28th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Magnus Cormack) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– Mr President, I give notice that on the next day of sitting 1 shall move:
That unless otherwise ordered the times of meeting on Thursday, 8th March 19-73 be as follows: 11 a.m. to 12.45 p.m., 2.15 p.m. to 5.45 p.m., 8 p.m. to 10.30 p.m. and that General Business, order of the day No. 2, take precedence of all other business at 8 p.m.
– Mr President, I give notice that 10 sitting days after today I shall move:
That regulations 2 and 3 of the amendments of the Air Navigation Regulations as contained in Statutory Rules 1972 No. 366 and made under the Air Navigation Act 1920-1971 be disallowed.
I ask for leave to make a brief statement concerning the notice of motion I have just given.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I believe that these regulations contain matter that the Regulations and Ordinances Committee may wish to investigate. As the Committee has not yet been reconstituted and as the time for giving notice of motion for disallowance of the regulations expires today, I have given this notice so as to give the Committee, when reconstituted, time to consider the regulations and to take whatever action it then thinks fit.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour. Does he not consider that the Commonwealth conciliation and arbitration machinery should contain provisions for the registration of agreements made between unions and employers that are entered into voluntarily? Is not this type of agreement one which spokesmen of the Australian Labor Party have often claimed is the best type of agreement? If so, why does he propose to deny to employers the right to register such agreements if they contain a voluntarily accepted proposition that unions will pay a penalty if they break the agreements?
– As the honourable senator knows, because it has been announced by the Minister for Labour, the Labor Government will be shortly introducing amendments to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act, the provisions of which run into the question that he has raised. The general philosophy of the Labor Government at present, as I think the honourable senator knows, is that voluntary agreements should be made. We are at present working on the basis that they ought to be able to be maintained in cooperation with the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the State trades and labour councils because we have in mind, of course, as the honourable senator knows, taking out of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act all penal provisions. 1 suggest, Mr President, that until the amendments are prepared I cannot answer specifically the questions which Senator Greenwood has raised.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Has the Minister read the remarks attributed to Mr Nettlebeck the manager of the Federal Wine and Brandy Producers Council, in today’s ‘Canberra Times’? In view of the increased costs to the wine industry as detailed by Mr Nettlebeck, will the Minister inform the Senate what is the present position in regard to the examination being carried out by 3 sub-committees of the Commonwealth Grape Advisory Committee established to report on the problems facing the grape growing industry and the action desirable to meet these problems? Has this examination been completed and when will their reports be made public?
– I have not seen the report referred to by the honourable senator nor am I conversant with the details of the matter he has raised. I shall make inquiries and if these reports are available, they will be made available to the Senate.
– My question without notice is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Now that the lethargy of the previous Government has been overcome, will the Minister ask the Prime Minister when Australia can learn when this Government proposes to commence the building of a new Parliament House instead of the present costly accretions we see around us?
– I suppose the answer to the question depends, firstly, upon the determination as to where the new Parliament House should be sited. The honourable senator may recall that the Senate passed a resolution, last year I think, suggesting that that question ought to be resolved in the most democratic manner by a meeting together of the members of both Houses and a simple determination of that question, the procedures to be resolved by the Presiding Officers of the 2 Houses. The honourable senator’s question inclines me to believe, that the Senate should be given the opportunity, perhaps, of passing a resolution in similar terms and transmitting it to the House of Representatives so that an early and democratic conclusion may be arrived at. 1 agree with the honourable senator when he reflects that this Parliament House is unable to cope with the demands which are being made on it. It was not designed originally for Houses with so many members as we have today, and the increased complexity of work in both Houses has meant that there have to be more staffs, that there has been an increase in the legislative reference section, and that in various other areas there have been demands for more staff and more facilities - and these are proper demands to enable the work to be carried out. It cannot be done efficiently in this Parliament House. I assure the honourable senator that I would like to see the early commencement of the building of the new parliament house on Capital Hill.
– ‘My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour. I ask the Minister: Why was the Minister for Works, and not the. Minister for Repatriation, who represents the Minister for Labour in this chamber, deputed last night to reveal the Government’s changed attitude on the 4 weeks leave question and its preparedness to support 4 weeks leave for all public servants regardless of union membership? Does this development indicate a change in the representation in this place of the Ministers who are supposed to represent Ministers in the other place? Does the Minister for Repatriation intend at a later stage in today’s proceedings to make a ministerial statement outlining the change in the Government’s attitude?
– I think that Senator Cavanagh, when speaking on the matter, was simply expressing what he considered to be a logical appreciation of the situation. That is the way I took it. At this stage I can indicate that the Government intends to bring before the Parliament a Bill to provide for 4 weeks leave and to relate it to those matters.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Conservation. Has the Government received new approaches from the South Australian Labor Government since the election in December last requesting that urgent action be taken to improve the quality of River Murray water, particularly of that part of the Murray which flows through South Australia? If so, what action has the Government taken on the matter?
– There have been representations from the South Australian Premier on the question of the flow and the quality of the water of the Murray. As a result, a conference has been held between the Victorian, New South Wales, South Australian and Commonwealth governments - those governments which constitute the River Murray Commission. That conference was attended by Dr Cass, the Australian Minister for the Environment and Conservation, the Honourable G. F. Freudenstein, M.L.A., Minister for Conservation in New South Wales, the Honourable Robert Dunstan, M.L.A., Minister for Water Supply in Victoria, and the Honourable J. D. Corcoran, M.’H.A., the Minister of Works in South Australia. As a result of that conference the Prime Minister made a Press statement on 2nd March, in which he pointed out that the River Murray Waters Agreement was entered into in 1914 when the States were concerned mostly with the water for navigation and with the quantity of the water, that the Agreement does not serve the purposes of 1973 and that there has to be a reconsideration of the Agreement.
I have further information relating to a question which was asked last week concerning the possible increased pollution with the establishment of the new areas at AlburyWodonga and at Monarto in South Australia. The meeting decided to establish a working committee of senior officials of the Australian and State governments with terms of reference to bring down an urgent report on interim measures to deal with the salinity problems of the River Murray and how they might be financed and operated as a short term project; and further, to go on with a long term project to control salinity and other forms of water pollution; and to examine and recommend changes which would be required in the River Murray Waters Agreement to enable the River Murray Commission to undertake measures to meet present day requirements. The membership of the committee comprises representatives of the Australian Government and the State governments^
– Order! I do not like interrupting Ministers, but this is getting very close to debating the question, Senator. For a question without notice, it is a very good answer.
– The answer was supplied, as I said, as further information on a question which was asked about the AlburyWodonga area last week. I will conclude the answer by saying that representations have been made and the committee has been formed. An interim committee will make a short term report to the governments which constitute, the River Murray Commission. There are proposals to keep control of and to purify more the waters that come under the River Murray Water Agreement.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security, follows complaints that have been made to me that the unemployment benefit is not available to Aborigines who by choice reside in Aboriginal communities and reserves. Will the Minister inform me whether this is so? If it is so, will the Minister inform the Senate of the reasons? If not correct, will the Minister inform the House of the conditions required to be met by an Aboriginal applicant who resides in an Aboriginal community or reserve area?
– I am unaware of the circumstances outlined by the honourable senator. I will refer the matter to my colleague Mr Hayden, the Minister for Social Security, obtain a reply from him and provide it to the honourable senator.
– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry: Would it be possible to make an inventory . of grazier occupancy of properties in the far western division of New South Wales and the immediate area across the South Australian border and . to assess the amounts of money that have been poured into rehabilitation funds for the grazing industry in that region? Can the area be defined as submarginal? If so, could it be allowed to return to its natural state and the graziers concerned phased out of the area?
– I feel that the question involves matters of very great moment in the rural industries. I would certainly not attempt to answer it without notice. I suggest to the honourable senator that he place, his question on the notice paper and I will consider it.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Labour aware of the difficulties being experienced by employers throughout Australia in filling job vacancies? Does he realise that fruit growers in South Australia in particular are finding it impossible to obtain sufficient numbers of pickers to harvest their crops? Does he also know that some growers claim that many people prefer to subsist on unemployment relief and that this is largely responsible for the lack of labour? What is the Minister’s Department doing to overcome this severe labour problem being faced by the industry?
– I do not agree with the honourable senator’s suggestion that people receiving unemployment relief are satisfied to remain in that position. In South Australia a drastic fall in unemployment has occurred and is having a local effect. I have been informed that the unemployment figures for February last show a drop of 28.2 per cent, the greatest drop in February for 25 years. The Minister for Labour is examining means which possibly could be adopted to induce people to go to work in areas where labour shortages have occurred, including the areas to which the honourable senator referred. The matter is receiving very deep examination by the Minister for Labour, from whom I will attempt to get some more information for the honourable senator. The difficulties facing fruit growers in South Australia to which the honourable senator referred may be related to the very rapid improvement in the employment figures there.
– 1 ask the Minister for Primary Industry the following questions: What are the full names and addresses of all members of the Australian Wool Corporation, interim and otherwise? What are their commercial and business interests outside the Corporation? What qualifications do they have, practical or otherwise, to serve on such a body? For how long are they appointed? Did rank and file wool growers have any say in any of the appointments? What practical experience has Mr Maiden had in the orderly marketing of the Australian wool clip? What is the remuneration paid to each member of the Corporation?
– Quite obviously 1 could not answer such a detailed series of questions without notice. However, I will comment that the appointments to the Corporation by the previous administration immediately prior to the last election were, I believe, a most indiscreet act. It was quite obvious that the proper course would have been to await the outcome of the election. In view of the interest expressed by the honourable senator I shall obtain the information for him.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour, follows a question asked by Senator Jessop. Is the Minister aware of the very serious labour shortage currently being experienced by the Riverland Cannery at Berri in South Australia? Is the Minister also aware that the cannery is working at only 80 per cent of its capacity due to a labour shortage of some 100 women in the cannery? As this labour shortage is endangering quite a volume of fresh fruit through a delay in picking due to the lack of throughput in the factory, what steps will the Minister to take to alleviate this very serious problem when there is well in excess of 100 people obtaining unemployment relief in the area?
– I hope the honourable senator is not asking me or the Minister for Labour forcibly- to take unemployment benefits from people who have been considered by this Government and by the previous Government to be eligible for them. I answered Senator Jessop . and advised him that the situation probably is related to the improved employment position in South Australia. I told him also that I would take the matter up with the Minister for Labour, Mr Clyde Cameron, to see to what extent that industry might be assisted to obtain employees.
– My question is directed to the Minister assisting the Minister for Defence, he being a Minister having some responsibility for VIP aircraft. Why was Mr Mick Young, Federal Secretary and campaign organiser for the Australian Labor Party, permitted to use VIP transport, for travel on the electoral duties of his Party during the recent election campaign? Who sought this privilege for Mr Young? Who granted it? What are the particulars of each journey by Mr Young and the dates on which he travelled by VIP aircraft on his Party’s electoral business at the expense of Australian taxpayers?
– As the honourable senator probably knows, there were some excesses of VIP travel permitted by the last Government and perhaps that is so in regard to the issue he raises. I do not know the particulars of the case about which he seeks information. Today I will be tabling lists and the manifests of VIP aircraft and the honourable senator will have the opportunity of examining them to see to what extent the use of VIP aircraft was abused under the old guidelines by the last Government and to what extent this has happened under this Government. Senator Drake-Brockman well knows that there have been abuses in the use of VIP aircraft. Only yesterday I tabled guidelines for their use. The guidelines have been tightened and the use of these aircraft has been made more definite. I will seek information from the Minister about Senator McManus’s question.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Transport. The Minister may remember that last year I questioned the then Minister for
Civil Aviation about the possibility of improving the facilities at Hobart airport. I now ask whether the new Minister has given any thought to any alterations and additions to the Hobart airport buildings? Secondly, has he investigated the possibility of raising the landing and take-off capabilities so that Hobart will be able to handle international flights?
– T have no knowledge of this matter and shall submit the question to the Minister for Transport. I feel sure that [ can say that he has given no consideration to making the Hobart airport an international airport. However I shall see what consideration he has given to Hobart airport and let the honourable senator know.
– My question is directed to you, Mr President. In the course of answering a number of questions which have been asked of him concerning the matrimonial causes rales, Senator Murphy has constantly referred to the evidence which has been received by the former Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs. Some of this evidence has been the subject of public record, but most of it was not heard by the Committee in public. Senator Murphy has even gone so far as to invite honourable senators to consider this evidence, apparently because he feels it is in support of his case. I ask: Is Senator Murphy in order in referring to evidence, particularly that which is not of public record, given before the Standing Committee and which has not yet been reported to the Senate? Is not such conduct in serious breach of standing order 308?
– Senator Durack, your question is a difficult one to answer in the sense that you have made reference to matters that are not within my knowledge. I shall look into this matter. I shall discuss the matter with the Leader of the Government in the Senate and the Leader of the Opposition in the context of the use that may or may not be made of evidence taken before Senate committees. I should be grateful if the Senate would leave this matter in the hands of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition and the President at the present time.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry. As the corriedale breed of sheep is evolved from the crossing of the merino breed with an English breed, with then a breeding back to what is virtually the comeback, will the Minister have an inspection made of a large flock of ewes and rams due to be exported soon from Victoria to South America to ensure that merino rams are not included among them?
– I can assure Senator O’Byrne that it would not be of much use for me to look at them because I would not be able to say whether they were corriedales or what they were. All I can indicate to the honourable senator is that at the present time there is a ban on the export of merino rams. I do not know whether experts can determine whether the particular rams are merinos or not, but it is certainly not my prerogative.
– 1 direct a question to the Special Minister of State. Does the Government consider the maintenance of trade with Taiwan to be important to Australia? Is the Government aware that Taiwan’s rapidly growing free enterprise economy, whose foreign trade is far greater than that of the People’s Republic of China, offers growing trade opportunities for Australia? Is the Government aware of the arrangements made by Japan, Canada and other nations which have recognised the People’s Republic of China to retain trade, cultural and other ties with Taiwan? If the Government is not prepared to make similar arrangements will it explain why?
– The answer to the first 2 parts of the honourable senator’s question is yes. I have explained on several occasions during the short period in which the Parliament has been in session that Canada has no official representation in Taiwan. Japan has an official arrangement.
– Answer the question.
– As I have explained several times, the history of Japan vis-a-vis Taiwan is quite different, from that of Australia vis-a-vis Taiwan. As I have explained several times, there - is no interference with travel between Australia and Taiwan and there is no interference with trade being carried on with Taiwan.
– Answer the question.
– As the Government has made clear on several occasions, both sides of the Taiwan Strait demand that countries make up their minds as to who they are going to recognise. They will not accept both countries being recognised. We have made up our minds, as have most countries in the world, to recognise the People’s Republic of China. We do not have official contacts with Taiwan. As to the rest of the honourable senator’s question, there is no let or hindrance over either travel or trade between Taiwan and Australia.
– Order! I would like to make the observation for the benefit of honourable senators that 2 issues are involved in the asking of questions by honourable senators and the answering of those questions by Ministers. The first is whether the Minister is answering the question. The second is whether the Minister is answering the question to the satisfaction of the honourable senator who asked it - and that is another matter altogether.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Transport in a position to provide to the Senate any information about a possible solution to the problem of shipping services to King Island in Bass Strait, as the lack of an efficient service to the island has seriously disadvantaged its residents for several months? Is he able to indicate the terms of the recommendations made to the previous Government in or about August 1972, following a committee inquiry into the matter?
– The Prime Minister answered a question on this matter in the other place today. He said that he was giving urgent consideration to the matter and was awaiting a report from the Minister for Transport, Mr Charles Jones. That is the position as I understand it. The honourable senator can accept my assurance that an early report will be made. In addition to the inquiry which the honourable senator mentioned, 30 inquiries in which my Department participated were held. One inquiry was iri relation to navigation or transport to King Island and whether the establishment of a port there was a viable proposition. The findings were not released as public documents. Under the new Government’s formula of open government it is thought that they should be released. I do not think the findings contain anything condemnatory about anyone. The only inquiry which does not involve another department was an inquiry into the sealing of highways in the Northern Territory. As I have complete control of the matter, I will be releasing the findings of that inquiry in the near future. As the investigation into the transport to King Island involves other departments I have written to other Ministers seeking their approval to make public the findings. I think they would be enlightening.
– Is the . Minister representing the Minister for Immigration aware that in February of this year there appeared in the ‘West Australian’ the following headline: ‘Ord may get a Little Pakistan’? The article stated that 900 acres had been allocated to a Pakistani at the Ord River, Kununurra, Western Australia; that a Mr Maxbool Shaikh had applied for the allotment 2 months previously; that he had a 30- year lease at a nominal rental and that he stated that he would employ Pakistanis to grow cotton and mangroves. Will the Minister give the Senate an assurance that Pakistanis will not be allowed to be employed on this project unless they become naturalised Australians? Can the Minister advise how many Pakistanis have been allowed into Australia, under our immigration scheme, up to this time?
– I have not seen the headline or the article to which the honourable senator referred, in the West Australian’ earlier this year, but I have heard about the article. I understand that my colleague the Minister for Immigration in another place said that there is no possibility - to use the article’s words - of any little Pakistan being set up on the Ord.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Is it true that the Government, as reported in today’s Press, is pinning its hopes on the proposed prices justification tribunal as the major weapon against inflation? Can the
Minister indicate when legislation to establish the tribunal is expected to be presented to Parliament?
– I do not know that we would be pinning our hopes on the proposed prices justification tribunal as the major weapon against inflation. We hope that it certainly will be a new and good contribution to the fight against inflation. Because of the legislative program I do not know when the legislation will be introduced. I could ask the Treasurer, but I doubt whether he would know exactly when it will be introduced. I will find out if I can for the honourable senator.
– I ask a question of the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. In view of the Postmaster-General’s statement that some telephone exchanges in rural areas are not economic as far as his Department is concerned, does he apply this principle also to certain rural mail services? We are told that it costs approximately $1 to deliver a letter to Birdsville. Does he consider this mail service uneconomic? Will the PostmasterGeneral also take into account the fact that the telephone section of his Department makes a substantial profit while the mail section loses nearly the same amount? Will the Minister make allowances for this substantial telephone surplus in deciding whether rural telephone exchanges are economic?
– First of all I want to put beyond doubt the point that Senator Lawrie raises about the mail services bringing in much the same sort of profit as the telecommunications services of the Post Office. As a matter of fact, if my memory serves me correctly, last year there was a loss in the mail services activities of the Post Office. But there was a profit-
– That is what Senator Lawrie said.
– I am sorry. I misunderstood him. Certainly there was a profit on telecommunications services which, I think, amounted to about $58m in relation to Post Office revenue and about $120m by way of interest payments to the Treasury. The simple answer to the honourable senator is that the present Government believes that funds for telecommunication purposes should come less from the .subscribers and more from Consolidated Revenue.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister for the Media, concerns a written submission of the Australian Mass Communications Council to the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts on 19th July 1972. It carried the name of Senator D. McClelland and purported to represent the views and recommendations of all members. I ask the Minister: Did he subscribe to the viewpoints and recommendations in that submission? If not, what steps did he take to dissociate himself from them? Is he aware that the Chairman of the Australian Mass Communications Council, Mr Hal Lashwood, recently appointed by the Minister to the Australian Broadcasting Commission, gave evidence on oath to the Senate Committee that a copy of the submission had been circulated by post to every member of the Council and, to quote Mr Lashwood: ‘We have not received a complaint from anybody about it’?
– I understand that, although Mr Lashwood was at one time the Chairman of the Australian Mass Communications Council, he has relinquished membership of that Council since his appointment to the Australian Broadcasting Commission. I am aware that last year the Mass Communications Council presented a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts which is inquiring into all aspects of radio and television. I do not know whether it was in July. Frankly I am not aware that my name was attached to the submission. In fact, as far as I can recall I have not read the submission. But now that the honourable senator has brought this to my attention I shall peruse it with interest.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Transport. I refer to the statement of the Minister for Transport of 19th February in which he stated that a decision had been taken in principle to have up to 40 per cent of minerals subject to new export contracts carried in Australian ships. He further stated that a policy is being worked out with the ship building industry with the dual aims of rationalisation and provision of the volume of orders necessary for efficient ship building.
I ask: Will the proposed policy recognise that the efficient and economic performance of export mineral contracts is achieved in ore carriers of 150,000 to 200,000 ton capacity? Will the Minister relate this to the present manufacturing capability of Australian ship builders to ships more in the range of 60,000 tons?
– I shall convey the question to the Minister for Transport for his perusal and consideration.
– I ask the Minister representing the. Minister for Labour: What steps are being taken to ensure that the 100 or more persons in the upper Murray area who are on unemployment relief are rightly receiving that relief? In view of the situations which now exist in the Adelaide hills, where pickers and others have deliberately sought dismissal in order to obtain relief, will the Minister inquire into the circumstances of those already receiving relief to see whether they can be usefully employed both to their own gain and to the advantage of South Australian industry?
– I have already replied to this question to some extent in answering the same sort of question asked by Senator Jessop and Senator Young. The only fresh matter that Senator Davidson raises is that in the Adelaide hills some people are making sure that they are sacked in order to receive unemployment relief. I would be pleased if the honourable senator would be good enough to give me any information he has about that matter. I do not accept the proposition that people who are unemployed are unemployed because they want the unemployment benefit. I agree that we need to adopt some new methods to deal with this problem, and I have mentioned this before. Mr Cameron stated recently that he is exploring to what extent people on the unemployment benefit and those receiving unemployment assistance from Commonwealth grants might be engaged more directly in useful jobs. My belief is that every person who is unemployed is unemployed because of the problems in the economy. However, I shall inquire into the matter raised by the honourable senator, and if he has special information which he can give me about the areas mentioned I shall see that it is examined.
