28th Parliament · 1st Session
The Senate met at1 1 a.m., pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the GovernorGeneral.
The Clerk read the proclamation.
The Deputy appointed by His Excellency the Governor-General for the opening of the Parliament - the Right Honourable Sir Garfield Edward John Barwick, G.C.M.G., Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia - having been announced by the Usher of the Black Rod, entered the chamber and took his seat on the dais.
The Deputy, through the Clerk, directed the Usher to desire the attendance of the members of the House of Representatives, who being in attendance,
The DEPUTY said:
Members of the Senate and Members of the House of Representatives:
His Excellency the Governor-General, not thinking fit to be present in person at this time, has been pleased to cause letters patent to issue constituting me his deputy to do in his name all that is necessary to be performed in declaring this Parliament open, as will more fully appear from the letters patent which will now be read. (The letters patent having been read by the Clerk)
The DEPUTY said:
Members of the Senate and Members of the House of Representatives: 1 have it in command from the GovernorGeneral to let you know that after a member of the Senate and members of the House of Representatives shall have been sworn, the causes of His Excellency calling this Parliament will be declared by him in person at this place; and it being necessary that a Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be first chosen, you, members of the House of Representatives, will retire to the place where you are to sit, and there proceed to the choice of some proper person to be your Speaker; and later this day you will present the person whom you shall so choose to His Excellency at such time and place as he shall appoint. I will attend in the House of Representatives for the purpose of administering the oath or affirmation of allegiance to honourable members of that House. (The Deputy and members of the House of Representatives then retired. The President took the Chair).
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Magnus Cormack) - I inform the Senate that I have received a certificate of the choice at the election held on 2nd December 1972 of Neville Thomas Bonner to fill the casual vacancy in the representation of the State of Queensland. The certificate will be laid on the table and read by the Clerk.
The Clerk then laid on the table the certificate of election of Neville Thomas Bonner for the State of Queensland.
Senator Neville Thomas Bonner made and subscribed the oath of allegiance.
Sitting suspended from 11.21 a.m. to 3 p.m.
His Excellency the Governor-General entered the chamber and, being seated, with the President on his right hand, commanded that a message be sent to the House of Representatives intimating that His Excellency desired the attendance of honourable members in the Senate chamber forthwith, who being come with their Speaker.
His Excellency was pleased to deliver the following speech:
Members of the Senate and Members of the House of Representatives:
Following the clear decision of the people of Australia at the elections for the House of Representatives on 2nd December 1972 and acting upon advice, I commissioned the Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party to form a new Government on 5th December 1972. My new advisers have proceeded with all possible speed to act upon the mandate for change which they are firmly convinced was bestowed upon them by the people of Australia in the House of Representatives elections. My advisers will now ask this Parliament - itself the fundamental means by which the will of the people can be expressed - to pass legislation embodying the central parts of the program which the people have instructed them to implement.
The program which my new Government proposes is designed to achieve basic changes in the administration and structure of Austra lian society in the lifetime of this Parliament. It is in essence a 3-year program. In the first sittings you will be asked to give priority to legislation affecting the immediate welfare of the people, and to matters in which my advisers believe delay would mean damage to the nation or unwarranted neglect of the people’s wishes and mandate.
My advisers believe that there are 4 principal grounds upon which they should base their program for change:
First, the manifest desire of large sections of the Australian community, particularly the youthful majority, for a more tolerant, more open, more humane, more equal, yet more diverse society.
Second, the clear failure of existing social and economic structures to meet the needs of modern society, particularly in relation to education, social security, health, industrial relations and urban and regional development.
Third, the need for government, and principally the national Government, to have available machinery and advice to plan for the inevitable and accelerating change now occuring in all modern communities.
Fourth, recognition of new and momentous directions in the pattern of international relations, particularly in the region in which Australia’s future lies.
These are the 4 main grounds upon which my advisers have so far acted and propose to act in the future and in pursuit of which they will be seeking the concurrence and cooperation of this Parliament.
My advisers are determined that the new spirit and new opportunities which they perceive emerging for Australia at home and abroad in 1973 shall not be lost.
They believe that in no area is this more important or more opportune than in the field of Australia’s future relations with her neighbours and with the wider region. My Government warmly welcomed President Nixon’s announcement of the cease-fire in Vietnam. It also welcomes the cease-fire in Laos. It is determined to do all in its power to ensure that the opportunity is not lost to bring about a lasting settlement in Indo-China as. it believes, it was needlessly and tragically lost in 1954. It welcomes and supports initiatives for an international endeavour in the economic and social rehabilitation of Indo-China. My Government supports the proposal by members of the Association of South East Asian Nations for a zone of peace, freedom and neutrality in South East Asia, and will encourage other nations involved in the region to support the concept. My Government will honour the terms of the Five Power Arrangements, but looks forward to the achievement of a neutral zone in South East Asia ultimately involving the phasing out of present military arrangements such as the Five Power Arrangements. My Government will continue to co-operate with all other parties in such arrangements to advance the concept known as the ‘Guam Doctrine’ designed by President Nixon to help all countries in our region to develop their own defence capabilities.
My Government has already begun exploratory discussions with Australia’s neighbours, friends and allies on ways of developing new arrangements for regional co-operation free of military or ideological overtones. My Government believes that our close relations with the United States, our growing partnership with Japan and the speedy and successful normalisation of relations with the People’s Republic of China provide a realistic and fruitful basis for such an Australian initiative.
The primary importance my advisers attach to Australia’s relations with Indonesia and the nations of the South Pacific has been symbolised by the early visits the Prime Minister has already made to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.
My Government will move with all due speed towards the creation of an independent, united Papua New Guinea, lt proposes to achieve this in the closest consultation with the Government and House of Assembly of
Papua New Guinea within the life of this Parliament. My Government is deeply committed, by the clearest pledges, to continue substantial economic aid to an independent Papua New Guinea. My Government has given the Papua New Guinea Government an assurance of continuing aid over the period of the 3-year Improvement Program beginning 1974-75.
Legislation will be introduced to provide for self-government on 1st December 1973, or as soon as practicable therafter. in providing for the transfer of further powers and functions to the House of Assembly, including control of the Public Service of Papua New Guinea, my Government will legislate to protect employment security of overseas officers who were appointed by the Australian Government.
My Government attaches great importance to the Commonwealth of Nations as an active instrument for justice and peace and for political, social and economic advancement throughout our region and also in Africa and the Caribbean. The Prime Minister intends to attend the meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government planned for August next.
Under my Government, Australia has now ratified the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the Treaty prohibiting the placement of nuclear weapons on or under the seabed.
My advisers believe that the newly emerging situation in our region involves fundamental changes in the nature and purpose of Australia’s defence forces. For this reason, but also for social, moral and economic reasons at the heart of my advisers’ view of Australian society, they have already suspended the operation of the National Service Act, and, acting upon their advice, I have used my prerogative to release those persons imprisoned for breaches of the Act, while pending prosecutions under it have been withdrawn.
