some of those arrangements, as we see highlighted from time to time, are totally unsatisfactory. Of that number only about 15,000 are at present located in child care centres.
As Senator Guilfoyle pointed out in her appreciation of this measure the number of 3,000 children who could be accommodated in centres in the first year of the scheme’s operation does not seem to be a very large overcoming of the existing problem as we see it. However, it is believed that once this scheme is under way there must be a degree of experimentation in the first year. We believe there will be far greater scope for the advantages of this scheme to be recognised. 1 stress again that industrial centres are not being supported in the proposed scheme.
The advice received during the extensive consultations which preceded the introduction of this scheme did not favour industrial centres being used. The scheme is aimed at supporting centres operated by local government bodies, or other voluntary organisations conducted as non-profit organisations, and as a means of bringing the community into touch with this scheme. It is consistent with a number of programmes which this Government has advanced and which I believe is part of the philosophy which we seek to develop in this community, an indication of Government help being available for those who are prepared to help themselves. On this occasion the Government contribution is very substantial. It proposes capital grants to these organisations and no matching grant is required. Of course, it is expected that those who are in a position to pay for having their children cared for in those centres will pay. It is a desirable scheme which I think reflects the approach of this Government in many matters
Foreign National Service by Naturalised Australian
– In accordance with the resolution of the Senate, it now being 11 p.m. eastern summer time, I formally put the question:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– The matter I wish to raise tonight concerns a Greek family who returned to Australia from Greece on or about 1 1 th October last. The ages of the 4 children in the family range from 24 years to 7 years. Acting on medical advice, the mother of these children decided earlier in the year to go to Greece to see whether that would aid her health. The family left Australia on 15th March of this year. Both the father and mother of the children are naturalised Australians. The mother was naturalised in 1963 and the father in 1968. All of the children were born in Australia. On their arrival in Greece earlier this year, a military police officer boarded the ship at Piraeus. On the following day military police came to the home where the father was living in order to arrest him because he had not done his compulsory military service. It was only through the efforts of his uncle, who knew someone appropriate in Greece, that he was able to have his call-up deferred. However, he received a letter from the authorities to the effect that if he made a payment to the Greek Government it would not be necessary to undergo military training.
The father heard no more of the matter until a few weeks ago when he received a further notification that he was required to report for army service on 20th October this year. The mother and the 4 young children have returned to Australia. They are in a precarious position. They have nowhere to live and have no income. There is no provision in the Social Services Act for families destitute in such circumstances. The mother and children have to rely on the State Welfare Department for sustenance. The young children are fretting for their father, and the mother is also fretting. She has been told by her local doctor that her health will further deteriorate unless she is reunited with her husband.
In these matters the Australian Government has failed to advise Greek nationals who have been naturalised in Australia and are planning to visit Greece. At naturalisation ceremonies migrants are told that they have become Australian citizens and have the rights and privileges of every other Australian. I think that officers of the Department of Immigration should advise migrants from countries such as Greece that have compulsory military service that irrespective of whether they are naturalised in Australia they retain their former nationality and on returning to their former country, irrespective of how long they had been away from it, will be required to undergo military training.
On 1 6th October I raised this matter and I have deferred raising it again in the Senate for as long as possible, hoping to receive a reply from the Department of Foreign Affairs. I have rung the Department on 2 occasions and each time I was told that the Department is looking into the matter. It seems to me that nothing has been done. Although the father of the children, whose name is Dimitrious Lekatis, called at the Australian Embassy in Athens on 3 occasions, he was told there that they could do nothing about it.