– Is the Leader of the Government in the Senate aware that Ministers of the new Government have discontinued the courtesy of distributing’ to the Press Gallery copies of answers to questions on notice? As the practice of incorporating in Hansard many of these answers to questions prevents the Press Gallery from taking down the answers, does the Leader of the Government propose to persist with the new practice or will he advise Ministers to have sufficient copies of answers prepared to allow for distribution to the Press?
– I thank the honourable senator for drawing this, matter to my attention. I was not aware that this change in practice had occurred. I am sure it is an oversight, and I will endeavour to see that it is corrected forthwith.
– I would be grateful if the Leader of the Government in the Senate would discuss this matter with me afterwards.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry, follows upon a question asked by Senator O’Byrne. Senator O’Byrne asked whether the Minister could tell the difference between a merino ram and a corriedale ram. My burning question to the Minister is: Could he tell whether the rams in question were black or red?
– I do not really think the question is worth trying to answer.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport whether it is a fact that 2 Australian built and crewed vessels have been lying idle and withdrawn from the King Island run, one for a period of more than 6 months; that another Australian built vessel is to be withdrawn this week; and that the only service that this Government is supplying to the island, through its ally, the Tasmanian Labor Government, is through a foreign vessel, the survey of which has not yet been made? I ask the Minister whether this Government has had any negotiations whatever with the interests owning the Straitsman’, which was specially built for that service, to see on what terms she could be replaced in the service.
– As I just said in reply to Senator Devitt’s question, the Prime Minister has made a statement to the effect that the service to King Island is causing grave concern to the Government. He is awaiting a report from the Minister for Transport. He will make an early statement on the matter. 1 do not think I can go further. 1 repeat what I said previously: There are big problems involving transport to King Island because of the non-fulfilment of the recommendations of the interdepartmental committee that inquired into the question of transport and because its recommendations were kept secret.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Primary Industry, in replying to an earlier question from Senator O’Byrne the Minister reiterated that there is an embargo on the export of merino rams. Then how and why did the Minister approve of the sale of merino rams to the People’s Republic of China at the time that he did? Would he have approved a sale to a non-Communist country or were there political bias and motivation in the sale to China?
– 1 thought I had answered this question last week when Senator Laucke, I think it was, asked me a question about it. The decision was taken on my recommendation with the concurrence of the Prime Minister to export the rams to the People’s Republic of China. The fact that they were bound for the People’s Republic of China was quite irrelevant. On the information available to me I believed that it was in our interests that that step should be taken. As is known, the Cabinet reversed that decision and a referendum is being held. I really do not know that there is any real plot involved in the issue.
– I direct a question to the Attorney-General. I refer to Press reports that he intended to present his report on Croatian extremists to the Yugoslav authorities in Australia before tabling it in the Parliament. Has such report already been shown to the Yugoslav officials in Australia, either for their approval or for any other purpose? What newspapers or magazines, if any, are at present in receipt of such report? Is he aware of the activities of the. Yugoslav secret police operating in Australia, formerly called the UDBA but now called the SUP? If not. is he aware of a telecast by President Tito from Sarajevo on 2 1 st September 1972 in which he said:
We would have-
– ‘What’s up?’
– He said much more than that. He said:
We would have no trouble wilh Croats in Yugoslavia if they were not stirred up and helped by terrorists from Australia, but we will fix them. We have already sent agents of our secret police to hunt them down. We will send more-
– Order! Senator Hannan, you are giving information.
– I must ask this because 1 want to know whether the AttorneyGeneral knows about the activities of the secret police. President Tito said:
We have already agents of our secret police to hunt them down. We will send more agents to Australia. We will crush these people. We will destroy them root and branch.
In view of this evidence from President Tito, which can be confirmed easily, will the Attorney-General give an assurance that any agent of the Yugoslav secret police who is detected in Australia will be deported forthwith?
– The honourable senator asked a number of questions and I will try to deal with most of them. In regard to the first question, about the report in the newspaper, frankly I have not seen that report. As to the next question, about whether it is accurate, as he has put it to me, no, it is not accurate. In fact, it is impossible that a report that is not yet completed could be handed over to someone else. As to the inference that it would be handed over to some embassy or representative of a foreign power before being presented to the Senate, I can assure the honourable senator that there is no intention of that course occurring. As to the other information about the agents and about what has been said by President Tito, I am not able to tell the honourable senator that I am personally aware of these matters. There may be information in the files of the Attorney-General’s Department or of some other organisation, if what the honourable senator says is correct. I will look into those matters. However, I inform the honourable senator, as I did last week, that 1 intend to make a formal statement to the Senate. Senator James McClelland had asked whether that would be done and I indicated to the Senate that I would do so. As soon as the statement is ready, I will present it.
– Will you deport the secret police?
– The honourable senator asked something about whether, if some agents of a foreign power were operating in Australia - and he has indicated that this would be in terms of operating unlawfully in Australia - the proper action would be deportation or the other procedure which is usual in these cases. 1 think it would be clear that Australia would not permit illegal activities on behalf of any power in Australia and would not accept the continued presence in Australia of any agents for a foreign power who were conducting unlawful activities here.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Is the Minister taking any, and if so what, steps on behalf of the King Island abattoirs and the farmers of King Island to have the King Island air freight subsidy reintroduced?
– I was approached by a deputation from King Island on this matter and I indicated to the deputation that it was primarily the responsibility of the Minister for Civil Aviation. I did have discussions with the Minister at the time and he indicated to me that he would give sympathetic consideration to the problem. Since then, however, I have not had any further communication from him. Nevertheless I appreciate the point which the honourable senator makes and I shall make further inquiries as to what decision the Minister has made.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry. In view of the increasing number of primary industry leaders who have indicated that they are desirous of meeting the Minister and discussing their problems with ‘him, will the Minister inform the House when he expects the pressure of his office to ease sufficiently to enable him to agree to their requests?
– The only answer I would make is that from the time I was given this portfolio I have done all that I think any person could be reasonably expected to do to meet every person and every deputation from rural industry that I possibly can. I might say there is probably no other portfolio which requires the Minister to see so many organisation representatives. But I am doing the best I can.
– My question is directed to the’ Leader of the Government in the Senate in his capacity as Minister for Customs and Excise. Is it correct, as reported, that the Minister has agreed to the showing of the film ‘Hijack’ in Australia? If so, has he consulted his colleague the Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation and the Australian Federation of Air Pilots on the possibly dangerous consequences to the travelling public of this action?
– The honourable senator asks me specifically whether I have agreed that the film be shown. The answer to that is no. I have seen the film and I may say plainly that I have formed an opinion for myself about it. The film has been resubmitted to the Film Censorship Board in the ordinary way and the Board will come to a conclusion about it. I have discussed very shortly the film with the Minister for Transport who now carries out the functions formerly carried out by the honourable senator when he was Minister for Civil Aviation. I am aware of the fact that the Australian Federation of Air Pilots last year expressed some opinion about the film. 1 am informed - I am not certain whether this is accurate - that the film has been shown pretty well all round the world, except in Australia and Hong Kong. I think it might be better, in the light of the experience since the last occasion, to wait and see what the Film Censorship Board thinks about the film and whether it is necessary for me to reconsider it at all. I should indicate that on the occasion when I saw the film the Minister for the Media also saw it, and it is not necessary for me to express his opinion of the film.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Are the news media correct in reporting that the Treasurer favours dropping export incentives which were granted to industry by the previous Government? Is the Treasurer fully aware of the importance of export income to this country, and does he realise that the establishment of overseas markets is a matter for detailed study and often prolonged negotiation by private industry? Is it a fact, as reported, that the Minister for Overseas Trade is in favour of continuing the incentives of payroll tax rebate and market development allowance?
– The honourable senator has directed to rae a series of questions asking whether the Treasurer is aware of certain things. I will ask him and let the honourable senator know.
– -Can the Minister for the Media advise the Senate whether the commercial television networks have agreed to his suggestion that they should not send program buyers to the United States of America this month but should wait until later this year?
Immediately prior to my coming into the chamber this afternoon I was advised by the Secretary of my Department that all of the commercial networks now have notified him that they agree to my suggestion, and that the only reply outstanding is from the Australian Broadcasting Commission. However, I understand that the Commission is holding a meeting tomorrow, and I would expect a reply from the Commission within the next 2 or 3 days.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Primary Industry. T recall to his mind that yesterday he said he would consider the report submitted to him by the Australian Apple and Pear Board on the subject of apple and pear devaluation compensation. I suggest to him that that report was submitted before the Cabinet meeting of Sth February - more than a month ago. I ask the Minister whether he is prepared to table, for the information of the Senate, the Board’s report to him.
– Yes, I have much pleasure in tabling it. There it is.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Transport. In view of the announcement by the Minister for Transport on 17th January that he had rescinded the decision of the previous Minister for Shipping and Transport concerning the use of timber sleepers by the Commonwealth Railways, can the Minister say whether he has had any representations from the South Australian Minister of Transport on the use of concrete sleepers, following the release of the evaluation report of the Bureau of Transport Economics on the cost of concrete sleepers as against timber sleepers? Can the Minister say what benefits would accrue to South Australia and, in particular, to the town of Mannum should concrete sleepers be used in South Australia by the Commonwealth Railways?
– I know that there have been frequent representations from the Minister of Transport in South Australia, Mr Virgo, to the Federal Minister for Transport on the question of the use of concrete sleepers. The Federal Minister for Transport is calling tenders again and, on a competitive basis, a decision will be made as to what sleepers will be used both on the maintenance of the trans-continental railway and on the new track to be built from Tarcoola to Alice Springs. All concrete sleepers used on that section of the Commonwealth Railways system were produced in South Australia. Their use was especially suitable in the northern towns where labour was available. Appreciation also followed the use in the prefabrication of concrete sleepers of a steel chair which was manufactured by David-Sheare now Mannum Division of Horwood Bagshaw at Mannum. That firm had to cease its rural machinery operations and by engaging in the production of component parts for concrete sleepers was able to retain employees who otherwise it would have found it very difficult to retain.
– My question, which f direct to the Minister for the Media, refers to his statement in the Senate yesterday that he had written to Australian national and commercial television stations suggesting that they delay their normal overseas purchases of programs from March to the final quarter of the year. Is not such an action at the very best over-paternalistic and, in the light of the further suggestion that one commercial television licence in each capital city may be withdrawn, approaching undue influence and interference by the Government in the domestic affairs of the media? Is it likely that television stations, under such a threat to their future existence, would act against the Government’s so-called suggestion, however kidgloved it may appear to be? Does the Minister suggest that the intending Australian purchasers should, amongst other things, take into account the program ratings as published by the countries concerned?
Whether the honourable senator judges my attitude as paternalistic is a matter for him. On 5th February last I held discussions with the licensees of the television stations. At that conference the cost of purchasing programs was mentioned. Having taken the matter up with officers of my Department I decided that someone should take the initiative in making a positive suggestion to get some co-ordinated action from the Australian industry. I am delighted that the commercial television stations have willingly agreed to adopt the suggestion. I point out that it was only a suggestion and certainly was not coercion.
– Will the AttorneyGeneral give an assurance that when the Yugoslav Prime Minister visits Australia in the near future the same protection will be given to him as was given to an Australian delegation in Yugoslavia 2 years ago, and that we will not have the undue solicitude that marked several incidents in Knox Street, Double Bay, during the life of the previous Government?
– lt is extremely important for Australia that the visit to this country of the Prime Minister of Yugoslavia should pass without any incidents of the kind to which the honourable senator referred. I assure the Senate that 1 have instructed that all proper steps be taken to ensure the security of the Yugoslav Prime Minister during his visit to Australia. I am sure that Australians generally will wish the visit of this distinguished person from Yugoslavia to be treated by Australia in the manner in which we would like our representatives overseas to be welcomed. I am sure that that wish of the Australian people will be carried out. I assure the honourable senator that I shall see to it that so far as is possible no group of persons here in Australia will carry over into the Australian scene the quarrels of Europe, if persons wish to come to Australia and to live among us they ought to leave these quarrels behind them. The Australian public ought not be subjected to terrible outrages such as were suffered in Sydney when bombs were used and innocent Australian citizens were injured. They ought not to suffer from quarrels which have nothing to do with them.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister for Works, being the representative of the Minister for Transport, arises out of an answer he gave recently in reply to a question asked by Senator McLaren. That question related to the use of concrete sleepers as against timber sleepers by the Commonwealth Railways. Is the Minister aware of the fact that the use of concrete sleepers as against timber sleepers by the Commonwealth Railways may have a very serious impact upon the timber industry in Western Australia and create a great deal of unemployment in that industry, estimated at 300 men? Does he have the same solicitude for the people who may be unemployed in Western Australia as he appeared to express for those in South Australia? If so, what does the Government intend to do about it?
– Wait for an election in Western Australia.
– I think that Senator Webster supplied some of the reply. Despite the economics of the question, a determination was made prior to the election last year to use timber sleepers. Tenders were recalled because there was some doubt about the economics of the question. I have sympathy for unemployment wherever it may occur. The use of concrete sleepers would save unemployment extending in South Australia, t think the use of timber sleepers could prevent unemployment somewhat in Western Australia. This question will be decided on economics. The cost and economic life of the sleepers will be considered. As this question must bring repercussions to one State or the other, I assure the honourable senator that there will be no partial decision giving preference to one State.
– Mr President, may I supplement an answer to a question asked by j Senator Little about copies of questions on notice being handed or made available to the Press gallery. It has been the practice for many years, and the practice remains unchanged, that 25 copies of replie s to questions on notice are handed to an attendant when the replies are given. He- then gives a copy to the senator who asked the question and to any other senators in the chamber who are interested. The remaining copies are available at the front door of the chamber to any interested member of the Press gallery on request. If there was some departure from this practice it must have been accidental. Endeavours will be made to see that the practice is carried out. My information is that in fact the practice is unchanged.
– My question is addressed to the Attorney-General and relates to his now well known Matrimonial Causes rule amendments. Has the Attorney-General received from the Family Law Committee of the Sydney University Law Graduates Association, the Law Council of Australia, the New South Wales Bar Association, the President of the Law Institute of Victoria, and other legal bodies and practitioners, representations relating to the confusion inherent in the recent amendments to the Matrimonial Causes rules? Are these representations based upon the experience of persons who have engaged in representing those who have to have recourse to divorce? Are these representations consistently critical of the vagueness, the imprecision and the. difficulties which the rules have created in practice? Do they not further indicate that in practice the result of these rules is almost precisely the opposite of what the Attorney-General said they would achieve? Will he table in the Senate all representations he has received about the operation of these rules?
– The general answer to the first part of what the honourable senator has asked is no. The fact is I have received some letters-
– Have or have not?
– I have received letters, some of which contain criticism. I had a session with the representatives of the Law
Council of Australia and certain other law bodies in which general approval was expressed of the changes which have been made. I must say that some of the bodies, including the law graduates, the family committee and certain others, particularly in New South Wales, have presented some criticism, mostly directed to the question of costs and mostly inspired by a small group of divorce barristers who have expressed to me personally their very great concern at the ruin that may be caused to their practices by the changes in the divorce rules. The Law Council of Australia has expressed to me the view that it would endeavour to make recommendations to have carried into the Act the spirit of the new rules.
I wish that Senator Greenwood, instead of making general criticisms, would ask what has been the support for the particular changes which have been made. I have indicated that some important changes have been made to those rules - for example, separating the ancillary proceedings, the custody and property matters, from the divorce in an optional way, rather than following the suggestion of the Chief Judge in Divorce that such separation ought to be made mandatory. That proposal was supported by a number of other persons. 1 suggest that Senator Greenwood should ask. if he wants to, what is the basis of and the support for the various other important changes which have been made in the rules. I suggest that he should look a little more critically at the source of some of the criticisms which have been made. I will say now that I am satisfied, and a number of other people are quite satisfied, that there has been a racket in divorce, a racket which has been perpetrated against the public and a racket which has meant the ruin of families.
– Perpetrated by whom?
– A racket being perpetrated by a small group of practising lawyers. I should think that the honourable senator would be far better employed applying his intellectual abilities to see to it that some dignity, some simplicity and some cutting down of the expense were introduced into this sphere of law. I will pursue the path that I have set out on. I propose to see that this branch of the law is not permitted to be carried on as it has been - not everywhere in Australia and by no means by all the legal practitioners, although there is no doubt that a pernicious racket has been practised by some. 1 will be anxious to take up the suggestion which was made a few days ago by either Senator Byrne or Senator McManus that I ought to go before the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs and explain to it why the changes in the rules were made. I would like to have a thorough investigation made there of the practices which have developed in this community in regard to divorce and the rackets which have been carried on.
– I remind the Attorney-General that he did not answer my question as to whether he would table the representations, but, having regard to the tirade which he has just delivered, I wish to ask him another question in regard to the changes made in the rules. What course of action is now open to women with substantially limited means to sue for divorce, as his amendments have removed any obligation upon a respondent husband to pay costs in undefended cases?
– There are provisions in various parts of the Commonwealth for legal aid. The Government has proposed a Commonwealth legal aid system. The honourable senator will appreciate that the new rules impose a severe limitation on costs. Part of the limitation is the removal of orders for costs and their attendant requirement of bills of cost and service of those documents on respondents. That was a Dickens-like approach to the matter. The rules in regard to undefended proceedings have swept that away. The rules contain a provision that cases of hardship will be brought to the notice of the Attorney-General. As at the last asking, the only instance of hardship which was brought to the notice of the Attorney-General’s Department was one which had occurred under the previous rules. It is clear that in this sphere, because the community insists that certain procedures be followed and that litigants be not permitted to settle their own affairs, as might be done in other spheres, there is a special obligation to ensure that persons who need legal assistance be given it. That is the Commonwealth’s obligation. If people need legal assistance they will be given it.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry, follows the answer that he gave to Senator Poyser about the appointment by the previous Government of members of the Australian Wool Corporation. Will the Minister say which member of the Corporation he would not have appointed? In view of the urgency to report upon an acquisition scheme, as indicated in Australian Labor Party amendments which were moved to the previous Government’s wool Bills, is his present attitude inconsistent with Labor priorities before the election?
– I took particular care not to cast any aspersions on individual members of the Australian Wool Corporation, as the honourable senator knows. 1 think he would have sufficient understanding to realise that I am not likely to cast aspersions. I repeat that the action taken by the previous Government in appointing such an important body should not have been taken on the eve of an election. That is the point that I was making. The previous Government should have left to the discretion of this Government the decision as to who should be members of the Corporation. I do not know the inconsistency to which the honourable senator referred. I am not aware of having made any statement which is inconsistent with Government policy. We will simply await the Corporation’s report.
– I direct a question to the Attorney-General. It refers to a specific rule, which he has achieved by amendment, that no costs shall be awarded to a petitioner in an undefended cause. I remind the AttorneyGeneral that an undefended case shows that the respondent has no defence and that the respondent has committed a matrimonial offence. On what principle is the petitioner denied reimbursement of reasonable costs incurred in presenting his or her petition to the court? Are not the rules highly inconsistent with practically every other jurisdiction in British courts in which costs are provided?
– I think the modern view - certainly the view accepted by this Government - is that as far as practicable orders for costs should be done away with and that the present approach to the solving of differences between citizens should be avoided as far as possible. Costs have been aggravated by the methods of drawing up bills of cost which, as I said, in a way are reminiscent of Dickens, the serving of these upon respondents and so on. Ail this adds to the cost of divorce. Endeavours to improve the methods of making assessments which have been introduced in the rules have been resisted. The new method provides for the judge, without the need for bills of costs procedures, to assess the costs. Notwithstanding that that has been practised successfully in many jurisdictions it has been objected to. It has been said that that cannot be done. But that flies in the face of the evidence. The Senate may recognise that this is part of the process of removing the unnecessary features of the rules which add to the costs. This is part of an approach to take out the unnecessary recitation of material in petitions and the unnecessary joinder of persons alleged to be guilty of adultery unless they wanted to intervene themselves. If one looks at all that has been done one finds that there has been a considerable decrease of costs and that the figure becomes a manageable one of some $150 rather than the figure-
– I did not ask that. I said reasonable costs’.
– The answer is that by the elimination of all sorts of procedures which could well be done away with the cost of divorce can be kept down to a fairly low figure of $150 as a maximum. If some citizens cannot afford that amount and need legal assistance then that should be given to them. That is the answer.
– My question is directed to the Special Minister of State. In view of the Prime Minister’s suggestion - that is putting it kindly - that the ownership of Taiwanese vessels visiting Australian ports could be subject to legal challenge by Peking, will the Government advise the Parliament as to the position of Taiwanese vessels visiting Japan, Canada and other nations with which Taiwan no longer has diplomatic relations? If Taiwanese vessels are able to enter the ports of these countries freely without the threat of legal challenge will the Government explain why the position in Australia is different?
– I have not seen the statement by the Prime Minister. I shall find the answers for the honourable senator.
– My question which is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry refers to a primary industry of importance to Australia and particularly to northern Victoria. Can the Minister advise what is the present economic outlook for the canned fruit industry? Is it too early to determine the effect on the industry of the tree pulling organisation which was set up last year and which did not appear to be functioning very well?
