28th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Magnus Corntack) look the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
To the Honourable the President and Members of the Senate in Parliament assembled: The humble petition of certain citizens of New South Wales respectfully sheweth:
That Australian citizens place great value on the sanctity of human life and the physical, mental and social welfare of mothers and children.
That we are deeply concerned to preserve throughout Australia the law’s protection of human life from the moment of conception.
The proposals to change the law to allow abortion on demand and the termination of pregnancy for non-medical reasons are unacceptable tothe people of Australia.
Your Petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Honourable House will not extend the laws governing abortion and will uphold the. right to life of the unborn child. And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
Petitions in identical terms were presented by Senator Murphy, Senator Gair, Senator
Douglas McClelland, Senator Kane (17), and Senator Mulvihill.
Senator GAIR (Queensland - Leader of the
Democratic Labor Party) - I give notice that at the next day of sitting I shall move:
That a Select Committee of the Senate be appointed to inquire into and report upon the following matters:
the unwarranted deprivation of liberty, privacy or good reputation; and, if so, what review or amendment of the law or administrative or judicial procedures is necessary or desirable;
The Committee shall observe the following rules for the protection of witnesses:
receive and dispose of requests from such person to subpoena additional witnesses;
– I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move:
That the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1973, as contained in Australian Capital Territory Ordinance No. 8 of 1973, and made under the Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910- 1972, be disallowed.
Senator MURPHY (New South Wales-
Leader of the Government in the Senate) - I inform the Senate that the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Mr Barnard, left Australia on Friday, 4th May, to discuss the Five Power Arrangement with Malaysia and Singapore. He is expected to return to Australia tomorrow evening. During his absence the Minister for Repatriation, Senator Bishop, will act in Mr Barnard’s portfolios.I also inform the Senate that the Minister for Overseas Trade and Minister for Secondary Industry, Dr J. F. Cairns, leaves Australia today to lead a trade mission to China. He is expected to return to Australia on 30th May. During his absence the Minister for Northern Development, Dr Patterson, will act as Minister for Overseas Trade. The Minister for Minerals and Energy, Mr Connor, will act as Minister for Secondary Industry.
– My question, which is in 2 parts, is directed to the Acting Minister for Defence. Firstly, does the Government intend to introduce in this autumn session legislation which will implement the changes it has promised to make - I might add the promises were made as long ago as last November - inthe defence forces retirement benefits scheme? Secondly, when may Australian servicemen. expect to receive pay increases which were announced some time ago amid much publicity?
– Of course the honourable senator knows that the legislation in relation to this matter is very complex. As soon as the Labor Government was elected we convened meetings of the Service specialists in this connection, reviewed what had been proposed and improved upon that. Since that time very important arrangements in relation to drafting have had to be made. Any delay is occasioned only because of this complexity of the matter. So far as the new pay scale is concerned, it is expected that the new pay scale will be paid as from 14th June. There has been no untoward delay in relation to this matter.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. In view of the decision which has been made by the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission to increase the minimum wage and the total wage in the proportions which it has announced, and in view of the inflationary pressures that those increases undoubtedly will generate, what action other than an expression of how unfortunate it is may we expect from the Government to protect the community from the consequences of galloping inflation?
– Order! Under the Standing Orders, no ironical expressions are allowed.
– lt is ironical that such a question could possibly be asked by a member of the previous Government which did very little to arrest the inflation. Perhaps it cun be excused in part because it is quite obvious that there is world wide inflation. There are changes in currency overseas and it is quite clear that, irrespective of what any one country might do, it cannot of itself prevent the consequences of the currency changes and the alterations in other countries. The Australian Government recognises that adjustments which are made to wages by the body set up and recognised by previous governments and this Government - I refer to the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission - to give wage justice to those who are at the bottom end of the economic scale ought not to be decried.
What any government ought to do is to recognise the justice of increases in wages to meet inflation and at the same time take measures to curb the cost of living. The Government will do this by the introduction of prices justification legislation. There is in preparation a trade practices measure with teeth in it, to replace the toothless monster that has failed to operate over the years. Also the productive capacity of the community is being used to the full as a means of reducing inflation. We have less unemployment than we had previously. The Treasurer himself is taking wise and prudent steps in the management of the economy to curb the effects of inflation, and the Government is showing its concern in every way. So much so that the Prime Minister is meeting with the Premiers of the States, I think on Thursday, in order to discuss ways in which the cooperation of the States might be gained in tha endeavour on behalf of the whole community to see that this problem of inflation is resolved in the interests of the Australian people.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Minerals and Energy. Is the Labor Government fully aware of what will be the economic results of its decision to withdraw from the mining industry subsidies and concessions provided by the previous Government to encourage exploration of mineral resources in Australia? Can the Minister inform the Senate what the Government expects will be the result of its action? ls the Labor Government anxious to have all private and speculative money withdrawn from this area of investment? Does it calculate that it is better for it to allow the tax paid by small people in the community to be lost on exploration ventures instead of it being lost by those who are willing and able to stand such risk investment?
– The question is a long and detailed one. It does not directly concern my portfolio. I will have it referred to the appropriate Minister for an answer.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Education. It relates to the Australian Universities Commission’s report which recommends the establishment of a fourth university in Victoria. Has the Victorian Premier or Minister for Education at any time provided detailed information on the structure, courses, etc. and the relationship to teachers’ colleges and colleges of advanced education of the proposed fourth Victorian university? Has the Australian Universities Commission or the Minister been informed of the location of the administrative centre of the multi-campus university proposed by the Victorian Government?
– Last Thursday the Minister for Education tabled a report in the House of Representatives from the Australian Universities Commission and the Australian Commission on Advanced Education based on an inquiry which those Commissions conducted on the location, nature and development of institutions of tertiary education in Sydney, Melbourne and the Albury-Wodonga region. I will be tabling that report on the Minister’s behalf in the Senate at the appropriate time this afternoon. I say in reply to the honourable senator, having been briefed on this matter, by my colleague in another place, that some information was conveyed by the Victorian Government to the Australian Universities Commission through the State Minister for Education since this report to which I have referred was tabled. But 1 understand that the information conveyed by the Victorian Minister to the Australian Universities Commission is not yet final, detailed information. Therefore, neither the Minister nor the Australian Universities Commission has been advised of the location of the administrative centre of the proposed fourth university in Victoria.
– I refer to comments by the Minister for Primary Industry at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development conference in Paris recently where he stated that future price guarantees to the wheat industry would bc strictly limited. Does this mean that returns to Australian wheat growers in future will be determined by world prices and that the Australian wheat industry, irrespective of the effects of rising costs of production over which the industry has no control, will be competing with highly subsidised exporters such as Canada and the United States of America? Also, does he agree that credit sales of Australian wheat, particularly to developing countries, should be regarded as a national responsibility and consequently should be borne by the Australian community rather than by the Australian wheat grower as has been the case in the past?
– I thought that I made the Government’s position quite clear last week when 1 answered questions along similar lines to that asked by Senator Young. I did say in Paris that there would be no openended agreements in respect of future wheat, stabilisation agreements. 1 think 1 indicated to Senator Drake-Brockman who asked a question on this matter last week that this principle is now accepted by the Australian Wheat Growers Federation. The amount of $30m per annum nominated in its submission obviously is one for negotiation between the Federation and the Government. The main point is that the Federation accepts the principle that openended agreements are no longer valid agreements to which the Government ought to commit itself.
Regarding the second part of the honourable senator’s question, I believe that there is great merit and validity in the contention that when wheat sales have to be made to poor countries on long term credit arrangements the burden should not be borne by a particular section of the community. It is true that very often in the past this country has had to enter into agreements with countries which were not in a position to pay on the more favourable terms that we know apply to China where payments are effected in 12 months. I believe that Australia has a responsibility to attempt to finance those supplies of wheat to countries which otherwise, in all probability, would be without the food. I do not think we can opt out of this responsibility. Related to that is the fact that under the present wheat stabilisation scheme the wheat growers in fact are bearing that burden. I acknowledge this and it concerns me. I hope that in the future it will be possible to find a new system or agreement whereby this burden can be spread over the Australian community. I think it is the joint responsibility of all Austraiian citizens. 1 am not talking now, of course, of wheat that is sold purely on a commercial basis, because we know there is normally a lag between the time when quota wheat is delivered to the Wheat Board and the time when sales can be effected. It is a different field when we talk of extending very long term credit to countries which are not in a position to pay because they are poor. I acknowledge the point which the honourable senator makes. I assure him that I have been giving a great deal of thought to this matter over the past few weeks and that before any decision is made on any new wheat stabilisation plan I will be satisfied that thees problems will - I hope - be ironed out. If there is an alternative or if there are solutions to these problems, I want to know what they are.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Health. Has the Department of Health made any progress towards insisting that any chemicals used in colouring, flavouring and preserving foodstuffs are listed on the label by their accepted chemical names and percentages so that people may have some idea of what chemicals they are now unwittingly consuming?
– 1 am unaware of what progress has been made in this matter. The honourable senator, I think, directed a question along these lines to me about a fortnight ago and 1 advised him that the matter, coming within the States, was one for the States under the jurisdiction of the pure foods acts. So far as the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory - areas that are within the ambit of my colleague the Minister for Health in another place - are concerned, I will refer the matter to the Minister for Health to see what information he can provide to the honourable senator.
– My question is directed te the Minister representing the Minister for Overseas Trade. Because China is such a meagre unit in terms of world trade, ranking a little higher than Taiwan - which is, of course, a very much smaller country - on this ground alone can the cost of Dr Cairns’s visit to that country be justified at all; or, so far as accruing more trade for Australia is concerned, can the cost of extra officials covering the inauguration of the new Australian Ambassador to China be justified?
– I have no doubt that it is the intention of Dr Cairns as Minister for Overseas Trade to expand Australia’s trade with every country he possibly can and that his intention in going to eastern countries at present is to expand that trade to the maximum. I have no doubt that the work he does there will justify whatever expense may be incurred. As for the rest of the question, I think it appropriate that 1 leave it for Dr Cairns to provide an answer when he returns.
– I direct a question to the Minister Assisting the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Has the Minister seen the text of the allegations made by the Secretary of the Sydney branch of the Seamen’s Union, Mr Benson, before Conciliation Commissioner Allsop relating to the treatment accorded to an Australian seaman by Panamanian authorities? If so, will he institute an investigation into the extent of consular protection that Australian nationals can expect when visiting Panama?
– Yes, 1 have seen a newspaper clipping on this matter. Had the matter been brought to the notice of the Department of Foreign Affairs or the Government, representations certainly would have been made. 1 have made it clear here for some time that we want to be informed of any Australian nationals who are before the courts, irrespective of whether the charge is a minor or major one. Because of the newspaper article we are making inquiries.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate in his capacity as the representative in this chamber of the Prime Minister. Does he recall that on 13th March the Prime Minister told the House of Representatives that he expected Cabinet’s decision on the question of long term low interest loans to farmers to be announced within a week? As that was 8 weeks ago and no announcement has yet been made, could he inform the Senate whether the Government intends to honour its promise and, if so, when?
- Mr President, if an answer can be obtained now it can be obtained from the Minister for Primary Industry rather than myself.
– I call the Minister for Primary Industry.
- Mr President, I suggest that Senator Drake-Brockman should place his question on the notice paper. I am not sure of the quotation to which he referred. I have not seen any specific reference to that matter. Alternatively, I could get an answer for him later today and give it to him tomorrow.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Housing. By way of preface I point out that in answer to a question asked of him last Thursday the Minister said that building society procedures were really matters for the State governments. Notwithstanding that, I have been encouraged by his answer to ask a second question. Will the Minister investigate what can be done to stop some Queensland permanent building societies from insisting, as a condition of the granting of a home loan, that a purchaser buy extra life insurance, regardless of how much insurance he already has, from a company which that permanent building society selects?
– All the Commonwealth can do in such a matter is ensure that its finance is not directed to companies which engage in such undesirable practices. 1 will take up the matter with the Minister for Housing. If anything can be done in the matter I am prepared to do it.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour. Is it a fact that the Minister for Labour said on the television program ‘Federal File’ last Sunday that he would lend his support to strikes provided he considered that they were justified? Does that mean that any strike which he does not support is not, in his view and in the view of the Government, justified? Does it also mean that the conciliation and arbitration system is redundant because the Government intends to pass judgment upon the justification or otherwise of all strikes? If so, will any other steps follow the passing of such judgment by the Government?
– Order!I point out that Ministers may not be asked to answer questions relating to policy. Within that ambit, I call Senator Bishop.
-I take your guidance, Mr President. I think the honourable senator would know that whenever the Minister for Labour, Mr Clyde Cameron, is talking about Labor policies on strikes he is talking not about his own policies but the policies of his Party in Government. That can be summarised, 1 think, in clarifications which the Minister has made. He has maintained, as has the Labor Government and the trade union movement, that there is a right to strike and that to remove that right to strike from workers and unions is in fact to conscript them and destroy their freedom. I understood that the Minister’s statement was intended to convey that opinion. If the honourable senator would like me to investigate the statement 1 will do so.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Education, follows upon a question which was asked earlier by Senator Poyser. When was the proposal for a new university in Victoria first suggested? What studies into the format of the new university were undertaken, and by whom? What were the recommendations arising from such studies?
– I am informed by my colleague the Minister for Education that the establishment of a fourth university in Victoria has been contemplated for a number of years and that at the time of the Victorian State election in 1970 both major political parties - that is, the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party of Australia - announced their intention to establish a fourth university, if elected. When the present Victorian Government was re-elected in 1970 it established a committee to advise on the development of the fourth university.
The fourth university committee presented its final report to the Victorian Minister of Education in January 1972. That committee recommended that the fourth university in Victoria should be incorporated in 1972, that its precise form and nature should be planned over the period of the next 2 triennia, that a comprehensive external studies program together with regional centres for external studies in strategically located country towns be instituted and that an initial site for the campus, according to my colleague in another place, should be acquired in the eastern region of the Melbourne metropolitan area, with a possibility that a second site should be considered in a country area at a later date.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Education any information which would justify the Federal Government’s recommendation regarding the siting of a fourth university in Victoria, which recommendation conflicts with the judgment of the Victorian Government that the proposed multi-campus university would best serve the needs of several regional centres in that State?
– I suggest that Senator Guilfoyle should direct her attention to pages 22 and 23 of theReport of the Australian Universities Commission, which will be tabled in the Senate this afternoon - a copy was tabled in the House of Representatives last Thursday. In that report there is expressed, in my opinion, considerable doubt as to the viability for many years of dividing a university campus into 4 different sections.
– Does the Leader of the Government in the Senate acknowledge that it was the Conservative member for Roxborough. Mr David Steel, who successfully introduced in the British Parliament the private member’s Bill which liberalised the abortion laws in 1967? Is the Minister aware that it was the Liberal Member for Mitcham, Mr Millhouse, who piloted a similar private member’s Bill through the South Australian Parliament during the period when the Liberal-Country League had a majority in that State? Is it not a fact that the United Slates Supreme Court, including 3 conservative judges who were appointed by President Nixon, unanimously ruled in favour of abortion laws on lines similar to the Bill to be debated in the House of Representatives this week? In view of these developments in the English speaking world, does the Minister agree that the current anti-abortion campaign which attacks the Federal Government and the Australian Labor Party is spurious and unprincipled, that the propaganda is misleading and emotional and that members of the Government have a free and unfettered vote on all social issues in the Parliament?