I would like the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood), who represents the Minister for Immigration (Dr Forbes), to advise Greeks in Australia who contemplate going to Greece even if for only a visit of the dangers. He should tell them that Greece is under a military dictatorship and that they may be forced to do compulsory military training. I understand that Mr Lekatis would be detained in Greece and separated from his wife and young children, who have no income other than what they are receiving from the State Welfare Department. He could be detained in Greece to do between 8 and 12 months training. This, I believe, is something which the Government should take up to try to avoid a similar happening in the future. I doubt whether any Greeks would want to go to Greece if they knew they would be called up for military training. They should be warned of this possibility. The Australian Government knows all about it and about the military dictatorship in Greece but we never hear in this chamber any derogatory remarks about the Greek dictatorship. I think Greeks should be warned of this possibility and that is why I have raised this matter tonight - in the hope that something can be done at this late stage to have Mr Lekatis returned to Australia. He is prepared to pay whatever amount the Greek Government demands in lieu of military training but he has not been given the opportunity to do so, although he was advised by letter that an arrangement could be made. He waited expectantly for weeks to see what the amount would be but then found out that he had been called up. Probably, if nothing has been done in the meantime, he is now serving in the army. I hope the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration will take up this matter with the Minister for Immigration and also with the Department of Foreign Affairs.
– I respond in my capacity as the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration (Dr Forbes). I am sure that the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen), whose Department would be the Department of the Government which would be most concerned with this matter and of course the only department equipped to make the representations to Greece which Senator Donald Cameron has asked should be made, will examine the Hansard record of what the honourable senator has said. As far as the Department of Immigration is concerned, I am surprised that the honourable senator should suggest that persons who are going overseas to countries such as Yugoslavia or Greece are not informed of the fact that they should before they leave Australia ascertain whether they may not be required to do national service if they go to those countries. I think we have all experienced in recent times the problems of Australian citizens who have gone to such countries. Senator Donald Cameron has said in this case a man has gone to Greece and I think that Senator Mulvihill raised not so long ago the case of another person who went to Greece and Senator McManus raised the case of a person who went to Yugolsavia. All these persons have been required to undertake their national service.
It is a matter which I had occasion to inquire about and I ascertained from the
Department of Immigration that there is a procedure whereby these people are advised to check this out before they go. I do not have at my fingertips the details of which I was then advised and I can only regret that I have not got them. I did not know that Senator Donald Cameron would raise this matter tonight. However, I undertake to refer what he has said to the Minister for Immigration so that the matters which I have raised can be confirmed as I believe from my recollection they will be confirmed and elaborated in terms which indicate what the Government will do. I agree that that is not the end of the problem. I believe that we have to accept that in far more positive ways we have to bring home to migrants to this country, who may retain dual nationality according to the laws of the country from which they have come, the fact that they may have obligations and be subjected to all types of privation if they go back to those countries. I specifically mentioned Yugoslavia, where there has been an alarming number of instances of this type in recent times, and Greece, in relation to which a number of other incidents have been raised by honourable senators. I will refer all these matters to the Minister for Immigration.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 11.11 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice:
Will the decision by the Government of Queens land not to introduce daylight saving cause problems for Commonwealth Departments; if so, what procedures will be adopted to overcome any problems.
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
The Prime Minister has been advised by the Public Service Board that the decision not to introduce daylight saving in Queensland is not expected to create problems for Commonwealth Departments which, of course, are required to provide a service to the community and therefore observe hours of duty which as far as practicable reflect community standards. The position in Queensland is not basically different to that which applies in the difference in hours as between the Eastern States and South Australia and Western Australia.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
Have any approaches been made to the Government by the Government of the German Democratic Republic seeking recognition; if not, will the Minister arrange for a dialogue to be opened with a view to recognising the Government of that country.
Senator WRIGHT - The Minister for Foreign Affairs has furnished the following reply:
The Australian Government has had no discussions with the German Democratic Republic on the question of recognition. At the present time negotiations are being conducted by the Federal Republic of Germany with the German Democratic Republic with the aim of concluding a General Relations Treaty’ to normalise the relationship between the two states.
Until these negotiations have been successfully concluded the Australian Government does not consider that the time is appropriate to consider the question of recognition of the German Democratic Republic.
– On 29th August 1972 Senator Douglas McClelland asked the following question:
I remind the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service that last Thursday I asked whether any survey was being made of the likely job opportunities available to school leavers coming onto the labour market at the end of November. The Minister replied that the Minister for Labour and National Service and his Department were watching the probable growth in employment recruits coming onto the labour market at the end of the year. I now ask: Will the Minister make available to the Parliament details of the number of people likely to be leaving school and joining the labour market in November, and the estimated number and types of job opportunities likely to be available to them?