– The industry to which the honourable senator has referred has experienced considerable difficulty over the last 3 or 4 years mainly because of increasing competition on the overseas market and oversupply on the local market. The current position is that the export market in the United Kingdom looks better than was expected 12 months ago. There have been suggestions that prices may be as much as 20 per cent higher this year than they were last year. Nevertheless there are structural problems in the industry at which I hope to look more closely as the months go by. These are not problems which can be rectified quickly because, like problems in the apple and pear industry, they have been there for many years. The honourable senator referred to the fruit growers reconstruction scheme. He will be aware that the Government under the adjustment payments for revaluation paid an additional $500 to growers who were prepared to use the scheme, lt has been reviewed recently by the Commonwealth and State officials - only a fortnight ago - and the Government’s policy will be announced very shortly after I meet with State Ministers on 16th March. I hope to be able to make a statement to Parliament, probably within the next 2 or 3 weeks, on this very matter.
– My question which is directed to the Attorney-General relates to his comments regarding the rackets in the legal profession. When the Attorney-General spoke of pernicious rackets in the legal profession did he, when Leader of the Opposition, ever appear at the Bar in his private capacity as Senator Lionel Murphy, Q.C.? Will the AttorneyGeneral, in line with the desire of his
Government to give all available information to the public, disclose to the Senate the general level of fee which he charged when he appeared at the Bar in his private capacity?
– lt is true that when 1 was in Opposition I appeared at the Bar as a Queen’s Counsel. 1 think the practice in the courts is that a senator is not referred to as ‘Senator’, if that is the point to which the honourable senator was addressing himself. I can assure the honourable senator that the fees charged by me were in the general range of fees charged by Queen’s Counsel throughout Australia. The honourable senator referred back to what 1 said about rackets. I want to make it clear to the Senate that when I referred to that matter 1 indicated that the costs in some areas were being inflated, if you like, by such rackets and 1 indicated also thai this was not the case all over Australia. 1 want to stress also that, apart from any question of rackets, the rules themselves, by their complexity and by their unnecessary procedures, were adding to the cost of divorce and it was imperative that we delete from the rules these unnecessary procedures which had greatly inflated the cost of divorce to the community. So, apart altogether from any question of overcharging in respect of divorce, there was this very serious problem inherent in the rules themselves, and of that there is overwhelming evidence.
– I ask the Attorney-General whether he would define for the Senate the meaning to be given to the word ‘racket’ as used by him now in answer to 2 questions asked by honourable senators. If he means unlawful actions, will he take steps either to prosecute the offenders or to see that the offenders are prosecuted? If he means simply unethical actions, will he endeavour to have appropriate action taken by the law societies or bar associations in relation to the activities of the people whose actions he has described as rackets?
– What 1 would prefer to do and what I was invited to do here about a week ago is to go before the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs and put material before that Committee, and then let the public of Australia judge whether it was necessary for me to intervene and to reform the rules in order to remove some of these abuses.
– 1 direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. In view of the announcement by Qantas Airways Ltd that an air fare of some S300 for flights between Australia and the United Kingdom may soon be possible, will the Minister take urgent steps to reduce air fares in Australia, perhaps by reducing the duty on aviation spirit and by establishing one-class flights within Australia, so that the travelling public can be persuaded to ‘see Australia first’? In view of the fact that more than 50 per cent of people do not smoke, will the Minister give a lead to the transport industry by asking Trans-Australia Airlines to reverse the process of requiring non-smokers to ask for special seats and to set aside seats for smokers which would need to be requested or else to ban smoking in aircraft altogether?
– 1 will place the honourable senator’s suggestions before the Minister for consideration. 1 know that the Minister is concerned to do anything he can to make travel within Australia cheaper. Some study is now being conducted on this question by the Department of Transport and the Department of Tourism and Recreation. In regard to the complaint about smoking, I can only refer it to the Minister to see whether he is prepared to take up the matter with TransAustralia Airlines.
– This is the third time I have asked this question. Will the Attorney-General lay on the table of the Senate for perusal all the representations, critical and uncritical, praiseworthy or just commenting, of his amended Matrimonial Causes rules so that they can be examined by those honourable senators who are interested?
– I have no doubt that at some stage the various viewpoints put by the bodies concerned will receive a public airing. I find it difficult to follow what the Opposition wants in regard to this matter. On the one hand we have Senator Durack complaining that I have referred to evidence that has been given publicly and published in the Hansard record of the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs. On the other hand, requests are being made to me to go before that Committee, which I have indicated I would want to do, to explain why it was necessary to make the various changes in the rules. Now the honourable senator asks that, instead of taking that course, I place documents on the table of the Senate. I will give consideration to the matter. At the moment, my inclination would be to have the whole matter dealt with, if the Senate is so inclined, before the Senate Committee specially delegated to deal with the topic, when it is reconstituted.
– I again ask the AttorneyGeneral: Will he define for us the meaning which he applies to the word ‘racket’ as used by him on several occasions in the Senate this afternoon?
– I do not want to follow the subtleties of what was put earlier by Senator Rae as to whether it means merely an unethical racket, an illegal racket or some other racket and as to what possible courses ought to be taken in regard to the various aspects. I think that in view of the experience of the divorce rules, in view of the criticism and of what I said, there ought to be an airing of the matter. Let the Senate and the people of Australia judge whether, in the light of what is revealed, it is fair to describe what has been happening as the perpetration of a racket by, fortunately, a very few persons concerned in that field.
– Did the AttorneyGeneral, as an Opposition senator or as a practising lawyer, ever make formal approaches to the New South Wales Bar Association, the Law Society of New South Wales or the appropriate Crown Law Offices officer specifically setting out the allegations of rackets that he now makes? If so, what were the specific representations that he then made? If not, why did he not do so if the rackets he now alleges were so gross?
– I moved at the Federal Conference of the Australian Labor Party several years ago that there be investigation into certain matters. In accordance with that, I moved in the Senate, after I had moved for the establishment of certain Senate standing committees, that there be referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs the matter of the law and its administration regarding divorce, custody and family matters, with particular regard to oppressive costs, delays, indignities and other injustices. I preferred to have this matter dealt with in that way; I think it has been much more satisfactory. A great deal of evidence has been given before the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs which, on examination, would appal one in that a series of Attorneys-General had allowed the law to continue in that state. It seemed to me that the proper method to deal with the matter was to deal with it in the area in which there could be an investigation. If the honourable senator had as much experience as I of the bodies concerned, including this chamber, he would have done likewise. He would have sought to have a correction of what seemed to me to be social injustices by doing as 1 did and having the matters aired in this chamber and before the Senate Committee. He would then have taken the course that I have taken. As soon as I came into office I did whatever I thought necessary to correct the injustices. I think that the Senate and the community would think more highly of the Opposition if, in relation to this matter, it responded to the invitation that I gave to put forward some constructive proposals instead of indulging in the nit-picking in which the Opposition has indulged over the last several weeks.
– I direct a question to the Special Minister of State. I refer to an editorial in the ‘People’s Daily’ the official journal of the Chinese Communist Party, as reported in English by the New China Newsagency dated, Peking, 24th December 1972. The editorial, hailing the establishment of diplomatic relations with Australia, reports:
The Australian Labor Party Government has expressed its support to applying economic sanctions against the racialist and colonialist regimes of Rhodesia, South Africa and Portugal.
Is this report correct? If not, has the Government protested to the People’s Republic of China against the deliberate misrepresentation of Australian Government policy?
– If I have the question right, an editorial was published on Christmas Eve in China - I suppose it was not
Christmas Eve up there, but it was in Australia - saying that Australia was to apply sanctions against Rhodesia–
– ‘Has expressed its support’, were the words used.
– Yes. The situation in regard to Rhodesia is that the present Government ‘backed the United Nations decision, as did the previous Government. I do not quite follow what the article concerned has to do with the position just because it appeared in a Peking publication. I think that the honourable senator knows the situation in regard to the recognition of Communist China. I am sorry that I just cannot follow the question. 1 have seen an article in the ‘West Australian’. 1 have seen some comments made by Senator Sim in the newspaper that tried to draw the analogy that, because we had recognised the People’s Republic of China and because we had taken certain other actions, including action in regard to Rhodesia, in some way this was associated with the talks between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of Australia. Of course, that is absolute rot. Nothing like that was discussed, nor would it be proper for any 2 countries to discuss such things. The entire negotiations with the People’s Republic of China dealt with the setting up of diplomatic relations, what would be the position in regard to properties in Australia and such matters. No government of any political colour - whether the previous Government of which the honourable senator was a supporter, our Government or any other government - would allow these other things to be imported into the discussions.
-I am not saying that you did.
– You made some very silly comments in the newspaper about it. If that is the sort of thing–
– Why do you not answer?
-I am trying to help you. If that is the sort of thing you have in mind, let me put your mind at ease on it. If something was printed in the ‘Peking Daily’ then I point out that this Government does not interfere even with the Australian Press, and we are not going to start on the Chinese Press.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the
Minister for the Environment and Conservation. I refer particularly to the reported statement of the Minister for the Environment and Conservation that he is powerless to act in any matters of conservation and that the Federal Government had no constitutional power. Does the Minister not agree that a national approach to water quality and management is a key issue in any conservation program? Further, I ask the Minister whether he is aware of this reference in the report of the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution:
Evidence tendered to the Committee established that the Commonwealth has through a coalescence of powers–
These powers are listed on page 142 of the report -
Will the Minister examine this aspect of the report in the light of the reported statement of the Minister for the Environment and Conservation and advise the Senate whether he agrees with this conclusion reached by an allParty committee of the Senate and, if not, will he give the Senate the reasons for the decision?
– I can inform the honourable senator that the Minister is giving study to the report and that I also am giving study to it. The report to the Minister states that while there are limitations on Commonwealth power by the effect of section 51 of the Constitution, there has been a readiness by the States to co-operate on this question of environmental and impact studies. We think that the difficulty caused by restrictions of Commonwealth power will not be as great as it at one time appeared. I shall take up the honourable senator’s question with the Minister and see that he makes a study of the report and considers its conclusions.
– My question is directed to the Attorney-General. It refers to his allegation, whichI would regard as a serious allegation, that there are rackets operating in the legal profession. Does he accept that the word ‘racket’ connotes unlawful activities, improper activities or unethical activities? If there are such rackets, does he not believe that in his capacity of AttorneyGeneral he should identify these practices and, if he feels it proper, identify the persons so that appropriate action can be taken in the courts or by the professional bodies which superintend the activities of lawyers? Does he not feel that this is at least a matter which he should clarify and indicate what he proposes to do about it?
– 1 have indicated what I propose to do. Let me say that the Senate has been told enough to know that at least in the area of charges there has certainly been, in my opinion, charging which is grossly excessive and in some cases ruinous to the individual citizens concerned, and some endeavour has been made through the new divorce, rules to put a severe limitation upon this. It is interesting to note that the same people who support the point of view of Senator Greenwood - and perhaps he might indicate this himself - suggest that it is beyond the capacity of the Australian Government, by dealing with divorce rules, to put any limit on the charges which might be made. All sorts of suggestions are being made that it is ultra vires-
– Senator Greenwood did not say that.
– Let me answer, if you will. It has been said that not only is it ultra vires the Act, but also that it is beyond the power of the rule-making authority to do this. It has even been suggested that it is beyond constitutional power and that in no matter whatever might the Australian Parliament even intervene to prevent charging by practitioners in excess of what has been laid down in the rules. The suggestion is made that this is beyond constitutional power and that those who were perpetrating these rackets could continue doing so and that it is beyond the power not only of the Australian Government but even of the Australian Parliament to deal with them. I do not accept that point of view. But I do say that to the limits of the powers that are available to me and to the. limits of the powers that I can induce the Australian Parliament to exercise, I will do whatever I can to see that these oppressive costs are removed and that divorce is made simpler and more dignified for the people of Australia.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Secondary Industry. Has the Minister seen
Press statements that the Dow Chemical Company of America is involved in negotiations with the South Australian Government for the establishment of a chemical plant in South Australia? Are these statements correct and, if so, were any Australian chemical companies invited to establish this particular plant in South Australia? If not, why not? Can the Minister say what will be the financial arrangements? Will there be any Australian equity and, if so, what will be the percentage? Further, as chemical processes can create environmental problems, what steps are being taken to make sure that there will be minimal pollution of the environment?
– I shall refer the question to the appropriate Minister.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Does he intend to inform the Senate officially of his Government’s apparent decision to grant 4 weeks annual leave to all Commonwealth public servants? What brought about this change in the Government’s attitude?
– I thought the answer was given a little earlier by the Minister representing the Minister for Labour. As I understand it, the intention of the Government is to introduce legislation in general to give effect to the extra week’s leave, if I may put it that way, and to do so without the restriction which was in the determination. If that is sufficient answer for the honourable senator, that is the intention of the Government.
– What brought about the change?
– The honourable senator should not waste the time of the Senate by asking the second part of his question.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry. It concerns the provisions of the Loan (War Service Land Settlement) Act 1972, particularly as they affect soldier settlers on Kangaroo Island. Can the Minister inform me of the stages thus far reached in the implementation of the various proposals covered by the legislation? Can he advise me of what has been, or is being, done concerning partial rental remissions for those settlers whose circumstances are adversely affected by the physical and biological problems of the Kangaroo Island farmer?
– 1 can advise Senator Laucke that I signed today a letter in respect of the matter he has raised and it is addressed to him. lt is a fairly detailed letter and I hope that receipt of it will be sufficient answer for him.
– I remind honourable senators that question time has already lasted I hour 50 minutes and that other business is to come before the Senate at 8 o’clock. I suggest that the business of the Senate bc proceeded with and that the remaining questions be as brief as possible.
– My question Ls directed to the Attorney-General. Does the answer which the Attorney-General gave in relation to notification to him of cases of hardship mean that he will provide legal assistance in such cases by the provision of either services or finance? If so, will he make a full statement so that people may know how this will operate? If that is not what is meant, then what is the purpose of providing for reporting cases of hardship to him?
– The purpose of reporting cases of hardship is a very important one, no matter at what stage they occur - whether initially or at the conclusion of proceedings. They might relate to even more than financial hardship. I believe it is important that there be a proper scheme of legal aid for those affected. I inform the honourable senator and the Senate that such a scheme is being formulated, and as soon as I can do so I will inform the Senate of it in some detail.
– Yesterday Senator Drake-Brockman directed a question to me in my capacity of Minister representing the Minister for Defence. The question related to the purchase of basic trainer aircraft by the Royal Australian Air Force. I indicated at that time that I would get the information which the honourable senator sought, and 1 am now in a position to provide it. A defence statement of 24th July 1972 pointed out that before the contract could be signed 2 factors were required to be resolved. Firstly, a definitive specification had to be agreed with the manufacturing company and, secondly, the prototype aircraft was required to be satisfactorily modified to meet RAAF requirements. The stage has now been reached where the modified prototype aircraft has been evaluated by a RAAF team in New Zealand in the last 10 days and a definitive specification has been written in conjunction with the company. The matter is currently being considered with the Department of Air, and it is anticipated that a contract will be signed within the next 2 months.
– I wish to give a further reply to a question asked earlier by Senator McManus concerning VIP aircraft used by Mr Whitlam. The information which I have received since the question was asked is that’ Mr Whitlam asked the then Prime Minister, Mr McMahon, whether Mr M. J. Young could accompany him on the aircraft. It was an electioneering tour aircraft, and the Prime Minister of the day, Mr McMahon, approved the flight.
– Will you give me the list of journeys which he made?
– Order! Senator McManus, you can take advantage of question time tomorrow to ask a question about that.
– Mr President, I report to the Senate the death of a former member of the House of Representatives in this Parliament, William George Bryson, who died on 2nd March 1973 at Melbourne. He was elected to the House of Representatives for Bourke, Victoria, in 1943 and defeated in 1946. He was re-elected as the member for Wills in 1949, 1951 and 1954. He served on a number of committees. He was a member of the Standing Committee on Broadcasting from October 1943 to August 1946, a member of the House Committee from March 1950 to March 1951 and from August 1954 to November 1955. He was a member of the
Joint Statutory Committee on the Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings from September 1953 to November 1955. He served as a member of the parliamentary delegation to the coronation of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth 11, in 1953. He is survived by one son. William James ,and 3 daughters, Mrs Gilmore, Mrs Shaw and Mrs Cahill. Prior to entering the Federal Parliament he served as an official of the Amalgamated Postal Workers Union. Mr Bryson, in the early part of his career - that is, up until April 1955 - was a member of the Australian Labor Party, and thereafter left the Australian Labor Party and became a member of the Australian Labor Party (Anti-Communist), as it was known at that stage.
– It is still anti-communist.
– I think its official name was the Australian Labor Party (Anti-Communist). Mr President, I desire to place on record the service of the late member and to extend to the members of his family our sympathy with them in their loss and the gratitude of the nation for the service which he gave to it during his time as a member of this Parliament.
– On behalf of the Opposition I join with the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Murphy) in conveying to the surviving relatives of the late former member of the House of Representatives the sympathy of the official Opposition in the Senate.
– Senator Gair, the Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party, has asked me to speak on behalf of our Party because 1 was a personal friend of the late Bill Bryson. I served on his electoral committee when he was first elected to Parliament. As has been said by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Murphy), Mr Bryson in his younger days was a prominent official of the Postal Workers Union. He was also prominent in another sphere - sport. For quite a few years he was treasurer of a football club that is not unknown in this country- the Carlton football club. When Mr Bryson entered Parliament, as the Leader of the Government in the Senate said, he served on a number of committees and also served this country very well as a parliamentarian.
He was first elected for 3 years in the time of Mr Curtin. He lost his seat to Mrs Maurice Blackburn and won the seat back at the following election. He remained a member of Parliament until the division occurred in the Australian Labor Party. Bill Bryson was one of the kindest and most courteous men that I have known. He was a man of tremendous courage and although for what he believed in he sacrifices a very promising political career, I never at any time heard him complain about the results of what he did. He was a friend for many years. I will always treasure the fact that he was a friend. I am particularly happy that only a few days before he died I met him at a social function and we talked over old times. On behalf of the DLP I offer our sincere sympathy to the surviving members of his family.
– On behalf of the Australian Country Party I join in the expression of sympathy to the family of the late William Bryson. To have served i« the Federal Parliament of Australia is an honour. To live respected and die regretted is the greatest achievement in the life of any man.
– I invite honourable senators to stand in their places as a mark of respect to the deceased former member. (Honourable senators having stood in their places).
– Thank you.
– Yesterday Senator McManus asked me a question without notice regarding the tabling of travel documents for Royal Australian Air Force VIP aircraft since 2nd September 1972. Details of travel in Royal Australian Air Force aircraft up to 17th August 1972 have previously been tabled in the Parliament. The documents I now table embrace all details of VIP travel from 18 th August 1972 to 4th February 1973 and include flights within that period approved by the previous Government. These flights have been included so that the Parliament is informed of all details of travel in RAAF VIP aircraft.
Reports on Items
– Mr President, I present the report by the Tariff Board on cathode ray tube display terminals. I present also the following reports by the Tariff Board- which do not call for any legislative action: cotton yarns - (by-law), and disinfectants, insecticides, fungicides, weed-killers, and so on - (by-law). Pursuant to statute I present also the Special Advisory Authority’s report on phthalic anhydride.
– Pursuant to section 30 of the Honey Industry Act 1962-1972, I present the ninth annual report of the Australian Honey Board for the year ended 30th June 1972, together with financial statements and the Auditor-General’s report on those statements. The interim report of the Board was presented to the Senate on 12th September 1972.
– Pursuant to section 16 of the Pig Industry Research Act 1971 I present the first annual report of the Australian Pig Industry Research Committee for the year ended 30th June 1972.
– I desire to inform the Senate that I have instituted new arrangements for the drafting of legislation for the Parliament and of regulations and ordinances under laws made by the Parliament. The new arrangements take effect from Monday, 5th March 1973. One of the very first matters to which I gave attention on becoming Attorney-General was the problem of keeping the work of legislative drafting in all its aspects up to date. Along with other senators I drew the attention of the previous Government to the problem repeatedly in past years. Regrettably, very little was done about it. The basic problem is that recruits for legislative drafting positions are not coming forward in adequate numbers.
This recruitment problem exists in other countries as well as in Australia, as was made very clear to me when I attended the meeting of law Ministers of Commonwealth countries held recently in London. I found my colleagues, especially from the African members of the Commonwealth, most anxious to obtain experienced draftsmen from Australia. I only wish that we could have helped them. Clearly, the problem is one that we must tackle ourselves.
In 1970 the Office of Parliamentary Counsel was established. But the shortage of draftsmen remains, and the arrears of work which are the consequence of this shortage, particularly in the drafting of ordinances and regulations, is incompatible with a proper system of government. Under the new arrangements, the Office of Parliamentary Counsel will, generally speaking, be responsible only for the drafting of Bills for the Parliament, and amendments of Bills. The drafting of regulations and of ordinances for the Territories - including the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory but not including the Territory of Papua New Guinea, which has its own drafting establishment - will be performed by lawyers in the Attorney-General’s Department. There will be a special drafting establishment in the head office of that Department, with a branch at Darwin. This will in no way affect the relationship between the officers who draft the Northern Territory ordinances and the members of the Legislative Council. The practice will remain that members of this Parliament who need access to the Parliamentary Counsel will have that access.