To ensure the successful restoration of strong, highly professional all-volunteer armed forces, new standing machinery will be established to keep pay and conditions in step with civilian standards. Legislation will be introduced to implement the Report of the Joint Select Parliamentary Committee on retirement benefits; to provide improved re-settlement benefits; and to appoint an Ombudsman for the Defence Forces.
The Government has undertaken a reorganisation and modernisation of the administration of the Defence Group of Departments. A major review is under way on the future size and shape of the Australian Regular Army, and a committee will be appointed to review completely the role of the Citizen Military Forces and the service conditions of its members. In defence procurement, emphasis will be given to placing orders with Australian industries.
Determined as they are to maintain strong defence forces, my advisers are deeply aware that the basic strength and welfare of the nation depends on Australia’s ability to develop the skills and talents of her people.
My Government will accordingly give preeminent importance to the reform of Australian education and the care of Australian children. In this, my advisers will seek the closest co-operation with the State Governments and authorities representing the nongovernment schools. An interim committee has already been appointed to inquire into and report upon the urgent needs of all schools and to recommend appropriate means of providing for those needs. Legislation will be introduced to establish a Schools Commission and a Pre-School Commission. Discussions will be held with the States to enable the Australian Government to assume responsibility for fully financing tertiary education, including post-graduate study and research. Fees at tertiary institutions will be abolished from the beginning of 1974. The great objective which my Government has set for itself is to ensure genuine equality of opportunity for all children now embarking upon their education.
My advisers attach great importance to education measures as part of their endeavour to reduce further and future growth of inequality in the Australian community. They are deeply disturbed, however, by the presence of great inequalities and injustices, by the existence of real poverty in the midst of plenty, and by the inadequacies of existing machinery to prevent injustices and to promote equality.
My Government has already announced, in accordance with its election program, a wideranging series of measures to improve Australia’s social security system. It will propose a number of measures by which: the means test will be ended during the current Parliament; all Australians entitled to social security payments may receive them wherever they choose to live without the need for reciprocal agreements with other countries; and by which there will be twice-yearly increases of $1.50 each in the basic rate of pensions until they reach 25 per cent of average weekly earnings.
A committee of inquiry will be set up to investigate and recommend a scheme for national superannuation.
A committee of inquiry has been set up under the chairmanship of Mr Justice Woodhouse of the New Zealand Supreme Court to recommend a national scheme for compensation and rehabilitation for personal injury.
Meanwhile the Government will legislate to amend the Commonwealth Employees Compensation Act to provide payment of full wages during incapacity, lump sum compensation and lifetime compensation for widows.
An Australian Assistance Plan will be set up to develop and co-ordinate welfare services provided by government and private agencies.
A National Commission on Social Welfare will be set up to advise the Government on all aspects of social welfare, integrate national programs and to evaluate the success of programs.
Wide-ranging improvement and significant reforms in social service and repatriation benefits have already been announced by my advisers.
Universal health insurance will be introduced and a planning committee will now work on the details for its introduction. My Ministers are anxious to co-operate fully with the medical profession in implementing the clear instruction of the Australian people. They will insist, however, that the over-riding consideration must be the welfare of the patient and are determined that the mandate given to them will be carried out.
A National Hospitals and Health Services Commission will be established to survey and develop regional co-ordination of health care delivery.
The Government proposes to legislate to permit the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories to engage in production of non-biological pharmaceutical products. The Government may acquire for the Commonwealth a private pharmaceutical manufacturing firm which will work with the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories to provide new technical, management and marketing skills and methods.
My Government acknowledges the generosity of the New Zealand Government in helping the first steps towards establishing a School Dental Service by providing places for the training of dental therapists in New Zealand.
My Government recognises that the worst social inequalities, the worst poverty and the worst health problems bear upon the Australian Aboriginal people. In attempting to remove this national shame, my advisers seek the co-operation of the State Governments. They will not, however, permit any State Government or State agency to frustrate the clear will of the Australian people recorded so overwhelmingly in the 1967 Referendum that the national Government should assume constitutional responsibility for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. My advisers will not hesitate to use these full constitutional powers granted by the Australian people in asserting and establishing the national will on this matter.
Among many measures already announced, my Government will give priority to establishing Aboriginal land rights and to ensuring that Aborigines are truly equal before the law.
The welfare of migrants to Australia will receive the closest attention. The emphasis of my Government’s immigration policy will be on the reunion of families and the welfare of migrants already in Australia. A higher priority will be given to retaining migrants than to recruiting them.
My Government believes that measures to improve the welfare of deprived sections of the Australian community, or to promote equality within the whole community, however far-reaching and valuable in themselves, will ultimately fail unless basic and urgent attention is directed to the places where the people live and must live. My advisers are convinced that in this, one of the world’s most urbanised nations, the national Government must now accept a great and growing share of responsibility for the nation’s cities - those that are, and those that are to be.
To signify that their determination is conceived in a spirit of true and co-operative federalism, and is not limited to Australia’s great capitals, the Prime Minister and the Minister for the newly-created Department of Urban and Regional Development met the Premiers of New South Wales and Victoria at Albury and Wodonga on 25th January to set the framework for accelerated development of a major city in the Albury-Wodonga area. Reciprocal legislation with New South Wales and Victoria will be introduced in the 3 Parliaments to establish a Development Corporation for this new concept in regional development.
It is proposed that a statutory corporation - the Cities Commission - will be established to replace the existing National Urban and Regional Development Authority.
My Government aims to make local government a genuine partner in the Federal system. To promote financial equality between regions the Commonwealth Grants Commission Act will be amended to authorise the Commission to inquire into and report upon applications made for grants for local government purposes. Discussions will be held with the States aimed at providing local government in each State with a voice and vole in the deliberations of the Loan Council.
The national Government acknowledges its special and inescapable responsibility for the national capital, lt intends nonetheless to examine urgently various proposals to provide for self-government in the Australian Capital Territory. The Minister for the Capital. Territory will also give high priority to a review of the land tenure system, housing policies, consumer protection and community facilities and the public transport system in the national capital.
It is the intention of my Government to introduce legislation establishing CommonwealthState Land Commissions to acquire and develop residential land. These Commissions will co-operate with -State and local government authorities in achieving a more rational and economic form of urban development and will help combat rising land prices.
My Government has offered immediate (financial assistance to the Slates to increase the number of dwellings under construction for letting to needy families. Legislation will be introduced to provide the States with repayable advances up to some $6m at a concessional rate of interest for expenditure by State Housing Authorities in this financial year on dwellings that would not otherwise have been commenced before 30th June next.
My Government is negotiating with the States a new Housing Agreement to operate for 5 years from 1st July 1973. Its aim will be to increase the stock of dwellings available for letting to needy families at rents they can afford to pay, and so to reduce the time an applicant must wait before a government dwellling may be provided. It will seek an Agreement which will also provide for high standards of amenities and an improvement in the environmental character of housing estates.
Legislation will be introduced to confirm the new Agreement.