– I understand that the member of the House of Commons to whom the honourable senator referred was actually a Liberal member, not a Conservative member. I am indebted to my colleague Senator Wheeldon for that information. I do not share the opinion that members of the United States Supreme Court are conservative. While that may be so according to United States standards, according to our standards probably the most conservative of the United Status Supreme Court judges would be regarded as something of a wild radical.
In regard to the other matters raised by the honourable senator, it is true that the Australian Labor Party, in the most definite manner, has made it clear that a vote on this question of altering the laws on abortion is a matter for the individual decision of the members of the Party. They may vote asthey wish. They make take action in either House or oppose the taking of action, whether by way of the introduction of Bills or amendments, or other steps as they think fit relating to the substance of the matter. They may do that without being bound in any way by any decision of the Party.I think that the decision of the Party was that no section of the Party was entitled to require any person to vote in any particular way or to take any particular action regarding the matter.
So the Australian Labor Party hastaken the view that this is a matter for the individual decision of the members in either House of the Parliament. It is perhaps unfortunate that in those circumstances there should be a continuance of the ill-founded attacks upon the Party as if , it had made some decision on the matter. Whatever the merits of making a decision or not may be, in fact the Party has not come to a decision on the matter other than to leave it to the individuals.
– Mr President, may I ask a supplementary question?
– I call Senator Prowse.
– Thank you very much.
– Order! Senator Webster, you have already asked a question and it is my general rule to provide every honourable senator with an opportunity to ask a question. I resent your ironical expression.
– Mr President,I apologise to you. I thought thatasenator had the right to ask a supplementary question, which I indicated in clear terms.
– He has no right. It is a matter within the discretion of the Chair. There is no right involved at all.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation and also to the Minister representing the Minister for Health as 1 think that it comes within both jurisdictions. It concerns the circumstances surrounding a strike by porter-loaders employed at Perth airport on 30th March of this year.
Were the food scraps taken by the person involved from an international aircraft? Was the food initially loaded at an overseas point? What procedures have been adopted to ensure that there can be no further occurrences of this nature, having regard to the high degree of risk associated with the release of food scraps from international aircraft, if the food in question comes from an overseas source?
-I call Senator Douglas McClelland as the Minister representing the Minister for Health as it is clearly within his competence.
– The matter raised by Senator Prowse clearly comes within the purview or ministerial responsibility of my colleague the Minister for Health. I am completely unaware of the circumstances involved in the matters raised by the honourable senator in his question. Therefore. I ask that the question be placed on the notice paper so that he can obtain a detailed reply from my colleague in another place.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Health aware of the acute shortage of influenza vaccine in South Australia, concern about which has been expressed by Dr Mellows, the President of the State Branch of the Australian Medical Association? What is the cause of this shortage? When is it expected that all necessary supplies of the vaccine will be available in South Australia?
– I am unaware of the matter. I have a vague recollection that I did see a report by Dr Mellows expressing concern at the shortage of influenza vaccine in South Australia. I am unaware of the reasons for that shortage. It could well be that it is associated with the previous Government’s policy of not allowing the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories to expand in the way in which they should have been allowed to expand. Be that as it may, I will refer the question asked by Senator Laucke to Dr Everingham and see that the honourable senator receives an early reply.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. In view of the reported oppo sition of the Premiers of South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania to the Federal Government’s proposed legislation to control the seabed from low water mark, does the Government propose to proceed with the legislation this session, or will it have a further conference on the matter with all the States?
– The question substantially refers to the legislation, together with, as I understand it, a mining code, which was introduced into the House of Representatives by the previous Government but was not proceeded with. As I recall, part of the program put to the people at the last election by the Australian Labor Party was that we would proceed with that legislation. It was so announced by His Excellency the GovernorGeneral in his Speech at the opening of this session of the Parliament. In those circumstances, the Government intends to proceed with the legislation. 1 think that has been stated not only in those formal ways - by the present Prime Minister and by the GovernorGeneral on behalf of the Government - but also on several occasions by the Prime Minister and perhaps by the Minister for Minerals and Energy.
– I am aware that the production of this vaccine is completely within the ambit of the charter of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories. It is my own personal belief, without having much detailed expert knowledge of the matter, that had more attention been paid by the previous Government to the production of these essential vaccines by the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories we would not have run into this problem which we appear to be having year after year. However, I will refer the matter to my colleague in another place and forward to the honourable senator the answer that is supplied.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Education: Apart from Press reports, what details of the proposed Victorian university had been received by the Australian Universities Commission prior to the tabling of its report on 3rd May 1973?
– I am told by my colleague, Mr Beazley, the Minister for Education, that the Australian Universities Commission received a broad outline of possible ways in which the fourth university in Victoria might be developed as a result of discussions with the Victorian Minister of Education, Mr Thompson, on 13th October last year. At that time the Victorian Government had not taken a decision about the form of the university or its proposed location. In February this year the Victorian Premier made an announcement, as I understand it, that the proposed fourth Victorian university would take the form of a multicampus university, with branches to be established at Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong, and that he would provide some broad details of his Government’s decision. Mr Beazley advises me that some further information was provided by the Victorian Minister of Education in a letter to the Australian Universities Commission in February this year, but that the detailed information sought by the Commission had not been provided prior to the tabling in the House of Representatives last Thursday of the report to whichI have made reference earlier and which I will table in the Senate at the appropriate time this afternoon.
-I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. Is it correct that the detailed plans for a new and modern airport for Brisbane which were drawn up by the previous Government in consultation with the State government of Queensland and the Brisbane City Council have been either shelved or abandoned? Could the Minister advise specifically, if not now, later, what the situation is.
– To the best of my know-edge Cabinet has approved the expenditure of, I think, $6. 4m to acquire land to develop the airport. When it is finally developed it will be in accordance with plans drawn up already.
– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry: Is it a fact that he has assessed the revaluation compensation appropriate for apple exports at 30c a bushel? Is it a fact that he has imposed a limitation of $1, 500 on the payment to any orchardist, representing a crop of not more than 5,000 bushels? 1 ask the Minister whether this is not compensation for a cost reduction. What is the justification for limiting compensation to crops ofless than 5,000 bushe s?
– The details spelt out by the honourable senator are correct.I recall that many questions were asked about this on the resumption of the Parliament following the Government’s decision on adjustment payments to the fruit industry. The intention of the Government, as was stated on so many occasions, was to assist those industries which were in greatest difficulty resulting from the revaluation decision, a principle which had been adopted by the previous Government in December 1971. We endeavoured to devise a scheme whereby those within the industry who would find those difficulties greatest would receive the greatest assistance. There was a limit - I think ajustifiable limit - to the amount that the Government could give to any industry as a whole and therefore the amounts which were made available should have been on the basis of justice to those who would suffer the greatest disability. It is on this principle that these payments are being made.I believe it is a correct principle.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour. Is it a fact that the Minister for Labour stated on television that Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd was a much more successful company than its balance sheets fed people to believe? If so, will the Minister obtain from the Minister for Labour the facts on which he based his statement and will he make the information available to the Parliament.
– I will get the information that the honourable senator requests and pass it on to him.
– Does the AttorneyGeneral recall that last Wednesday in the Senate he told me that the Commonwealth Police had called at the home of Franjo Till in the early hours of 18th March without search warrants because they wished to establish whether one Ivan Pavlovic was inside the house? Does the Minister know that when Ivan Pavlovic drove from Melbourne on 17th March the police intercepted and searched him and his car on the environs of Canberra, and that they took his name and that he was photographed by the Press near police officers during the raid on the Croatian Club in Turner on the same night? Does the Minister know that the police had ample opportunity to arrest him, if they wished, on a number of occasions and that it was utterly unnecessary to raid Till’s house? Can the Minister confirm Pavlovic’s statutory declaration that the only evidence of his alleged threat to kill Bijedic were two anonymous calls? As Pavlovic’s statutory declaration, which I have here, categorically denies the alleged threat against Bijedic or anybody else, will the Minister re-check the facts of his answer which seem completely erroneous? If I am correct, will he, as an honourable gentleman and as the first law officer of this country, publicly withdraw his unfounded allegation which has seriously injured Pavlovic in his employment as a painter.
– The honourable senator referred to some document which he has. If he will supply me with the document I shall certainly have the matters inquired into. If what the honourable senator says is correct and if the allegation is baseless I think it is a fair proposition that he puts forward. Since this wag stated in a report which is here, and if I am satisfied that it Ls baseless, then I shall certainly say so.
– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry whether his attention has been drawn to an article in today’s Canberra Times’ which slates that many of the world’s underdeveloped countries are facing serious food shortages caused by an unprecedented series of droughts. If so, can he say whether the facts stated are substantially correct. If they are correct can he advise whether his Department has been involved in any international dicussions on the matter? If so, can he tell me of any plans under which Australia may assist in this mass starvation problem?
– lt is true that the world generally almost certainly will be facing a very severe grain shortage within the next 12 months. This could well be compounded by other food shortages. In the past, predictions have been made that by the mid-1970s the world will face famine. We hope that these predictions will prove to be incorrect. But at this stage it is suggested that there will be very severe food shortages next year. One of the factors which influenced the Government to provide an incentive to wheat growers this year by paying them an additional advance was the opportunity to maximise the Australian crop so that we could become a major supplier of wheat to the world during 1973-74.
At the recent meeting 1 attended in Paris there was some discussion about stockpiling. No firm commitments were made by anybody, lt is very difficult to reach international agreement on stockpiling and how to provide, for the shortages which come along now and again. The Australian Government has not entered into any specific agreement of late in relation to this matter, but it is something to which I have given some thought lately. Possibly from world bodies, especially the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation which is meeting at Rome in November, some specific proposals will come forward which will be worthy of our support.
– My question is directed to the Special Minister for State. Is Mr Lie, the Finance Minister of Taiwan, visiting Australia to attend a meeting of the Pacific Basin Economic Council? If not, has the Government placed any restrictions on his entry to Australia? If so, what are the restrictions and why were they imposed?
– As far as I know he is not visiting Australia.
– Will the AttorneyGeneral, if possible prior to his imminent departure from Australia, or one of his advisers give attention to Senate Hansard of Thursday, 3rd May at page 1276 and to the questions therein set out which I put to him concerning his visit to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation headquarters in Melbourne? Having given attention to those questions will he provide the Senate with an answer to them, as they are of interest and do not deserve the treatment which they received last Thursday?
– It might be satisfactory to the honourable senator if the matter were dealt with by my treating it as a question on notice. If he put it on the notice paper, that might be the easiest way of dealing with it rather than my endeavouring to extract that information now. I will give the honourable senator an answer in writing or, if I get the chance to read the page of Hansard to which he referred during the course of question time, I will endeavour to answer further the honourable senator’s question.
- Senator Murphy, I intervene only to say that the implication of the honourable senator’s question was as to whether he could get an answer before you go abroad.
– My question is directed to the Attorney-General. It relates to the Minister’s answer on 2nd May to Senator Hannan concerning the visit by the Commonwealth Police to the home of Mr F. Till on Sunday, 18th March. Was the explanation given by the Minister and contained on page 1225 of Hansard of Wednesday, 2nd May, a verbatim statement of a report supplied to him? Was the report supplied by the Commonwealth Police Commissioner, the AttorneyGeneral’s Department or some other person or authority? Specifically, what was its origin?
-It was almost verbatim. I think that grammatically something had to be altered slightly but virtually all of it was verbatim. I said that this was the explanation because the honourable senator asked me what was the explanation. I commenced by saying: ‘This is the explanation which has been given to me’. That explanation was supplied to me, I think by the Deputy Secretary of the Department, Mr Mahony. I assume, and would be virtually certain that it would have come from the Commonwealth Police Force.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Education. What was the proposed date for the operation of the fourth university in Victoria? Was it 1976? When would it have been necessary to allocate Commonwealth finance for this university if the proposed date of operation were to be met? Has the delay of 6 months by the Victorian Government in providing information made it impossible for the 1976 commencement date to be operative?
– I understand that the proposed date of operation of the fourth university in Victoria is 1976 but I understand that it would be necessary to provide finance almost immediately if the target date were to be met. My colleague the Minister for Education advises me that it is highly unlikely that it will be possible for the fourth university in Victoria to open for students in 1976 unless decisions are taken almost immediately. The Australian Government will not be in a position to consider any proposals on the matter until it receives recommendations from the Australian Universities Commission. The Australian Universities Commission for its part will not be in a position to make recommendations to the Government until it receives definitive, detailed proposals from the Victorian Government. On page 22, paragraph 8.4, of the report that my colleague Mr Beazley tabled last Thursday, the Commission stated:
At the time of writing this report the Victorian Government has not responded to a request from the Australian Universities Commission to provide detailed information on its proposals concerning this country university, which remains therefore an unknown factor. This uncertainty creates difficulty in finalising recommendations for the metropolitan universities.
– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry: Does he not acknowledge that the payment for devaluation in relation to apple exports is by way of compensation for the downward adjustment of price due to the Government’s devaluation, and not a social service? Does not the Minister recognise that 10,000 cases of apples cost just as much to produce and market whether they are produced and marketed by one grower or by two? Can he find anything in any bounty legislation or tariff legislation that justifies a restriction of such compensation for a reduction of price in any trade circumstance?
– Whether Senator Wright chooses to call payments made compensation or adjustment is of no real significance whatsoever. I think he knows as well as I that there is a distinct difference between the terms adjustment payments’ and ‘compensation’. If, in fact, it was a compensation payment, which he challenged me to accept and which I reject, then obviously that principle would have applied throughout the whole of rural industry as it was in 1967. It was a principle which was subsequently rejected by the previous Government. In regard to the question of someone producing 10,000 bushels of fruit, I think that the honourable senator knows full well that one person’s unit cost can be less than that of another. A big producer, all other things being equal, always has a more economic unit cost than the small producer. I think that this is one of the reasons why even the previous Government recognised in its rural reconstruction program that the farm build-up principle enables the bigger units to flourish because they are more economic. We recognised this in the adjustment payments that were made to the fruit industry. I cannot see anything further I can add in the matter. I have endeavoured to explain this on previous occasions.I believe that it was the correct and just decision.
– I have not seen the report to which the honourable senator referred in the initial part of his question. I agree with his suggestion that the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories distributes its products through wholesalers and not through various pharmacies. I understand that that is the position. I believe that the last portion of his question contains a great deal of merit. Certainly, 1 will put forward his proposal to my colleague in another place, the Minister for Health. Might I suggest that if we cannot get influenza vaccine for parliamentarians we might be able to get some cough mixture.