I expect that this division of responsibility for legislative drafting will provide a better basis for recruitment to this important work. In the past, many young lawyers may have been deterred from entering on a legislative drafting career in the Office of Parliamentary Counsel because they have felt - quite wrongly in my view - that the work may be dull and uninteresting and that they will be tied to that work for a long or for an indefinite period even if they continue to find the work not to their liking. Before they are prepared to close off their options to do other forms of legal work they not unnaturally want to have some experience in legislative drafting and to satisfy themselves that they have the required competence for and interest in such work. For its part, the Office of Parliamentary Counsel has also wanted to be satisfied that the persons concerned are not only well qualified lawyers, but also suited to drafting work.
The arrangements I have indicated will provide improved opportunities for recruits to obtain drafting experience while flexibility for their career opportunities is preserved. My Department and the Office of Parliamentary Counsel will in future pursue a recruitment policy which will place greater emphasis on this need for flexibility. It will be made clear that those lawyers who accept appointments to legislative drafting positions will not necessarily be held indefinitely in that work if it appears that they have no aptitude or liking for it. On the contrary, they will have several avenues of advancement in government legal service. They will be eligible for advancement in either the Office of Parliamentary Counsel or the Department’s legislative drafting establishment. In addition, the avenue of promotion within the very extensive range of legal positions in the Attorney-General’s Department will be available to all.
As I have said, this recruitment policy will be followed in both the Office of Parliamentary Counsel and my Department. But the effect of the new division of responsibility, and the consequent creation of a legislative drafting establishment in the Attorney-General’s Department, will be to provide greater scope for flexibility in the movement of officers from one kind of legal work to another. Those who ultimately make their careers in legal work other than legislative drafting will be all the better equipped as government lawyers if they have had some experience as legislative draftsmen. But I would hope, and indeed expect, that having obtained an insight into the tremendously important and professionally rewarding work of legislative drafting, many would be anxious to continue to participate in it.
In order to ensure that the drafting of regulations and ordinances will continue under experienced supervision the Secretary of my Department and the First Parliamentary Counsel have arranged for the transfer of a number of officers from the Office of Parliamentary Counsel to the Attorney-General’s Department. These will be principally officers at present engaged exclusively in the drafting of regulations and ordinances, but there will be an immediate addition to the Bill drafting resources of the Office of Parliamentary Counsel resulting from the retention of a number of officers who are at present engaged only partly on the drafting of Bills. Both the Department and the Office of Parliamentary
Counsel will now proceed to make every effort to obtain additional staff in the light of the new arrangements that I have outlined.
Mr Deputy President, this is an extremely important matter and I thought that I should at the first opportunity inform the Senate of the steps I have taken. I trust that this statement to the Senate will serve the purpose also of attracting the attention of young lawyers throughout Australia to what is highly important and fascinating legal work. In order that there may be debate, if it is desired by any honourable senator, I move:
– I think it is entirely consistent with the interest which Senator Murphy has shown in this question of the work of the Parliamentary Counsel during all the time that I have been in the Senate that it should be one of the matters that attracted his early attention when he became Attorney-General. It has been a besetting problem and I think he would willingly acknowledge that it transcends what might be political party differences. He instanced in his statement that this was a worldwide problem. It particularly troubles parliaments following the Westminster tradition which are faced with the problems of legislation being open for debate and, when passed, being subject to the scrutiny of the courts.
It is tremendously important that we have the highest possible standard of drafting. I know that in this area Senator Murphy’s overall objective is to ensure that that standard is maintained. I think that he has taken a novel step. I can understand why, when examination is made of the efforts attempted by earlier Attorneys-General, he should feel that drastic action might produce the results which he had in mind. I know that recruitment has been tremendously difficult, notwithstanding that extensive recruiting campaigns have been attempted both through the Press and within the universities. Those efforts have been singularly unrewarding. Equally, efforts which have been made to uplift the remuneration of parliamentary counsel, whilst ensuring that those currently in the Office are at least reasonably well remunerated, have not had the effect of inducing younger and interested practitioners to move into the field. One would suppose that it would take a considerable increase in the remuneration before talented law graduates and practitioners could be brought into the Office of Parliamentary Counsel in order to augment the numbers. That course, of course, would create problems, as I found, in regard to the other officers of the Attorney-General’s Department whose work, although of different character, is equally as important and equally valuable.
I am sure that it is against that background that Senator Murphy has taken this step. It will be watched with interest and I hope it achieves what he believes it can achieve. I think there are problems inherent in the proposal. The particular problem I have in mind is that if subordinate legislation is to be drafted by persons who are not trained in the drafting of legislation there are likely to be problems which will create in practice almost the same difficulties as would be created if legislation itself were poorly drafted. Yet I well know that the volume of subordinate legislation requiring drafting is multiplying almost monthly. There seems to be, as it probably seems to Senator Murphy, no reasonable prospect that, if a heavy legislative program is to be maintained, that backlog of subordinate legislation is likely to be overcome. It may be that the difficulties will disappear in time.
We have discussed the Matrimonial Causes rules and I do not propose in the course of what I now say to embark upon a discussion of the philosophy or the substance of those rules. However, I think that anybody who reads the newspapers, particularly those who have read the articles by Professor Sackville of the Law School at the University of New South Wales, will appreciate that there is a well held view in the legal profession that the rules are poorly drafted. Professor Sackville, in an article which appeared either yesterday or today, stated, for example, that the new divorce rules were drafted very poorly. They are replete with redundant phrases and errors. In at least one case a rule has been amended so that it reads as a jumble of words. In another, the draftsman has managed to amend a repealed sub-rule. This is one of the problems which can occur when lawyers who are not trained as draftsmen embark upon the somewhat hazardous task of drafting subordinate legislation.
I think that this step will involve closer scrutiny by the Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances which always has taken unto itself the task of examining regu lations and ordinances which have been made with a view to taking appropriate recommendation to the Senate. I trust that that Committee will be as vigilant as it has been in the past in maintaining its role. The difficulties which I mentioned in regard to the drafting of the Matrimonial Causes rules will be instructive, I am sure, insofar as future drafting will take heed . of the problems which were encountered and every effort will be made to ensure that the standards are maintained.
On reading closely what Senator Murphy said it does appear that the Office of Parliamentary Counsel will, as far as is possible, keep a close oversight on what is happening. Although I have my own reservations as to whether this really will improve the maintenance of standards in regard to subordinate legislation in the way that they should be maintained, I do appreciate the problems with which Senator Murphy was faced. He has taken action which I hope will be successful. If it is successful the general interests of all will be served. I compliment him for the speed with which he moved in this difficult area. I proposed to leave the debate open for further discussion. I notice that Senator Devitt desires to say something at the present time. Perhaps he would seek leave to continue his remarks so that other members of the Opposition who may wish to speak will have the opportunity of doing so at a future time.
– I am grateful to Senator Greenwood for the suggestion he just made to me. I thought it appropriate that I make some observations on this matter because it is a matter which has concerned me very greatly during the years that I have been here, particularly in those years during which I have been associated with the activities of the Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances. ] agree, as Senator Greenwood suggested, that we can have some reservations about whether this will be the solution of this problem. I do not think that there is an easy solution of the problem but at least this is a novel approach in an attempt to solve a problem which has bedevilled us for quite a long time. As I said, in my association and activities with the Regulations and Ordinances Committee this has been one of our greatest problem areas. From time to time we have put down in the Senate notices to disallow the passage of regulations, largely because sufficient consideration has not been given to them and sufficient explanation of the very great delays from the date of deciding to implement some decision, by regulation or ordinance, has not been given. The decision has not been carried out because of very great delay in the Office of Parliamentary Counsel.
Honourable senators will recall that an attempt was made to commence upon a resolution of this problem about 2 years ago. That was at the time when some structural changes were made in the administration of the parliamentary drafting section and its name was changed to Office of the Parliamentary Counsel. By an alteration in the salary structure and in other ways an attempt was made to make the position of a parliamentary draftsman much more attractive than it was. At that time it was considered to be, particularly by junior lawyers, a most uninteresting and dead-end job. One was inclined to believe at that time that a person almost had to be born to the job. There have been problems in drafting. Suggestions were made as a consequence of consultations between the Regulations and Ordinances Committee and the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel as to ideas which might be implemented to attempt to solve the problems existing. Unfortunately all the attempts so far to solve the problem have not been successful.
The Attorney-General (Senator Murphy) has been very deeply concerned about this matter all along. He has often made observations about it both to members of the Committee and in this chamber. He has now adopted what Senator Greenwood has described as a rather novel approach to this problem. 1 do not think it will lead to a complete solution to the problem. I think that is hoping for too much. But 1 do think that it will lead to at least some partial solution of the problem. In order to speed up the drafting of the legislation that passes through this Parliament an attempt has been made to make the position of parliamentary draftsman much more attractive, much more interesting and, one would expect, much more rewarding in the total sense to those who are in the profession.
I appreciate the words of warning - I think one can take them to be such - from Senator Greenwood that there will have to be a very close scrutiny on the part of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee to ensure that the legislation that is being dealt with continues to meet the criteria upon which we base our judgment of the merit of particular lagislation. I do not want to deny to any honourable senator the opportunity of making some observations upon this most important subject. Therefore I seek leave to continue my remarks.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Murphy) - by leave - proposed:
That a Committee of Privileges be appointed to consist of Senators Cant. Devitt. Greenwood. Murphy, O’Byrne, Withers and Wright.
– I am concerned about the designated personnel of the Committee of Privileges. I should have thought that privilege would be something that would be within the preserve of the whole of the Senate and that, therefore, the membership of the Committee should be as representative as possible. There is a significant Party, apart from the independent senators, in this, chamber which, from my understanding of the quick recitation by Senator Murphy, has no member on the Committee of Privilege. Am 1 correct in saying that, Senator Murphy?
– I think the honourable senator is correct.
– I believe that that is a very bad oversight and one which should not be accepted by the Senate. I will not make an issue of it today but I think the membership of the Committee could well be re-examined in the light of the matter to which I have drawn attention. Privilege is a very jealously guarded preserve of the whole of the Senate. I think that, as far as possible, the membership of the Committee should be representative of all political parties in the Senate. I merely wished to draw attention to my belief. I hope that there will be a rectification of the situation before this motion is put to a vote.
– I can understand Senator Byrne’s concern. 1 take it that Senator Byrne has asked for his representations to be considered before the motion is put. I understand the motion to be one that would be put more or less forthwith.
– Before it is put to a vote.
– In that case, 1 think the matter will have to be stood over.
– It is like the drafting of the regulations, which have a few errors.
– For the information of Senator Webster, I point out that the substance of the motion was agreed to by Senator Murphy and me.
– There are errors on both sides.
– Let us keep to a sensible debate on this matter. Mr President, I think the most sensible thing for me to do is to seek leave to continue my remarks so that we can look at the matter.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Murphy) - by leave - agreed to:
That a Library Committee be appointed to consist of the President and Senators Davidson, Gair, Milliner, Mulvihill, Wheeldon and Young.
Motion (by Senator Murphy) - by leave - agreed to:
That a Publications Committee be appointedto consist of Senators Donald Cameron, Cant, Davidson, Drury, Little, Lawrie and Milliner.
Motion (by Senator Murphy) - by leave - proposed:
That a House Committee be appointed to consist of the President and Senators Keeffe, Guilfoyle, Jessop, Laucke, McLaren and O’Byrne.
– I must draw attention also to this proposal. The House Committee is obviously the type of committee that must embrace the preservation, protection and availability of facilities to members of this House. I cannot see why not one of 8 honourable senators in this chamber - 3 Independents and 5 members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party - is not included in the membership of this Committee. It is incredible to think that such an arrangement could be made apparently without consultation with those 8 honourable senators and without an invitation to one of them to join the Committee. I think I should move for an adjournment of the debate on this motion to enable the matter to be reconsidered. Accordingly, I move:
– Speaking to the motion, I wish to say, firstly, that nothing has been done in this respect to alter the status quo.
– It has been a longstanding practice.
– It has been a longstanding practice for this to be the arrangement. But no practice is sacrosanct. It is a matter within the province of the Senate to change such a practice. But this has been the practice all the time I have been a member of this Senate. I should have thought that the onus would have been the other way round and that Senator Byrne, if he thought there ought to be some change in the long-standing practice, should have mentioned this matter earlier and not waited for such a motion to be moved by me. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Withers) has indicated his agreement with the motion. No-one suggested that there should be a change in the practice. While the honourable senator certainly was entitled to raise the matter it ought not to be taken by any other honourable senator or anybody else who is concerned that in some way there has been a move to take away a right or deny a right.
– I am not suggesting that.
– The honourable senator waited until a motion was formally moved to take objection to it. He didnot make any approach or request or offer any hint or suggestion that a member of the Australian Democratic Labor Party be included in the membership of the Committee, which would mean a deviation from past practice. I am quite content to have the matter stood over for further consideration by the Senate as to what is the appropriate course of action.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I inform the Senate that I have received letters from the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Murphy) and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Withers) nominating Senators Brown, Devitt, Durack, James McClelland, Wheeldon, Wood and Wright as members of the Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances. Under the Standing Orders the appointments cannot be questioned.
Motion (by Senator Murphy) - by leave - proposed:
That a Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances be appointed to consist of Senators Brown, Devitt, Durack, James McClelland,
Wheeldon, Wood and Wright, such senators’ having been duly nominated in accordance with the provisions of standing order 36a.
– I ask whether the attention of Independent senators and members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party was drawn to the fact that certain senators were to be appointed to the Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances. I ask whether the Independent senators and members of the DLP were asked whether they had an interest in the appointments. I am not aware that we were informed. Advice could have come to our Party. I am not aware of that. I am interested to know whether we were informed.
– I examined this matter some time ago. My recollection is that the Standing Orders lay down how senators shall be appointed to the Regulations and Ordinances Committee. The appointments have been made in conformity with the Standing Orders.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Murphy) - by leave - agreed to:
That leave be given to introduce a Billfor an Act to amend the Extradition (Commonwealth Countries) Act 1966-1972.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
Standing Orders suspended.
Motion (by Senator Murphy) proposed -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Debate (on motion by Senator Greenwood) adjourned.
– Order! Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
Motion (by Senator Murphy) agreed to:
That leave be given to introduce a Bill for an Act to amend the Extradition (Foreign States) Act 1966- 72.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
Standing Orders suspended.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Mr President, the purpose of the Extradition (Foreign States) Bill before the Senate is to give effect in Australian law to a number of new extradition treaties negotiated with foreign countries during the term of office of the former Government.
The purpose of the Extradition (Commonwealth Countries) Bill, also before the Senate, is to keep the Act in line with the amendments that are being proposed in the other Bill to the Extradition (Foreign States) Act so far as is compatible with the provisions of the London Scheme of 1966 relating to extradition between Commonwealth countries. Some of the amendments had been proposed as ancillary matters in the London Scheme.
The Extradition (Foreign States) Act 1966- 1972, which this Bill proposes to amend, continued in force for the time being the old extradition arrangements with foreign countries that apply to Australia by virtue of treaties entered into by the United Kingdom and of the old Imperial Acts known as the Extradition Acts, 1870 to 1935. The Extradition (Foreign States) Act opened the way, however, for Australia to introduce its own extradition treaty system. Following the entry into force of the Extradition (Foreign States) Act, the previous Government, as I have indicated, negotiated a number of treaties with foreign countries. The countries are the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Israel, Austria, Sweden and the United States of America.
The new Australian Labor Party Government has examined the treaties and is happy to accept them and to make, in the present Bill, legislative provision for carrying the treaties into effect. I do not say anything new, so far as the present Government is concerned, when I add that the Government agrees entirely with the view that Australia, as an independent nation, should stand on its own feet both in this matter of extradition and in other matters. Regrettably it was not until 1966 that the first steps were taken whereby Australia could begin to shed itself of the old extradition system. The Government will consider as quickly as possible whether Australia should negotiate in its own right extradition treaties with other countries in addition to those that J have just mentioned to the Senate. Honourable senators will know that, in fields other than extradition, the Australian Government is likewise moving to ensure that the system of law that applies in this country is a system consistent with Australia’s status as a sovereign nation.
Mr President, it is appropriate that J should comment briefly on the need for extradition arrangements with other countries, especially in the times in which we live today. The growth of criminal offences and the ease of communication between countries have resulted in a growing interdependence of the members of the international community. The sophistication of crime and of criminals continues to increase, especially in the area of what has come to be known as white collar crime. The conduct of fraudulent enterprises, oFten extending beyond national boundaries, the carrying out of sophisticated robberies, often involving large sums of money, the forging of bank notes and schemes of extortion not only provide the criminal with lucrative returns for his illegal enterprise but also provide him with the means of escape from the place where his crime is committed. The increasing speed and facilities for air travel, including relaxation of visas and other formalties, means that escape from one country to another can be completed in a matter of hours. After an original escape to one country with which extradition arrangements exist, a criminal can, once put on the alert, make a similarly quick escape to a further country with which extradition arrangements may not exist. Law enforcement authorities must nowadays act more quickly in extradition matters than used to be necessary. Civil aviation is especially vulnerable to criminal activity. The commission of crimes on board aircraft, the hijacking of aircraft and the infliction of damage to aircraft have all become the subject of international agreements. These reflect the need for concerted international action against criminals who themselves operate on that basis. Effective action against these criminals is necessary to ensure their punishment and to deter others.
We need to reduce the number of places where criminals can find sanctuary. Our efforts to do this have simply not kept pace with the increase in crime, and the increased opportunities for criminals to move from one country to another. We must see extradition arrangements as having the purpose not just of assisting individual countries in the administration of their own criminal laws, but of catering for interests of the law-abiding public that are substantially the same the world over. Regrettably it is a fact of life that law enforcement authorities are losing ground in their struggle to protect those interests. There is no panacea for this. An increasingly positive approach to extradition is one means - and an important means - that we have at our disposal to tackle the problem.
The treaties that have recently been negotiated by Australia and the proposed legislation to which I am now speaking provide a step forward in the right direction. I intend that further steps should be taken to conclude treaty arrangements with additional countries, wherever possible, at the first opportunity. The recently negotiated treaties contain provisions that are new to Australia when compared to the old inherited extradition treaties. The proposed legislation has taken account of these new provisions to enable Australia to give effect to the new treaties. The main provisions in these treaties to which I refer are: Extradition is provided for in respect of extradition offences committed extra territorially; an offence against the law relating to genocide, referred to in the Genocide Convention Act 1 949, as well as the taking of the life of a Head of State or a member of his or her family are not to be considered as crimes of a political character; a very important change has been made to the speciality rule so that an extradited person may be dealt with by the requesting country or be surrendered to a third state for offences other than those upon which the extradition was based where consent is given by the executive authority of the requested country; delivery at the time of surrender of any article that may be material evidence in proving an offence to which the requisition for the surrender of the fugitive relates; the custody of a fugitive who is in transit from one State to a third State; in the case of the United States of America, provision is made for the extradition for federal offences where there is an additional element in the extradition offence of such matters as the use of interstate facilities or use of mails or transporting across the borders of States.
Many of the matters to which I have adverted are also included in the Extradition (Commonwealth Countries) Bill so that the extradition legislation relating to foreign
States and Commonwealth countries will be kept in line. The provisions in the Extradition (Commonwealth Countries) Bill also includes matters that were proposed under the ancillary provisions of the London scheme. These provisions relate to the transit of a fugitive offender and the delivery of property found in his possession at the time of his arrest, which may be material to proof of the offence with which he is charged. One of the main provisions that I have just referred to relates to the speciality rule. This is the rule that requires that in general an offender who is returned to a country can be prosecuted by the requesting State or transferred to a third State only for the offence for which he was returned. The Act presently contains an important modification to the rule to allow a person to be dealt with for another extraditable offence that is provable upon the same facts as were involved for the original offence.
It is proposed in this Bill to provide a consent modification in order to effect a significant change to the old form of the speciality rule. The purpose of the consent modification is to enable the executive authority of a requested country to agree to a requesting country dealing with an extradited person for another extraditable offence other than that for which he was surrendered. The basic rationale of the speciality rule is to safeguard the liberty of the person and protect his human rights, especially where a person is only accused of an offence. The problem has been to achieve a balance between that principle of human rights on the one hand and efficient law enforcement on the other. In its modern form incorporating the consent provision as first included in the 1957 European Convention on Extradition, this balance is achieved.
The consent modification has been included in recent treaties made between foreign States and in the draft treaties recently negotiated by Australia. It gives flexibility to and removes the inhibiting effect of the otherwise strict speciality rule and at the same time safeguards the human rights of the accused person. The consent modification was included in the London scheme of 1966. It is already included in the Extradition (Commonwealth Countries) Act. At the Commonwealth Law Ministers Conference in London in January this year I stated that an appropriate ground upon which consent might be given under the speciality rule would be that further offences in respect of which consent was granted were part of a series of crimes similar to those for which extradition was originally sought. I expressed concern that there should not be an unduly restrictive approach to the discretionary power of consent and that what was required was a proper review of the whole course of an offender’s conduct so that a request for extradition on additional charges could be considered in its proper perspective.
I propose to follow the present practice in relation to informing the Parliament of the text of the new extradition treaties. As soon as these treaties to which I referred in my opening remarks have been signed I shall have them tabled in the Senate. As I stated earlier in this speech the new Government has approved the new treaties and the formal procedures for their signing are now being taken. The Extradition (Foreign States) Bill that I present to honourable senators will make necesary legislative provision for carrying he treaties into effect.
The Extradition (Commonwealth Countries) Bill will give effect to certain ancillary matters in the London scheme. It also takes account of the international conventions concerning genocide, hi-jacking of aircraft, prostitution, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and keeps in line the extradition legislation relating to Commonwealth countries with that relating to foreign States. I commend the Bills to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Greenwood) adjourned.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to S p.m.