The Minister for Labour and National Service has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
It is difficult to estimate with any precision the number of school leavers who will enter the labour market in any given year. This difficulty arises because school leavers do not usually make firm decisions to enter the labour force or continue with their education until the commencement of the new scholastic year.
Against this background and on the basis of past experience the Department of Labour and National Service has tentatively estimated that about 170,000 young people completing their secondary education will probably enter the labour market at the conclusion of the 1972 school year. In addition it is estimated that about 30,000 students will complete their tertiary education. Thus, a total of some 200,000 former fulltime students are expected to enter the labour market in 1972-73.
It is not possible to make precise estimates of the number and types of job opportunities likely to be available for school leavers. The Australian labour market, however, is well geared to accommodating a large seasonal inflow of school leavers each year between November and March, and normally such young people have little difficulty in obtaining employment. While opportunities were not so plentiful in the summer of 1971-72, the economic measures taken by the Government during the present year are now beginning to exert their full effect and it is anticipated that this will be reflected in a significant increase in the employment opportunities for school leavers in coming months.
– On 3 1st August 1972 Senator Mulvihill asked a number of questions about CommonwealthState police co-operation and stated that during the Estimates Committee B hearing I had promised to supply a statement outlining the demarcation between the functions of the Commonwealth police and their State counterparts. [ have examined the relevant part of the report of the Committee’s proceedings on 27th April 1972 (Hansard, page 69-70) and am satisfied that the answer I then gave to Senator ‘Mulvihill adequately states the position, namely, that the primary responsibility for the ordinary maintenance of law rests upon the. State police and, in the areas of special interest to Commonwealth police, it is a matter for liaison and discussion between the various police forces.
Senator Mulvihill also asked me further questions which were in large part directed to me as Minister repesenting the Minister for Immigration. Those questions raised the following matters:
I had previously dealt with the first matter when in response to a question placed on notice on 11th May 1972 by Senator Mulvihill, I gave an assurance that Commonwealth Police and Immigration officers had not been used in a sordid battle of call-girl cartels and that the records of the women concerned, who were not residents of Australia, made it quite clear that they should not be granted extensions of stay (Hansard, page 137).
The second matter, in accordance with the undertaking I gave to Senator Mulvihill, I referred to the Minister for Immigration. The Minister advises that on 14th October 1971 the Prime Minister, following the tabling of the report of the Kerr Committee, announced that a further Committee of 3 persons (since, established under the Chairmanship of Sir Henry Bland) would inquire into and advise the Government about what administrative discretions should be open to review on the merits (Hansard, pages 2354-2356). I understand the Committee is still pursuing its very large task.
– On 26th September 1972, Senator Davidson asked the. following question without notice:
I refer to a statement made by Dr G. W. Miller, of the University of London Institute of Education, that Australian universities should review the practice of failing a certain percentage of students each year, and that the Australian dropout rate was two and a half times higher than that in Britain. Has the Minister seen the statement? Has the Department of Education and Science had any communication with the universities on this matter? Is the comparison with the British system a valid one? How does the Australian Government’s education programme provide for maximum development at the tertiary level.
As I explained at the time, I had only a general recollection of the statement, and referred the honourable senator to the Fifth Report of the Australian Universities Commission for a discussion on the matter of failure rate from universities. The Minister for Education and Science has now provided me with the following additional comments.
The section of the Fifth Report of the Australian Universities Commission that is most relevant to Senator Davidson’s question is the section in Chapter 3 titled ‘Selection and Success’ and particularly paragraphs 3.27 and 3.28. That section comments fairly and factually on the position in Britain, Australia and the United States of America. I would also refer the honourable senator to the ‘1961 Study’, an analysis of the progress of new bachelor degree entrants to Australian universities in 1961, prepared jointly by the Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee and the Department of Education and Science.
– On 28th September 1972 (Hansard, page 1308) Senator Mulvihill asked the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Drake-Brockman, a question concerning Australian entry to the United Kingdom and an interview which Sir Alexander Downer was to have with the British Government.