– My question, which is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, follows upon a question from Senator Gietzelt which I believe the Government went to some lengths to answer. Can he tell me when Labor Party senators last had a conscience vote in the Senate chamber? Is a conscience vote a new development within the Labor Party? I have not seen one in my term in the Senate. Is he aware that it was only a few years ago that a State Labor Party candidate whose family had given long and faithful service to the ALP had to resign from contesting a State election because he was told by his Party to toe the Party line on the matter of abortion.
– As far as I can recall, on all matters affecting the Standing Orders of this chamber within recent times the members of my Party have voted freely, according to their individual decision. I think it is unwise to use the word ‘conscience’ as one honourable senator, not of my Party, said that it deprived him of a vote. He suggested that those who had no conscience would not be able to vote under those circumstances. There are other matters on which I am quite sure the Australian Labor Party in recent limes has permitted a free vote. I have just been handed a copy of Mr Odgers’ book Australian Senate Practice’ to which I should like to refer. It records examples of the free vote as being on the Parliamentary Allowances Bill 1959, the Matrimonial Causes Bill 1959, the Marriage Bill 1961 and the site of the new and permanent parliament house in 1968 and 1969. Then follow some suggestions about tariff matters which probably occurred in earlier times. However, I can recall some measures here on which honourable senators did so vote; they may have voted in much the same way, but they were not strictly bound in any way.
The rules of our Party are fairly clear. When something is in the platform or policy of the Party, that is regarded as an undertaking to the people that members will vote that way. By choosing to stand on our Party’s ticket members virtually contract to vote that way and also to abide by decisions of the Party on various matters. But in many ways there is a great deal of free choice by the Party. For instance, in committees I think it has been traditional that Party members - this probably holds for members of all parties - have acted largely according to their own view of matters, and the parties, or certainly my Party, so far have not intervened in any way in relation to the members of committees.
On this particular matter of abortion, of course, we have gone to great lengths to demonstrate that members of the Party are entitled to take and express different views, and they are expressing them publicly and volubly on the very question. I should like to say just one other thing. This question has exercised the minds of people all round the world. As I have said before, the distinguished Supreme Court of the United States made a decision that was novel and a signal contribution to the thinking on this subject. We would hope that in Australia there might be opportunities for public discussion of a matter which ought to be resolved in the public interest.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Transport. Is the Minister aware that there is a severe shortage of shipping available to transport goods from northern Tasmania to Victoria and that this is particularly serious in relation to accumulated loads of timber awaiting shipment from Bell Bay? Will the Minister, as a matter of urgency, make inquiries as to whether his colleague can arrange through the Australian National Line for ships to he made available to reduce the backlog awaiting shipment at Bell Bay?
– I have information that from time to time the Minister for Transport has made available other ships for the movement of cattle from Tasmania. I do not know about timber. Obviously, something must be done about providing shipping for Tasmania and it is essential that the approach come from the State Government. The Minister is concerned about this matter. I think he has done everything about it that can be expected of him since becoming a Minister. I do not think he will be hampered by the decision of the Senate the other night to hold an inquiry in this field. If there is an immediate problem and the Minister can do something about it, I will refer it to him.
– It being one hour since the commencement of the asking of questions without notice, I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.
– For the information of honourable senators, I present the report of the Treasury Committee on Superannuation. The Government has taken no stand on the report at this stage. It would be interested in receiving comments from interested persons and organisations. Copies of the report will be made available to honourable senators as soon as possible.
– I present the following reports by the Tariff Board:
– For the information of honourable senators, I table the report by the Australian Universities Commission and the Australian Commission on Advanced Education on the location, nature and development of institutions of tertiary education in Sydney, Melbourne and the Albury-Wodonga region. I move:
That the Senate take note of the report.
Debate (on motion by Senator Rae) adjourned.
– For the information of honourable senators, I table the report on teacher education prepared by the Australian Commission on Advanced Education. Copies of the report will be made available to honourable senators as soon as possible.
– Pursuant to section 8 of the Fishing Industry Act 1956, I present the sixteenth annual report on the operation of the Act during the year ended 30th June 1972.
– Pursuant to section 18 of the Dried Fruits Research Act 1971, I present the first annual report on the operation of the Act for the year ended 30th June 1972.
– Pursuant to section 19 of the Fishing Industry Research Act 1969, I present the third annual report on the operation of the Act during the year ended 30th June 1972.
– Mr President, I would like to present a statement on the constitutional development of Papua New Guinea. A similar statement was made in another place on 3rd May by the Minister for External Territories (Mr Morrison). I have circulated copies of the statement. I ask leave to incorporate the statement in Hansard.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The statement read as follows) -
I wish to inform honourable members of recent events in Papua New Guinea of interest to this Parliament. As honourable members are aware, the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam), the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence (Mr Barnard), the Minister for Works (Senator Cavanagh), the Minister for Transport (Mr Charles Jones), and I have, since this Government took office, had discussions with the Papua New Guinea Government, both in Australia and in Papua New Guinea, on the development of that country to self-government and independence. The Government has reaffirmed the agreement reached by the previous government with the Papua New Guinea Government on the timing for self-government and has indicated that it will work with all due speed to independence for Papua New Guinea in the closest consultation with the Papua New Guinea Government and the House of Assembly.
Part of the process of development towards the goals of self-government and independence is the development of organs of government in Papua New Guinea to suit its particular circumstances. Thus the Australian and Papua New Guinea Governments agreed recently to the creation of a Department of the Chief Minister and Development Administration. This Department will combine the former Office of the Chief Minister with the functions of the Division of District Administration, the Local Government Office and the Intelligence Branch, all of which were formerly parts of the Administrator’s Department. This reorganisation has resulted in minor portfolio changes within the Papua New Guinea Ministry and after consultation with the Administrator 1 have agreed to the recommendations put forward by the Papua New Guinea Government for the formal creation of 2 portfolios - that of Chief Minister and that of Minister for State and Minister Assisting the Chief Minister. To date the designation ‘Chief Minister’ has been an unofficial title that has given recognition to the position within the Papua New Guinea Ministry of the Minister elected by his colleagues to be Deputy Chairman of the Administrator’s Executive Council. The abolition of the portfolio of Minister for Local Government is consequential.
On 30th April I executed instruments under the Papua New Guinea Act to give effect to these changes and also to give effect to the devolution of authority to Papua New Guinea Ministers which had been agreed on in constitutional discussions last year. I have placed copies of these instruments in the Library for the information of honourable members. These instruments devolve the authority of the Minister for External Territories upon Ministers of the House of Assembly over all aspects of government in Papua New Guinea except those matters for which Australia, by virtue of constitutional or administrative reasons, still retains full responsibility and control. The powers transferred by the instruments have been approved by the House of Assembly. Previous instruments had devolved specific powers upon Ministers of the House of Assembly but the position now is that the bulk of the powers lie with Papua New Guinea Ministers and therefore only the powers still retained by Australia are listed. Papua New Guinea Ministers are finally responsible for such matters as education, health, works, finance, labour, agriculture, stock and fisheries, district administration, local government, information, social development and transport and thus now have effective control over virtually all aspects of the internal government of Papua New Guinea.
The purpose of my most recent talks was to review progress on the various legislative and administrative measures which have to be taken to meet the timing of self-government agreed upon by the House of Assembly and the Australian Government. As the Chief Minister wished to refer the results of the talks to his cabinet, to the Constitutional Planning Committee and to the Leader of the Opposition, it was not possible to reach any definite decisions. As all constitutional and administrative decisions now made affecting Papua New Guinea must be decided in the light of the rapid approach of selfgovernment and independence the discussions were of value in helping to identify a number of matters requiring early resolution. For instance I expressed the view that the contin uation of officials appointed by the GovernorGeneral of Australia as members of the House of Assembly and the Administrator’s Executive Council would be an anachronism in a self-governing Papua New Guinea and I proposed their withdrawal.
A matter for which the Australian Government is reluctant to continue to accept responsibility is the legal system apart from the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea. There have been many expressions of opinion by Papua New Guineans that the legal system should be one appropriate to conditions in Papua New Guinea. Any changes to the legal system before or at self government must be such as will be acceptable to an independent Papua New Guinea. 1 indicated my belief that responsibility in this field should be assumed by Papua New Guinea at an early date, and the Chief Minister agreed to refer the question of the appointment of a Minister for Justice to his Government after fully consulting the Constitutional Planning Committee and the Leader of the Opposition. I stressed at these talks that the movement of self government and the transfer of powers was a continuing process and that the talks were part of this process. I announced, for instance, Australia’s decision to transfer authority for formulating the Improvement Program and for final approval of major aid projects to Papua New Guinea as soon as possible. This transfer of authority had been agreed to in principle by the previous Austraiian Government and is in line with Labor policy on aid for Papua New Guinea. Mr Somare will put Australia’s proposition to his Government and the Constitutional Planning Committee.
The talks isolated those areas of government which for administrative or constitutional reasons might not be transferred until after self government on 1st December 1973. While matters such as defence and foreign affairs will not be transferred until independence for constitutional reasons, some other matters are under consideration by the Constitutional Planning Committee. The review has indicated however that it will be possible for most remaining powers held by the Australian Government to be transferred to Papua New Guinea by or shortly after self government. Where a matter still retained by Australia at this stage falls within the portfolio function of a Minister of the House of Assembly then that Minister has full day to day responsibility for the implementation of policy which had been agreed upon by the
Papua New Guinea and Australian governments. Further, there are some matters which do not fall within the portfolio functions of a Minister of the House of Assembly but, at this stage, in accordance with the agreement reached between the Papua New Guinea Government and the previous Australian Government, these functions are exercised by Australia only after the fullest consultation with and advice from the Papua New Guinea Government. Thus by the time of independence Papua New Guinea will be familiar with and have experience in all areas of government.
For instance although Australia will continue to bc responsible for Papua New Guinea’s foreign affairs until independence, Papua New Guinea is beginning to assume a separate international identity. One example of this is that the Chief Minister formally signed the Indonesian Border Agreement in Djakarta earlier this year. At this moment discussions are being held in Papua New Guinea on the development of a regime for the border between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia and it is interesting to note that these events mean that virtually all the recommendations of the Interim Report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs dealing with Australian Relations with Indonesia concerning the delineation of the border and the development of a border regime have been achieved. This is most satisfactory. As I have indicated, the Australian Government has every intention of seeing through the task which Australia undertook in Papua New Guinea not only in the period up to independence but beyond.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Murphy) read a first time.
– I move:
This Bill has 4 main purposes. In the first place it provides for the extension of the war service homes scheme to members of the forces who complete a specified period of defence service. Secondly, it provides for an increase in the maximum loan under the scheme from $9,000 to $12,000. lt also provides for war service homes benefits to be granted to certain unmarried female persons with qualifying service under the Act. The fourth main purpose is to correct an existing anomaly in the war service homes legislation by providing for the extension of eligibility to certain persons who served overseas with the Australian forces in the> 1939-45 War or in the subsequent war-like operations as an accredited representative of a welfare organisation. In addition to these significant changes, the Bill includes a number of other amendments which are designed to facilitate the administration of the War Service Homes Act.
As honourable senators will be aware the war service homes scheme was originally introduced as a repatriative measure to provide homes for returned men and women from the 1914-18 War. The scheme was later extended to cover the 1939-45 War and the subsequent war-like operations involving Australian forces. Since the inception of the scheme eligibility in respect of service in the forces has been based on a period of service abroad involving operational risks beyond those normally associated with peace-time service. The provisions of this Bill will extend the scope of the scheme to include henceforth as qualifying service a continuous period of normal peacetime service of substantial duration. Persons who will benefit from this proposed extension of the scope of the scheme are those members of the forces on continuous full time service on or after 7th December 1972 who, whether before or after that date, complete 3 years effective full lime service. A person who was engaged or appointed for a period of full time service of not less than 3 years but who is discharged on medical grounds before the completion of 3 years service will also qualify, unless the member was discharged before the completion of 12 months effective service for a pre-existing medical condition. Effective service for the purpose of the proposed new eligibility provisions is defined in the Bill.
The Bill has special provisions dealing with persons undergoing a course of training at the Royal Australian Naval College, the Royal Military College or the Royal Australian Air Force Academy and persons appointed as officers while enrolled in a degree or diploma course at a university or other tertiary institution. In effect, persons undergoing a course of training at a naval, military or air force college will nol qualify for benefits unless they successfully complete their course of training. Persons commissioned under the undergraduate scheme will not qualify until they have given 3 years effective service following the completion of their studies. In accordance with existing arrangements under the War Service Homes Aci persons who meet the eligibility conditions but are given a dishonourable discharge will not be eligible for benefits.
The Bill also provides for the extension of war service homes benefits to national servicemen and national service officers serving immediately before 7th December 1972 who complete the period of service for which they were engaged to serve or are discharged on medical grounds prior to the completion of that service. The proposed extension of the scope of the scheme to include a continuous period of normal peace-time service of substantial duration as qualifying service represents the most significant change in the scheme since the enactment of the original legislation in 1918. lt has been brought about because of the Government’s decision to abolish conscription into the armed forces and to fulfil its stated aim of introducing conditions of service that will attract and retain regular servicemen in peace-time. We believe that the way to attract and retain regular servicemen is to guarantee that they and their dependants will enjoy both during and after their service, a living standard which is on a par with civilians of the same age. Because of the itinerant nature of his occupation a regular serviceman is at a considerable disadvantage relative to other members of the community in acquiring a permanent home. Frequent postings make it difficult for him to obtain housing finance from established home lending institutions. As a result, upon discharge, he is faced with the task of financing his home at a greater cost and over a shorter period.
The granting of war service homes benefits to regular servicemen on the conditions already mentioned will do much to offset the disadvantages inherent in service life in relation to the acquisition of a permanent home. Al the same time this measure will afford practical recognition of the significant contribution made to national defence by servicemen who undertake full-time service commitments of a substantial duration. As we consider this measure an essential one in our program to improve service conditions we feel as a matter of equity that it should also be extended to those national servicemen serving at 6th December 1972 who voluntarily chose to complete the period of service for which they were originally enlisted. The retention of those young men who chose to remain is seen as valuable in the transition from a partly conscripted army to an all volunteer force. To reflect more aptly the type of service which will constitute qualifying service under the scheme upon the enactment of this legislation, the Bill provides for the title of the Principal Act to be amended to ‘Defence Service Homes Act 1918-1973’. As a consequential amendment, the name of the body corporate established by the Act will be changed from ‘Director of War Service Homes’ to ‘Director of Defence Service Homes’.
I come now to the provision made in this Bill for an increase in the maximum loan. The present statutory maximum loan of $9,000 covered less than 60 per cent of the average cost of all homes built or financed under the scheme last financial year. While some credit-worthy applicants are able to supplement their loan under the Act with a secondary loan from a private lender at a high rate of interest, it is difficult, and in many cases impossible, for the ordinary wage earner to finance a home on the basis of a maximum loan of $9,000. It is our stated aim to increase the maximum (ending limit under the scheme to enable loans to be made up to 100 per cent of the value of properties against which advances are made. In furtherance of this aim. this Bill provides for an increase in the maximum loan to $12,000 and for a reduction in the deposit required in respect of a home sold to an eligible person under Part IV of the Act.