Debate resumed from 6 March (vide page 191) on motion by Senator Greenwood:
That the Senate disapproves the following Determinations made under the Public Service Arbitration Act 1920-1972:
No. 23 of 1973 - Administrative and Clerical Officers’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service and others.
No. 24 of 1973 - Postal Telecommunications Technicians’ Association (Australia).
No. 25 of 1973 - Australian Broadcasting Commission Staff Association.
No. 26 of 1973- Administrative and Clerical Officers’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service.
No. 27 of 1973 - Australian Postmasters’ Association and others.
No. 28 of 1973 - Royal Australian Nursing Federation.
No. 29 of 1973^ - Industrial Arbitration Registrars’ Association.
– When the Senate adjourned at 10.30 last night we were debating the relative merits - more the demerits - of a motion moved by Senator Greenwood. I believe it is important that 1 should now repeat the text of the motion which we are debating. Senator Greenwood moved:
That the Senate disapproves the following Determinations made under the Public Service Arbitration Act 1920-1972: 1 ask honourable senators to note those words. Here we have an astounding situation. Opposition senators have said over many years that everybody must accept arbitration. Here we have an arbitrated decision by an arbitrator appointed by this Parliament to do a job for the Public Service. He does the job, and what do the members of the Liberal Party do? They immediately disapprove of his arbitrated decision. If they are the standards by which Opposition senators are to be known, then I suggest that they have a very careful look at themselves before they say anything at all at any time about a trade union or workers opposing an arbitrator’s decision.
– What about the election promises?
– I will deal with that matter later. At this stage I am addressing the Senate and I do not propose to be sidetracked by inane remarks from Senator Marriott. This has been a remarkable debate because of some of the utterances of some honourable senators opposite. What did Senator Carrick say in one part of his speech. Senator Carrick made an extraordinary statement to this effect:
Preference to unionists is the same thing basically as compulsory unionism, lt is a back door method of introducing compulsory unionism.
What position is taken by the Liberal Party in the States of the Commonwealth? Not only does it agree to preference for unionists but also - I will read the document to honourable senators - it says that unless a person joins a union he will not have a job. Yet the Liberal Party senators are the people who talk of democracy. If honourable senators opposite dispute what I say let me read once again the appropriate extracts from a direction that is given to every person who joins the Public
Service in Queensland. Who occupies the government benches in Queensland? None other than the supporters of a gerrymanderelected Country Party Premier together with the Liberal Party section of the coalition government. This is the direction they give to people who are about to join the Public Service:
I am directed to inform you that, in pursuance of the provisions of the Public Service Act 1922-1968, you have been appointed- to a position in the Public Service. Senator Greenwood should come back and listen because he might be interested to learn this. As part of that direction they then say to the appointee:
If you are not already a member of a registered industrial union you must become a member of such a union-
– I emphasise the word must’.
– Where is that?
– This is in the State of Queensland.
– What is the date on that letter?
– The date is 5 th March 1973. That is not bad, is it? Of course, that is only one part of the direction. They go a little further then and say:
Please advise the above Staff Clerk in writing by that date as to membership, staling the name of the Union concerned for which purpose the attached form may be used.
Then appears a classic of guided democracy by the Country-Liberal Party coalition in Queensland. This person who is about to be employed in the Public Service is told:
Please also enclose the receipt for such Union fees for noting and subsequent return to you.
This direction is signed by the permanent head of the department.
– I rise to a point of order. Standing order 42 1 states:
The President or the Chairman of Committees may call the attention of the Senate or the Committee, as the case may be, to continued irrelevance or tedious repetition, and may direct a Senator to discontinue his speech:
The Senate is always interested to hear Senator Milliner; but, Mr Deputy President, I draw your attention to the fact that this part of his speech, including these extracts, was delivered last night in this debate as part of this speech. Without getting into the area of whether or not it is tedious - because, as I said, Senator Milliner is interesting to listen to - I say that it is repetition and it fairly may be called tedious repetition. I draw your attention to that standing order, Mr Deputy President.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - There is no substance in the point of order.
– I rise to a point of order, ls not the whole debate out of order? Are we not debating a non-event? The whole point of the motion is to disallow certain determinations which the Prime Minister has said he will disallow anyhow. It seems to me that all we are doing is wasting the time of the Senate by going on with a non-event.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- There is no substance in the point of order.
– 1 appreciate your ruling, Mr Deputy President. Let me conclude this part of my remarks by saying that the permanent head of the department signs this direction; so it is fairly authentic. Let me go a little further. Last year we had quite an extensive debate on the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. It was said, of course, that workers must observe the provisions of the Act. That is the attitude of honourable senators opposite, yet I know people who belong to the Party whose members sit opposite and who say that because of the provisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act every worker in Australia should belong to the relevant union. As a matter of fact, a provision in the Act passed by the previous Government laid down that that was to be the case. As Senator Kane is leaving the chamber, let me remind him that he advocates that anybody who does not belong to a union and works in industry is a bludger and a free wheeler.
– Who said that?
– Senator Kane of the Democratic Labor Party. Let me go a step further in regard to the DLP. Honourable senators have heard its members say that they will support the principle of 4 weeks annual leave. Senator Gair, when he was Premier of Queensland, refused to introduce 3 weeks annual leave for workers in Queensland. Now he is advocating the granting of 4 weeks annual leave. Let me again refer to a debate that took place in the Queensland Parliament in 1944-45. I refer to Queensland Parliamentary Debates, volume CLXXXIII. Again,
Senator Gair was involved in this debate. But, more importantly, the Leader of the Country Party in the State House, Mr Frank Nicklin, now Sir Francis Nicklin, was involved in it. Mr Nicklin agreed to give preference to returned soldiers in legislation introduced into that State House by Mr Gair, as he then was. Mr Gair said in the debate that it did not matter whether a returned soldier was a member of a returned soldiers’ organisation. AH he had to do was produce the bona fides showing that he was a returned soldier and he must receive preference of employment.
We hear Senator Carrick and others talk about divisiveness. Would anything further be needed to divide workers than giving preference to returned soldiers? Take the situation of a returned soldier who has no family responsibilities. On the other hand, some other fellow may have tried to enlist in the armed Services but was rejected because of ill health. He may have a family of six, but is denied the employment because Senator Gair and Sir Frank Nicklin said that he should not have the employment. That is not where the position ends, because it went a little further. Senator Gair had this to say-
– What was the date of this?
– I told you the date a while ago. It is 1944-45.
– Senator Gair was a Labor Party member in Queensland.
– Thank you very much, senator. At that time, Senator Byrne was Senator Gair’s private secretary. He was floating around in the wings of Parliament House saying: ‘Good on you, Mr Minister’. This is what Mr Gair, the then Premier, said:
If the court or industrial magistrate rules that he-
That is, the worker - is to be given a particular job he is directed to join the relevant union.
I draw honourable senators’ attention to the fact that he said, ‘directed to join the relevant union*.
– Who said that?
- Mr Gair- Senator Gair as he is now. Further, Sir Frank Nicklin entered the debate. He is Senator Webster’s champion of champions. Senator Webster says that he is a wonderful fellow. Sir Frank Nicklin rose and said that his Party supported the legislation.
– What are you talking about?
– If the honourable senator had the ability he would understand. Sir Frank Nicklin supported the legislation to provide that a fellow who obtains a job must join the relevant union. That is astounding. Senator Gair, while he was Premier of Queensland, refused to introduce 3 weeks annual leave. Now he is advocating the introduction of 4 weeks annual leave. How inconsistent can you get? He and his colleagues say that no worker should be pressured into joining a union. In other days they supported an entirely different proposition. Senator Gair is in print as saying that. Consequently, he cannot have it all ways. The Public Service Arbitrator said: ‘I will give 4 weeks annual leave to those who are members of a union’. He has the right to do that. Now that arbitrated decision is being challenged by the very people who are always saying to the workers: You must uphold arbitration’. What a statement to be made by people who said that they knew all about governing this country.
Last night I referred to legislation introduced into the Queensland Parliament by a Libera) Party member in which it was provided that there must be preference to unionists. The matter was referred to the Industrial Court which made a very rigid prescription. 1 will not offend, Mr Deputy President, by reading it out again. Let me say however thai the prescription required every worker in Queensland to become a member of the relevant union. In fairness, 1 point out that some misguided employer in Queensland challenged this prescription. The matter was heard before His Honour Mr Justic Hanger. He upheld the claim that the prescription was invalid. What happened then? The tory Country-Liberal Party Government of the day knew that. But notwithstanding that, it left that prescription in its State arbitration legislation. Employers knew what the situation was. What do we find? We find that since that decision many employers in Queensland, not because of duress but because they wanted to negotiate with a decent body of people - a trade union and not free-wheelers or whatever other names people elect to caD them - have written into industrial agreements provisions for preference to unionists.
Here are a few of the agreements in which this course has been followed. This one is titled ‘Printing Trade- the Gladstone
Observer Pty Ltd’. This employer in central Queensland said that it agreed there would be preference of employment and that a fellow who works for that newspaper must join the appropriate trade union. Another one is titled Printing Trade - ‘Regional Dailies of Australia Ltd (Queensland Division)’. Honourable senators from country areas of Queensland would know each and every one of these proprietors. For instance, Senator Lawrie would know all the people who run the ‘Rockhampton Bulletin’. That newspaper is a signatory to this document which states that preference of employment will be given to unionists and that a worker must join a union if he is to work in that industry. Another agreement reads: ‘Printing Trade - Carpentaria Newspapers Pty Ltd’. That is a Ml Isa newspaper. The preference clause would not have to apply in that city, but nevertheless the employer insisted that it be inserted. A person could not obtain a job in M.t Isa unless he was a member of the appropriate union. Another agreement is: ‘Printing Trade - Mirror Newspapers Ltd - Sunday Newspaper’. Again, that agreement contains the prescription for preference of employment for unionists. Here is an agreement made by the appropriate union with that grand old bible of the. Liberal Party in Queensland, the ‘Courier-Mail’ and its Sunday issue, The Sunday-Mail’, lt is headed: ‘Printing Trade - Queensland Newspapers Pty Ltd’. It contains a preference clause, not because anybody demanded it-
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Order! There is too much noise in the Senate chamber. Senator Marriott will cease interjecting.
– It is preferable to listening to Senator Milliner’s speech.
– Senator Marriott interjected that it was preferable to my speech. That might be his opinion. I do not think any member on the Government side, when we were in Opposition, was told by the President that he did not want to hear him. That is what happened to Senator Marriott. If he wants to start a Donnybrook, let him carry on. I will be with him all the way. lt is obvious that the Opposition is on a sticky wicket, not the Government. Our conscience is very clear.
– Who is the Government?
– The Government is headed by Mr Whitlam. On Saturday next we will see who the Government is in South Australia when Mr Dunstan leads his Party to complete success to annihilate your Party, your disgruntled Party which does not know where it is going, whether it is going up one street or down another. Mr Dunstan’s Party does not have to worry about the Democratic Labor Party because the DLP is not fielding candidates in the election - so that is one obstacle out of the way. I repeat that it appears to me that the Government can be accused of double dealing. The first opportunity it gets to oppose an arbitrated decision it does so - I am sorry, I meant the Opposition - and its members sit there in all their glory. Senator Carrick talked with his tongue in his cheek about dividing the workers. What the Australian Labor Party and the Public Service Arbitrator wanted was to unite the workers so that the Public Service Board could speak to a set of people who were in an appropriate organisation, who were not divided. Honourable senators opposite have said the worker has a fundamental right to determine whether he will join a union. The evidence is completely against them as I think I demonstrated last evening and again tonight. Honourable senators opposite insist that there is a fundamental right. I say that in every walk of life people must observe what the majority want. For instance, if the honourable senator who has been interjecting thinks he could board a bus in this city and not pay his fare I suggest that he try it some time. He will be compelled to pay. Why then should a person not be compelled to pay a union subscription for the very purpose of improving his wages and conditions? Let me cite a situation which will be common for all backbenchers in this chamber tonight. Their secretaries will receive shortly a substantial salary increase which will give them a salary of $100 a week; yet Opposition senators argue that they should not pay a miserable 30c or so every week to recompense the union for what it has expended in gaining that improved industrial condition.
– They did not expend anything, they just blackmailed Gough.
– Here we have a situation in which Senator Hannan would not know the first thing about it.
– I am a unionist.
– You are a unionist?
– Do you want to see my card?
– All you know is Consider Your Verdict; you are the champion of Consider Your Verdict. Go back to radio and TV and consider your verdict for you cannot consider anything we have said because you know that we are 100 per cent right.
– Where is your card?
– I do not have to show my card.
– You are not financial.
– My conscience is clear. I was for 20 years secretary of a union and the honourable senator asks me to show my card. 1 would not insult the union by showing the honourable senator my card, lt seems to me, Mr Deputy President, that when one throws a stone into a pack of dogs the mongrels will always bark. That occurs all the time and we see it again on this occasion. Opposition senators know they are in a situation impossible to justify; they know they are denying arbitration, and that this is the basis of their objection. They hate unions and unionists and hate is the basis of their attitude in this debate. Mr Deputy President, I could continue in this strain for some considerable time. For instance, I could speak of a situation in which Senator Little, the great champion of the DLP, did nothing but roast trade unions in his speech the other day. He told of all the secretaries who had run away with union money. But not once did he speak of the legal profession, of which many honourable senators opposite are members; not once did he refer to the legal profession robbing widows, workers and goodness knows what others by taking money out of trust accounts. Let us look at the democracy that is applied in that direction. Why does not the honourable senator come into this one? What happens if a member of the legal profession commits a misdemeanour? What happens is that the law council acts as both judge and jury to lake away that man’s livelihood. What about the Australian Medical Association? Honourable senators opposite know that in some States in this Commonwealth a person may not belong to the medical defence league unless he is a member of the AMA.
– I have-
– No, Senator Little, I will let the Clerks Union handle you in due course.
– Let us show our cards.
– All right, we will show the cards.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Order! Honourable senators will come to order. Senator Milliner is on his feet. His colleagues and members of the Opposition will conform to Standing . Orders and cease this uproar.
– Thank you, Mr Deputy President. The yapping and the inane remarks do not make a great difference to me because one becomes accustomed to these things. When one is speaking with a clear conscience, none of these interjections can hurt. If honourable senators opposite examine their consciences they will see that they are introducing opposition to this legislation basically because they hate unions and unionists. That is the basis for it all. There is some political aspect to it also, of course; if the Arbitrator had awarded 5 weeks annual leave, they would have opposed that too. Mr Deputy President, I believe it is shameful for the Senate to have to debate this issue when it is known that the numbers are against the Government. Still, it does not matter. The fact remains that we are on record as accusing Senator Greenwood, his colleagues, members of the Country Party and members of the DLP as being completely anti-unionists, and as a result they stand condemned in the eyes of all unionists in Australia.
-Mr Deputy President, I have listened to this debate and it is not only a non-event, it is a mockery. I add my word of wisdom. I move:
Question resolved in the negative.
– I am not quite sure what Senator Milliner was speaking about or why we are continuing to debate this motion because, if the Press reports are correct, the Government proposes to accept the fact that 4 weeks annual leave should be given to all public servants. When Senator Milliner says ‘Our conscience is clear”, we should be quite clear as to what the Government intends to do, whether or not the Press reports are correct. If they are correct, then there cannot be any question of conscience involved; but if they are not correct, then we will continue this debate until a decision is reached. I will be interested to know what the Government intends to do and why the Senate is not told what the Government intends to do about this matter.
– The Senate was told at question time. Where were you?
– We have not been told. All sorts of half-baked statements have come forward, but no definitive statement has been made, if the Government intends to introduce a Bill, as is reported, to give 4 weeks annual leave to all public servants in accordance with Mr Whitlam’s election promise, then there can be no further argument. Apparently, we are to continue to debate this matter. I do not take much notice of what Senator Milliner said because I could not understand what he was talking about, and I doubt whether he understood himself. He was chiding the Opposition by saying that we have always argued that we should accept the decision of an arbitrator. Well, we have argued that. He said that the fact that we will not accept the decision of an arbitrator today is a measure of the standard of the Opposition. I was interested to hear this because over the years we have argued for that proposition and I have never noticed the Australian Labor Party or the unions being prepared to accept the decision of an arbitrator when it has gone against them. They have promptly gone out on strike.
If it is good enough for this principle of accepting an arbitrator’s decision to apply to us. as Senator Milliner suggests it should, then it Ls good enough for it to apply to the Australian Labor Party and to all unions. Whether it is in relation to wages or working conditions or anything else, the arbitrator’s decision is final and should be accepted, whether the unions like it or not. One cannot have it both ways. It is no good talking about conscience or anything else. When Senator Milliner and also Senator Bishop talked about the double standards of the Government, they meant the Opposition. But they spoke more in truth than they realised because in fact the double standards are now and always have been with the Australian Labor Party on most issues. While T accept the fact that it was a slip of the tongue, there was more truth in it than they were prepared to admit.
We come back to what is the basis of the motion moved by Senator Greenwood and, as I understand it, what is accepted by the 3 Opposition parties, namely, that these determinations should be disallowed. We have to come back to this because I believe the first matter to be considered is what was promised in the Labor Party’s policy speech. We are going to hear from honourable senators opposite ad nauseam: ‘We have a mandate to introduce certain legislation because it was included in our policy speech’. I accept this in part, but not completely. If honourable senators opposite argue that they have a mandate to introduce all sorts of legislation because there was some vague reference to it in the policy speech, they have no right whatsoever to oppose this motion because in his policy speech Mr Whitlam said - it is clear, unequivocal and unqualified, and I do not think that anybody on the Government side will argue otherwise - that all Commonwealth employees would receive 4 weeks annual leave.
– It is in the book.
– It is in the policy speech, and we accept this. We are not opposed to the granting of 4 weeks annual leave to all Commonwealth public servants. On our side there may be some doubts as to the wisdom of this; there may be some doubts as to whether the economy can stand it. But it was a clear understanding by Mr Whitlam. We accept the right of the Government to introduce into this chamber legislation to amend the present legislation which provides for 3 weeks annual leave for all Commonwealth public servants, and we would not oppose it. Within a couple of days of 2nd December when the Australian Labor Party won office - to be precise, on 6th December - Mr Cameron confirmed that 4 weeks annual leave would be granted to Commonwealth public servants, but he then went on to state that it would apply only to those public servants who were members of registered organisations. This is where we part with the Government.
We on this side of the chamber take no issue on the question that people should join unions. It is in their interests to join unions. They should be members of unions and they should not be discriminated against because they are members of unions. We accept this policy. We also accept the right of any individual, for whatever reason he may have, not to join a union. This is his individual decision, his individual right. It is indeed strange to hear from the Labor Party that people should be discriminated against because - and it is in the Labor Party platform - they are not members of unions. We have heard in this chamber ad nauseam the Labor Party advocating the right of dissent, the right of people to disobey a law which they do not like, the right of conscience. Now that members of the Labor Party are in government they cannot deny that a person has a right of dissent and a right to disobey a law either because he does not like it-
– What is the law you are talking about?
– Senator Poyser knows very well what I am talking about. He might be pretty dumb, but he is not as dumb as all that. He knows what 1 am talking about, and I will not be led astray by him. Honourable senators opposite have advocated that if a person does not like a law he has the right to disobey it.
– I think that a Temporary Chairman of Committees ought to be obedient to the statutes of the Senate, namely, that all interjections are disorderly.
– Thank you, Mr President - not that I mind the interjections a scrap. We are going to hear continuously from members of the Labor Party, now that they are in government, that a person has not the right to disobey a law with which that person disagrees. If we are talking about double standards, here is the first example of them. If a public servant, for whatever reason, does not wish to join a union he will be discriminated against. He has not the right of conscience or free choice. He has not the right of dissent. Two honourable senators opposite through slips of the tongue referred earlier to the double standards of the Government. The slips were unfortunate but happen to be true. The Labor Party’s platform contains provision for certain privileges. Whether they relate to pay, working hours, long service leave or maternity leave, are they to apply only to unionists?
– In the case of maternity leave is the baby supposed to be born with a union ticket in his hand?
– That is an interesting point. Perhaps some honourable senators opposite will advise us about it. Last night Senator Carrick referred to promises in Mr Whitlam’s policy speech. Mr Whitlam said that he would bring to the Australian people a new sense of unity and criticised the divisiveness of the policies of the previous Government. I can think of no greater divisive element in the community than the platform of the Australian Labor Party. Under its administration we are to have in the Public Service members of a section who, through coercion, blackmail or some other reason, join an organisation: and there will be those who because of a principle or for some other reason refuse to join. Each group will be treated differently. One group will receive 4 weeks annual leave, the other group will receive 3 weeks. If the Labor Party follows its platform some people will receive wage increases because they belong to a union and some will not receive wage increases because they do not belong to a union. There will be 2 wage levels. There will be one group the members of which are entitled to certain elements of long service leave because they belong to a union. Those public servants who do not belong to a union will nol enjoy that benefit.
– What about maternity leave?
– I am reminded about maternity leave. As my colleague, Senator Carrick said last night, a pregnant woman in the Public Service who belongs to a union will receive maternity leave; a pregnant woman in the Public Service who does not belong to a union will not receive maternity leave.
– You know that that is wrong.
– I am quoting from your Party’s platform. If you do not accept it, tell us so. If it is not your platform and your intention, tell us so.
– You were told last night that you were wrong.