Legislation will also be introduced to reform the system of War Service Homes, which will be known henceforth as Defence Service Homes.
Legislation will be introduced to remove limits on Commonwealth Savings Bank credit foncier housing loans.
The Government intends to provide valuable assistance to home-owners by reducing interest payment burdens.
A modern and efficient national transport system is basic to the economic and social wellbeing of Australia. The Government will be taking action to implement in co-operation with the States a major program to improve public transport systems on the basis of socially and economically desirable projects.
My advisers will discuss with the States the terms on which their railway systems can be acquired by the Australian Government.
The Government proposes to restore the Inter-State Commission to plan and provide modern means of communications between the States.
The extensive program of educational, welfare and urban and public transport reform and renewal planned by my Government can only be achieved on the basis of sound economic growth. My Government will promote such growth by wide-ranging and flexible policies based on co-operative forward planning, full employment, containment of price inflation and industrial co-operation.
As part of a continuing and comprehensive fight against inflation, the Government will establish prices justification machinery, involve the national Government in the field of consumer protection, establish a Parliamentary Standing Committee to review prices in key sectors, and strengthen the laws against restrictive trade practices.
In the view of the Government urgent action was needed to achieve an early alleviation of unemployment. The Government has agreed to make available to the States additional financial assistance totalling almost $50m for expenditure in the period to 30th June 1973 or employment-creating activities in both metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas which could be quickly and usefully undertaken. Of this assistance Si 8m will be provided under existing legislation. Legislative authority for the remainder will be sought during the present Parliamentary sittings.
The Government will be seeking legislative authority for the payment of a special loan of $15m to New South Wales for budgetary assistance in accordance with an undertaking given to the State by the late Government and announced in the previous Parliament.
The Government will bring in early legislation to curb tax avoidance. The Government’s intentions have already been announced with respect to misuse of life insurance premiums and superannuation contributions, the purchase of company shells, capital subscribed to mining companies and the status of Norfolk Island.
The Government intends to develop a positive program of policy measures to promote more vigorous growth of efficient, competitive Australian manufacturing industry. A basic objective will be to reduce uncertainty and to create a sense of national purpose within which investment and in turn employment decisions in industry can be made confidently.
My Government believes that industrial confidence requires industrial co-operation. It will take steps to promote co-operation and reduce confrontation in industry. My Government is determined that the men and women of the Australian workforce will share fairly and fully in the nation’s prosperity and productivity.
Legislation will be introduced to repeal needlessly provocative penal sanctions in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Amalgamation of trade unions will be facilitated. A committee of inquiry will undertake a thorough investigation of all aspects of industrial relations.
The Government is conscious of its primary responsibility to its public servants and legislation will be introduced for wide-ranging reforms in their employment conditions. The Government will appoint a Royal Commission under Sir James Vernon to inquire into and report upon the operations and structure of the Post Office, Australia’s largest single employer.
In developing the Australian economy my advisers will be seeking close participation by all sections of the community. Opportunities will be provided for co-operation and consultation between government and industry, trade unions, and other groups in the development and implementation of forward plans for industrial development.
The Government proposes to establish a Protection Commission to advise on assistance for both primary and secondary industries.
Legislation will be introduced to expand the activities of the Australian Industry Development Corporation to equip it for the task of assisting the Government in its objective of achieving sound industrial and resource development with maximum Australian ownership and control.
In pursuit of its policy for maximising Australian ownership, control, use and development of Australian resources, my Government will introduce legislation to establish a National Pipeline Authority. The Authority will construct and maintain a natural gas pipeline system throughout Australia to ensure continuity of supplies and uniformity of price.
My Government has decided that all minerals will be subject to export control. The Government’s objectives are to ensure that Australia’s export prices should be at a reasonable level in relation to export prices from other countries and also that a balanced development of Australian mineral resources be pursued so that production for exports should serve the best interests of Australia.
You will be asked to assert and establish the sovereign rights of the national Parliament to pass laws on the resources of the Australian seabed from the low-water mark to the outer limits of the Continental Shelf. This will be done by legislation combining broadly the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill introduced in 1970 with a Minerals (Submerged Lands) Bill setting out a mining code covering minerals other than petroleum in offshore areas.
A Department of Northern Development with particular responsibility for the use and development of resources north of the 26th Parallel has been created. This Department will work in close co-operation with the Governments of Queensland and Western Australia and the Department of the Northern Territory with particular emphasis on the use and development of Australian land and resources by Australians for the benefit of all Australians.
The increasing importance to Australia’s growth of new mineral development, particularly in the north and west, does not blind my advisers to the continuing importance of Australia’s traditional primary industries.
The Australian Wool Corporation, which became operational on 1st January this year, is presently investigating wool marketing including the proposal for acquisition of the clip. The report will receive the prompt attention of the Government.
The Australian Wool Industry Conference has endorsed proposals for financing research and promotion programs in the industry for the next triennium commencing in July. This matter is under consideration by the Government.
My Government will initiate fishery resources surveys and exploratory fishing operations and assist in the provision of equipment and facilities required to develop fisheries based on these resources.
As announced, adjustment assistance will be given to those rural industries which were already facing difficulties and problems of adjustment to changed circumstances and would find it particularly difficult to bear the consequences of the exchange rate appreciation of last December or the subsequent devaluation of the United States dollar.
Australia intends to take an energetic part in the forthcoming major round of international trade negotiations due to open later this year under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. In these negotiations particular emphasis is to be placed on meeting the trading problems of the developing countries. My Government regards these negotiations as providing important opportunities for an expansion and liberalisation of world trade. My advisers will place particular emphasis on trying to improve conditions of international trade in primary commodities. International commodity agreements are an important means of achieving this end and my Government will be actively seeking renewal, on satisfactory terms, of the International Sugar Agreement which expires at the end of this year and the International Wheat Agreement which expires in 1974.
My Government believes that its economic, trade, development and industrial policies provide a basis for strong and continuing growth of Australian prosperity. It is, however, deeply conscious that economic growth and material well-being no longer reflect the whole aspirations and expectations of the Australian community, and that prosperity alone is no longer exactly equated with true progress.
The Department of the Environment and Conservation proposes to develop a ‘human progress’ index to reflect the new and emerging human and social values in a modern society.
In planning for this generation, my Government intends to protect the rights and national inheritance of future generations of Australians. The Government will institute a program requiring environment impact statements for all major projects involving national funds and national constitutional powers. From 1st January 1974, public hearings will be held before the writing of an environment impact statement.
The Government recognises that the use of leisure in a modern society presents problems and opportunities involving profound questions of the relations between man and his community and man and his environment. The new Departments of Urban and Regional Development, Environment and Conservation, Tourism and Recreation, the Media and of Science, together with the Departments of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Special Minister of State, Health and of Education will be working in close and continuing co-operation to develop national programs to preserve and promote Australian recreation resources, Australians’ access to them, and Australians’ ability to use and enjoy them. These include plans for community centres based upon the schools, and youth leadership courses.