The proposed extension of eligibility to unmarried female persons who have qualifying service under the Act is designed primarily to benefit single and widowed nurses and exservicewomen without dependants who served overseas with the forces in the 1939-45 war. As the Act stands at present eligibility for benefits is limited, broadly speaking, to persons who are married, about to marry or who have dependants for whom it is necessary for them to maintain a home. This is in accordance with the purpose of the scheme to provide homes for eligible persons with families. However, we consider that there is a strong case on the social welfare grounds for exempting female persons with qualifying service under the Act from this requirement. In the majority of cases the nurses and ex-servicewomen who will benefit from the provision have given meritorious war service overseas. They are now approaching retirement and usually have no family to whom they may turn for a home. Ordinarily they would not qualify for housing accommodation under any of the public housing schemes of the States and they find it difficult to obtain a housing loan from institutional lenders on account of their age and sex. The scheme has always provided that the widow of an eligible person will be eligible for war service homes benefits and this is the case whether she has dependants or not. We feel that there is equal justification for granting benefits to single and widowed nurses and exservicewomen without dependants who have the necessary qualifying service under the Act.
The proposed extension of benefits to members of welfare organisations who served overseas with the forces will correct an injustice which has been allowed to exist for far too long. When the War Service Homes Act was enacted in 1918, provision was made for the granting of benefits to members of the Young Men’s Christian Association who were accepted for service and served abroad with the naval or military forces of Australia as representatives of that Association. However, no comparable provision was made when the Act was amended in 1941 to cover the hostilities which commenced in 1939. During the 1939-45 War representatives of welfare organisations served in such areas as North Africa, Greece, Crete, Papua, New Guinea, Malaya and Singapore and there were many casualties including some who died on service or became prisoners of war. Honourable senators will agree, I am sure, that it is only equitable that they should be eligible for benefits on the same basis as members of the forces, and the Bill makes provision accordingly.
Other amendments include an extension of the definition of ‘holding’ which will enable a loan to be granted in respect of any land which an applicant is purchasing from a State On terms that entitle him on compliance with specified conditions to a grant in fee simple of the land where he satisfies the Director that he has a reasonable prospect of complying with those conditions. A provision has also been included which will empower the Direc tor to grant a maximum repayment term of 50 years to all female dependants as defined in the Act who are eligible for assistance under the Act.
The Bill includes also a provision which will empower the Director to call up a loan where after the Joan has been made available it comes to the knowledge of the Director that the purchaser or borrower or that person’s wife or husband as the case may be, was, at the time the loan was granted, the owner of another dwelling house. Sections 19a and 23 of the Act provide that assistance shall not be made available to any applicant unless the Director is satisfied that neither the applicant nor wife or husband (if any) of that person is the owner of any other dwelling house. There is an appreciable number of cases arising where it is established after a loan has been granted that although the applicant at the time he applied for the loan declared that neither he nor his wife was the owner of another dwelling house, either he or his wife did in fact own another dwelling house at that time and he or she still retains ownership of that home. A power for the Director to call up a loan in such circumstances is essential in order that he may enforce the requirements of the Act.
Other minor amendments include provision for the reinstatement as a tenant, a person whose tenancy has previously been determined under the provisions of the Act and provision under which a defaulting purchaser or borrower may be called upon to meet the expenses incurred by the Commonwealth in obtaining a warrant of possession. The Bill also contains a number of provisions relating to the administration of the war service homes insurance scheme, including a provision empowering the Director to reinsure his contingent liabilities under insurances effected in accordance with the Act and to use the funds of the War Service Homes Insurance Trust Account to make contributions to the cost of maintaining fire brigade services.
Honourable senators will appreciate from the summary I have given that this Bill embraces a wide range of matters, some of which will effect significant changes in the nature and the scope of the existing war service homes scheme. Since the scheme commenced in 1919 it has played a very significant role in the development of our nation with more than 330,000 persons having been assisted to become home owners.
The enactment of this legislation will ensure that the scheme will go on making its important contribution to the national welfare by enabling eligible persons in all parts of the Commonwealth to obtain a home of their own.I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Rae) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cavanagh) read a first time.
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to make a minor amendment to the New South Wales Grant (Flood Mitigation) Act 1971 in order to enable assistance under the terms of that Act to be provided in relation to works on 3 small creeks near the Tweed River. These creeks were included in the original proposals submitted by the New South Wales Government in 1970. but because of the wording of the Act they were unwittingly excluded from its benefits.
Briefly, the flood mitigation scheme in New South Wales has been to construct works to mitigate flooding on all of the major coastal rivers in that State. Although there is no intention with this particular measure to increase allocation of Commonwealth funds to the State Government for these works, their cost, estimated to be $100,500. was in fact included in the original proposals approved by the Parliament in 1971. The amendment simply varies the description of prescribed rivers’ as contained in the original Act to rectify the omission previously mentioned. There is no intention to vary the Act or its method of operation except to cover the addition of these works. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
– Having listened to the Minister for Works (Senator Cavanagh), and having read his second reading speech at the same time, it seems to me that we should take no exception to this Bill. We hear that a great legislative program is about to be heaped upon us. That being the case, I think the Opposition would be disposed to get this measure out of the way.
– The Country Party takes the same view and is quite happy to have the Bill passed.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cavanagh) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
I hope that the passage of this Bill is as speedy as it was on the previous Bill. This Bill concerns grants to the States over the next 3 financial years to continue acceleration of measurement of discharge of rivers and investigation and measurement of underground water resources. Following a recommendation by the Australian Water Resources Council, the Commonwealth and State governments in 1.964 adopted an accelerated program of surface and underground water investigations to establish a comprehensive network of stream gauging stations and substantially to improve knowledge of underground water resources. Besides implementing its own accelerated program in the Northern Territory, the Commonwealth has assisted State programs by making available grants of $2.8m. $4.5m and $8.2m over successive 3- year periods.
The success of the overall program to date has been shown by the fact that the States have continued to undertake annual programs considerably in excess of requirements to attract the full Commonwealth subsidy: Accordingly this Bill, in contrast to previous Acts where maximum Commonwealth grants have been calculated as a proportion ‘ of less than the full proposed State expenditure, provides for the Commonwealth to meet fully half the cost of proposed programs submitted by the States. The governments involved had reason to be satisfied with progress so far. However, it was apparent to the Water Resources Council that, if the objectives of the program as envisaged were to be achieved, a further expansion of effort was needed, and this is reflected in the programs planned by the States for the next triennium.
Surface water measurement programs total $ 13.7m, an increase of $5. 2m on programs for the period just completed, and underground water measurement programs total $16.5m, an increase of $5.9m on the programs covered by the 1970 Act. These proposed increases in expenditure are due to both general increases in costs of labour and materials and also increases in the scope of the works being undertaken. In many authorities for the first time in several years sections concerned with resource assessment are now operating at full staffing strength.
The Government now proposes to make available a total of up to $ 15.1m by way of grants to the States, to assist in implementing the planned programs in the next 3 years. This figure represents an increase of almost 85 per cent over the level of Commonwealth aid in the past 3 years and almost a sixfold increase in assistance when compared with the first 3-year program. In making this increased contribution, the Commonwealth is confident that the States will increase their own commitments so that the objectives endorsed by the Water Resources Council may be achieved. The current legislation does not of course cover the Northern Territory which will be provided for in appropriations for the Department of the Northern Territory.
I turn now to the Bill itself, the provisions of which are similar to the 1970 Act which it is designed to follow. Provision for grants in respect of expenditure by the States on water resources investigation and measurement is contained in sections 4 and 5. Commonwealth grants will be provided, in accordance with the amounts specified in the schedules, to assist the States to undertake the programs of expenditure necessary to meet the aims of the accelerated program. In respect of each State, the Commonwealth grant will be the amount by which the expenditure exceeds a base amount until expenditure, is double this base amount. The grant for expenditure greater than this is on a dollar for dollar basis until the ceiling set out in the schedule is reached. Grants have been allocated between the States on the basis of their own proposed programs.
The Bil] also contains a number of machinery provisions which are similar to the previous Acts relating to this program. These include provision for approval of the proposed programs by the Minister in section 7, provision for submission of progress reports in section 8, and provision for advance payments to the States in section 9. Developmental works to utilise the nation’s water resources must be preceded by thorough investigations of these resources and this requires adequate basic data. The program of water resources assessment in which all governments in Australia are participating has been devised with this end in view. 1 have pleasure in commending the Bill to the Senate.
– I think this is a measure which, with some commonsense, we could proceed with straight away, providing that my colleagues in the other Opposition parties, the Australian Country Party and the Australian Democratic Labor Party, are agreeable. Of course, they can make their own remarks when the time comes. It seems to me that it would be sensible to dispose of this matter now. This is a very important measure so far as Australia is concerned. It is a very dry continent with a scarcity of water for a continent of this size. Over the years one of the very important activities in Australia has been to try to find accurately what is the available water supply, both in rivers and in underground aquifers, which has been a matter of investigation more particularly in latter years. That sort of determination would allow us very likely to expand our production in many areas, improve living standards, and make primary production safer and the lives of people better.
The previous Government actually brought this matter forward. With the co-operation of the States it encouraged it and financed it, and the results have been most rewarding. In a country in which we hear rather too much about the lack of co-operation between the Commonwealth and the States, this is a notable example of co-operative federalism at work. I have always commended this sort of activity by the Commonwealth with the States as its partners.
As can be seen from the Minister’s second reading speech, the measure was first adopted in 1964 after a conference between State Ministers and the Commonwealth Minister. There have been successive grants in 3-year periods of $2.8m, $4. 5m and $8.2m. As the Minister says in his second reading speech, and as all of us who studied this matter in earlier years knew to be a fact, the program has been successful and the States have found the results so encouraging that in many cases they have exceeded the program by their own endeavours. So we have a situation now in which the work is to be expanded and the Commonwealth has agreed to meet half the cost of proposed programs. I think that is an advance we would all be pleased to see. I feel thai this would be necessary because, from the comments of the Minister and from earlier knowledge one had, the work did need to he expanded and built up. more particularly in the northern pan of Australia where there is a tremendous amount of water resource not yet fully known which may prove very valuable in later years.
Under the provisions of the Bill the underground water measurement program is given a total of $ 1 6.5m, compared with $ 1 0.6m granted under the previous Act. These proposed increases in expenditure are due to 2 things, of course. They are due to the expanded costs of doing things in this community. That is a matter which 1 think we will find becoming more grave as time goes on, hut it is a matter for separate debate on a separate occasion. However. I would observe in passing that all of us would be extremely concerned with the very high rise in costs in Australia, and this program bears evidence that thai is acknowledged by the Government as likely to be a continuing factor.
Also contained within this Bill is an expanded program of what I might call search and find. It is encouraging also now to find that the section concerned with this assessment is operating at full staffing strength. The particular machinery measures are mentioned in the Minister’s second reading speech. The legislation does not cover the Northern Territory, as we would understand. We will deal with that in a separate measure when it comes forward.
The method by which the States are to be paid their share has been calculated at double the base amount, and this is particularly specified in clauses 4 and 5 of the Bill. A point of concern to us also is that the grants have been allocated specifically amongst the States on the basis of their own proposed programs. So I should imagine that the circumstances will be as they have been in the past, namely, that the States submit their programs after which there will be a joint meeting with the Commonwealth Minister and a program agreed upon. Therefore we should not be expecting a situation in which any one State feels that it is disadvantaged as against another State. That is how 1 read this particular comment by the Minister in his second reading speech.
The machinery provisions seem to be sensible. The programs, of course, necessarily need to be approved by the Minister. The progress payments are covered in section 8 and the advance payment particulars of it are covered in section 9. I close my remarks by saying that I agree completely with the last paragraph of the Minister’s second reading speech in which he states that these developmental works to harvest the nation’s water resources, to make adequate and safe use of them, must be preceded by very thorough investigation as to the level of supply. This is particularly true of areas containing underground water. What we do not want to do is to draw down the underground reservoir below its capacity to replenish itself.
The underground water reserves of Australia are very great in many places. But it must be borne in mind that in some cases they are an accumulation resulting from lack of use during a period of years. So there must be an accurate assessment of the rate at which they can usefully be drawn down because there is no benefit in having an underground water resource that is, in fact, a huge underground reservoir and drawing it down by use to a point where it is no longer available. Accordingly. I am a great supporter of accurate investigation, not only of the surface water situation, but also of the underground water situation. Honourable senators would be familiar with the fact that measuring gauges have been installed on most of the principal streams in Australia. They have been installed even on some of the small mountain streams in my district. The accurate compilation of this data is essential for a sensible harvesting and use program when, throughout the years, there has been an immense amount of Australian public capital resources involved in the construction of dams, irrigation systems, water supply programs and bores. Therefore, I think that the program is a good one. It extends the work done by previous governments, both Commonwealth and State. It takes care of the increased expenditure involved in the increased work. Accordingly, on behalf of myself and the Liberal Party of Australia in the Senate, I commend the measure.
– The Australian Democratic Labor Party has great pleasure in supporting the States Grants (Water Resources Measurement) Bill 1973 and the continuation of the program that is envisaged by the financial aid that is being made available by the Commonwealth. The formula applied envisages the States undertaking expenditure on water resource investigation up to a base amount. The amount by which expenditure exceeds that base amount will be matched by the Commonwealth until expenditure is double the base amount. Thereafter the Commonwealth aid will be on a dollar for dollar basis until the ceiling set out in the schedule is reached.
In the course of the investigations conducted by the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution, we discovered that one of the great problems facing Australia in the conservation of water resources, apart from the establishment of the quantum of those resources, was the difficulty involved when rivers flowed from State to State. Constitutional difficulties would necessarily arise in an attempt to discipline and control the pollution of such streams. Of course, the same problem could well arise in a matter such as this. That is why the concurrence of the relevant States in the establishment of water resources and their definition is of particular importance. It is the only practical way, as Senator Cotton said, within the concept of co-operative federalism to handle this problem.
Of course, Australia has been described as a dry continent and the provision of water is of tremendous value. Its proper adequate - and even its conservative - use can be of great significance to the nation. We know that other nations are finding it necessary to discover water resources or to desalinate sea water for the provision of irrigation in dry areas. This is particularly the case in Israel.
At some stage, Australia could well be faced with such a situation. It would not be beyond the technical resources or the technology of this nation to apply the methods of desalination which have been applied elsewhere. But they may not be necessary if we are astute and wise enough to develop, establish and conserve our natural water resources. Therefore, the continued provision by the Commonwealth of grants in aid to the States to establish water resources and conserve them is of immense significance and importance. I merely comment on the level of aid. It is stated in the second reading speech of the Minister for Works (Senator Cavanagh) that the level of aid represents an increase of almost 85 per cent over the level of Commonwealth aid in the past 3 years and almost a sixfold increase in the assistance when compared with the first 3-year program. In making this increased contribution, the Commonwealth is confident that the States will increase their own commitments. I think that that is an extremely wise principle because ultimately it is the States that have the ultimate physical responsibility for the establishment of water resources and their diversion to proper economic usage. The Democratic Labor Party supports the Bill and commends its provisions which we hope will be an additional incentive to the States to continue and to expand their investigations and to move much more rapidly, effectively and enthusiastically with the Commonwealth in the field of the conservation of water resources.