– Will you explain your platform which sets out clearly that these privileges will apply only to members of unions? We are to have pregnant women who are first class citizens, as Senator Carrick said, and pregnant women who are second class citizens. I cannot think of a more divisive influence. 1 cannot think of a way which will divide a group of workers more than that. If the 35-bour week is introduced, some workers will get the benefit and some will have to work for 40 hours per week.
– Will she get leave if the father of the child is not a member of a union? Is it as complicated as that?
– That is an interesting point and 1 would not attempt to discuss it. We will let those people who support that type of policy answer the question. Two elements of Mr Whitlam’s policy speech are being denied by the back door method of bringing in 4 weeks annual leave for public servants who belong to unions. Firstly, there is the divisiveness that some public servants are to obtain the benefit and some are not. Secondly, there is the divisive effect of the Labor Party platform which will create first and second class citizens under awards.
– You did this with social services for 23 years.
– If there is a misunderstanding Senator Poyser could clear it up. He could tell us whether his Party’s platform does not mean what it says. 1 will be very happy to hear that I am wrong because I hate to see divisive influences brought into our community. I do not intend to speak at great length because the ground has been covered very well from this side of the House. All we are doing is repeating what has been said. If we understand correctly what the Government now plans to do, this debate is wasting the time of the Senate.
I want to refer to one other aspect which I may have misunderstood. When Senator Greenwood was speaking in this debate Senator Bishop referred to International Labour Organisation conventions. As I understood him, he said that the ILO conventions are in some manner or means contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The point arose of which should take priority, the ILO conventions or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Last night my colleague Senator Carrick had a number of the ILO conventions incorporated in Hansard. He put the matter at rest because the ILO conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights seem to be in complete agreement.
We have heard ad nauseam in the Senate Senator Murphy demanding that the previous Government accede to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was his bible. I did not hear any of his colleagues raise their voices against him. The Labor Party supported what Senator Murphy had to say. I accept the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I think it is terribly important. Senator Greenwood referred to article 20, which provides:
The TLO convention says the same thing but in different words. If we accept that no-one may be compelled to belong to an association, what is the Government trying to do by stealth, coercion, blackmail or other means? I do not think ‘blackmail’ is too strong a term. The Government is trying to compel people to belong to an association in order to obtain certain privileges. It is promoting compulsory unionism by stealth or back door methods. Article 23 provides that everyone has the right to the free choice of employment. The other day in reply to a question Senator Cavanagh, the Minister for Works, said that he does not believe in compulsory unionism. He said that he believes in voluntary unionism. He went on to say that if a person did not wish to belong to a union he could go out and work in the primary industries where there are no unions. What did he mean by that? Quite clearly he meant that as far as he is concerned a person who does not belong to a union has no right to work in the employ ment of his choice. He can work somewhere else in a job which is not necessarily his choice of employment.
Senator Cavanagh may be speaking for the Labor Party in saying in effect that he does not believe in article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Everyone has the right, without discrimination, to equal pay for equal work. If the Labor Party’s platform means what it says, it does not support that principle. It means that only those who belong to unions have this right.
– Senator, you are telling lies.
– I am nol going to stand here and argue with you, Senator Bishop. All I am saying is that if your platform means anything, that is what it means. If it does not, you stand up and tell us what it means. Everyone, without discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. I could go on dealing clause by clause with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. All I say to Government supporters is that they should make up their minds about whether they believe in this principle, whether they believe in the TLO conventions, or whether they believe in what I regard as the overriding convention - the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If they do not believe it then they should stop all the humbug and hypocrisy that they display when standing up here and quoting these things to us.
– Do you believe in it?
– Yes. I just told you that I believed in it. It is no good you pointing at me because you-
– Order! Senator Poyser, Senator McLaren, Senator McAuliffe and Senator Mulvihill, I will not tolerate any more interjections. I do not make any more concessions to honourable senators on my right than I do to those on my left. A senator standing in his place and speaking to the debate will be heard in silence. All honourable senators know perfectly well that all interjections are highly disorderly.
– I have almost concluded my remarks but I want to quote also article 24 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights because it relates to the point made by the Minister for Works (Senator Cavanagh) and to the point that is included in the Labor Party platform. Article 24 states:
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
If members of the Labor Party accept that principle they cannot accept their platform.
– That was the Emperor Hadrian.
– My friend Senator Hannan talks about his great friend Emperor Hadrian of whom we have heard before. I want to conclude by referring to a leading article which appeared in the ‘Canberra Times’ on 21st February this year because it dealt with this matter. I am not a great quoter of the Press but I noticed that members and supporters of the present Government, when in opposition, quoted the Press, when it suited them, as their Bible. Therefore it is within our rights to quote the Press when it suits us. I think that this article lays down certain principles which are important. We have been told that there is a right of conscientious objection. That term has not been spelt out to us but a very narrow interpretation seems to have been applied. I recall members of the Labor Party talking about conscientious objection to military service and at that time they gave the term the widest possible interpretation. It seems now from what has been said by the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron) that in this instance a person can claim conscientious objection only on very narrow religious grounds. I think that the Government should spell this out. The article in the ‘Canberra Times’ states:
The Government will have to state clearly what is meant by conscientious objection to joining a union. The article continued:
It would not be good enough to allow only objections based on religious grounds. Public servants and workers in industry may rightly refuse to join a union because of its political affiliation-
Who is going to argue about that? The Labor Party might do so. and its overt financial support of a political party, because the union serves no useful purpose, because it is not run democratically-
That is an interesting point - or because it involves its membership - and the general public - in unjustified and damaging strikes.
There cannot be a narrow interpretation of conscientious objection. The Labor Party has never previously accepted a narrow interpretation; it always has demanded the widest interpretation of a person’s right to disobey a law because of a conscientious belief. If the Labor Party applies that interpretation to military service or to something else then it must apply it to those joining a union. Later on this article states:
The Commonwealth is constitutionally incompetent to pass legislation that discriminates between the States and it is morally incompetent to make rules or laws that discriminate between citizen and citizen.
Does the Australian Labor Party quarrel with that statement? Does it believe that the Commonwealth is morally right to make laws that discriminate between citizen and citizen? There is silence. I want to conclude by reading an extract from further on in this leading article - no doubt it will strike a chord in the soft hearts of members of the Labor Party - where this is stated:
Another end result of a policy of statutory preference to unionists is to create a state of industrial conscription-
That is a word which strikes horror in the hearts of members of the Labor Party - that is just as objectionable as some of the features of the policy of conscription for Vietnam which the previous Government introduced and to which the unions objected so vociferously. . . .
– Who said that?
– I have been reading from an editorial in the ‘Canberra Times’. I quoted it because I think it raises terribly important points, matters of conscience and morality which members of the Labor Party have been lecturing us about for years. Mr President, members of the Labor Party have to make up their minds. They can raise all sorts of arguments and adopt all sorts of diversionary tactics but this matter comes back to 2 points. The first is the explicit undertaking given by the Prime Minister in his policy speech about 4 weeks annual leave being granted to all public servants. That is the first point and Government supporters cannot dodge it; it is clear and explicit. The second point is this matter of conscience and the right of a person not to belong to a union or any other organisation. This applies throughout the community and not only to unions. It is my right not to belong to a primary industry organisation if that is my wish. No-one can force me to belong to it. No-one can force me to object to taking any benefits that may accrue from the activities of such an organisation. No-one can do so. There is the right of a person to act in accordance with his moral conscience. There is the right of a person to dissent if he believes that he has good grounds for dissent. If we believe what we read, the Government would accept these things. It is on these grounds that the Opposition has moved this motion in the Senate and I support that motion.
– I do not intend to speak at great length because the various points have been canvassed freely by honourable senators on both sides of the Senate and because, as was said earlier, some of the thrust has gone out of the debate since it has become evident that 4 weeks annual leave is going to be granted without limitation. However I was prompted to rise in my place in order to put the record right in one or two respects. The first thing is a statement made by Senator Greenwood when introducing this debate but I propose to deal with it later on. Before proceeding with my argument I want to refer to a remark made by Senator Carrick last night. His remark contained a hidden criticism. I read from page 172 of Hansard where Senator Carrick is reported as having said:
Mr President, I do not know whether you know about genetic sports and mutations, but an honourable senator who sits appropriately on my left is the very embodiment of sport. That is the only question he has ever raised. I think he -is the only genetic mutation that the Labor Party has produced in my time here.
I appreciate the honourable senator’s description of me as the embodiment of sport, particularly as there is now in the Commonwealth sphere a Ministry of Sport or, to put it more correctly, a Ministry of Tourism and Recreation. I take that as being a different term from ‘genetic sport’ or ‘mutation*. I would like to remind Senator Carrick that without sports or mutations we would have no geniuses. There would be no freak phenomenal abilities in the world. We would not have developed past the arrival level of our ape-like ancestors. So I do not mind being regarded as a sport in that sense too.
Senator Carrick also made some reference to the effect that the only subject J have raised in this chamber is the subject of sport. I have been a member of this Senate for 18 months. All honourable senators have access to the research section of the Parliamentary Library. Any honourable senator who cares to make inquiries there will find that during that time I have asked questions on and made contributions in the chamber about such a variety of subjects that 1 can feel justifiably proud of my efforts. I hope that Senator Carrick can feel equally as proud of his record as I am of mine. 1 have spoken on many subjects in this chamber. I do not know what inspired Senator Carrick to denigrate himself by making such undignified attacks on some honourable senators. I do not know whether I have disappointed him by not taking part in the debates on subjects on which I must admit he does dilate with some ability and some knowledge and after a lot of research. I refer to, in particular, the subjects of abortion, homosexuality, marihuana and pornography. I know that be does debate those subjects with ability. I have not taken part in such debates. I do not know whether I have disappointed him because I have not taken part in them, but I am afraid he will have to remain disappointed because I leave those conscience subjects to the people who feel that they have a scholarly experience and ability to deal with them.
I would rather give my attention to advocating and pressing in this chamber the great humanitarian issues on which the Australian Labor Party is eager to act in the lifetime of this Parliament, and particularly in this session. It has a lot to do to catch up on the lag that has resulted from 23 years of anti-Labor government of this country. I can understand the reason for the disappointment and hatred that Opposition senators express towards the trade union movement. They seem to be jealous and angry that the trade union movement wholeheartedly supports physically and financially the Australian Labor Party. If ever there was to be a change in the attitude of the trade union movement - I hope that never comes about - and it shifted its allegiance from the Australian Labor Party to the Tories, I wonder what the attitude of honourable senators opposite would be. I suppose it would be a different situation entirely if they were in receipt of the physical and financial support that the trade union movement now gives to the great Australian Labor Party. Their attitudes would change overnight and we would have them putting on shining armour, mounting a prancing steed and becoming the champions of the trade union movement. They would change their attitude overnight from one of bitterness and hatred to one of glorification. I believe that honourable senators opposite are jealous of the support that the trade union movement gives and will continue to give to the great Australian Labor Party.
I can also understand the disappointment of the Opposition at not thinking of including a promise to grant 4 weeks annual leave to Commonwealth public servants in its election policy speech. Now that it has seen the huge success that rewarded the foresight of the Australian Labor Party in including this plank in its policy platform it is no wonder that the Opposition is disappointed. 1 can understand the disappointment of honourable senators opposite on those 2 scores. But the one thing which I cannot understand is their opposition to the decision of the Australian Labor Party to limit the granting of 4 weeks annual leave to certain people. I do not think that they are sincere in their opposition. At a later stage I intend to deal with that aspect in depth.
As 1 said earlier, I was really prompted to rise in my place to refute one or two of the allegations that have been made in the debate by honourable senators opposite. To put the record straight I think I should briefly trace the history of the decision to grant 4 weeks annual leave. I understand that the decision arose from Cabinet Minute No. 4 of 20th December 1972 in which the Cabinet agreed that the department could assume that any officer or employee was a member of a recognised organisation until such time as the recognised organisation advised the department that the officer or employee was not a member, at which time the department was to call upon the officer or employee to produce proof of his membership of the recognised organisation. I believe that that is a reasonable manner in which to qualify for an additional week’s annual leave. If one is to enjoy the facilities or benefits that an organisation can offer it is a logical prerequisite that one should take out membership before doing so. As honourable senators on this side of the chamber have explained quite simply, clearly and at length to honourable senators opposite on numerous occasions, what has been suggested here is nothing new; it is happening in every other organisation around us. I thought Senator Brown put a very lucid case when he pointed out that to join a voluntary health organisation one has to take out a subscription. I have had a long association with various organisations in the community and I know that nobody can benefit from or enjoy the facilities of any of them without having met the prerequisite of taking out membership.
I do not think it is fair for the Opposition to claim that it is unreasonable for an organisation which has negotiated at some expense to bring about the granting of benefits to say that before people can receive those benefits they must subscribe something towards meeting the expense of those negotiations. It has been said in this chamber that the decision to grant 4 weeks annual leave did not come about by negotiation but that it was a handout by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) in his election policy speech. Surely to goodness honourable senators opposite are not sincere in that assumption. Surely as experienced parliamentarians they would know that lead-up work is required in these matters. Negotiations went on between the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations and the Council of Public Service Organisations - 2 unions which are not even affiliated with the Australian .Labor Party - for a considerable period on this matter. It is only common sense to assume that certain financial expenses must have been incurred. Is that not fair and bonny play?
I notice that Senator Greenwood is nodding his head. The inference is that something has been given to the fighting fund of the Australian Labor Party. That is not the thought I had. I will leave that for the time being and appeal to his common sense to realise that there must be some expense involved in travelling to and from Canberra and being accommodated overnight as well as employing someone to perform clerical duties. Those expenses must be met in order to obtain concessions. A lot of expense is involved. Surely those people who have not contributed anything towards these associations are not entitled to receive the same benefits as those people who have contributed. But, as I said earlier, this matter has been freely .canvassed by my colleagues.
The situation that is of extreme concern to me is the role that the Commonwealth Public Service Board has played in this matter. Despite the decision that Cabinet brought down on 20th December that public servants would be entitled to an extra week’s annual leave under certain conditions the Commonwealth Public Service Board issued a circular on 13th February 1973 titled ‘Quantum of Annual Leave - Determinations 23-29 1973’. So that I will have the record right for future research and for wide distribution I will read the relevant paragraph of a letter headed Quantum of Annual Leave - Determinations 23-29/1973’. The letter states:
In particular, I refer to Point 10, part (b) and (c) on page 3 which read as follows:
that the officer or employee is a member of the organisation which is the claimants) to the relevant determination, and
that the officer or employee was a member of that organisation (i) on the date of accrual of the leave, 1st January 1973 in the case of permanent officers and the individual date of annual accrual (on or after 1st January 1973) in the case of employees, and so on, or (ii) in respect of pro rata leave payments on the date of termination of employment.
Honourable senators on this side of the chamber are concerned at that decision - I feel that honourable senators opposite should express some concern about it - because the effect of the Public Service Board’s decision would have been to exclude from the extra week’s annual leave benefit union members who joined their union after 1st January 1973. This exclusion was not the Government’s intention or the Cabinet’s intention when it circularised the minute. I understand that when the determination was made Mr Harold Souter of the ACTU, Mr Williams of ACSPA and Mr Munro of the CCPSO contacted the Minister and expressed concern about the Public Service Board’s decision. At that time the organisations indicated that they would seek legal opinion on the decision.
Unfortunately, as has been stated, it will not be necessary to seek legal opinion on the determination, but it will be hand)’ for future reference.
It is true that the Board and representatives of the unions bad discussions and agreed to certain variations of the Cabinet minute, but those variations had no relationship to the extra week’s annual leave. They were in relation to the mechanics regarding the application of the extra week’s annual leave. At page 113 of Hansard of 1st March 1973 Senator Greenwood is reported as having said:
So the new dispensation is not available to those who wished to join a union after 1st January,. I would like to know from members of the Labor Party how they can justify a provision whereby people .who were members of a union before 1st January can get 4 weeks annual leave but persons who joined after 1st January will not be entitled to 4 weeks annual leave.
He asked how the Labor Party could justify this provision. I interjected:
That is not right.
Senator Greenwood said:
You check the record and ask your master in the other place. I assure you that he will tell you that that is what the determination of the Public Service Board has been, notwithstanding that it has brought forth very strong protests from Mr Clyde Cameron.
The latter part of that statement is quite right, but I take the whole statement as a challenge by Senator Greenwood to the Labor Party to deny that it is advocating this proposition. At the time of that statement by Senator Greenwood the original decision, as far as the Labor Party was concerned, had to stand. The resolve of the Australian Labor Party was that ali employees would be assumed to have been members of the appropriate union at all times unless the Board were otherwise advised by the union. I understand that many points regarding principles still have to be worked out. When Senator Greenwood spoke in support of his motion the ALP intended to stand steadfastly by its resolve that all employees would be assumed to be members of recognised organisations until those organisations had advised it otherwise. It was said that this stand was blackmail to get funds for the ALP. For the edification of honourable senators opposite, the 2 unions whose membership increased as a result of the Cabinet decision are not affiliated with the ALP. I feel that Senator Greenwood was unjust and unfair in not admitting that. He tried to swing the facts around and say that the trade unions concerned, through their affiliation fees, would be giving finance to the ALP.
– Which 2 unions?
– The Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations and the Commonwealth Council of Public Service Organisations. They we’re the 2 unions whose membership increased considerably. Neither of them is affiliated with the ALP. The union which Senator McManus should be supporting and which did very well out of the exercise is the Federated Clerks Union. 1 am confounded and bewildered by his stand. He has been a champion of that union for a long time. He has not acted loyally to that union.
– If the honourable senator was taking the correct stance in this matter he would be supporting the stand that the Federated Clerks Union took. Before I conclude I make brief reference to the nonsense and the rot that went on about compulsion and blackmail. Senator Carrick said that the circumstances surrounding the grant of the extra week’s annual leave amounted to a preference for unionists, that it was the same as compulsory unionism and that it was a back door method. The Government’s proposal for entitlement to the extra week’s annual leave is no different from the circumstances regarding employment which have been in existence in Queensland for many years. Earlier this evening Senator Milliner read from various documents and very capably gave evidence of the position in Queensland. I know the position. I was a clerk in the chief auditor’s office in the Railway Department. Employees had to show their union tickets before they could receive their pay. I am happy to say that I was a voluntary unionist. I was a member of the Australian Railways Union. I am still a member of that union - an honour which I share with Senator Bishop and Senator Mulvihill who are still members of that union.
– Does the honourable senator still have his ticket?
– Of course I have. I showed it to Senator Little earlier. If he does not remember, he must have been dozing.
– Will the honourable senator show it to me again?
– I will show it to the honourable senator later. 1 was a volunteer member. The point I make this evening is that there was a compulsory show of union tickets. Employees could not get their pay until they showed their tickets. Senator Milliner quoted from letters which were written as recently as February 1973. The letters were from the Queensland State Public Service Board, which is controlled by a Country Party-Liberal Government, to intending employees. They stated that if the intending employee did not join a union within one month his employment would be terminated. If honourable senators opposite think that Queensland is too far away, let us come closer to home; let us come to the Australian Capital Territory. I read in Hansard that the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron) and the Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Mr Souter, appeared before the Public Service Arbitrator in 1947. They were advocating benefits for employees of the Commonwealth Railways. In his determination the Arbitrator said that the benefits being paid to employees of the Commonwealth Railways for public holidays, and other benefits, would not be granted unless those employees were members of a union. What is happening in 1973 is only a matter of history repeating what happened in 1947.
As I said at the commencement of my speech, a lot of the thrust has gone out of the debate due to the indication that has been given by the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Bishop). Nevertheless the humbug and cant of the Opposition and just how hypocritical it is in this matter will be recorded in Hansard because all that is being introduced in 1973 is something that has existed in the Commonwealth Railways division of the Commonwealth Public Service since 1947. It has long been recognised in Queensland because it is on the statute book.
The conclusion I have drawn from the arguments of honourable senators opposite is that they have set out on a course of obstruction. They know that this Government is in great favour with the electors. In 100 days this Government has achieved more than all the other governments in the last 23 years put together have achieved. AH honourable senators opposite are trying to do is obstruct. But before they continue with that policy I remind them of the elementary things in politics. This Government was elected on 2nd
December - quite recently - with a very sizeable mandate from the electors to carry out certain policies. The last time an election was held for the Senate was 3 years ago, so the mandate given to honourable senators opposite is becoming old and rusty. I say to honourable senators opposite: ‘Watch out! If you continue on the course you are following, when you face the electors at (he next Senate election and give an account of your stewardship, as commonsense thinking people they will do the same thing on that occasion as they did on 2nd December.’
– I am sure that a lot of those who are listening to this confused debate will be wondering by now what it is all about. Let me explain. The Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) in his policy speech before the election promised that he would give 4 weeks annual leave to every public servant instead of the present 3 weeks. Instead of taking action by legislation the Government brought in a regulation in the hope that the new regulation would say that only those who were members of trade unions would receive the extra leave. Now the Opposition, of which we are a section, has said that if the Prime Minister made a promise be should keep it. The remarkable situation which has been arrived at is that the Opposition is trying to get the Government to carry out the promise made by its leader in order to win the election and the Australian Labor Party Government is fiercely resisting the efforts of the Opposition to carry out the Prime Minister’s promise. As a result of the resistance of the Opposition the Government has caved in. It realises that its proposal that only trade unionists receive the extra leave will not get through. It has said that when the proposal is defeated, as it will be in a few minutes, a Bill will be introduced, by which every public servant will receive 4 weeks leave. That is all that the Opposition wants. We have been attacked with a tirade of abuse. We have been accused of being antiunionists and of hating the trade unions.