In addition to these programs, legislation will be introduced for an Australian Council of the Arts, the Australian National Gallery, the Australian Film and Television School and a Science Council. Legislation is being prepared to implement my Government’s declared policy to encourage and increase the creative participation by Australians in the production of films and television programs shown in Australia and overseas.
My Government recognises the enduring relation between the quality of life and equality before the law. My advisers are preparing major reforms to remove injustices, to reduce costs and to ensure equal rights under the law for all Australians. Legislation will be introduced to give citizens access to an Ombudsman under Australian law and in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
My Government intends to ratify the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination and other international agreements dealing with human rights. These include the 1LO Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948; the ILO Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949; the ILO Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951; the ILO Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966). Where necessary, the concurrence of the States will be sought prior to ratification.
A Superior Court will be established. Capital punishment under Australian law and in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory will be abolished. Amendments to the Matrimonial Causes Act will be sought following a review of the Act.
In pursuit of its determination to make government in Australia more open and less secret, and to involve the people in the decisionmaking processes, a Freedom of Information Bill will be introduced.
This Parliament is the true foundation of the Australian law and the Australian democracy. My Government intends to place that democracy on a wider, fairer and firmer basis by granting the vote to men and women at 18 and by removing malapportionment of the electorates for the House of Representatives.
My Government presents for your approval the most comprehensive program of legislation in the history of the Australian Parliament. The circumstances which led to the forming of the new Government, the nature of recent events in our region, the opportunities and responsibilities of the national Government in these times of great change all combine to make the Twenty-eighth Parliament one of the most momentous in Australian history. With confidence that you will fulfil to the utmost of your abilities the deep responsibility the Australian people have placed upon you, I leave you to carry out your high and important duties. (His Excellency the Governor-General and members of the House of Representatives retired.)
Sitting suspended from 3.49 to 5.4 p.m.
The President took the Chair at 5.4 p.m. and read prayers.
– by leave - Mr President, I have the honour to inform the Senate that the Ministry, which was sworn by the Governor-General on 19th December 1972, is as follows:
Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs- The Honourable E. G. Whitlam, QC.
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Defence, Minister for the Navy. Minister for the Army, Minister for Air and Minister for Supply - The Honourable L. H. Barnard.
Leader of the Government in the Senate, Attorney-General and Minister for Customs and Excise - Senator the Honourable Lionel Murphy, Q.C.
Special Minister of State, Vice-President of the Executive Council, Minister assisting the Prime Minister and Minister assisting the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate - Senator the Honourable Don Willesee.
Minister for the Media - Senator the Honourable Douglas McClelland.
Minister for Repatriation and Minister assisting the Minister for Defence - Senator the Honourable R. Bishop.
Minister for Services and Property and Leader of the House of Representatives - The Honourable F. M. Daly.
Minister for Tourism and Recreation and Minister assisting the Treasurer - The Honourable F. E. Stewart.
Minister for Works - Senator the Honourable J. L. Cavanagh.
Minister for Primary Industry - Senator the Honourable K. S. Wriedt.
Minister for the Capital Territory and Minister for the Northern Territory - The Honourable Kep Enderby.
Minister for the Environment and Conservation - The Honourable Moss Cass.
Minister for Science and Minister for External Territories - the Honourable W. L. Morrison.
I shall be the Leader of the Government in the Senate and shall represent the Prime Minister and the Minister for Science in this chamber. Other representation arrangements in the Senate are as follows:
Senator Willesee, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, will represent the Foreign Minister, the Treasurer, the Minister for Services and Property, the Minister for the Capital Territory and the Minister for External Territories.
Certain matters have been delegated by the Prime Minister to Senator Willesee. If questions are directed to me about those matters I shall redirect them to Senator Willesee.
Senator Douglas McClelland will represent the Minister for Social Security, the Minister for Education, the Minister for Tourism and Recreation, the Minister for Immigration, the Postmaster-General and the Minister for Health.
Senator Bishop will represent the Minister for Defence, the Minister for the Navy, the Minister for the Army, the Minister for Air, the Minister for Supply and the Minister for Labour.
Senator Cavanagh will represent the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, the Minister for Transport and the Minister for Civil Aviation, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the Minister for Housing and the Minister for the Environment and Conservation.
Senator Wriedt will represent the Minister for Overseas Trade and the Minister for Secondary Industry, the Minister for Northern Development, the Minister for Minerals and Energy and the Minister for the Northern Territory.
Senate Ministers will be represented in the House of Representatives as follows:
Mr Barnard will represent the Minister for Repatriation.
Dr J. F. Cairns will represent the Minister for Customs and Excise.
Dr Patterson will represent the Minister for Primary Industry.
Mr Daly will represent the Special Minister of State.
Mr Les Johnson will represent the Minister for Works.
Mr Enderby will represent the AttorneyGeneral.
Mr Morrison will represent the Minister for the Media.
The Government Whip is Senator Justin O’Byrne and the Deputy Whip is Senator Poyser.
– Mr President, I seek leave to make a short statement concerning leadership in the Senate of the Liberal Party of Australia.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
-I desire to inform the Senate that on 22nd December last I was elected by my colleagues to be Leader of the Liberal Party in the Senate, that my colleague Senator Greenwood was elected as my Deputy and that Senator Young was elected as the Liberal Party Whip. If I may trespass shortly on your time, Mr President, I would like to offer congratulations on behalf of those honourable senators who sit behind me to Sena tor Murphy and his fellow Ministers. I make no promises at this stage as it is perhaps too early to do so, but I trust that in whatever political clashes occur across the table the good sense, good fellowship and good humour which normally prevail in this place will continue to prevail.
– Mr President, I seek leave to make a statement on party leadership.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I desire to inform the Senate that I will continue to lead the Australian Democratic Labor Party, which is the second Non-Government Party in the Senate, as appointed by statute and confirmed by the Senate in November 1968. Senator F. P. McManus will continue to be my Deputy and Senator C. B. Byrne will continue to be the Whip of our Party.
– Mr President, I seek leave to make a statement regarding leadership of the Australian Country Party.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I wish to inform the Senate that I have been elected Leader of the Australian Country Party in the Senate, that Senator Webster has been elected as my Deputy and that Senator Maunsell has been elected as the Party Whip.
– Mr President, I give notice that on the next day of sitting I will move motions relating to the following matters: The re-appointment of 7 legislative and general purpose standing committees; the appointment of 6 Estimates committees; the consideration on Thursdays of committee reports; Government consideration of committee reports; and contingent notices of motion for the suspension of Standing Orders to prevent delay in the passage of Bills. Copies of the notices of motion have been distributed to honourable senators.
I also give notice that on the next day of sitting I will move:
That leave be given to introduce a Bill for an Act to abolish capital punishment under the laws of the Commonwealth and under certain other laws in relation to which the powers of the Parliament extend. 1 further give notice that on the next day of sitting 1 will move:
That leave be given to introduce a Bill for an Act to amend the Australian Capital Territory Evidence (Temporary Provisions) Act 1971-1972.