We hope, therefore, that the recommendations of the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution will be taken up by the States jointly with the Commonwealth and implemented. Today I had the pleasure of the company of the newly appointed Director of Environment in Queensland on the flight from Brisbane. He said that many States have already adopted many of the recommendations and provisions of the Committee’s report. That is most comforting. The major recommendation, perhaps, is the overall approach to water resources in respect of which we hope for maximum co-operation between the Commonwealth and the States. We hope also that this type of legislation will stimulate, encourage and give effect to such enthusiasm and co-operation. We support the Bill.
– The legislation before the Senate is of considerable importance and the allocation of funds, as set out in the second reading speech of the Minister for Works (Senator Cavanagh), is substantial. My Party expresses to the Government its appreciation for its ready acceptance of the proposals put forward by the Australian Water Resources Council for expanding the investigation and measurement of underground water resources. Of course, this program was commenced originally by the Liberal-Country Party Government. The initiation of the measure was of great importance and was debated by the Senate in 1964. At that time it was envisaged that the benefits proposed by the legislation would go mainly to those who were able to take advantage of irrigation in rural areas and perhaps to the supplementing of watering facilities in the northern country. However, in recent years, in my own State of Victoria at least, the volume of surface water available for the main cities has been reduced to lo,w levels by the weather conditions that have persisted for some time; indeed, a year ago there was great consternation about the availability of water for the metropolitan area of Melbourne. The progress of the investigation of underground water supplies on the Australian continent is particularly important. I have seen some farmers in Victoria efficiently control irrigation One farmer in the sandy Mallee area of northern Victoria has 5-inch bores studded all over his property, with energetic sprays operating, and thus he is producing from his property in a way that nobody else in Victoria has envisaged. That is of benefit to the Commonwealth, lt is good that a man should take advantage of resources that he has on tap. But the knowledge of the resources, how they are acquired and how they can be replenished and the ability to maintain a water table in particular areas so that the benefits of underground water can be made available to a variety of people are matters to which only the Australian Water Resources Council can properly give attention and publicity.
I have noted in a variety of second reading speeches by Ministers that they attempt to make a great point to the effect that in this field little was done by the previous Government and a great deal is being done by this Government. I think it is fair to say that, whilst we congratulate the Government on what it is doing in this measure, it is really only a follow-on of what has been established by the former anti-socialist Government. One comment in the second reading speech is that 6 times the amount of money provided in the initial year is now being provided. Surely the Minister should use some slight sense about the matter. When a program is commenced it is obvious by a matter of gradually generating increased expenditure and an expansion of the program. As was indicated by a former Minister, Senator Cotton, who spoke with the great knowledge on this subject which I know he has acquired from his background, the gradual testing and measurement of various rivers, small though it may be, adds up to a general pattern that we must have of the water resources of this dry continent of ours.
Let us examine the expenditure on this program over the years. At the commencement of the program an amount of $2. 8m was made available. In the following 3-year period the Commonwealth allocated approximately double that amount - $4.5m - towards the program. In the next period the former Government nearly doubled that amount again, providing $8. 2m. The present Labor Government has merely followed that pattern by allocating $15. lm. Much as we congratulate the Government for the early attention it has given to this matter since coming into office, it should be remembered that this legislation has flowed from an agreement between the various States and the Commonwealth, ft is legislation which has the full support of the Opposition in the Senate.
– 1 enter the debate only to correct an impression 1 gained from the latter part of Senator Webster’s speech. Together with Senator Byrne, I was a member of the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution. During its sittings we were made well aware of the main function of the Australian Water Resources Council. Comparisons have been made between the performances of previous governments and the present Government. T am not one who is dazzled by millions of dollars being expended. I like to make sure that the mistakes of the past are avoided in the future. With due deference to the former Minister who was responsible for the Water Resources Council, I instance the inability to control some of the Ministerial mismanagement of his Cabinet colleagues. I refer to a matter to which I have referred before and to which I shall refer again and again in the Gaitskell tradition, namely, the bungling that went on not so long long ago during the tenure of office of an inept Minister for the Interior when there was a failure to discipline the Australian Atomic Energy Commission for the way in which it polluted the Finniss River with industrial waste. I am sure that the reorganisation of the Ministry and the appointment of Mr Keppel Enderby as Minister for the Northern Territory will ensure that never again will the Finniss River be polluted in such a manner. Despite my cry for justifiable ministerial or departmental vengeance nobody ever disciplined the Atomic Energy Commission for its scandalous behaviour. Honourable senators will know it was only after incessant probing that we were able to get from the Atomic Energy Commission the sorry story of its deliberate - I use that word in the fullest sense - pollution of the river. Senator Webster is a figures man. An examination of subsequent estimates will reveal that every year $40,000 or $50,000 has had to be expended on the rehabilitation of that river.
There was another sorry tale in relation to the Molonglo River. Senator Webster bravely talked about the private enterprise dogma. The Lake George mining company symbolised private enterprise. What did it do when it got all it could out of the ground? It absconded like the Arabs, folding its tents in the night. Governments - Federal and State - have subsequently had to pick up the tab for the pollution of the Molonglo River that was caused by a private mining company. Private mining companies - the modern buccaneers - talk about meeting their obligations to society. The Lake George mining company never met its obligations to society. To show honourable senators how bipartisan I am, I have indicted on the one instance the Lake George private enterprise mining complex and in the other a government organisation, namely, the Atomic Energy Commission. 1 leave those thoughts with the Minister. I am happy that this money is to be spent. I hope that we will see no more of the terrible happenings that the Atomic Energy Commission has condoned. I shudder to think about what is being done at present by mining companies in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. I would love to see some of the mining contractors brought before a Senate committee and grilled about their raping of some of our river systems.
– in reply - I thank the Opposition lor the action which it has taken on this Bill and on the previous Bill, which will mean that the notice paperwill not be cluttered up with Bills with which all of us agree. No opposition to the Bill was expressed during the second reading debate. I express my appreciation to the Opposition for the speedy passage of the Bill, which will enable the Senate to get on with its business and will enable the expenditure of the money appropriated in the Bill. Perhaps the only cross note that we heard was whether this Government should get the credit for introducing the Bill or whether this Government condemns the previous Government. Senator Webster has adopted an attitude of supporting everything in the Bill but of trying to create a controversy when no one else wants a controversy. His remarks - not his attitude - always incite someone from this side to reply. Of course, this state of affairs could continue for a long time.
I think that one could expect members on this side to refer continuously to what the previous Government did nol do. One could expect members from the other side to refer continuously to the refusal of this Government to do something. I think it can be accepted that when a government accepts the legislation of a previous government and alters only the amount contained in the legislation, whether the amount is higher or lower, the government in power has accepted the legislation of the previous government. I do not know what can be gained from that statement - 1 think it can be accepted that the Government in power is praising what the previous Government did on the question. I do not know how that can be used as an election gimmick. We cannot condemn the existing legislation. We have approved it by continuing it, but we have altered the amount.
A significant factor is the amount mentioned in my second reading speech. The amount referred to will be used for the above ground measurement of water. I stated:
This figure represents an increase of almost 85 per cent over the level of Commonwealth aid in the past 3 years and almost a sixfold increase in assistance when compared with the first 3-year program.
That statement can be used on this occasion as a boast by the Government that it has done a lot and that the proposal represents an increase in something which everyone agrees is essential for Australia’s development. The second reading speech pointed out for the first time that the Government approves in full the main steps in the operation of the proposal contained in the Bill. Therefore while we accept what the previous Government did we cannot shut our eyes to the great advancement or the great contribution which this Government has made. I conclude by again expressing my appreciation to the Opposition for the speedy passage of the Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– In giving general support to the Bill before the Committee, 1 should like to direct to the Minister a question or 2 relating to the treatment of waste water. I know that the Bill deals with the measurement of water and water resources, but he will be very well aware that in recent times there has been a great deal of attention given to the matter of waste water, the treatment of waste water and the re-use of water. In any program dealing with water measurement and the measurement of water resources, 1 would have thought that the matter of the assessment of waste water, the treatment of waste water and the re-use of water would have been mentioned. While we are dealing with this very important matter of water resources, I would be grateful if the Minister could comment on this aspect and give us any information he has which would be of interest to me and of value to the Committee.
– When Senator Mulvihill rose to speak ] thought to myself that perhaps we should take up this matter at the Committee stage. He entered into an area of debate which I thought would substantially prolong the discussion. Accordingly, I am grateful to Senator Davidson for intruding into the debate at the Committee stage to seek clarification of some of those matters, lt saves me from having to do so.
– Because of the speed with which we have dealt with this Bill I was not able to have any advisers here today. Possibly we could have got them when we decided to continue the debate but in view of the opening remarks of Senator Davidson, I knew that it was not necessary for them to be here. We have passed the second reading stage of the Bill and are now examining the various clauses of the Bill to see whether they need any amendment. Obviously the Bill does not deal with waste water; it deals only with the measurement of underground water. Therefore, the question raised by Senator Davidson does not come within the ambit of the Bill. I take it that he wants some information on this question and I shall endeavour to obtain it for him. The information will be supplied to him subsequently in the same way as additional information is given to an answer in reply to a question asked at question time. No clause of the Bill which we are now considering deals with the question of waste water.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cavanagh) read a third time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Douglas McClelland) read a first time.
– I move:
The purpose of the Bill now before the Senate is to give effect to a number of Government decisions to provide additional funds for the development of advanced education in Australia during the current triennium. Honourable senators will recall that the Australian Commission on Advanced Education recommended, in its third report, that the Commonwealth should provide an unmatched grant of S5m for libraries in colleges of advanced education during the 1973-75 triennium. The previous Government did not accept the recommendation. The present Government accepts the view of the Australian Commission on Advanced Education that present library resources are inadequate in colleges of advanced education, and it is therefore prepared to make available for college libraries the sum of $5m during the current triennium. No matching contribution will be required from the States in respect of this grant.
Present day living is becoming increasingly more complex and this complexity produces social problems, especially in urban communities, which demand the expertise of the professional social worker for their solution. I may say that education is a field where social workers are needed. There is, at the present time in Australia, a severe shortage of trained social workers. To help overcome this shortage the Government is providing an unmatched grant of $40,000 in 1973 to enable the Tasmanian College of Advanced Education to establish a post-graduate course In social work to commence in 1974. This course will enable graduates in disciplines such as arts to become professionally qualified social workers. Additional finance will be provided in 1974 and 1975.
The Government has approved an allocation of $3m to universities and colleges of advanced education to enable them to provide financial assistance to needy students. Of the S3m, $806,000 is for students attending colleges of advanced education in the States. The provision of these funds will enable students who are suffering financial hardship to receive assistance sufficient to enable them to continue their college courses. The Government decision to provide these funds was taken in the knowledge that tuition fees have risen significantly in many tertiary institutions. This assistance, too, is being provided entirely by this Government and no contribution is sought from the States. 1 would like to repeat what was said in connection with legislation assisting needy university students about the Government’s hope in regard to the administration of the scheme. The assistance scheme is to be administered by the respective colleges of advanced education and assistance will be given in the form of grants or loans, depending on individual circumstances, and will be available to pay fees, living allowances and other approved educational expenses. It will be a matter for each college of advanced education to determine who shall receive assistance, but I would expect that the grants would be made available to students who are in extremely difficult financial circumstances following misfortune outside their control, such as death, injury, serious illness or desertion by bread-winners of families on ordinary incomes; the annihilation of family income in flood, drought or bushfire; seasonal or chronic unemployment of the bread-winner; loss of earning power by the bread-winner or any other reason; unreasonable refusal of financial support by parents; and to the children of age, invalid or widow pensioners.
The present Bill, together with other Bills on education listed for introduction during this autumn session of Parliament, underlines the importance which the Government and, I believe, the Parliament attach to the whole field of education - a view which Parliament knows is shared by the nation. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
– I am delighted that the Minister for the Media (Senator Douglas McClelland) in his second reading speech has recognised that education is a matter of importance not only to the Government but to the whole Parliament. The Opposition will support the general nature of the Bill, although there are certain matters to which we wish to refer. Therefore. I seek leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted: debate adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Douglas McClelland) read a first time.
On 14th March 1973 the Minister for Education (Mr Beazley) announced the decision of the Australian Government to provide an unmatched grant of 33m this year to help students who were experiencing hardship in commencing or continuing their tertiary studies at universities or colleges of advanced education because of financial circumstances. The purpose of this Bill is to provide grants to the States totalling $2. 096m to enable uni- versifies to assist needy students. The Australian National University will receive $69,000 and the balance of the total of $3m will be made available to colleges of advanced education. Provision for grants to the States in respect of colleges of advanced education will be the subject of another Bill.
The assistance scheme for university students will be administered by the respective universities and assistance will be given in the form of grants or loans, depending on individual circumstances, to pay fees, living allowances and other approved educational expenses. It is a matter for each university to determine who should receive assistance, but the Minister for Education has indicated that he would expect that grants would be made available to students who are in extremely difficult financial circumstances following misfortune outside their control, such as death, injury, serious illness or desertion by breadwinners of families on ordinary incomes; the annihilation of family income in flood, drought or bushfire; seasonal or chronic unemployment of the breadwinner; loss of earning power by the breadwinner for any other reason; unreasonable refusal of financial support by parents; and to the children of age, invalid or widow pensioners.
The funds provided for each university are set out in the Bill in the proposed new Eighth Schedule to the Act. In most cases these funds will supplement existing university funds which have been established by university authorities for the purpose of assisting needy students. The allocation of funds between universities was determined by the Minister for Education in consultation with the Australian Universities Commission, and each university Vice-Chancellor was advised shortly after the Minister’s announcement of the amount that the university would receive for the purpose of assisting students in needy financial circumstances. The promptness and willingness with which the Vice-Chancellors have acted, in anticipation of this legislation, to ensure that consideration was given to cases in which students had declined to enrol or re-enrol because of financial difficulties is most gratifying. This represented a considerable burden on university administrations at a very busy time, and in some cases involved re-opening enrolment procedures. I understand that the Government’s action made it possible for many students to pursue their studies who might otherwise not have been able to do so.
With the Government’s announcement that tertiary fees are to be abolished as from the 1974 academic year, it is not envisaged that the need for assistance of this nature will be as great in the remaining years of the 1973- 75 triennium and, for that reason, the Government decided that grants should be made in the 1973 academic year only. However, those funds, properly managed, as I am sure they will be, will provide a continuing source of assistance for needy students in future years. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Rae) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Douglas McClelland) read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now rend a second time. lt is the Government’s policy to increase the numbers of qualified social workers in the community and the main purpose of this Bill is to provide unmatched grants totalling $75,000 for the University of Sydney and $240,000 for the University of Melbourne in the current triennium to enable the universities concerned to increase the numbers of students being trained as social workers at those universities commencing this year. Several other universities have submitted proposals for increasing the numbers of students being trained as social workers in 1974 and these proposals are now being considered. However, the universities of Sydney and Melbourne were able to make immediate increases in the numbers undertaking their social work courses and the Government has recognised their response by providing additional financial assistance.