I am a member of 2 trade unions. I have been told by a member of the Australian Labor Party that I ought not belong to a trade union. He says that members of Parliament are not eligible. But I say this: I was a teacher and when I ceased to be a teacher the union asked me to remain a member. Then I looked at the situation. I asked myself what was the trade union nearest to the calling which I would follow as a member of Parliament. I decided on the Federated Clerks Union. I am a financial member of both trade unions. My colleague in the Australian Democratic Labor Party, Senator Little, was an official of the Australian Boot Trade Employees Federation. When he left his calling he determined that he would remain financial. He still is. But like myself he asked what trade union was nearest to the calling which he would be undertaking as a member of Parliament. He joined the Federated Clerks Union. Many members of the Australian Labor Party are in the Federated Clerks Union for the same reason as we joined it. We are not anti trade union. We believe in trade unionism. How can a man pay money every year to belong to 2 trade unions if he hates them?
– Does the honourable senator believe in the policy of his union?
– Senator Poyser asks whether I believe in the policy of my trade union. In Victoria one of the trade unions to which I belong - the Federated Clerks Union - is affiliated with the Democratic Labor Party. Does Senator Poyser agree with that policy? He does not. That is a different proposition. But the bottom has dropped out of this debate because the Government is going to do what it should have done in the first place and that is legislate for 4 weeks annual leave. We in the Opposition will vote for that. Everybody in the Public Service is going to receive 4 weeks leave. But in the course of this debate there has been a lot of discussion about compulsory unionism. A number of speakers, and Senator Cavanagh in particular, made the point that they were opposed to compulsory unionism. But I think Senator Cavanagh should have qualified bis remark and explained what he meant by opposition to compulsory unionism. This situation was fought out in the trade union movement about 20 years ago. Senator Cavanagh would remember that. There was a powerful move in the trade unions to introduce compulsory unionism in States where Labor was in power. Originally a number of unions - right and left wing - supported it. But all of a sudden they went cold on the proposal.
The right wing unions went cold because it was pointed out to them by the legislators that if compulsory trade unionism was introduced a Bill of Rights would have to be introduced for the individual trade unionists who were forced to join a union. The unions did not want that because some people pointed out that a section would have to be included in the Bill of Rights stating that a unionist should not be forced to contribute to a political party in which he did not believe. That would have harmed the Labor Party because it obtains affiliation fees from unions. So the Australian Labor Party and many of the right wing unions decided to oppose compulsory unionism by law. The other reason that was put forward - Senator Cavanagh would know this - was that a number of left wing unions said that if compulsory unionism was brought in and people were forced to join unions they would probably be the conservative type and they would vote against the left wing leadership of the union. So those unions did not want to have as members potential opponents to their leadership. The result was that people like Senator Cavanagh and others decided to oppose compulsory unionism by law. But of course they are in favour of compulsory unionism by industrial action. Senator Cavanagh, and I challenge him to deny-
– That is right.
– The Minister says that that is right. He admits that it is right. He believes that they should have the power to force a man to join a union by industrial action and yet he says that he is opposed to compulsory unionism. The honourable senator’s attitude reminds me of a long talk I had years ago with the late Joe Bukowski. We talked to him on this matter of compulsory unionism. I asked him his feeling about it. He said: ‘I do not believe in compulsory unionism’. I said: ‘How do you get on with the rural workers?’ He said: ‘They all join the union because they know that if they do not we will throw them in the river but there is no compulsion to join the union.’ That is exactly the view of these noble hearted people on the Labor side who have thumped their breasts and said that they are against compulsory unionism. They are against compulsory unionism by law because a Bill of Rights to protect the individual unionist would be necessary. But if they have the industrial power to order people into trade unions they are in favour of it. Another matter which I think should be raised is this argument which says that if only some people pay money into trade unions to fight their case and everybody benefits from what the unions do-
– The free riders.
– The free riders, as Senator Mulvihill says. There are free riders, but I am not one of them. I believe in unionism and I belong to 2 unions. One of them wanted to make me a life member so that I would not have to pay membership fees. I said that I would remain a member only if I was not a free loader and that I would continue to pay membership fees. This sort of thing can go further than is realised. If one says that the only persons entitled to benefits gained by a trade union are the union members, then when the Repatriation Bill is debated, because the returned soldier organisations do the battling and the fighting it can be said that only returned soldiers who are members of returned soldier organisations should receive the increased benefits. Is that Labor policy?
– No, and you know it is not.
– Well, what is the difference between that and the union policy. The same argument applies to the pensioners. The pensioners have, some very fine organisations which work hard to get improvements for them, just as the unions do to get improvements for unionists. When the Bill dealing with pensions comes before the Senate I will be looking forward to a Labor supporter moving that the increases in pensions shall go only to pensioners who are members of pensioner organisations. What of the noble hearted women who work in mothers clubs and parents and citizens organisations? These noble hearted women do a wonderful job in working and organising to get improvements for the children. Will the Labor Party, when it appropriates money for the children, move that the only children to receive any of the benefits are those whose parents are in the mothers clubs and the parents and citizens organisations? I think the silence of Labor Party senators indicates that they realise how foolish this is and how far this thing can go.
Let me. take another case. Let me get back to the trade union question. If it is right that only the people who belong to the union should receive increased annual leave, it is right that only the people who belong to the union should receive higher wages if the union achieves them. Is that the attitude of the Labor Party? All kinds of industrial conditions apply to workers, if we are to say that only those in the unions should receive condi tions achieved by the unions, we will have 2 groups of people in the industrial field. In every factory and in every section of the Public Service, although people are doing the same job some will be getting 4 weeks annual leave and some 3 weeks annual leave; some will be getting certain salaries and others much lower salaries. Is the trade union movement working for a system in which there will be 2 groups of people in industry, some with different conditions from those of the others? Government senators themselves know that this would be a chaotic situation.
As I have said, the bottom has dropped out of the debate. We will all vote for 4 weeks annual leave being granted to all public servants. Why worry? I believe that Mr Whitlam and his Cabinet acted very sensibly indeed-
– Ultimately, when they realised that their proposal to confine the extra week’s leave to trade union members would not be allowed to be implemented. If the Government stood firm, the DLP offered to bring in a Bill of its own to give all public servants 4 weeks leave. I think the Government was sensible in accepting the view of the majority of the Senate. It has now decided that it will bring in a Bill. So it is no longer necessary for the DLP to bring in the Bill that it promised. Senator Cavanagh made the point that the unions mainly concerned here were unions affiliated with the Australian Democratic Labor Party.
– That is what Jack Maynes told me.
– I do not think he told the honourable senator that, because he is usually a very careful gentleman in what he says.
– He submitted a report to the Minister for Labour.
– Well , I would be very interested to know what are the unions affiliated with the Democratic Labor Party. I know all the unions that are associated with our Party, and only one is interested in these determinations, and that is the Federated Clerks Union. I think Senator Cavanagh should be more precise. He is suggesting that the Federated Clerks Union-
– I can give you the documentation with his signature on it.
– If Senator Cavanagh will refrain from interrupting I will explain where he went wrong. The Federated Clerks Union is a federal union with branches in the 6 Australian States. In only one State is the Federated Clerks Union affiliated with the DLP.
– He is the one who made the submission.
– Jack Maynes is the federal president; he is not a State official at all. He made a representation on behalf of the federal body.
– That State is Victoria.
– Senator Poyser knows, because he knows the union scene, that the majority of the branches of the Federated Clerks Union in Australia are affiliated with the Australian Labor Party. So Government senators are accusing us in regard to a union of which only one State branch is affiliated with the DLP and all the other babies are on their doorstep. They are all affiliated with the ALP, except that in Queensland.
– What are you talking about?
– Let me make it clear. I am surprised that ali those persons with a knowledge of union affairs do not know the facts in regard to their unions.
– The federal secretary is a member of our Caucus.
– Senator Mulvihill knows the truth. In New South Wales the Federated Clerks Union is affiliated with the Australian Labor Party. As far as I know, in Queensland it is not affiliated with either party. In Tasmania it is affiliated with the Australian Labor Party. In South Australia it would be affiliated with the Australian Labor Party.
– It is not.
– Senator Cavanagh tells me that it is not affiliated with the Australian Labor Party in South Australia. At any rate, in New South Wales and Tasmania the Federated Clerks Union is affiliated with the Australian Labor Party and in Victoria alone is it affiliated with the DLP. So Senator Cavanagh was wrong when he said that unions affiliated with the DLP made representations, because only one union did. One union is not ‘unions’. The second point on which he is wrong is when he says that the unions are affiliated with the DLP, because the union involved is affiliated with the DLP in one State and with the Australian Labor Party in 2 States, and in 3 States it is not affiliated with the ALP or the DLP.
I conclude by saying that I think the Government has done the right thing. Perhaps we could say that it accepted the inevitable, but it has done the right thing. We intended to bring in a Bill if the Government would not. Now it has said: ‘You do not need to; we will bring one in. We will all vote for it. Everybody will get 4 weeks annual leave and the public servants, at any rate, will be happy*.
– With my long experience in the trade union movement in Victoria, 1 have been amazed to hear the type of speech that has come from Senator McManus this evening and from Senator Little earlier in this debate when they protected the free riders in the trade union movement. The unions of which they proudly boast they are members do not have such a policy. The Australian Boot Trade Employees Federation adopts a closed shop principle in relation to the boot factories. It goes further than that. The employer takes the money out of the wage packet of the employee every week.
– That is not right. You may find that in an occasional country factory, but it is not a fact.
– I can prove what I am saying. It does happen. The employer sends a cheque to the office of the honourable senator’s union once a month or once a quarter, whatever the case may be. It has a closed shop policy in relation to trade unionism.
– Too right.
– The honourable senator is saying that that is right. Of course it is right. Then he rises to debate the question in the Parliament saying: ‘We are the people who give freedom to everybody and let them have all the benefits, whether or not they are unionists’. But he does not practise that in the union to which he belongs and with which he claims to have a great affiliation. He has ratted on the trade union movement in the speech he made in the Senate. Senator McManus talked about the Federated Clerks Union. He said: ‘No, it is not affiliated with the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party. It is affiliated in 2 other States, but my
State is pure. We do not stand for those standover tactics of compulsion and coercion in trade union views. We believe that people should be completely free to join or not join the union and should get all the benefits’. The facts are that the honourable senator’s union in Victoria has supported coercion. In fact, 1 have led a strike on behalf of his union in this regard. It happened in the case of the International Harvester Company of Australia in the city of Geelong. We were requested to take action by the Federated Clerks Union, which is affiliated to the Geelong Trades Hall Council and of which Senator McManus is a member. (Quorum formed) Before the quorum was called I was referring to the union to which Senator McManus so proudly boasts he belongs in Victoria, this union that he says would never coerce workers and would uphold the right of freebooters to get all the benefits that the union could obtain for them. I remember a strike that I led on behalf of the members of the Federated Clerks Union in Geelong. We literally forced, and quite rightly forced, every person who was a clerk in the factory concerned to join the union. The strike had a rather interesting history because the then secretary of that union, Mr Saker, applied to the disputes committee of Trades Hall Council at Geelong to declare a dispute with the International Harvester Company because it would not assist the union in obtaining union membership, lt wanted 100 per cent union membership in that factory. Of course, I agreed. As a trade unionist I should agree and did agree. So a dispute took place, initially in the form of discussions conducted with the management around a table. The international Harvester Company was advised wrongly on this matter, lt was advised by a person I could name, but will not, who said: ‘There is no problem with this dispute because Saker and Poyser could not sit round the same table for 5 minutes. You have no problems with this because we are politically opposed to each other.’ It was a case of the DLP versus what I shall term to be and still am proud to be a left wing Labor man. This was the situation. The advice given to the company on that occasion was that this dispute was nothing to worry about. So much was it nothing to worry about that all the militant unions in Victoria, including the Australian Railways Union, led by Mr Brown, the Sheet Metal Working, Agricultural Implement and Stove Making Industrial Union of Australia led by Mr McNolty, and the Amalgamated Engineering Union led at that time by Mr Car michael came in behind the Federated Clerks Union to enforce compulsory unionism in the International Harvester Company factory. This is the union that does not do these things in Victoria, according to DLP senators. It might do them in New South Wales, they say, because that branch is affiliated with the ALP. But we would not do it in Victoria, they say, because there it is affiliated with the DLP. This is the purest organisation. It does not really believe in trade unionism, or in enforcing it. We let everyone have all the facilities that the silly fools who join our union are prepared to pay for. This is basically what they have said. Of course, the history of the dispute is that we stopped that factory. It took solid trade unionism on an industrial basis to force the company into accepting the principle of 100 per cent trade unionism. These honourable senators are standing up in the Senate tonight protecting the freebooters and saying that these freebooters are entitled to all the benefits. They are doing it by political blackmail, and they know it. They think that they can get some political milage out of it on the hustings. In fact, the union of which the honourable senators so proudly boast abhor this policy. They will not have a bar of it. But honourable senators of the DLP rise in the Senate chamber and support it. They support the conservatives. They claim to be a Labor Party - the Australian Democratic Labor Party. But they do not have one principle of Labor left in them. Tt is a complete misnomer. These honourable senators have tried to live on the backs of the true trade union movement ever since they split from the Australian Labor Party. The Democratic Labor Party has got to the stage where, in the final analysis, it has only one trade union affiliated with it - the one they boast of tonight as the union of which they are members. They have double union membership. It is very commendable to have double union membership. But they are very proud that the Victorian branch of that union, they say, would not have a bar of this kind of coercion. They said: ‘We believe in the freebooters. Let them all have the benefits. Let all the people who are not prepared to pay for them, have the benefits too. This is the great principle we stand by.’ If this principle were followed right through there would not be a union office, let alone a trade union movement, in their area. They are not militant enough. They are not active enough to fight for the principles they say they believe in. We saw Senator Hannan proudly wave his union ticket. I am sorry that he is not at present in the Senate chamber. He said: ‘I am a unionist. I am a member of a union’. He is a member of Actors’ and Announcers’ Equity. Well, he should be a member of Actors’ Equity. Do honourable senators know the reason why he is a member of Actors’ Equity? He used to sit wearing a wig in a program called, ‘Consider Your Verdict’ which was recorded some 10 years ago. The important thing to remember is that he could not get that job without the union ticket. He had no hope of working in that area without a union ticket. So he paid up so that he could work as an actor as well as work as a lawyer and a senator. He wanted the lot. He wanted 3 jobs at the one time. So he purchased this union ticket of which he is so proud. He knew that he could not get the job without it. This area is a closed shop. No-one can work in that industry without a ticket. Senator Little, who is interjecting, should join Actors’ Equity too. The only qualification I would make about his membership is that he would have to be gagged because he uses everybody else’s lines as well as his own. He cannot stop yapping. In the next life, if what scientologists say is true, he will come back as a poodle and will be able to yap to his heart’s content. The simple fact is that the Democratic Labor Party is completely dishonest. I do not mind the Conservatives doing what they are doing; they never wanted the workers to get 4 weeks annual leave or a 35-hour working week. I urge honourable senators to go back into history and look at the situation. I recommend that they read the debates of the House of Commons of just over 100 years ago.
– We are not as old as you, George.
– You are still young enough to be able to read, I think. I have read the debates of the House of Commons of 1842. At that time the Conservatives in the House of Commons were debating a Bill. That Bill-
– Who was debating it?
– Listen and you will learn. The Bill proposed taking children between the ages of 6 and 12 out of the mines, and the Conservatives there at that time were saying, ‘Look- ‘.
– You have got some of your facts wrong.
– You should read the debates of 1842. They were debating this question and the Conservatives said ‘This is a very fine principle but the economy of Britain will collapse if we take these children out of the mines.’ They used to harness the children to little carts and they cut the holes so that they were just big enough for children aged 6 and 8 years to pull those carts through. Ever since that time every progressive move of the trade union movement has been opposed by the Conservatives. They opposed the 48-hour week. I worked a 48-hour week in an industry which granted no annual leave. Every Christmas we were laid off for 10 days of which we were paid for only 3. I was a young man and unmarried at the time. A notice would be put on the wall of the factory on which persons could volunteer to clean out the ovens. It was one of the worst jobs one could ever get, but every married man in that factory put bis name down for it. Men they called the stick orderlies were selected for the job because they could not afford to take their annual leave - and the rest of the men starved over the Christmas period. Then we gained a week’s annual leave, then a fortnight - and still the Conservatives opposed it. Then we were granted 3 weeks - and there was still more opposition. Now the Democratic Labor Party has jointed the Conservatives by saying ‘We will make it as difficult as possible for public servants to get 4 weeks annual leave’. They are here to make political propaganda They have posed in this Parliament as the saviours of freedom, the freedom of people. We never saw them line up on our side when we talked of the freedom of the young boys who did not have a vote being sent to Vietnam to die in an undeclared war. We were never officially at war. but members of the DLP stood up and were counted on the side of those who were sending boys to die for a cause most of them did not believe in. That is the kind of freedom they believe in when they adopt this right-wing attitude in relation to the saving of a nation. But now they say ‘Look, we are the purists; freedom is there for everybody to get these conditions whether they pay for them or not’. They are complete political frauds in relation to this area because they are not carrying out the policies that they believe in if they have any association with the word ‘Labor’. They are not carrying out the policies of the organisations they belong to. Senator Byrne said proudly that he has been a member of an organisation for 40 years.
– Forty-four years.
– Senator Byrne is a member of one of the organisations which Senator Milliner talked about last night which has no freedom at all. It is absolutely mandatory for a person to join that organisation before he can get a job. 1 venture to say that that is why Senator Byrne initially became a member of it, simply because of the mandatory clause affecting it. Senator Milliner read the details chapter and verse. Senator Byrne could not have worked within that profession unless he became a member of that organisation. Probably that is the only reason he became a financial member and probably that is the only reason he still holds a ticket.
This whole debate has been a Fraud because of the standover tactics of a minority group who believe they can make political capital out of this proposal. We on the Government side expected that from Senator Greenwood and those who sit behind him because they have always opposed the workers. Democratic Labor Party senators pretend to support the workers and even take money from them for affiliations - yet in this debate they rat on those very organisations from which they take money. Of course we will give the 4 weeks annual leave. Without going too far into detail, when one examines what Opposition senators were going to do, one sees they would have left a tremendous number of people without anything - and they probably knew it. So far as I am concerned it is complete political hypocrisy for the DLP to take this holier than thou attitude because they are no more interested in the workers than the Conservatives are. They want to make political capital of it whereas if they were decent about it they would resign from the Federated Clerks Union forthwith.
– An air of absolute anti-climax now prevails over this debate. The objective which Senator Greenwood sought to achieve has been attained and it is quite surprising to me that this debate has continued so long when both Senator Bishop and Senator Cavanagh have so clearly indicated that the Government accepts the proposal set out in the motion. If this is to be the way in which the Government intends to spend its time during this session then I can see a build-up of business which in the end will lead again to a situation similar to that which gave rise to such deep criticism of previous governments. A great deal of extraneous material has been introduced into this debate, yet the issue is simple and precise. Senator Greenwood has moved for the disapproval by this Senate of certain determinations made under the Public Service Arbitration Act 1920-1972 by which 4 weeks annual leave was to be granted only to members of recognised unions and organisations and not to all unionists. When giving notice of the motion Senator Greenwood made it very clear that the objection of the Opposition was in respect to the limitation. The issue whether there should be 3 or 4 weeks annual leave is quite distinct from the one now before the House; the effects on the economy and so on are not being debated. It is purely a question of discrimination between certain workers, be they unionists or nonunionists, that has led to the motion which we have been discussing for so long.
Historically speaking, in his policy speech the present Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) said that all Commonwealth employees would receive 4 weeks annual leave. No strings were attached to the promise at that stage. It was only after the election, on 6th December, that Mr Clyde Cameron, who is now the Minister for Labour, confirmed that 4 weeks annual leave would be granted to public servants but added that it would apply only to those public servants who were members of given organisations or unions. Then on 20th December Mr Whitlam announced that the limitation would apply. This is, in my opinion, a preposterous situation. It is compulsory unionism by stealth and economic blackmail.
I was quite amazed to hear Senator Cavanagh, who must have had his tongue well in cheek, in one instance say T do not believe in compulsory unionism’, and then in the next say ‘But I do not believe that a person who is not a member of a union should enjoy the benefits in certain awards’. Senator Cavanagh on the one hand refers to voluntary unionism, but on the other hand he makes it confoundedly difficult for an individual to do other than follow his dictates if that individual is to be eligible for benefits. In my opinion, the use of public relations and discussions with employees in given industries is the avenue for increasing union membership - not some stringent personal economic imposition which in itself is a compulsion in that direction. I completely support the motion moved by Senator Greenwood, and I am pleased that the Government has seen the error of its ways in this matter.
– We have not. We had no alternative.
– Well, the Government has agreed to accept the proposal that 4 weeks leave be given across the board.
– Your compulsion brought it about.
– 1 suggest that it was the common sense of the Opposition and of those honourable senators sitting on this side of the chamber who oppose the Government. I support the motion.
– During the course of this debate, which is now into its third day, most honourable senators opposite have referred to the policy speech of the present Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam). Even Senator Laucke referred to it. Most of them have quoted from the speech and have held up a copy of it so that honourable senators can look at it. There are more than 70 “heads of policy in the policy speech which the Prime Minister, on 13th November 1972, delivered on television in 30 minutes. Surely honourable senators opposite would not expect a policy speech dealing with industrial relations to spell everything out explicitly and in minute detail. If one looks at our platform one sees that there are more than 6 pages dealing with industrial relations. Surely every honourable senator opposite must realise the impossibility and the impracticability of including everything in detail in a policy speech.