– Mr President, 1 give notice that on the next day of sitting I intend to move:
That in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969-1972 the following proposed work upon which the Public Works Committee has duly reported to Parliament should be again referred to the Committee for further consideration and report having regard to the strong public reactions to various aspects of this project, some of which were not voiced at the time of the public hearing in Darwin last year:
Proposed construction of the Palmerston arterial road at Darwin, Northern Territory.
– I give notice that on the next day of sitting 1 shall move the following motion:
Contingent on the President proceeding to the Placing of Business on any day, I shall move -
That so much of the Standing Orders bt suspended :is would prevent me moving a motion relating to the order of business on the notice paper.
– I have a similar notice of motion. 1 give notice of the following motion:
Contingent on the President proceeding to the Placing of Business on any day, I shall move -
Thai so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent Senator Gair moving a motion relating to the order of business on the notice paper.
Senator GAIR (Queensland - Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party) - I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move:
– I give notice of the following motion:
Contingent on the President proceeding to the Placing of Business on any day, I shall move - That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent Senator Drake-Brockman moving a motion relating to the order of business on the notice paper.
– I give notice of the following contingent motion:
That, contingent on the President reporting to the Senate that he has received from Senator Byrne a notice of intention to move on Wednesday, 28th February, a motion for adjournment to debate a matter of urgency in accordance with standing order 64, I shall move: That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent consideration forthwith of the motion contained in Senator Byrne s notice to the President.
– I give notice of the fo lowing contingent motion:
Contingent upon the re-appointment of the legislative and general purpose standing committees, I shall move: That there be referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence the following mailer - The adequacy of the Australian Army to perform its necessary part in the defence of Australia.
Senator McMANUS (Victoria) - I give notice of the following contingent motion:
Contingent upon the re-appointment of the legislative and general purpose standing committees, I shall move: That there be referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence the following matters - All matters relating to the recognition of China and the status of Taiwan.
– 1 give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move:
That the Government should include in its legislative programme a Bill to abolish Federal estate duty.
Senator KANE (New South Wales) - I give notice ako that on the next day of sitting I shall move:
– J give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move:
Thai the Senate is of the opinion thai the Government should establish immediately a national rural hank as a means of providing long-term, low interest loans and the funding and refinancing of rural debts, including an interest free and non-redemption period for lnc debts so funded.
Senator MURPHY (New South Wales - Leader of the Government in the Senate) - 1 ask for leave to move a motion to restore to the Notice Paper a notice of motion for the disallowance of certain regulations. May I shortly indicate why I seek leave to move the motion?
– The Senate is entitled to know why you are seeking leave.
– Last year a notice was given by Senator Devitt - it was on the notice paper of 31st October - relating to the disallowance of the Honey Industry (Election of Board) Regulations. In the view of some people the rising of the Parliament last year had the effect of discharging that notice from the notice paper. Honourable senators will see that it does not appear on the notice paper today. There are certain procedures under the Acts Interpretation Act for dealing with notices which would be removed in some circumstances but this circumstance is not covered. Unless some action is taken the notice will not be proceeded with and the evident intention of maintaining control by the chambers over the delegated legislation would be obstructed. While 1 can give notice for the matter to be brought on tomorrow, in fact today is a sitting day and this would cause complications in relation to the computation of the time within which the motion must be dealt with. Therefore, simply to preserve the rights of Senator Devitt, who gave notice, and of the Senate, which has control in this matter, 1 ask leave to move a motion that it be restored to the notice paper.
– I discussed this matter with Senator Murphy. We have no objection lo leave being granted.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
Motton (by Senator Murphy) agreed to:
That the notice of motion standing in the name of Senator Devitt on the notice paper for 31st October 1972 relating to the disallowance of the Honey industry (Election of Board) Regulations, as contained in Statutory Rules 1972, No. 136 and made under the Honey Industry Act 1962-1972, be restored lo the notice paper.
Assent to the following Bills reported:
Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1972-73 Appropriation
Bill (No. 2) 1972-73.
Apple and Pear Stabilization Bill 1972. Nitrogenous Fertilizers Subsidy Bill 1972. Slates Grants (Schools) Bill 1972. Stales Grants (Independent Schools) Bill (No. 2) 1972.
Wool (Deficiency Payments) Bill 1972. Wool Industry Bill 1972.
States Grants (Fruit-growing Reconstruction) Bill 1972.
Delivered Meals Subsidy Bill 1972. National Health Bill 1972. Metal Working Machine Tools Bounty Bill 1972. States Grants (Special Assistance) Bill 1972. National Urban and Regional Development
Authority Bill 1972. Restrictive Trade Practices Bill 1972. Excise Tariff Bill (No. 3) 1972. Excise Tariff Validation Bill 1972. Child Care Bill 1972.
Compensation (Commonwealth Employees) Bill 1972.
United States Naval Communication Station (Civilian Employees) Bill 1972. Seamen’s Compensation Bill 1972. Slates Grants (Universities) Bill 1972. States Grants (Universities) Bill (No. 2) 1972. States Grants (Advanced Education) Bill (No. 2) 1972.
States Grants (Advanced Education) Bill (No. 3) 1972.
Airlines Agreements Bill 1972. Australian National Airlines Bill 1972. Pollution of the Sea by Oil Bill 1972. Pollution of the Sea by, Oil (Shipping Levy) Bill 1972.
Pollution of the Sea by OH (Shipping Levy Collection) Bill 1972. Companies (Foreign Take-overs) Bill 1972. Customs Tariff Bill (No. 4) J 972. Customs Tariff Bill (No. 5) 1972. Customs Tariff Validation Bill (No. 2) 1972. Native Members of the Forces Benefits Bill 1972. Repatriation (Torres Strait Islanders) Bill 1972.
– I present the report and transcript of evidence from the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence on its inquiry into Japan.
Ordered that the report be printed.
– I seek leave to move a motion that the Senate take note of the report.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection leave is granted.
– I move:
That the Senate take note of the report. In October last, as Chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, I reported progress to the Senate on our inquiry into Japan and advised that a report would be available for presentation when the Senate next met. Since that time, and with your concurrence, Mr President, the Committee met and finalised the report which I have just tabled. I would like to express my appreciation to my fellow Committee members for their support and for the diligence and effort they have devoted to the inquiry. I believe this has resulted in a worthwhile report being available for the Senate’s consideration on important issues of Australia’s relations with Japan.
Our recommendations cover aspects of foreign policy, trade, Australian natural resources, investment in Australian industries, immigration, the need for greater understanding between the peoples of both countries, and comments on proposals which have been voiced for a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation between our 2 countries. 1 believe these recommendations to be both timely and topical in view of the rapid changes taking place on the international scene. If I could isolate just one aspect it would be to emphasise the need for the people of Australia and Japan to make stronger efforts to understand each other better. Indeed, this need for understanding extends further. The Committee believes that Australians must do much more to understand the people of Asia and to have them understand us.