I have been advised that the Australian High Commissioner has recently had discussions with both the British Foreign Secretary and the Home Secretary. He has reported that both interviews were very satisfactory and that he had been able to register the Australian point of view. The
High Commissioner reports that the British authorities are actively considering what action can be taken.
– On 11th October 1972 Senator Lawrie asked me the following question without notice:
My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. In view of the lack of reserves of petrol in Queensland due to previous industrial trouble and now a new spate of industrial trouble at the Ampol refinery in Brisbane which is likely to bring Queensland to a halt due to a shortage of petrol, will the Minister request the Prime Minister to confer with the Premier of Queensland to see whether emergency supplies of petrol can be provided for Queensland?
In the course of my reply I said that this matter would be referred to the Prime Minister’s Department for examination. The Prime Minister has now provided the following information:
I am informed that the honourable senator’s question refers to a stoppage of work on 11th October last at the Ampol refinery in Queensland by members of the Australian Workers Union. The dispute arose out of negotiations for the renewal of an award covering wages and conditions of employment for refinery operators. I am advised that the dispute has now been settled. Commissioner Mansini of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission called the parties before him on 11th October and directed the strikers to return to work to allow conferences on these claims to continue.
I am further informed that on 13th Octoberthe men returned to work and negotiations recommenced. As a result of these further discussions between the parties it is understood that agreement was reached on all matters in dispute and a consent award will shortly be made. I understand that the current petrol supply situation is satisfactory with immediate requirements being met and that the position is slowly returning to normal’.
– On 17th October Senator Keeffe asked me a question without notice relating to a reduction by the Queensland Government of certain State Social Service payments. The Minister for Social Services has supplied me with the following information, additional to that which I gave at the time:
As you will be aware, the various States provide certain financial programmes for the relief of individual hardship, particularly where children are concerned. Although considerable financial assistance is provided by the Commonwealth towards these programmes, the determination of eligibility and the rates of assistance remain the responsibility of the individual State Governments.
On 18th October, Senator Keeffe asked a question concerning the salaries payable to certain staff of the Parliament. The Prime Minister has been advisedby the Public Service Board that, in accordance with section 9 of the Public Service Act, the normal functions and powers of the Board, in relation to the staff of the parliamentary departments, are exercised by the Presiding Officers. The Board, therefore, has no formal responsibilities for these staff, notwithstanding that it does provide advice to the Presiding Officers from time to time upon request. There are certain other staff employed in the parliamentary area, for example Secretary- Typists attached to senators and members, who are. not on the staff of the parliamentary departments. The Board does have responsibilities in relation to the determination of the terms and conditions of employment of these staff. So far as they are concerned, their salaries and conditions of employment are related to those applied to comparable members of the Commonwealth Service. The practice has been to extend similar salary increases and similar variations in conditions of service to these staff as are applied generally to other similar Commonwealth staff.
– On 24th October 1972, Senator Devitt asked me a question whether consideration was given in the National Health Scheme to the position of psychiatrists and others whose consultations generally are substantially longer than the consultations of medical practitioners and range over a fairly protracted period of time involving a great number of consultations.
The Medical Benefits Scheme does provide some recognition of the fact that consultations in some specialties are more prolonged than in others. This is reflected in the fact that several items in the Medical Benefits Schedule relate to professional attendances by a consultant physician. The most common fees and benefits for such attendances are higher than those provided for corresponding attendances by other specialists. This differentiation between consultant physicians and various categories of specialist is made with regard to the economics of practice and recognises the extra time taken by consultant physicians particularly for initial consultations.
Moreover, the Schedule includes a number of items which provide higher fees and benefits in cases where a medical practitioner, whether he is or is not a specialist, is required to provide constant attention for a prolonged period of not less than 2 hours, to a patient in a critical condition arising from certain specific causes.
– On 26th October I was asked by Senator Davidson whether the Government would initiate a research project into the work of organisations providing counselling at times of stress.
I can advise that the National Health and Medical Research Council is supporting projects which are related to this matter. A project which aims to study preventative intervention in human crises situations by a Professor Madison of the University of Sydney, Department of Psychiatry, has been supported for several years.