The Government, with the agreement of the South Australian Government, has also taken the opportunity in this Bill to make 2 minor machinery amendments to the Second and Sixth Schedules to the Act to authorise a variation in the building programs of the University of Adelaide both on campus and at one of its medical teaching hospitals, the Royal Adelaide Hospital. The variations, which have been requested by the University of Adelaide and are supported by the Australian Universities Commission, do not increase the total capital grants provided in the current triennium. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Rae) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Douglas McClelland,) read a first time.
– I move:
This Bill seeks authority for the Government to provide an additional $10m to the States for technical training facilities. The existing legislation provides for grants totalling $36m during the 3-year period ending 30th June 1974. and the purpose of this Bill is to increase by $10m the funds available during this period.
There has been in recent years increased recognition in this country of the need for a more adequate provision for vocational training in the various skills required in the Australian work force. Honourable senators will recall the conclusions of the Australian Tripartite Mission which in 1968 and 1969 studied the methods of training skilled workers in Europe and which concluded that there was an urgent need for a critical examination of all aspects of vocational training in Australia. It will be recalled that the Mission observed that Australian governments were not providing sufficient funds for industrial training and that the amounts devoted to technical education were small compared to the expenditure on genera) and tertiary education.
The Government intends that this situation will be remedied, and we are determined that technical and further education should receive the same consideration as will -be given to the other areas of education. The Government has therefore decided to establish a commission which will examine the needs of technical and further education and make recommendations to the Government on financial assistance that should be provided to the States in these areas. I am confident that this measure will place technical education in Australia on a more satisfactory basis than has to date been the case.
Steps have already been taken to establish the commission, and my colleague the Minister for Education, Mr Beazley, recently announced the composition and terms of reference of the Australian committee on technical and further education. This committee will become the commission when the necessary legislation has been enacted, and assistance for technical and further education after 30th June 1974 will be on the basis of the recommendations of the commission In the meantime, the Government wishes to ensure that additional capital projects of an urgent nature are not delayed until after that date, and this Bill to provide supplementary grants totalling$10m is an interim measure intended to raise the level of assistance available under the existing arrangements. The Government’s decision to introduce this legislation is an accord with a request from State Ministers of Education that additional funds be provided for urgent building projects that could be undertaken during the current triennium.
The supplementary grants of $10m that the Bill will make available will increase the funds available to the States in the present triennium to $46m. As in the existing legislation, the funds will be allocated to the States in proportion to State population. The following table, which I ask leave to incorporate in Hansard, sets out the amount available to each State.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -
– The present program is intended to assist the States provide buildings and equipment for the training of young men and women undertaking trade and certificate courses in technical colleges and trade schools, and for similar courses at agricultural colleges and rural training schools. The existing arrangements for the scheme will continue until 30th June 1974 with the exception that the Bill provides that grants may now be used for the purchase of land which is to be used for technical education facilities.
Although grants under this program have not in the past been able to be used for this purpose, this provision exists in similar States grants legislation in the fields of university and advanced education, and the Government has accepted the view of the State Ministers of Education that this program should include the purchase of land in appropriate circumstances. One consequence of the relative neglect of technical education in the past has been that the sites of the older technical colleges located in city areas are generally over-crowded and restricted. In order to remedy this situation, funds will now be available under the program, where necessary, to assist the States to acquire sites for technical education institutions.
There are 2 provisions in the Bill which will allow the Government flexibility in bringing this program to a conclusion. The Bill empowers the Minister to authorise a payment to a State after 30th June 1974 for funds appropriated under the legislation, of amounts for expenditure incurred in respect of an approved project undertaken before that date. The Bill further provides that the amounts specified in the Schedule for any State may be varied by regulations within the limit of the total amount specified in the Schedule. These provisions will cover any situation that could arise because of unforeseen delays in State building programs, and will facilitate the transition to the new arrangements when this program is concluded.
The proposed supplementary grants reflect the Government’s interest in an area of education that I believe is of vital national concern. I am confident that the supplementary grants will provide the Stales with sufficient additional capacity to carry out urgent building projects until the nature and extent of the needs in this area of education can be assessed in a systematic way by the Commission. While this is an interim measure, it is a necessary one, and I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Rae) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 3 May (vide page 1333), on motion by Senator Murphy:
That theBill be now read a second time.
– When the debate on the Death Penalty Abolition Bill 1973 was adjourned last Thursday evening. I was about to say that it is very wise for any government to retain capital punishment on its statute books. I repeat what I said that evening: Capital punishment should be administered sparingly. But in cases of premeditated, cold blooded murder I believe that capital punishment is justified.
– What about the right to life?
– As the honourable senator should know, this is quite a legal matter. I said in the course of my remarks that some murders are committed by people who suffer badly from mental sickness. We read almost daily of horrifying and shocking cases of murder with a sex base that are perpetrated on children of tender years. I believe that in cases in which it is the opinion of psychiatrists that the perpetrator of the dirty deed was mentally sick, such people should be confined to and treated in an institution, not for any specific period, but until they are certified as being cured. If no certificate to that effect can be obtained, they should be kept there and not given an opportunity to repeat such a crime. There are many types of murders. Therefore, I think that there should be some degree of murder. I instance to honourable senators the case of 2 men who have an argument in an hotel bar or on a street. One may strike the other, knock him down and that person may die from a fractured skull or from some other cause. That would be manslaughter. I do not think that murder would be the intent. I feel that a classification of degrees of murder would simplify things a great deal.
There are too many people today who place very little value on human life, lt is not because they are mentally sick but because they are undisciplined mentally and physically. They believe that if someone stands in their way of getting something to which they are not legally entitled they can just shoot him down. An increasing number of breaking and entering crimes are being perpetrated throughout Australia today. In most cases persons breaking into and entering a home, business, bank or any other premises are equipped with guns to shoot down anyone who may impede the carrying out of their act of robbery. I think that those cases definitely should attract the death penalty because there is an intent to murder, not only one person but many. I do not think that people committing such a crime are entitled to any consideration. Many people would cry for the perpetrators of such a crime but they appear to have very little sympathy for the relatives and friends of the unfortunate person who was murdered.
As I said at the outset of my speech, I do not think that there is any subject matter that has been debated for so many years without the public being able to make up their minds about what they want. There is a definite tendency today, both in the United States and in the United Kingdom, for a reversion to capital punishment because of the increase in crime and because so many people in the community pay so little regard to human life.
I can recall many cases in which murderers planned their deeds and went out to murder somebody for the sake of a few hundred dollars. One case involved a Mrs Stephens and her husband who conducted a surburban theatre. One Saturday night, after they had closed up and left for their home they drove into the garage, the doors of which were open - old fashioned garage doors, not modern garage doors - and behind each door was a fellow armed with a revolver. The husband drove the car in and parked it properly and his wife got out carrying an ordinary canvas banking bag containing the takings for the night. A fellow grabbed at the bag, the lady resisted, and he simply drew his revolver and shot her dead in her own backyard. Those fellows went there with a deliberate plan to steal that money and, in case there was any resistance, they were equipped to kill any person who stood in their way. There was no doubt about their guilt, because when the husband pursued them down the street they stood and fired at him.
Such people are not entitled to any consideration or to any room in our society. When it is deliberate, planned, premeditated, coldblooded murder there is no case for mercy. That is my attitude. It is based principally on the experience I have had in government and information 1 have had at my disposal about some of these people. If people are to live in this society they must recognise the laws of the land and recognise that they have an obligation to their fellow man. Otherwise, they are not entitled to any consideration from the society in which they live. A good deal can be said for and against this proposition, I know. But the fact remains that we ought to keep in our statutes the provision for capital punishment. I think it is wise to have it there and to use it when it is considered necessary and the case justifies such an extreme process. I do not like the hanging method of capital punishment. I think consideration could be given to an alternative means of capital punishment.
Sitting suspended from 5.44 to 8 p.m.
– The measure before the House is the Death Penalty Abolition Bill 1973. It is in fact a measure of very considerable significance and numerous ramifications, lt is nol to be dismissed as being of no account on the basis that the last time somebody was executed in Australia was, 1 think, 1967. The measure, itself cuts into at least some four major Acts of this Commonwealth. Its aim is to abolish the death penalty from all Commonwealth law except that applicable to the Territory of Papua New Guinea. In so doing it not only deals with the crime of- murder in the Commonwealth Territories but also reaches into the Commonwealth Crimes Act and abolishes capital punishment for the crime of treason, into the Defence Act and abolishes capital punishment for major offences, including desertion, and into the Crimes (Aircraft) Act of 1963 and abolishes capital punishment for certain offences committed on aircraft, lt also affects Australia’s commitments under the Geneva Agreements. lt is therefore, as I have said, a measure of major significance.
If I may say so, the Bill warrants a more profound, a more comprehensive and a mors detailed account than was given to it by the Attorney-General (Senator Murphy) in his second reading speech. I believe that the speech was not only superficial but also sought to do only the negative, lt sought merely to end the ultimate sanction - that is, to end the ultimate punishment for a capital offence - without even recognising the major responsibility that the Commonwealth Government must take on its shoulders by so doing. It looked through only one end of the telescope and that was the blunt end. lt said: We will abolish this punishment’; but it d’.d not admit that in so doing the Commonwealth Government had an extra special responsibility to ensure the protection of the public from particularly serious crimes.
I believe that the Senate and the Parliament merit a far more profound approach than one which may have been, in substance, a good philosophical approach from a Leader of the Opposition, as Senator Murphy was when he brought in a private member’s Bill. It is not good enough merely to rehash what one said as a private member when, as Attorney-General, one is bringing in legislation which profoundly affects the lives of the people of Australia in a wide variety of ways. I regret that this has been so. I say that against the background that this measure specifically asks whether a government should have the right to use the punishment of death as a punishment for a crime.
Has any community the right by law to take unto itself the imposition of such a penally? Obviously it has the capacity to do so because within the sovereign power of government is the capacity to bring in ultimate sanctions. But ought it to accept the moral and ethical right so to do? That is the first thing. The second thing is: If so, for what purposes - for what intention - would one bring in such legislation? When would one use it and when would one not use it? Should it be entirely a judicial right or should it be, as to my eternal regret it has been in the final analysis in the past at federal and State levels, a political sanction in the sense that in the end it is not a final judge but politicians - the Attorney-General and the Prime Minister and his Cabinet - who make a political judgment as to whether a man shall live or die? If I may say so, I find that to be extremely repugnant. It is true, of course, that the AttorneyGeneral has supervision of the law, but I worry greatly when a politician has to make a decision in ne atmosphere and pressures of an election, wilh the media beating up a melodramatic and emotional campaign. Those are the tests thai we are being asked to make.
It is frequently said that a debate on this subject is a debate of conscience, that it involves a conscience vote and that one ought to be free to decide these things. Equally it is said that somehow or other peple ought to be free on this issue but not free on other issues. A great deal of emotion is expressed on this very serious matter. There are those who see the supporters of capital punishment as ogres who want to take the life of a guilty person. There are also those who see the opposers of capital punishment as people soft on crime who are looking towards the guilty persons, to protect them rather than the victims. I want to set aside altogether those sorts of attitudes towards this debate. I want first of all to say that I do not regard it as any more an act of conscience, a noble gesture or an agonising struggle with my conscience to do what I am going to do tonight - that is, to support the principle of the Bill whilst regretting the way it was presented - than do those who have reached their own decision, by a similar struggle, to support the continuation of capital punishment. Let us in this journey not look at shining eyes either way. It so happens that the supporters of the present Government, when in Opposition, were free to vote in conscience. If I am not wrong they have now as a government coalesced in Caucus.
– That is not right.
– Then the next speaker from the Government side of the chamber should get up and say publicly that in both Houses this will involve a conscience vote of the Government, too. Unless f am mistaken, that has not been said.
– It has been a plank of our platform for years.
– 1 am well aware that it has been a plank of the platform of the Austraiian Labor Party. There is no more avid reader of the Australian Labor Party’s platform than I. I have always recognised that the seven-eighths of an iceberg is more lethal than the tip, so I very much study the seveneighths. But that is no explanation at all. It was a plank of the platform of the Labor Party in September 1971 whel there was a conscience vote.
– What is the difference now?
– It was not a conscience vote then; it was a policy vote.
– In 1971 the members of the Labor Party said in this House that they were going to vote on conscience. Lest anyone have any doubts on this, I believe that no matter how important the issue of capital punishment is it ought to be no more a ground for a conscience vote than any other measure before this Parliament. Without appearing to be too pious, while I remain a member of this chamber 1 hope to be free to move and vote according to my conscience on any issue. It is consistent with that that I am considering this subject.
– The honourable senator hopes that he will not have to do otherwise.
– So far I have been free to do so and have done so. I need no reminder from the cheer squad opposite on that. I have said that those who, like myself, support the abolition of capital punishment have no monopoly over conscience. Itake issue with my colleague Senator Greenwood ona point. I think he said that those who oppose capital punishment were more articulate than those who did not, the inference being that the volume of their argument tended sometimes to be noisier than the strength of the others. I reject that idea. 1 think both sides of the argument have been put.
I oppose capital punishment, for 2 reasons. I do not want to traverse in detail what I have said previously in the Senate. I oppose it in principle and I oppose it in practice. Whether I would reach that conclusion in practice does not matter. I have always said that in a free society no one should have the right to take the life of another. I never believed that I would hear from the Government benches the phrase which I heard this afternoon when somebody, I think, talked of the right to life. 1 believe that the right to life in a free society should run, as I said some 18 months ago, from foetus until death - that is, one cannot say: ‘Here I am shiny-eyed. I stand for the abolition of capital punishment for murder, treason or acts of terror as such’ and then mouth support for euthanasia and open-ended abortion, because the destruction of life is the same in any test of principle. People who mouth principles should be consistent. I realise, of course, that in all these situations there is a question of self defence. There must be, as in therapeutic abortion, the right of the mother. In war, as in selfdefence, there must be the right of the individual who is attacked to defend.
I oppose capital punishment, on principle. I believe that man’s greatest challenge in any society on earth is to reduce to the minimum human conflict. To be a little biblical, if the last enemy is death then the second last enemy that we must conquer is human conflict - specifically, violence and lethal conflict. That is what the debate is about. How do we conquer, how do we mitigate, how do we reduce, how do we eliminate lethal conflict? Merely to say that we will abolish the punishment for it is to avoid the issue entirely. I support the abolition, in practice. Penologists - those who look towards punishment as a retribution for crime - look to it for 2 reasons. They are to rehabilitate and to deter. Clearly capital punishment cannot rehabilitate. That is quite clear. It is quite final in its implications. Is it a deterrent? I will not weary the Senate on this aspect. I merely say that there is an enormous volume of information throughout the world on the question of deterrents. I ask for leave to incorporate in Hansard a table entitled ‘Murders and Suicides, per 100.000 population, for Thirty Selected Countries’, which is taken out of the book called ‘Surviving to 3000, an Introduction to the Study of Lethal Conflict’ which was written by Roy L. Prosterman.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -
– If I were one to resort to whimsy I could say that if the table which, incidentally, is compiled from figures supplied by Interpol, the United Nations and the World Health Organisation, says anything
– What does ii sa> about Australia?