Finally, on behalf of the Committee I express sincere appreciation to the many people who have made the Committee’s task profitable, to those who have presented evidence to us, departmental officers, academics, representatives of business and private citizens, and all those associated with the production of the report. I also express appreciation to Mr David Sissons, Fellow in International Relations at the Australian National University, who assisted the Committee during its hearings in the role of Specialist Adviser, and to the Committee’s own staff Mr Higgins and Mr Livermore for their efficient and dedicated approach to the tasks allotted them. I commend the report to the Senate.
– I rise to support the motion that the Senate take note of the report and, in doing so, concur in the remarks made by Senator Sim. I believe the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and
Defence to be worthy of the close consideration of the Government. I do not wish to speak at length at this stage, but on behalf of the members of the Committee I thank Senator Sim for his kind remarks about the work of the Committee as a whole and I compliment him on his chairmanship throughout the inquiry. The task of the Committee has been onerous but I believe that as a result of the wealth of evidence placed before us and the attention that the Committee members have paid to this important subject, a series of very worthwhile recommendations has been developed. There are other things that I would like to say but as there is other business before the Senate, I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– I report to the Senate that I have received a copy of the Opening Speech delivered this day by His Excellency the Governor-General to both Houses of the Parliament.
– Pursuant to standing order 28A I lay on the table my warrant for nominating senators as Temporary Chairmen of Committees as follows: Senators Brown, Byrne, Cant, Davidson, Durack, Lawrie, Marriott, Poke, Poyser, Wilkinson and Wood, to act as Temporary Chairmen of Committees when required to do so by the Chairman of Committees or when the Chairman of Committees is absent.
– I regret that I have to report to the Senate that since the last meeting of the Senate the deaths have occurred of a number of former members of the Parliament and also some world figures. I suggest that we might deal with the deaths of the former members of the Parliament together and then subsequently with the deaths of the world figures. Appropriate motions can be moved in each case.
– Are the Party leaders agreeable to that course being followed? There being no objection, it will be followed.
– I refer first to the Honourable William James Frederick Riordan who was a Minister in the Chifley Government. Young Bill Riordan was a member of what became known affectionately as the Riordan clan, the dominant force in north Queensland politics in the first half of this century. Bill Riordan held the seat of Kennedy for 30 years from 1936 to 1966 when he retired. He had succeeded his uncle, David Riordan, who had held the seat for 7 years prior to Bill’s election. It is understandable, therefore, that the electorate of Kennedy should have been known as Riordan territory. When he was elected in 1936 at the age of 28 Bill Riordan was the youngest member of the House of Representatives. His interest in defence matters was strong and from 1946 to 1949 he was Minister for the Navy in the Labor government of the day. The period when he entered this Parliament was an important one for the Labor Party and he contributed significantly to its movement along the hard road back from the difficulties of the early 1930s. He was rewarded by seeing his Party come to power under John Curtin and by being able to serve as a Minister under Ben Chifley. Along with so many of his colleagues he was disappointed and frustrated’ by being in the wilderness from 1949 to 1972. However, he lived long enough to see his Party returned to power. This was a good thing.
One of his colleagues during the years of John Curtin’s and Ben Chifley’s leadership of the Australian Labor Party was Tom Burke. Tom Burke passed away on 17th January 1973. Unfortunately, he was one of the casualties of the Labor Party’s years in opposition, but he served well as the member for Perth from 1943 to 1955. His family, another dedicated Labor family, must be proud of his 12 years of service to Western Australia and to the Parliament. His son, Terrence - one of 3 - is a member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly.
Harold Victor Campbell Thorby was a Minister in 1930. He died on New Year’s Day this year aged 85. He was a dual parliamentary representative. He served in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1922, as member for Calare in the House of Rep resentatives for 9 years from 1931 to 1940 and as Deputy Leader of the Parliamentary Country Party from 1937 to 1940. He was Minister in Charge of War Service Homes from 1934 to 1936, Minister for Defence from 1937 to 1938, Minister for Civil Aviation from 1938 to 1939 and Postmaster-General and Minister for Health from March 1940 to October 1940.
We were all sorry to hear that Jack Mortimer, the Labor member in the House of Representatives for the South Australian electorate of Grey from 1963 to 1969 drowned on 8th of this month. Jack Mortimer was elected at a by-election and held his seat during 2 subsequent federal elections. He served in the Australian Imperial Force during World War II, including a tour of duty in New Guinea with the Royal Australian Engineers. He returned to New Guinea as a member of the Australian parliamentary delegation to the Territory of New Guinea to attend Anzac day commemoration services in April 1964.
I am sure honourable senators will join me in conveying sympathy to the families and associates of those former members of this Parliament, each of whom contributed in his own way to the growth of democracy in this country. Two of them held very high office and contributed in their own way to the parliamentary process which we know to be taxing not only on them but also on their families. We are proud to serve in the same Parliament as those former members who have passed on and we convey our sympathy to their families.
– I would like to associate the Opposition with the remarks made by Senator Murphy. Personally, I knew none of the 4 gentlemen to whom he referred but I agree with him that any person who is called upon to be a member of this place and who does his best to serve his electorate is deserving of the thanks of the nation. It is interesting to recall, as Senator Murphy related, that both the Riordan and the Burke families had an interest in politics. I had heard of the Riordan family’s interest and, as a West Australian, the Burke family is known to me.
– As I was about to call Senator Drake-Brockman I saw Senator McManus rise in his place. 1 had in mind Senator Drake-Brockman’s association with
Mr Thorby through the Country Party. For that reason I propose to call Senator DrakeBrockman. There is no question of priority.
– I should like to associate the Country Party representatives in this place with the tributes which have been paid by both the Leader of the Government (Senator Murphy) and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Withers). While I knew personally all 4 men to whom they have paid tribute, I did not have the opportunity of working very closely with them because they all served in another place. However, I agree that any man who represents his electorate or his State in Parliament must have proved to his electors that he is hard working and prepared to represent them. I should like to take the opportunity of paying a special tribute to Tom Burke, a West Australian, who, I believe, was a great Labor man. He was certainly a great representative for the seat of Perth in the Parliament, and I believe he earned himself a great reputation in Western Australia by working for the slow learner group in that State. Mr President, I should like to associate myself and my Party with the tributes that have been paid and to offer our sympathy to the wives and families concerned.
– Mr President, because I was acquainted with 3 of those who are mentioned in this motion, Senator Gair, the Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party, has asked me to speak on his behalf. I was not acquainted with Mr Thorby but I have read of his achievements as a member of this Parliament in which he was a notable figure and I regret sincerely that he has passed on. I offer our sympathy to his relatives. Mr Riordan was a member of one of the best known Queensland Labor families and for many years he represented a very difficult seat in the north of Queensland. He was well known to many members present, I think, and his ability was recognised by the Chifley Government by his being promoted to Minister for the Navy. Mr Tom Burke I knew quite well. He was a man of tremendous integrity and I respected very strongly his political outlook. I met him on a number of occasions both before and after the events which divided the Australian Labor Party. He was always very loyal to that Party and I believe that during his term in this Parliament he made his mark as a member. Mr Mortimer was a member while I was here. I think we all deeply regret the untoward happening which has deprived his relatives of him. 1 offer to his relatives and also to those of Mr Riordan and Mr Burke the very sincere sympathy of the Australian Democratic Labor Party.