A further project by Professor A. S. Henderson of the University of Tasmania, Department of Psychiatry, also includes work on the evaluation of community counselling services. Another project in the University of Queensland on depressive illnesses is in a related area.
– On Friday, 27th October 1972 Senator Mulvihill asked me a question concerning the release of Sydney Harbour Foreshore land. The following information has been provided by the Prime Minister:
The Army installation at Moore Park covers an area of some 8 acres. There have been reports of a number of proposals for the development of Moore Park in recent years and while there have been some discussions between the Commonwealth and the State in this regard, no firm and specific proposals have been made to me by the Premier.
Any firm proposals from the State would of course receive very careful consideration, but I must stress that the continuing needs of the Army at Moore Park, especially to provide accommodation for some of the units required to move from the parts of South Head to be released to the State for recreation purposes, would have to be taken into account.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice:
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 nationwide competition designed to produce such an anthem.
Is 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.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:
Has the use of mercury compounds as a seed dressing been prohibited as from March 1973? Is the use of hexachlorobenzene for this purpose also prohibited? If so, what alternatives are available to wheat growers? What steps are being taken to ensure that the available alternatives are cleared for registration in time for treating seed wheat of this season’s crop?
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN- The Minister for Primary Industry has supplied the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The Australian Agricultural Council has recommended that State governments should prohibit the use of hexachlorobenzene (HCB) after 1972 as a cereal seed dressing. It also recommended that the use of organo-mercury compounds for this purpose should be prohibited after 1st March 1973. The registration of pesticide chemicals, including seed dressing preparations, is a matter for individual State governments.
Other products have been evaluated and found to be effective for the treatment of seed grain. One of them, Carboxin (Vitavax), is currently registered in all States. Mancozeb is also registered in some States and is under consideration in others. It is anticipated that other alternative compounds will be considered for registration in the near future.
Wheatgrowers should not be confronted with any difficulties in obtaining suitable chemicals for the treatment of seed wheat when HCB and organomercury compounds are withdrawn from use.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONOn 17th May 1972 Senator Sim asked the Minister representing the Treasurer:
My question is directed to the Minister tepresenting the Treasurer. Is the Minister aware that Federal estate duty is sometimes assessed before State probate duty is finalised? Is he also aware that some State laws prevent the disposition of any part of the estate until State probate duty has first been secured? Is he further aware that the Commonwealth Taxation Office imposes a penalty rate of interest of 10 per cent from the date on which Federal estate duty is payable? Will the Minister take up this matter with his colleague, the Federal Treasurer, and request that this unfair imposition be discontinued,
The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
It is true that in a minority of cases Commonwealth estate duty is assessed before State death duty and it is also true that, in general, State laws prevent the disposition of estate assets until the State duty is paid or security for the duty is furnished to the State authorities.
I am advised that it had been customary to defer making the Commonwealth estate duty assessment until the State probate duty assessment had been made because State death duty is allowable as a deduction from the value of the estate on which Commonwealth duty is assessed. It then came under notice that these procedures had led to the accumulation of a substantial backlog of reassessed estate duty returns with the result that it was well over a year after the date of death in many cases before the duty was collected. This might well have suited executors who for other reasons were unable to distribute estates under their administration but it often worked against the interests of beneficiaries who were anxious to obtain early distribution except in exceptional circumstances, no distribution can be made to beneficiaries until the estate duty has been paid. In fact action to issue assessments more promptly than previously was initiated by the Commissioner of Taxation following complaints from beneficiaries based on advice they had received from executors that estates could not be distributed because Commonwealth estate duty assessments had not been issued.
The Commissioner has given careful consideration to suggestions that all Commonwealth estate duty assessments should be deferred until the State death duty assessments have been issued but he has been unable to adopt those suggestions’. In many cases State assessments are held up for reasons peculiar to State legislation. Moreover, because the law requires that estate duty returns be lodged within 3 months of the date of death or within one month of the grant of probate, the Commissioner considers that he is under an obligation to issue an assessment within a reasonably short time. The policy is that wherever practicable assessments will be issued and duty paid within one year after the date of death. Even so, the great majority of estate duty assessments do not issue until after the State assessments have issued.