– I would be very happy to tell the honourable senator. Do not hold mc to this because it is a whimsy, ft is a table which proves there are fewer murders per capita in those countries which have removed the death penalty than there are in those countries which have not. I am not referring to the table for that reason. I am referring to it to show that in point of fact there is no argument to support opinion-* either way.
– What did it say abou. Australia?
– 1 would be happy to tell the honourable senator. I could put it this way: Australia would be in the lowest onethird, I would say. It has 2.0 murders per 100,000 of population. I will start with the lowest figures. Norway, a country without the death penalty, has 0.1. Sweden, a country without the death penalty, has 0.3. Denmark has 0.2. England and Wales have 0.3. Switzerland has 0.8. New Zealand has 1.0. Australia has 2.0. Let me quote very, quickly the figures for those countries which still retain the death penalty. I am not terribly sure whether all of them still retain it. Japan has 2.3.
France with, 1 think, Madame Guillotine still at least tottering, has 2.6. Israel has 2.9. The United States has 6.8. Taiwan has 12.4. Ceylon has 12.2. Colombia has 21.5. What does the table prove? lt proves nothing, as the author of the book states.
– You have not mentioned Yugoslavia.
– I think the table may mention the figure for that country, but the honourable senator may look, without whimsy, at the table in tomorrow’s Hansard. I commend the table to the Senate. 1 think it shows that murders and suicides have something to do with the temperament of the community - the hotter the blood and the more chilli the sauce, the greater is the tendency to run amok. 1 commend to the Senate a table of some authority and a book which is in the Parliamentary Library and which is of great importance.
For the remainder of my speech tonight I shall direct my attention basically to the question of violence and lethal conflict, a subject which the Attorney-General conveniently ignored except in relation to removing the penalties for it. Clearly there is no proof of deterrent. There is certainly no availability of rehabilitation. One should not do these things because of revulsion or for revenge. Some say: ‘We ought to keep the death penalty because when it is on the shelf it helps. The fact that it is there helps’. They say that we ought to keep it and we ought to use it selectively, as was tried in England. For example, let us say that there ought to be a greater punishment for killing a policeman or a warder than there is for killing a pimp or a prostitute. I know of no more repugnant principle in law than to say that the value of the life of a policeman, warder, judge or deputy president, save in your presence, Sir, is any more important than the life of a pimp, prostitute or the worst murderer on earth. In fact, this society fails if it accepts values of this kind. If one says to me that 1 have the story wrong, that what we are really saying is that we are going to make the punishment more fearful so as to deter because these fellows have more risks, we could not possibly apply this. 1 reject the use of the death penalty selectively. I reject its use anyway. Why are we applying it? Are we applying it because people are destroying life? Is that the principle? The greatest destroyers of life, beyond any doubt, today are the drug pedlars. The hard drug pedlars are the mass-murderers of this decade. I think Senator Cavanagh will acknowledge this. No people murder with more calculated cynicism and do it more cold-bloodedly than those who peddle the heroins and the diluted and polluted drugs or those who peddle LSD and cannabis and who do not consider the consequences. The Attorneygeneral tabled documents which show the projected statistics in relation to mutative or genetic variations which are likely from nuclear fallout. I could table more horrific documents from scientists which suggest that the drugs -which are taken in a mass way will create greater genetic changes than all the nuclear fallouts that we get from arms.
But it suits the present Government to drum up fears about this. Some scientists have brought this forward, there being a volume of evidence of tests on animals. There has been no test on human beings because, thank God, we cannot cycle the life of human beings as fast as we can the life of guinea pigs or white rabbits. But, nevertheless, the fact is that although some deny it. there is a bulk of evidence, and a growing bulk, that there is a danger of grave genetic and grave uterine effects from drug ingestion. We are busy talking about murder and violence when that to which I have referred, in my judgment, is the greatest violence. If J were to put the second greatest violence, I would say that along with the drug pedlars, the standover merchants, the touts and the pimps who in fact blackmail and corral prostitutes into their filthy work are at least the mass murderers of this generation. But we, as a society, have singled out murder.
– There are the motor cai manufacturers.
– There can be a whole host of these. A number of very important and very sensible studies of violence have been made, particularly in America which of course is a country sadly involved in violence. 1 have been very interested both in spending time in America and subsequently reading of these things. Recently one of the authoritative publications looked at ways of reducing violence or crime against the person. Some honourable senators may have heard the report on radio by, I think, the Australian Broadcasting Commission. It said: ‘We think we know ways in which by police action, by public action, we can reduce the ordinary crimes against the person’. The report continued, utterly soberly, to say that if you want to reduce your chance of being murdered you have only one thing to do, and that is to keep away from your family and your relatives; that is the only way - this was a serious situation - in which you can reduce your chance of being murdered, because murder is overwhelmingly a family matter. It is a family crime.
We have to get these things in true perspective. Do we really believe that a crime committed in the passion of a family dispute is of a greater magnitude than the crime of the heroin pedlar? Do we really do this? What kind of a warped situation we have. Of course, I would not execute a heroin pedlar, but at least 1 would try to pui things in perspective. No, I would not bring in capital punishment for these things. In fact, I would seek to mitigate those things that destroy life.
Let us have a look at this question of violence and lethal conflict. I have said that the Attorney-General, in a remarkably superficial statement, recognised and sought to eliminate the ultimate sanction for lethal violence and did nothing to recognise or to give an assurance about these other matters. The fact is that this world of ours is moving more and more into a crisis of violence. If I may, 1 want to read a number of extracts from the Economist’ of 9th September 1972. This excellent article entitled ‘They Are Among Us’ was written in the shadow of Munich and the tragedy of the Olympic Games. One paragraph states:
The world itself is no worse than usual; but the obsessed are prepared to do worse things to have their way about it. Modern weapons help them; the day will come when suicidal urban terrorists of a kind the world has not yet seen will have a nuclear device at their disposal. The very sophistication of the modern society that has mounted this year’s Olympics helps them. The immediacy of world communications especially the television coverage on which all terrorists have come to rely, helps them immeasurably. That is what is new.
That is of great importance. If honourable senators will bear with me 1 should like to read the beginning of this article because it raises a matter of great importance. The article states:
We are going to have to live with the man in the hood for a long time: certainly until the present generation of terrorists, the Black September men and the Provos and the rest, has expended itself in death or defeat; and very likely longer than that, until the force that drives such men, the calculation that such methods can bring them what they want, has been disproved by repeated failure, and they have no more imitators.
The mcn who do things, the Munich and Ultser and other places, are men who have found that their objectives are not supported even by most of their own people, and who try to break out of their isolation by acts of melodramatic brutality that in fact horrify many of their remaining friends. . . .
This is the new international community of the possessed, lt could lake years, perhaps even the rest of the lifetime of people who are now barely middleaged, before this phenomenon is destroyed, or destroys itself. Until then we shall have to live with the possibility of men with concealed faces, and concealed minds, breaking with machine-guns and bombs into the normal life of many people in many different countries.
– Who said that?
– That is an article in the ‘Economist’ of 9th September 1972. It is without a signature. I commend the article because I think it is of first class importance. If it does nothing else, it fills the void in that part of the speech of the Attorney-General which was unsaid - that part which points out that there are these crimes on aircraft; that there are these crimes of national and international terrorism; and that there are, through modern weapons and modern communications, horrible ways of involving the community at large. There are the ways of Munich, the ways of Khartoum and the ways we have seen even attempted on aircraft close to us.
Let us have a look at this matter. The article in the ‘Economist’ has said that the situation will worsen - and I agree with this - until we develop codes which, in the words of the article, will make it unprofitable. That is the important thing. This is a key sentence in the article, and I wish that 1 had in fact written it: lt is winners who get copied, not losers.
So the writers of this article say, by implication, that we have to stop them winning.
I am not singling this out except for the magnitude of it, but in the second reading speech there is no mention of this: There is no mention of the techniques, of the hijacker, or of the terrorists of Munich or of Khartoum, or of the fact that you can put bombs in buildings or that you can hold cities to ransom or that you can cause the kind of situation involving Qantas Airways Ltd which has occurred. In normal times before I, as a member of a government and certainly as an
Attorney-General, would willingly move to abolish the death penalty in the Commonwealth Crimes (Aircraft) Act of 1963, I would expect to have the responsibility to say to the Australian people: ‘I assure you that to the limit of our abilities, in the safety features, in the security warning features of our aircraft, in the teamwork of our aircraft crews, in the security at our airports and in the searches that we do of luggage of cargo and of persons, and not just the sporadic ones, we are minimising this’. But we should go one step further and say to the Australian public that we have worked out a code to which we will stick, which will keep in mind the words in the article. ‘It is winners who get copied, not losers’. This means, however coldly one must say this, that when these things happen we must be prepared to ensure that those who seek to hold us to ransom lose. I think that as a public we need this kind of assurance.
I do not say this in a rabid political sense, but one of the characteristics of the past 4 months has been the increase in the number of obvious threats on aircraft. I myself have been involved in 3, or 4 or 5 searches. It happened to me last week when Senator Murphy was a passenger on the same aircraft. I have been delayed in Melbourne twice. Most of us have been delayed at some time. What assurance have we that this is a typical? Thank God, in years gone by this was rare. Why is its incidence accelerating? If it is accelerating, why should we not know what has happened? I am perfectly happy to be searched and to have my luggage searched with respect to any airline flight. But I say to the Senate that the more this type of thing happens and the more the knowledge that this type of thing is happening infects the public mind, the more likely is the development of an hysteria in this respect. I will expand on that theme soon.
What words have we had from the AttorneyGeneral with respect to hijacking? After all, we recall the hijacking incident at Alice Springs. We recall also the false alarm - thank God - with respect to a Greek aircraft. Hijacking has been amongst us. Why has not the Government said and why is it not saying now: ‘Inside each aircraft we have the best of all possible security warnings. We have codes worked out. Aircrews have been prepared and security procedures have been introduced at airports’? Why has not the Government told us what has happened on aircraft and at airports in recent weeks? If this Parliament is not to be told, who is to be told?
– Spot checks are undertaken as the result of international agreements.
– Let us have a little look at that claim. Since when have international agreements existed for the last 3 months only? There has been no change internationally. No question of spot checks as such arises. The fact is that the incidence of bomb threats to aircraft and the incidence of searches of aircraft have increased. If we ask the 2 carriers, Trans-Australia Airlines and Ansett Airlines of Australia, they will tell us that these have increased notably in the last few months. If they have not, will the AttorneyGeneral tell us so? In fact, we have not had any such evidence. We have had an abysmal silence on this great issue of international terrorism. Any country at any stage and at any time can be a host to international terrorism. Australia cannot be immune from this threat. We are but the distance of an aircraft journey and an evil mind away from it.
I would like the Attorney-General to stand here and say to us: ‘We are pressing in the leadership of the United Nations to get each country to agree that it will not grant asylum or any kind of protection or harbourage to terrorists of any kind’. The day the terrorist - the international hijacker - will go out of business will be the day every country on this earth states one thing; that is: ‘Do not bring your aircraft, your ship or your vehicle here. You will get no asylum here.’ I have no doubt in the world that Australia is taking this line. But why should we not see set out in the second reading speech the development of this situation?
If the Australian people are to be told the negative - that is, that the threat of death will be removed as a penalty on a person who hijacks an aircraft - I ask: Why should the Australian people be told the positive? Why have not the Australian people been told the positive? Why have not statements been made to the effect that internationally Australia, with Israel and with West Germany, will not succumb to blackmail and that Australia will work on the principle that these terrorists are going to be losers and, therefore, they will not be copied?
I will go one step further. One would think also, because we have had emergencies and the frequency is increasing, that we would receive an assurance that, even recently, more checks have been made on the teamwork among the Commonwealth Police, the State police forces and the civil defence authorities to ensure that if a national crisis occurs in our community the footwork and teamwork will be there, the terrorist will lose and therefore his action will not be copied. Was any mention at all made that, since assuming office, the Attorney-General has taken any time off to do anything that is positive? Or has he done only the negative? The negative makes good headlines and looks as though something is being done. It has the same kind of importance as bringing down a report on so-called Croatian terrorists - without facts. That statement made the headlines, but the goods were not produced. Has any suggestion been made that there is any teamwork on this question? Not a word!
I now wish to speak on a matter that is very dear to my heart. I believe that Australia as quickly as possible, certainly in Canberra and possibly from time to time in each of the universities and tertiary colleges in the other capital cities, should set up centres for the study of violence and lethal conflict. I do not believe that such a proposition is way out. It is not way out in any sense at all. We study every other thing on earth (hat relates to inert materials; but we run away from studying the behaviourism of man. If the death penalty for lethal violence is to be abolished, surely committees should be set up to study this problem. There are some excellent committees in America, at Stanford University. Washington University and elsewhere, looking into the inherent violence of man. Why is man aggressive? How can one sublimate his aggression? What are the psycho-dynamic, biological and environmental influences that make one man a murderer and another man not? In achieving an understanding of this problem not only do we solve the motive for and mitigate murder or violence but also we get to the heart of man’s greatest crime that is, war. Still no study has been made of this matter. I plead for this Government to look towards setting up at least the initial centre of study of violence and lethal conflict. I accept the genuine solicitude and concern of those Government supporters who nod their heads, but
I ask: Will they take to Caucus, to Cabinet or to their Party these kinds of ideas?
Let me perhaps sermonise a little? I have been extremely concerned in the past 4, 5 or 6 weeks about the great coverage in the Press of violence, would-be violence or apprehended violence. I refer to the Press reports prior to the visit to Australia of Mr Bijedic, to the Press statements following his departure and also to the stories of rumours of violence and threats not only to Yugoslavs but also allegedly to our own Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) and Attorney-General. It was to me a. horrible sight to see this chamber, as 1 think I described it at the time, embattled at the time of the visit of Mr Bijedic. As some honourable senators must have done,I tried, sitting here, to count the number of security personnel in the chamber and in the corridors of Parliament House. Whilst I respect the responsibility of the President and Mr Speaker, it is no great credit to this Parliament and to the people of Australia that the guard around Parliament House had to be doubled. The sign of a true democracy is that people can walk in freedom. We have done so up until a few months ago. No one has yet explained to me why, long after Mr Bijedic had departed, plain clothes and uniformed security men were sitting in the Parliament - 3 on this side of the chamber, four on the Government side of the chamber and 6 outside the Attorney-General’s office. Let anyone deny that that occurred long after Mr Bijedic had departed. What was the remaining threat? If it was a threat-
– The honourable senator has been told what it was.