I would point out that there is an oversight. Mr Paul Jones, who represented the Australian Labor Party for 2 terms in the Victorian seat of Indi, died within the last couple of weeks. I knew Mr Jones very well. He was not associated with the Australian Labor Party in the last few years, but he was a very kindly man who was extremely popular in many Labor circles. He was a member of the Federal Parliament for 2 terms, achieving office on the first occasion in a rather remarkable way. The Country Party candidate forgot to nominate and Mr Jones was elected unopposed. However, on the second occasion he was elected in his own right. Mr Jones was not. only a member of the Federal Parliament. He was also, for a very considerable period, a member of the Legislative Council in Victoria. I feel sure that it is only an oversight that reference to his death has not been made this afternoon. 1 express our sympathy to his relatives, and I request the Leader of the Government in the Senate to act to include the name of Mr Paul Jones in the condolences motion.
– Senator Murphy has indicated that he will do that.
– Yes, I do that immediately, and the Leader of the Opposition indicates that he joins me in doing so. Unfortunately, we were not aware of the passing of Mr Jones. I am sure that all of us in the Senate would like to record our appreciation of the service which has been done to the nation by Mr Jones and to convey our sympathy to his relatives.
– As a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased I invite honourable senators to rise in their places. (Honourable senators having stood in their places).
– Thank you.
Deaths of former Presidents Truman and Johnson, and of Mr Pearson
Senator MURPHY (New South WalesLeader of the Government in the Senate) - Mr President, also since the last meeting of the Senate the deaths of former Presidents
Harry S. Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson of the United Stales of America and of Lester B. Pearson, a former Prime Minister of Canada, have occurred.
The task of presiding over the administration of a nation as large and as powerful as the United States is onerous. President Truman and President Johnson made no lesser effort to satisfy the demands of this unenviable office than their predecessors and successors. Both came to office under circumstances of war with formidable consequences. It is inevitable that the head of the world’s most powerful nation should have unparalleled opportunities to exert his personality and leave his mark on history. The history books have already recorded the achievements of Harry S. Truman. However, the historians have not yet fully assessed the contributions of Lyndon B. Johnson. Neither man’s task was simple and in their own ways they sought to define America’s role in the world.
Both men came from humble rural beginnings in the United States heartland. Harry Truman was the son of a horse trader and provincial politician. He was born on 8th May 1884 in Missouri. He was a bank clerk, farmer, artillery captain in the First World War, and a county judge before being elected to the United States Senate at the age of 50 in 1934. He succeeded to the White House in April 1945 following the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Some of his decisions at home and abroad, particularly in times of war, will be forever disputed, including his decision to use atomic weapons against Japan during the Second World War. After the war his presidential contribution was seen in a different context - through the Truman Doctrine ‘to support the cause of freedom wherever it was threatened’ and from his attempted role in the emergence in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in 1939. His influence was obvious in efforts to make the benefits of scientific and technological progress available for developing nations through his 4 point programme. His $ 12,500m Marshall Plan of 1948 was the greatest contribution to the rebuilding of nations devastated by the Second World War, and the economic rehabilitation of Western Europe. His domestic policies were no less ambitious but probably less productive. He attempted to carry out Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programme to distribute more equitably America’s wealth and guarantee civil rights to black Americans.
Some have said he was ahead of his time in these attempts. Most of his proposals were rejected by Congress. He faced the added difficulties of post war shortages, inflation and industrial unrest.
At least until the last budgetary announcements by President Nixon the United States was still attempting to carry out the domestic principles laid down by Roosevelt and his successor Harry S. Truman.
Contemporary observers are of the opinion that Lyndon B. Johnson achieved more in domestic legislation than he did in foreign affairs. A Texan, born on 17th August 1908, he was elected to the Congress in 1937 and later became a senator and Senate majority leader. The eighth Vice-President to succeed to the presidency, he was sworn in as the 36th President within half an hour of President Kennedy’s death from an assassin’s bullet. Domestically, President Johnson was one of the great reformers. He was responsible for an admirable succession of social and domestic measures. Among them were the anti-poverty programme, the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, the medicare scheme to provide health insurance throughout the community, and an attack on slum housing and urban decay. He lifted the level of administrative thinking on conservation and environmental preservation; he was responsible for the most extensive anti-crime bill in United States history; he was in the forefront of concern with consumer legislation.
He developed an affection for Australia and visited this country 3 times. He was the only President to visit Australia while in office, and did so twice. The Vietnam war was the great tragedy of his career. President Truman and President Johnson were both members of the Democratic Party, a reforming party with pluralist principles as guidelines. The role that this Party and its presidential leaders have played in the search for a greater, more just, and more generous America is considerable. I am sure that all honourable senators will join with me in having this Parliament convey its sympathy to the families of the late Presidents and to the American people.
Former Prime Minister of Canada, Lester Bowles Pearson, died on 27th December. He has been widely acknowledged as one of the most eminent figures in Canadian and world affairs and an international statesman in a nation which has been in the forefront of forthright and progressive policies in world affairs. His unyielding contribution worked towards the transformation of Canada’s reputation from that of an imperial dominion subject to Britain and American economic colonialism into an independent force in the community of nations. Canada and Australia have much in common - modest populations and vast areas, much of them arid and unsettled, and are medium powers within the context of power blocs and multi-national associations.
Lester Pearson’s achievements were mostly in the areas of diplomacy and foreign policy. Many throughout the world remember him for his work as Canadian Minister for External Affairs, an office he assumed in September 1948. He was one of the founders of the United Nations and described it as ‘our best hope for world peace’ and clung vehemently to its principles and ideals. In the sphere of his United Nations activities he worked closely with Dr. H. V. Evatt, a distinguished Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs whose contribution and death were recorded in this chamber several years ago.
Lester Pearson recognised, as stated in his autobiography, Dr Evatt’s role as a persistent and diligent champion of smaller nations. Lester Pearson led Canada’s delegation to the United Nations General Assembly to 9 sessions and was elected as President of the General Assembly. He was born in April 1897 at Newtonbrook in Ontario and was a graduate from the universities of Toronto and Oxford. He served with distinction in the Army Medical Corps, the Canadian Infantry and the Air Force during the First World War, After the war he was for a time Professor of History in Toronto. During the Second World War he was Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations.
Lester Pearson became the Prime Minister of Canada in April 1963, at the height of his career, and dedicated himself to a united Canada based on an equal partnership between its French and English speaking communities. National honours were heaped upon him and he was the only Canadian ever to receive the Nobel Prize for Peace. I am sure honourable senators will join me in paying tribute to him at this time and in expressing sympathy to his family and to the Canadian people.