Although the precise amount of State death duty that may be allowed as a deduction in the Commonwealth assessment may not be known where the Commonwealth assessment issues first, a deduction is allowed where practicable for the estimated amount of State duty that will be assessable. It is customary to advise the executor that if no deduction for State death duty has been allowed or if he considers that the deduction allowed is insufficient, arrangements can be made on request to leave outstanding so much of the Commonwealth duty as is represented by the executor’s estimate of the shortfall in the deduction.
On the matter of payment of duty, State probate duty has no priority over Commonwealth estate duty which also represents a first charge on the assets in an estate. Although State probate law procedures usually require that executors obtain a certificate of release to enable them to dispose of assets, the Commissioners in most States work in full co-operation with the Commonwealth. Unless there are unusual circumstances in any particular case, executors can generally make arrangements with the State authorities for the release of assets to pay Commonwealth duty.
It is true that the Estate Duty Assessment Act imposes additional duty at the rate of 10 per cent per annum on any estate duty unpaid after the expiration of 30 days after the issue of the notice of assessment. The Commissioner of Taxation has statutory authority to extend the time for payment or remit the additional duty where circumstances warrant this. If a Commonwealth assessment issues before the State assessment, additional duty by way of interest would not normally be charged on the Commonwealth duty if it is paid within one year of the date of death or within one month of the issue of the State assessment, whichever is the earlier. Any further remission of interest would depend on factors such as the financial position of the estate and the nature of the assets in it. If, for some reason, an executor is unable to secure the consent of the State authorities to the release of assets to pay estate duty, extended time for payment without interest would ordinarily be allowed.
These procedures are aimed at avoiding serious inconvenience to executors in those cases in which it is found necessary to issue the Commonwealth estate duty assessment before the State death duty assessment.
Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSONI refer to the question without notice asked by Senator McAuliffe on 26th October regarding representations made to me by the Australian Sports Medicine Federation. These representations, which were received in my office on 25th October referred to a resolution passed at the recent meeting of the Federal Council of the Australian Sports Medicine Federation which suggested the establishment of a Ministry for Recreation and Sport.
As 1 stated at the time in answer to the honourable senator’s question, I share his concern in connection with matters affecting the physical fitness of Australians.
So far as the up-grading of the Commonwealth Council for National Fitness is concerned, I have advised the Senate on at least one previous occasion, that active consideration is being given to up-dating the National Fitness Act 1941 on a much wider canvass than exists at the present time. During discussions on this matter the honourable senator may be assured that his views have and will be considered.
However, you will appreciate that the question as to whether any possible up-dating of the National Fitness Act will result in the creation of a Ministry for Recreation and Sport is a matter on which I cannot comment at this time.
– The Prime Minister has informed me that in a reply to a similar question on the subject in the House of Representatives on 10th October, he said:
I think that increasing numbers of Australians are anxious that we should have a distinctively Australian national anthem. Equally, I believe that large numbers of people would like us to retain in some form or another for national days and other ceremonies associated with The Queen as Queen of Australia the present national anthem. I personally think it would be well worth while for competent technical experts and others to give the most careful attention to this question of a distinctively Australian national anthem. This matter is now receiving careful and sympathetic attention.
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 me with the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Around 200,000 ‘names’ are checked each year by my Department to see if they are recorded as registered. Where men are found not recorded either as registered or previously checked or require further identification, further checking is necessary to:
These checks range from simple birthdate checks to extended investigations, including by the Police. Many of the persons not registered are found to be migrants who have arrived in Australia after their agegroup was required to register or are not required to register because they are serving, or have served, in the Permanent Forces. Between 1st January 1968 and 30 June 1972 9,013 men had been denied the benefit of the ballot and prosecution action had been taken against 1,625 of them.