Reference has been made to the fact that the policy speech stated that all Commonwealth employees would receive 4 weeks annual leave. That was stated in a sentence. There were exactly 9 words dealing with Commonwealth employees’ entitlement to 4 weeks annual leave. If one looks at our platform one sees reference to preference to unionists. This has been a policy in the platform of the Australian Labor Party for many years. As a matter of fact, there have been only a few years since the Party was formed when we have had a policy other than preference to unionists. I claim that the Australian
Labor Party received its massive vote on 2nd December because people knew our policies regarding 4 weeks annual leave and preference to unionists. It is a matter of taking the 2 together - the reference to preference to unionists in our platform and the reference to 4 weeks annual leave in the policy speech of the Prime Minister. Anvone could reach the conclusion that preference would be applied in respect of the granting of 4 weeks annual leave; that it would be given only to those who were members of the appropriate unions.
– Why are you going back on it? Why are you not carrying it out?
– We are not going back on it at all. It is simply that honourable senators opposite do not follow and cannot accept what was accepted overwhelmingly by the majority of the Australian people, when the Labor Party received more votes than the combined vote of all the other political parties in Australia. Previous speakers today have referred to the question of preference to unionists and to the provision in the determinations that employees will not receive the benefits unless they are members of the appropriate unions. Under a Commonwealth Railways determination since 1947 an employee has sacrificed or lost his annual leave, sick leave and public holidays if he has not been a member of the appropriate union. That has been in the determination for 26 years, and at no stage during the term of office of the previous Government was any attempt made to remove or to disallow the determination that prescribes that entitlement.
Senator Sim stated tonight that the Senate had not been told of the Government’s intention. Surely he must have known the Government’s intention because 2 Ministers - the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Murphy) and the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Bishop) - stated during question time that the Government would introduce a Bill giving effect to the granting of 4 weeks annual leave. Of course, it means that employees will receive 4 weeks annual leave whether they joined the appropriate union before or after 1st January.
– That is why we are wondering why we are wasting all this time talking about it.
– I did not interject while Senator Little was speaking. I have sat in this chamber during most of the debate-
– You had some mates who did, though. Be fair.
– I am not going to be blamed for what my mates did. 1 have listened very attentively to honourable senators and I find that their arguments in support of the motion are very weak. In fact, the Opposition has accepted a double standard. It is surprising that now, after the election, we see the Opposition and the Australian Democratic Labor Party supporting the concept of 4 weeks annual leave. Prior to the election not one of the political parties opposite mentioned that it would support or introduce any proposal to increase annual leave. But we do know that, on the last occasion on which the annual leave case was before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, the then Government - now the Opposition - opposed all the claims that were submitted by the Australian Council of Trade Unions. I wish to read an extract from the reasons for the decision given by the Arbitration Commission in the annual leave case of 1971. The decision was handed down on 7th December 1971. I have no doubt that had the Government in office in 1971 acted in accordance with the promises made by the present Government to support the application for an extra week’s annual leave we would not be debating this issue here tonight. The Commission in handing down its decision said:
The Commonwealth Government, appearing in its statutory role as intervener in the public interest, expressed in positive terms its opposition to all the claims. Having reviewed the economy, it said: ‘In these circumstances the Commonwealth is impelled in the broad national interest, to flatly oppose each of the claims before the Commission.’ The Commonwealth referred to ‘the severe cost pressures which are already besetting the economy’ and said ‘our submissions will clearly indicate that there is no capacity available to support any of the claims’. It pointed out that the fruits of the economy’s growth may be distributed in either income or leisure and in fact in this case there are claims for increases in both income and leisure. It suggested that there was no significant evidence of community preferences towards increased leisure at the expense of the material standard of living. Its main theme however was one of inflation. It contended that increases in labour costs (which of course include the cost of extra leave) would lead to further price inflation and also submitted that the granting of an additional week’s leave would increase unit labour costs. On different bases it calculated a number of increases some of which are set out in the table below. Al! these estimates, it submitted, must be considered in the context that wages and salaries have risen far ahead of productivity gains and that these rises are accelerating in a time of low produc tivity growth. It was also submitted that ‘in the present economic context, the granting of either the claims for increased leave or the claims for leave loading would run completely counter fo the Budget strategy and, indeed, to the whole thrust and direction of the Government’s overall economic policies’. These submissions were backed by a detailed analysis of certain aspects of the economic situation.
They are the reasons given by the Commission for its refusal to grant an extra week’s annual leave in 1971 when the Commonwealth Government intervened on the side of the employers. I want briefly to reiterate a point raised by Senator Brown and referred to by other honourable senators on this side of the chamber. I believe that there is a very close similarity between the trade union movement and its rules, regulations and registration and the National Health Act and its rules, regulations and registration.
– You are flogging a dead horse.
-It is up to honourable senators to make up their own minds on that point. In order to obtain the benefits payable under the National Health Act it is necessary to be a member of a hospital or medical benefits fund. That fund must have rules which are registered and accepted by the Government. Similarly, a trade union movement has to have rules that are acceptable to the Commonwealth Industrial Registrar by complying with the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act. A person who is not a member of a trade union and is working in an industry covered by a union in my opinion is not entitled to the benefits that that union gains for its members. Similarly, people who are not members of a hospital or medical benefits fund when hospitalised cannot expect to have their expenses reimbursed by a fund.
The effects of the National Health Act have been far more severe than the Government intended because it is necessary to be a member of a fund for a probationary period before receiving any benefits. Under the Government’s proposals for 4 weeks annual leave, public servants who joined an appropriate union are to be entitled to an extra week’s annual leave. Honourable senators opposite have sought to emphasise that duress and blackmail have been used to force conscientious objectors into a union. That is a lot of rot. It is a hypocritical statement. Probably not many honourable senators opposite have any knowledge or experience of the trade union movement.
I was a trade union official for 19 years. During my experience as a trade union organiser I visited hundreds of jobs and called on thousands of members. During that period I met only 2 persons who claimed to be conscientious objectors. They were members of the Seventh Day Adventist religion. To my knowledge that is the only religious organisation which refers to ks members joining a trade union. Whether they join a union is left to their own consciences. During the whole time that I was a union official they were the only 2 people I met who were genuine conscientious objectors.
– What did you do with them? How did you treat them?
– I will explain after we adjourn tonight.
– I would like to know what you do with Seventh Day Adventists.
– I will deal with it when we come to a certain Bill. It will “then be more appropriate to do so. Under many Federal awards the benefits are paid only to members of a particular union. I refer, for example, to the Federal Pastoral Industry Award and the Dried Fruits Industry Award. Workers who do not belong to the Australian Workers Union do not get the benefits of those awards in respect of annual leave, sick leave, long service leave, public holidays, rates of pay, overtime or penalty rates.
– But what about-
– Honourable senators opposite are talking nonsense when they say that they do not accept the principle that it is necessary to belong to a union to be entitled to benefits.
– But the unions did not do anything special to get this one. The people who voted for Labor should get the credit.
– Order! Senator Little, J beg you not to interrupt.
– But for the trade union movement there would be no Labor Party. Senator Little knows that. The trade union movement has elected to this Parliament and other Parliaments of the Commonwealth many union officials who know what their members want. They have played a leading part in giving parliamentary effect to conditions that the trade union movement could not obtain in the industrial sphere. Therefore to say that trade unions had nothing to do with obtaining 4 weeks annual leave is a lot of nonsense. The principle of 4 weeks annua] leave has been the policy of the trade union movement for many years. It was accepted by the Australian Labor Party as part of its industrial relation platform and this is the first occasion on which the Commonwealth Government has attempted to implement that policy
– Hundreds of non-unionists helped to vote Labor into office. Because Labor is in office they get this benefit. It was not unionists only who put Labor into office.
– I thought I answered that point previously. There would be no Labor Party without the trade union movement. The trade union movement is the backbone of the Australian Labor Party whether Senator Little likes it or not.
– You are denying the help you received from people like Mr Myer. He helped to put. Labor into office.
– Order! Senator Little, I have asked you not to interrupt. I direct your attention, so that you will be completely aware of it, to standing order 422 which states: ‘No senator shall interrupt another senator whilst’ he is speaking’.
– I hope I get the same protection.
– Just bear the standing order in mind.
– I believe that there is an undeniable obligation on all employees who accept the benefits of improved working conditions gained by the unions to become members of their appropriate organisation.
– What did you think of Joe Bukowski?
– I did not think much more of Joe Bukowski than you did. Now that you have mentioned his name, I remind you that he gained his power as secretary of the Queensland branch because of Australian Labor Party legislation in Queensland relating to compulsory unionism.
– We did not have compulsory unionism.
-It was compulsory unionism in Queensland, lt was an offence for an employer to employ anybody who was not a member of his appropriate union. In Queensland during the time that Senator Gair refers to - he was Premier of Queensland at the time - any official of a union could go to an employer, ask for his time book, check the names in that book and then check the membership roll of his organisation. If there happened to be an employee named in that time book who was not a member of the organisation the union official would take proceedings to prosecute the employer and the union could not lose the case. The trade unions prosecuted and won many cases in Queensland against employers because they were employing non-unionists. Senator Gair was Premier when this practice existed and it existed for a long time before he became Premier. That was how the late Joe Bukowski became so powerful in the Australian Workers Union in Queensland. This is a late stage of this debate. Entering it at this late hour of the third day leaves very little to add. I believe that Government’ supporters who have spoken in opposition to the motion moved by Senator Greenwood have proved conclusively that the policy of the Government was very clearly spelt out prior to the election. It also is spelt out very clearly in our policy and rules.
– I rise to support the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) because in his policy speech he said that all Commonwealth employees would receive 4 weeks annual leave. This Senate must accept the responsibility to enable the Government to implement proposals for which the Prime Minister considers he has a mandate. 1 feel sorry for Senator Donald Cameron, who has just resumed his seat, because he has had to swallow the words of his brother, a Minister in another place, who, in a cavalier manner, came in following the policy speech by the Prime Minister and said in a very flamboyant way that only those people in the Commonwealth Public Service who were members of a union would receive the extra week’s leave. Having read this very interesting book depicting the image of the Prime Minister in blue on the front cover - I might say that the colour seems to be the traditional Liberal colour - and noted that he has promised very many things for very many people, I think it is quite incredible for the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron) to suggest that about 40,000 public servants should be disenfranchised from receiving the extra week’s leave. Incidentally J think that the only people to whom the Prime Minister did not promise anything were Mr Myer and the other employers of this country who provide job opportunities for supporters of the Labor Party and who supported its policies by giving it $50,000. I think the actions of the subordinated Minister for Labour in another place could best be described as impertinent
I believe that the Opposition has done quite a lot of good for these people in raising this matter in the Senate. It is obvious to me that the Government recognises the incredible mistake it made of supporting the overtures of the cavalier Minister for Labour in another place when he tried to blackmail people in the Commonwealth Public Service into joining a union. I believe that we have shown the Government up for what it is. The Government has done a complete somersault and has agreed with what the Opposition and the Democratic Labor Party have been putting forward.
– A person needs a yearly ticket issued by the AWU if he wants to do a week’s fruit picking.
– The honourable senator reminds me that the Australian Labor Party has some incredible standards. I have heard criticism from the Government side of the chamber. I must refer to honourable senators opposite as being on the Government side but let us face it, they are not going to be the Government for very much longer. Millions of Australians who believed that stupid slogan It’s Time’ have suddenly woken up to the fact that the present Government of Australia is not what they would like it to be. They are going to change their minds. Honourable senators on the Government side have criticised us for not being familiar with the trade union movement. I once was a member of the Miscellaneous Workers Union and I must say that I have been quite disturbed by the way that it has been carrying on in recent times. It has adopted standover tactics and so on. I believe that the Opposition here can be proud of the fact that, on this question of 4 weeks annual leave, it has brought the Government to its knees. Supporters of the Government are grovelling around and are agreeing with us. They are trying to curry favour and regenerate the favour that they thought they had with these people that they were determined to disenfranchise. Honourable senators on this side of the chamber can be justly proud of what has happened today. L assure the people listening to this debate that we on this side of the chamber will continue to bring the Government to its knees on every possible occasion.
– in reply - This debate has proceeded until there are no other honourable senators in the chamber who desire to speak to the motion before the Chair. I rise therefore to close the debate, ft has been an instructive and, from the Opposition’s viewpoint, successful debate. It has been instructive because it has revealed for the media and the public how the Australian Labor Party is prepared to act when issues of trade unionists and trade union influence are at stake. The fundamental issue which concerned the Opposition in relation to this matter was that an election promise had been stated in general and unqualified terms that all public servants were to have 4 weeks annual leave but when the Government decided to implement that promise it retreated and said that the additional leave would be available only to those who were members of unions. That, in any language other than that of the Australian Labor Party, would be dishonest. When it became apparent that the device which the Labor Party Government was using to give effect to the policy was a device which attracted the disallowance powers of the Senate, I think it was only in accordance with the traditions which the Senate has recognised over the years that it should be prepared to move to disallow that determination.
The fact that the Australian Labor Party has endeavoured to maintain the position which its Government argued for is, I think, instructive because it reveals the standards of that Party. The debate has been a successful one. It has been successful because the Opposition objective of ensuring that all public servants, and not simply those who have been dragooned into membership of a union, will receive the 4 weeks annual leave which was promised is going to be achieved. It has been successful because the Opposition Parties - the Liberal Party of Australia, the Australian Country Party and the Australian Democratic Labor Party, which, I suppose, one can include as one of the Opposition Parties - indicated quite clearly that they would not stand for this double dealing. The Democratic Labor Party indicated that it was prepared to introduce a Bill if the Government was not pre pared to grant this leave to all public servants. The Government today, belatedly, gave an assurance that it would honour the election promise it gave, and it retreated from the position it adopted within a fortnight after it took office that it would limit this benefit to some unionists and not grant it to others.
– Only because the DLP threatened to introduce a private member’s Bill.
- Senator Gair can feel very pleased with what happened as a result of what he said his Party would do. He is entitled to feel pleased. But we of the Opposition feel we took the initiative. We were grateful for his Party’s support. I believe that indicates the responsibility which can be exercised by the majority of the Senate.
May I say that there were 3 main issues which motivated the Opposition’s action. The first was that it was not prepared to sit by idly and do nothing when there had been a blatant repudiation by the Labor Party Government of one of its election promises. Secondly, the Opposition was not prepared to stand by and do nothing when the Government was introducing a provision into the Commonwealth Public Service which was demonstrably unfair and discriminatory and which would run counter to all the traditions upon which the fine Public Service in this country has been built. Thirdly, the Government was seeking to introduce this discriminatory and unfair provision by a back door method. It was seeking to do it by a Public Service Arbitrator’s determination that was subject to all sorts of pressure and influence from the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron), which has not yet been fully revealed but which I hope will be revealed in the course of time, and which ignored the fact that there was in the Public Service Act a provision which could be simply amended to achieve the objective.
We have seen from the actions of the Labour Party Government in the first fortnight of this sitting that it is prepared to repudiate all the fine principles which its supporters espoused when they were in opposition. One need only refer to the actions of a person who, as a lawyer, expressed the Government’s viewpoint fairly clearly. I refer to what Senator James McClelland said yesterday. He supported the Government’s proposition on the basis that it was a Public Service Arbitrator’s determination which had granted this 4 weeks annual leave to unionists; that, as it was an Arbitrator’s determination, it was a lawful and quite proper way of achieving an objective; and that legislation was not needed because the Arbitrator could do it in this way. I accept that the way in which it was done was lawful, even though it may properly be described as backhanded because the Public Service Act contains a provision saying that the leave shall be 3 weeks and if one wishes to extend that to 4 weeks the proper way to do it is to amend that legislation. Senator James McClelland, of course, said that this did not have to be done by legislation. But he and other members of his Party, when they were in opposition, used the argument that if anything can be done by legislation it should be done by legislation. They put that argument time and time again during the past 3 or 4 years. Indeed, I can do no better than refer to what Senator James McClelland said in August 1971 when the Labor Party and other senators combined to disallow an ordinance - to disallow subordinate legislation - to prove my point. He said:
If it can be done by statute it should be done by statute. The rarity of such action is quite beside the point. If the Ordinance deals with a matter of such importance that it should receive the consideration of the Parliament by coming before the Parliament as a statute, that should conclude the matter.
Those are sentiments which the present Opposition is quite prepared to accept as a guide which the Senate has previously used and which it will use on this occasion. I instance that what the Opposition has done in this case has been an exercise in responsibility on the part of the Opposition. We as an Opposition will not be obstructive, although so many persons on the Government side of the chamber have sought to blacken us with that description. We will act responsibly as an Opposition because we recognise that there are certain standards and certain considerations of public interest which should be made paramount. If we see the Australian Labor Party proceeding, as we have had many indications in the past that it will do, to prefer the domestic interests of the Australian Labor Party, to prefer the persona] partisan interests of sections of the trade union movement and make them paramount to the public interest, we shall stand for that public interest and we shall be judged in due course on the way in which we have acted responsibly in the public interest. I think the way in which the Opposition has conducted itself on this occasion is a demonstration of how much the public needs a vigilant opposition to protect it from the excesses and, may I. say, the breaches of promise of the Australian Labor Party Government.
We have heard a number of accusations delivered ad nauseam in this debate by members of the Australian Labor Party. It has been suggested that those Opposition spokesmen who are adopting this course are motivated by an attitude of hate to trade unions and trade unionists. That, may I say, is completely without foundation. If it were parliamentary to do so I would say that this is a lie because I do not believe that the supporters of the Government who express that view believe that I am, or any other member of the Opposition is, motivated by any such hate syndrome. We will oppose actions by the Government which will give preference to trade unionists and give to them benefits which would be denied to others where the nature of the benefits are such that they should be applied to all. We of the Opposition believe in responsible trade unionism. We believe in the democratic control of trade unions by their members and we believe that trade unions should act in the interests of their members in those relationships for which unions were formed and for which their continuance is so important. That view has been stressed time and again by this Party when in government, and it will be stressed when in opposition. Therefore, it is ridiculous and baseless to suggest that the Opposition has acted in an anti-union way.
One argument used by the Government was that what it proposed to do was simply to express a preference to trade unionists. That argument is ridiculous because it ignores the true meaning of the phrase ‘preference to trade unionists’. Preference to trade unionists is a long established union doctrine by which, all things being equal, if there is a job available that job will go to a trade unionist in preference to a person who is not a trade unionist. Preference to a trade unionist means that if a person has to be dismissed and if there is a trade unionist and a non-trade unionist on the job the non-trade unionist will be dismissed. That is and always has been what is meant by preference to trade unionists. It is a ridiculous stretching of words to suggest that a provision which states that persons who are members of unions will get 4 weeks annual leave and that persons who are not members of unions will get only 3 weeks annual leave is in some way preference to trade unionists in the sense in which that term has always been used. It may be said to be a preferring of trade unionists, but the real impact of that type of preferring is, as I think Senator McManus said so colourfully a short while ago, tantamount to saying that anybody who does not join a union will be thrown into the river. The pressures on a person who does not get an extra week’s annual leave, the coercion on him and the effective practical intimidation on him are designed to make him join a union. The Opposition will constantly fight that type of approach and will oppose it as far as it is able to do so.
I am happy that the result of the move which the Opposition has taken to disapprove the Public Service Arbitrator’s determinations, which preferred some people and gave benefit to unionists and not to others, will be agreed to. I am pleased that the Government has recognised the will of the Senate. I congratulate those Labor Party senators who exercised their influence in caucus to secure the desired result - that is, that the Government will now introduce, I trust promptly, legislation which will extend this promised benefit to all persons. I thank the Senate for the way in which it has received the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.44 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Labour, upon notice:
Senator BISHOP - The Minister for Labour has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
– On 1st March Senator Mulvihill asked, without notice, that the Prime Minister’s Department provide an early evaluation of the new British immigration laws as they apply to Australian nationals. I undertook to provide the honourable senator with the information.
The Department of Foreign Affairs which now has the functional responsibility for relations with Britain, has provided the following information:
The revised Immigration Rules which were approved by the House of Commons on 21st February 1973 lay down the practice to be followed in the administration of the Immigration Act 1971. These Rules replace those disapproved by the House of Commons in November 1972.
The principal changes affecting Australians are as follows:
Commonwealth citizens with a grandparent born in the United Kingdom will be able to obtain entry clearances enabling them to stay and work in Britain for as long as they choose. They will not need to obtain work permits.
The initial period of entry for Commonwealth citizens entering Britain under the ‘working holidaymaker’ scheme will be 12 months. They will be able to apply for extensions to their work permits up to the maximum period, which has been changed from 3 to 5 years.
The initial period of entry for Commonwealth citizens visiting Britain will be 6 months and extensions will be freely available.
Prior entry authority is not required but, on arrival in the United Kingdom, a person must produce a valid national passport and furnish the Immigration Officer with such information as may be required to determine his eligibility to enter and on what terms leave to enter may be given. Australian citizens who wish to ascertain in advance whether they are eligible for admission to the United Kingdom are advised to apply to the British High Commission or its offices in the States for the issue of an entry certificate.
Commonwealth citizens in Britain will continue to enjoy civic privileges such as the right to vote, to stand for Parliament and the right to join the public services, both armed and civil. These privileges are still reserved to Commonwealth citizens and are not given to aliens.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 7 March 1973, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1973/19730307_senate_28_s55/>.