Senator WITHERS (Western AustraliaLeader of the Opposition) - On behalf of the Opposition I would like to be associated with the remarks of the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Murphy). President Truman and President Johnson had somewhat similar careers in that both came to the presidency under similar circumstances. Both were serving as Vice-President at the time of the death of the President. In addition, they were able to gain endorsement as President in their own right by their own election.
The similarity continued: In the immediate post-war period the late President Truman realised that if the Western world did not make a strong stand all of Europe would quickly fall to the Russian communist empire. As Russian influence seemed likely to spread into southern and western Europe, President Truman introduced the Truman doctrine which granted aid to Turkey and Greece and forestalled Communist intentions there. He was the President under whom the Marshall Plan was developed. He was the President who, when faced with the deterioration of relations in Berlin, inaugurated the Berlin airlift. He developed the military power of the West through the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to meet the Soviet military threat. He quickly reacted to Communist aggression in Asia when North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950. For those of us who sit in the Parliament perhaps one of his most courageous acts was that of exercising presidential authority in removing General MacArthur when the General quarrelled with the political directions given to him by his Commander in Chief. Whatever else might be said about President Truman, he certainly was positive in his response to aggressive communist intentions, whether in Europe or in Asia. I think it may be said that it was the result of his strength which enabled the present detente between the United States of America and the Soviet Union to come about.
On assuming the Presidency President Johnson faced a somewhat similar problem to that faced by President Truman in that in South East Asia revolutionary aggressive communism was undermining the security and stability of the area. It is to the eternal credit of Lyndon Baines Johnson that he responded to the situation. I know, Mr President, that arguments will go on for years over the actions of President Johnson within South East Asia but, whatever else may be said, eventually his successor, President Nixon, was able to deal with this matter at a peace table. Although it has been said often that President Johnson failed in foreign fields - an argument with which I do not agree - there is no doubt that he introduced a vast number of social programmes and gave real meaning to the civil rights programme in the United States. I suppose many Australians remember President Johnson better than most Presidents because, as Senator Murphy said, he was the only serving President to visit this nation - once in 1966 and again in 1967 to attend the memorial service for the late Prime Minister, Mr Harold Holt.
Mr President, both men provided a great service to the free world democracies and both will be long remembered by those who support liberal, free institutions as opposed to the militant, illiberal and degrading institutions of the communist world.
The life of Prime Minister Lester Pearson in some ways spanned those of both President Truman and President Johnson. It will be interesting to see how history judges these 3 men because Mr Pearson took a somewhat different line from that followed by the 2 great American Presidents. He was a firm believer, as Senator Murphy has mentioned, in the use of the United Nations to bring about world peace. That was recognised by the fact that in 1957 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I think history is yet to judge which of these 3 men followed the best course of action. The Opposition joins with Senator Murphy and supporters of the Government in extending its sympathy to the relatives of those 3 deceased gentlemen.
– Mr President, the members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party desire to join with the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Murphy) and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Withers) in the sentiments they have expressed regarding the 3 gentlemen who have recently gone to reap their eternal reward. Many of the things that I had intended to say have already been said. However, I believe that it can be said with safety that both American Presidents about whom we are speaking were men of great character, great fortitude and great determination and men who had a genuine sympathy for the less fortunate sections of their own country and other countries. At every opportunity that arose during their period of office they indicated very clearly and very definitely that America would not stand by and allow small nations to be overrun, particularly by communists.
It is true to say that both Presidents came into office on the death of the President of the time. Harry Truman was Vice-President for a year, 1 believe, before President Roosevelt’s death on 12th April 1945. However, he had the satisfaction of announcing Germany’s capitulation on 8th May and of accepting Japan’s surrender on 14th August. He also attended the Potsdam Conference in July 1945. As someone has already said, he asked Congress to contribute S400m in military and economic aid to Greece and Turkey to stop the spread of communism. I believe that the Marshall Plan, which aided so many countries, was initiated by him. Truman’s resistance to Stalin’s plan for world domination produced the so-called Cold war. This culminated in June 1950 in the invasion of South Korea by the North. Truman committed United States forces promptly under the United Nations flag to resist this naked act of military aggression. Truman’s actions ultimately resulted in saving South Korea’s independence, thus aiding the freedom of all South East Asian countries, including Australia. Although chance placed this ordinary, simple man in a position of enormous influence in the great country of America, he showed the courage and determination which rescued Europe from total collapse and helped to block Stalin’s armed might from occupying Europe and overrunning Asia. He was a man of great achievement and a great force in world affairs.
In many ways Lyndon Johnson was a similar type of man. His achievements in relation to domestic policies also have been referred to. They were very notable. His war on poverty was an admirable one. Other achievements were his civil rights Bill in 1964 and his call to create a great society. I feel that his greatest performance was in connection with Vietnam. If it had not been for the pressures placed upon him as a result of America’s involvement in the Vietnam war, I feel that he probably would still be alive. He felt, just as Truman did in relation to South Korea, that America had an obligation and a duty to protect South Vietnam from the onslaughts of the power drunk communists from the North who were aided and abetted by outside communist countries.
The pressures on Johnson were terrific. The pressures to cut and run and so preserve his own political future were immense and beyond measure, but he was too big a man to do that. To his great credit he refused to sell out South Vietnam and to betray the United States’ solemn promise to support a small beleagured nation. Johnson bought time for every nation in South East Asia. I conscientiously believe that his stand in South Vietnam ensured a non-communist Indonesia. History undoubtedly will add to his stature as a great President and will not look upon him merely as a clever politician.
Together with other members of the Commonwealth Parliament I had the pleasure of renewing acquaintance with former President Johnson in America last year. He showed signs of being a fairly sick man, but he was very bright in his approach to matters. His wife proved to be a very delightful hostess on that occasion. We sympathise deeply with her, as we do with the relatives of the late Mr Truman.
Mr Pearson was a man of a different character, it is true. I feel that his main contribution and concern was to work tirelessly for a durable and just world peace under effective international supervision. Could any man have a greater ideal?
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (Western Australia) - My Australian Country Party colleagues and I join with the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Murphy), the Leader of the Opposition (Senator
Withers) and the Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party (Senator Gair) in paying a tribute to these 3 great leaders. Both Harry S. Truman and Lyndon Johnson were thrust into the presidency of their country, and both men were able to win election in their own right. I believe that Harry S. Truman became a very great leader in his own country. He certainly became a leader in the world community. The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Aid Plan have won him world fame. I understand that 2 of Lyndon Johnson’s great heroes were President Lincoln and President Roosevelt. I know that President Johnson was responsible for the passage through the American parliament of more legislation granting civil rights and fighting against poverty than was any other President. On behalf of Country Party senators I extend to the families of the 3 men our deepest sympathy.
– I invite honourable senators to stand in their places as a mark of respect to the 3 deceased gentlemen. (Honourable senators having stood in their places).
– Thank, you.
Motion (by Senator Murphy) agreed to:
That the Senate at its rising adjourn until tomorrow at 3 p.m.
Senate adjourned at 6.5 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 27 February 1973, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1973/19730227_senate_28_s55/>.