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
It was not considered necessary for Government members to be appointed to the Senate Select Committee on the Canberra Abattoir. The decision to sell the abattoir was taken by the Government after careful consideration of a report prepared by an interdepartmental committee, consisting of officers of the Departments of Health, the Treasury, Primary Industry and the Interior, and the National Capital Development Commission.
asked the Minister representing (he Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
Senator WRIGHT- The Minister for Labour and National Service has provided the following answer to the honorable senator’s question:
Hard-core unemployment, in accordance with the definition given in the publication, covers persons registered whose employment prospects were hindered primarily by physical or mental handicaps or by considerations of age or personal qualities: at the date of the last survey in July 1969 there were some 15,000 registered unemployed so classified and this number represented about 30 per cent of all unemployed registrants.
It is not possible from the Department’s special survey to isolate the numbers actually in the process of changing from one job to another. However, at the time of the July 1969 survey there were about 12,500 persons registered, of about 25 per cent of the total, who were classified by District Employment Officers as ‘temporarily’ unemployed. These were people who were expected to be placed in employment within a short period as suitable job vacancies were thought to be readily available. Most of the people in the process of changing jobs would be included in this category.
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:
The Government has no immediate plans to encourage such a project. There are 2 aircraft either in production or in design overseas with capacities of the desired order. They are:
In addition, a slightly larger aircraft, the German/Duch VFW614 is at the prototype flying stage with 36-44 seats, and smaller aircraft are readily available, such as the Hawker Siddeley 125-600 (6-14 passengers), Mystere/Falcon 20F (10-14 passengers) and Grumman Gulfstream 2 (19 passengers).
An Australian designed jet aircraft would therefore be in competition in the world market with a number of proven aircraft or aircraft already in design.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
What is the latest information that the Department of Foreign Affairs possesses on the whereabouts of Mr Ben Bella, the former President of Algeria.
Senator WRIGHT - The Minister for Foreign Affairs has furnished the following reply:
The Department of Foreign Affairs is unable to confirm the present whereabouts of the former President of Algeria, Mr Ahmed Ben Bella. However, the Department has reason to believe that Mr Ben Bella is under house arrest in the legion of Algiers.
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
The arrangements to be made involve a great deal of detailed planning with the medical profession, organisations providing nursing services and other organisations and authorities.
asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
Senator COTTON- The Minister for Shipping and Transport has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
All ships will continue to be prohibited imports but, as in the past, new ships 200 tons gross or less and secondhand ships of internal capacity of 1,500 cubic feet or less may be imported under a general consent’ to import. All other ships will require the specific approval for their importation.
This represents a basic variation from the earlier position providing for ‘freely given’ approvals to import new ships. This affords further proof of the Government’s determination to aid the development of the Australian shipbuilding industry.
Of the Line’s 24 ships currently operating in the Australian coasting trade, all, with the exception of the temporarilyimported vessels ‘Tolga’ and ‘Echuca’ against which there are commitments to build replacements in this country, have been built in Australia.
asked the Attorney-
General, upon notice:
Does the Attorney-General know whether a substantial number of aliens have failed to register in accordance with the requirements of the Aliens Act; if so, has this failure hampered the police investigating the recent bomb outrages in Sydney, New South Wales.
Senator GREENWOOD- The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
For details of compliance by aliens with the requirements of the Aliens Act 1948-1966 see the answers to Question Numbers 2441 and 2466 provided by the Minister for Immigration (Hansard pages 1552 and 1585). The police authorities investigating the recent bomb incidents in Sydney have been assisted in their enquiries as a result of the large amount of information available from the Alien Registers.
(Question No. 2468)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
Senator WRIGHT- The Minister for Foreign Affairs has furnished the following reply:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
Senator WRIGHT- The Minister for Foreign Affairs has provided the following information in reply to the honourable senator’s question:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
Was a reply forwarded to the Yugoslav Government following a protest which it made after recent bomb attacks in Australia; if so, what was the nature of the reply.
Senator WRIGHT- The Minister for Foreign Affairs has provided the following information in reply to the honourable senator’s question:
I refer the honourable senator to my reply to Question No. 2490.
asked the Minister for
Air, upon notice:
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN- The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
(Question No. 2511)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply, upon notice:
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN- The Minister for Supply has provided the following information in answer to the honourable senator’s question: .
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 30 October 1972, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1972/19721030_senate_27_s54/>.