– It was protection league, and ASIO-
– If it was for protection, then why is that protection not necessary now? That question has not been answered. If the threat was real then, have the people posing the threat been arrested or have the people-
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (‘Senator Brown) - Order!
– Let me say this. I speak not from theory at alt.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT -
Order! Could I interrupt the honourable senator for a moment? I trust that the comments he is making now will be brought back into the perspective of the subject matter of the Bill that is before the Chair, that is, to abolish capital punishment. The honourable senator seems to be straying from that subject matter.
– If dealing with apprehended crimes of capital violence is not relevant to this Bill to abolish capital punishment, I have never spoken of anything relevant in my life.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT-
Order! I was just asking the honourable senator to help me.
– Sir,I shall help you.I have said that the Bill in essence seeks to deal with apprehended or real crimes of violence and lethal conflict in this community for which the penalty is capital punishment. We have been told in the past 4 or 5 weeks that there were threats to the lives of a visiting dignitary, our own Prime Minister and our own Attorney-General. If that is not relevant to this Bill, . 1 do not know the meaning of the word ‘relevant’, and I bow with respect to you, Mr Acting Deputy President, on this matter. 1 believe that this is the very essence of it. The fact that it was not mentioned in the Attorney-General’s speech is the very reason that I have some stress of indignation about it.
I do not talk from theory. For some 23 years, under 4 Prime Ministers, 1, probably more than any other person in this Parliament, have been in situations of apprehended violence. Whether from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, from the Commonwealth Police or from the State Police, time and again across my desk and across a Prime Minister’s desk have come allegations that the Prime Minister was going to suffer violence or was going to be assassinated. I ask honourable senators to accept the view that of the 40, SO or 60 times on which we took the threat seriously, the significant thing is that never once did it become public. It did not become public because our advisers and our own common sense said that the day we parade this kind of melodrama is the day that we invite its acceleration. I plead with the government of the day to rectify the situation that it is in. It is engaged in a kind of melodrama, a kind of hysteria which will bring to this country the very violence that it wants to avoid.
Let me remind the Senate - this is absolutely pertinent to the situation - of what was said in the Warren Commission report in the United States of America after the death of John F. Kennedy. Honourable senators should read the reports of committees on violence and civil disobedience written by John Lindsay, Percy and others - men with whom 1 spoke, studied and wrote. They are magnificent documents. What, in essence, did those people say? They said that the professional assassin, coldly, calculatedly and with no worry about his own life, cannot be stopped if he is determined to do his job. He will not be stopped by doubling the guards, by using helicopter gunships and by making a parade. Those people went on to say that if the authorities want to invoke violence they should do those very things. They said that the real danger - a danger which, with respect, the Government has not understood - is that there is in the community at any time a fringe of people who are neurotics, who are on the border of being psychotics, who are inadequate and who have a great feeling of inadequacy, of depression melancholia and who want, for once in their lives, to do something to get their names in lights. Mr Calwell suffered that fate - thank God in a superficial way - and events close to us here in this building may well prove to be a spin-off of that kind of fate.
If the Government does what it proposes it will trigger off these things because people will respond spontaneously. A great mistake that a government can make is to respond in over-reaction to the little black notebook that a policeman carries in his pocket. I would think that the Commonwealth Police Force at any one time would have the names of 80 or 90 people or more who it apprehended may cause violence. Those people probably will not do so in their lives, but if we develop a hysteria - we are doing it in this community - we will bring violence. America is a country for which 1 have a great affection but I believe that the over-production of news of violence in America has re-engendered violence. The hysteria about violence has ;n fact caused rather than cured the complaint.
I lay heavily upon this Government blame for the fact that in the last 2 months we have been through something which I for one never want to see again, and that is an embattled Parliament, an embattled city of Canberra, a city which, in my judgment, by the over-reaction of the Government, will breed violence rather than prevent it. Since nobody to my knowledge has been apprehended on this, the same threat must exist to the life of the Prime Minister and the AttorneyGeneral as existed before. Let there be no doubt about this, and I say it with no cynicism: The Prime Minister and the Attorney-General of Australia should be able to walk with freedom and with their heads high everywhere in absolute safety. Since nothing has happened, what was the reason for the action that was taken? Why were we not told and why should we not have been told in view of the background of this Bill which deals with lethal violence, which does something and makes no apology for it. It removes the ultimate sanction of lethal violence by terror. In other words, in the days on which the Government was saying that we were embattled and were, besieged by would-be bloody murderers - indeed, the Attorney-General asserted that a particular man had threatened Mr Bidejic - we had here on our desks a Bill designed to remove the sanction. But there was not a word to devise the real nature of the thing.
I have spoken at some length and perhaps with some intensity of feeling. I want to put together what I have said. No one has ever doubted where I stood. I do not regard it as particularly clever that I oppose capital punishment in all its forms. However, I would never be content to rest on that. Lest honourable senators think that this is a latter day redemption and that I have drummed up these things just to attack the AttorneyGeneral, I remind them that by and large just about everything I have said tonight I have said in some other context before in this Senate. I have pleaded with the. government of the day to set up an institute of human sciences to look at man. I have pleaded that if the Government detests war as much as it says it does - and I respect that - it is no use just detesting it. Let us do something about it. If the Government detests violence, let us do something about it. If this country is going to be mature - save us from the adolescent kind of hysterial nationalism; if we are going to be authentically grown up and mature - let us deal with great subjects in a mature way. Let us deal with violence in a mature way. Let us bring in Bills which say: ‘Yes, we believe in the. inviolability of human life from foetus to natural death.’ We recognise that there are 2 sides to the coin. We exist here to make laws for the protection of the community.
The Bill that we are discussing tonight will remove the sanction from the guilty but will do nothing to enforce the protection of the community. Therefore, I criticise it strongly. I regret that this is so. 1 have sought not to be destructive and have sought to set out how man should look at the basic principle of violence and human conflict. I hope that this Parliament will receive a statement of reassurance, but not one that is couched in technical detail. We do not want to know whether there is a blue button or a red button on an aircraft which has to be pressed, or other technical details of what is being done, Those things naturally must be secret. But we do want a statement in which it is said that something has been revised, that something has been rescheduled. We want to be assured that the ground crews, the air crews, the civil defence authorities and the police, both Commonwealth and State, know what to do. We need to be told that some philosophy has been worked out. In the most horrible dilemma of man, in national and international terrorism, we have to decide between risking the safety of innocent people and letting guilty people get away. We need to be told that a code has been worked out indicating that at least those who are responsible have intelligently done their homework about things before they happen so that we will not panic and will not be hysterical. We want to be told that in fact studies of man have been set up. If we are going to be civilised and recognise in a free society that life is inviolable, we have to study man. Like Konrad Lorenz in his book on aggression, we should look at man and say that if we do these kind of things they will mitigate these crimes.
Above everything I make, an earnest plea to the Government that it look to the code governing its behaviour under stress of violence and apprehended violence. Whilst taking all the precautions possible, the Government should try not to convey to the general public any sense of over-reaction, lest its cure aggravate the complaint.
– On the last occasion on which I addressed the Senate on this subject 1 was reported by somebody who wanted to make black print that I delivered an emotional speech. After listening to my colleague Senator Carrick 1 am bound to say that I am in no mood other than to be quite prosaic and phlegmatic. I must say that in the latter parts of the speech of my colleague Senator Carrick I found not much that I understood in relation to whether capital punishment should be abolished for crimes which have been established as criminal offences under our law. I want to be quite factual. For my part, whether there is over-reaction on the part of authorities where violence is apprehended 1 think has little bearing upon the justification for capital punishment. The same is true in relation to whether there should be a college for the examination of human behaviour by people on a fat salary who, by length of time, graduate to the category of so-called experts.
Mr Acting Deputy President, if you do not mind my saying so I think that the man who goes about his work in the various callings of life assiduously and purposefully, who mixes in the social affairs of life and who sees the various facets of our life is a better judge of human behaviour than the experts. I add that human behaviour is of such variety that it is not as susceptible to this sort of treatment as psychiatry, psychology and all the intricate isms’ of today indicate. I imagine that not merely is the variety of behaviour typical of an individual but that an individual’s humour and different reaction depend upon a whole variety of circumstances which make an impact upon him. A little drink, a little revenge, a little jealousy and the most simple country youth can resort to an act of violence which leads not necessarily to murder but to homicide. So I banish that as beyond my comprehension.
I start with one of the statements which my colleague Senator Carrick allowed to emanate from him, that is, that the world is moving more and more into a crisis of violence. I think that that statement should be printed on the top of every page of the Hansard report of the debate on this Death Penalty Abolition Bill. The world in our day is moving more and more into a crisis of violence. We live in a marvellous age where the conditions of life ought to make all of us beholden wilh gratitude to the life which we have. We have organised society for mutual protection. This is one of the greatest values of our society - mutual protection, not by carrying firearms and retaliating when a gun is shown but by being assiduous at our work, by abstaining from the idea of psychiatry and impossible abstract studies, by work and by making one of our jobs the formulation of a constitution and a structure whereby we lay down laws the non-compliance with some of which means that the penalty exacted by the court will be sufficient to punish the crime. We have erected a structure which with all its imperfection is the envy of the world.
Anybody who could be satisfied with the performance of the judiciary in a British or Australian society today would be just a dullard. There is a malaise over it. It has to perform but it has to perform under the rules whereby we make the laws, or we should, after developing a very deep understanding of the purpose and the justice of them. We then have a well regulated police force assisted by a law abiding community to detect crime and prosecute. Then there is the judiciary, aided not by technical, theoretical staff, but by the commonsense of 12 jurymen chosen from the street and whose verdict can be trusted implicitly in 90 per cent of the cases.
– What about the other 10 per cent?
– I always understate my arguments and 1 am better if honourable senators do not provoke me. By that process, according to the objective law, some crimes in the present structure attract the death penalty on conviction. In the last century and a half since the beginnings of Port Arthur, Port Jackson and the other penal settlements made at that time, this civilisation has seen the development of the law and the reduction of that category of crime which merits capital punishment. That is a great achievement. The number of crimes has been winnowed down to very few. These include chiefly murder and, more importantly, some kinds of treason. 1 am not speaking of the treason which affects the Royal household - although that is important - but the treason affecting comrades in arms particularly who are betrayed to the enemy and therefore deliberately exposed by crime to the malice of the enemy. Senator Gair made the point this afternoon in relation to degrees of murder. When we review that we can ask how many convictions there have been for treason in Australia in the last 50 years. I think none. How many have there been in Britain? I remember none other than Roger Casement. There may be others.
– Yes, of course. I just recount that for treason. As to murder, where the law requires the death penalty, we have a most widely accepted situation whereby it is still a matter of mercy for the Crown - being interpreted that means the Attorney-General who is the highest law officer in the State - with a proper assimilation of the purposes of punishment and the degrees of punishment to review all the facts, not merely the admissible evidence against the accused but all the facts that are brought together on a file, and to make a recommendation to a responsible group of men who are the Cabinet of the day. Being human, of course they are predisposed to mercy. So out of 100 cases in which we have a conviction of murder we will have 2 or 3 or 5 of the convicted persons executed.
We are moving more and more into a crisis of world dimensions whereby the civilised members of our community - the teachers, the doctors, the drivers, the clerks, the far.mers - want the peace of mind in which they and their womenfolk and their families can go about their daily lives purposefully, without fear. What is the situation of our organised community in dealing with that final dross, that residuum of 2 or 3 or 5 convicted murderers? I am unrepentant, not for revenge but for a sober, sturdy defence of the people who constitute this law-abiding community. In the final result the ultimate minority of murderers must forfeit their right to be of that community, otherwise the number of lives surrendered to be slain by that group and the other 93 per cent who have killed, although not with such a degree of criminality, will grow and the world will move more and more into this crisis of violence.
Whether one quotes the fictitious figure of 6 per cent for America and .02 per cent for Sweden, or whatever the figure is, if we surrender the right to defend the community, after justice and after mercy, against the ultimate criminal murderer, society just becomes cottonwool weakness unable to exert itself. In all the encouragement that is complained of as an unneccesary reaction to overdemonstration of violence and all the encouragement to the criminal class, if even those last 2 unmentionable criminals escape the ultimate forfeit, in my book the community is completely surrendered to save the necks of 2 animals who are so guilty of such atrocious murders that we would have another 100 innocent people the victims of murder.
Do not tell me that capital punishment does not act as a deterrent. Of course, there are the occasions when, because of a love affair or drink, an unthinking act of violence on an impulse produces death. What difference is there between the man who commits premeditated murder, who poisons his wife, and the fellow who peddles drugs? If he could bc proved to have put. a drug into my cup of tea for 2 months so that I shrivelled up and died-
– He could be a hero.
- Mr Acting Deputy President, I am saying only that there are such crimes of murder on the statute book which involve drug peddling in relation to which one cannot prove deliberate murder and in relation to which this community is so merciful as not yet to have made it possible to exact execution for those crimes. But if one can prove that a drug pedlar deliberately has used drugs for the purpose of killing a person, the jury will convict and I say that the community should retain the right to hung.
I said that I put treason aside but, having some knowledge of acts that have taken place with regard to groups of armed forces, it is impossible to allow the traitor who betrays a group of his comrades right into the fire of the enemy to escape the fire of his government which sent those troops to defend us. Then let us take hijacking. I do not know what conclusion I am supposed to draw when reference is made to the Munich affair. What am I supposed to think when a group of people can deliberately fly in for the purpose, herd people together, shoot five or six of them, take some of them away and then bc allowed to live on? Yet 1 am told by the argument to which 1 am addressing myself that only the winners are copied, and if every country in the world were to make it clear that hijackers would not be welcome but would be rejected, there would be losers. If the Parliament had sufficient fortitude to spend nol so much money on useless social services, or social training, or so-called social education but more on increasing the police force and training its members in the cunning of criminals, when hijackers flew in, providing there was sufficient evidence to make an immediate arrest, the evidence could be heard the next day when the court sat and within 7 days the sentence could be carried out. 1 think that would make hijackers less the winners than just rejecting them and not making them welcome. One could see the weakness of international law when Germany after the Munich incidents surrendered the prisoners. That was one of the unmentionable incidents in my life.
I turn now to bombings. Take the case of a man who places a bomb on an aeroplane and commits murder. Suppose ‘Mr Brown’ had succeeded against Qantas Airways Ltd. Fifty or one hundred lives could have been lost in a bloodthirsty way as the victims of this readily at hand explosive. Let that succeed once and the winners will multiply, especially if there are people who will give out a little hand case that contains another $100,000 to buy them off. We want our police force to be well-trained, not merely in brawn but also in brain, knowing all the uses of bombs and all the subtle inventions that criminals are using nowadays. After the jury convicts in these extreme cases, let members of the community say: “We want to deal with these fellows only once’.
I put forward an amendment on a previous occasion on which legislation to abolish the death penalty was debated and that amendment had the support of several honourable senators on this side of the Senate, lt stated that at least the death penally should be retained in the case of the murder of a prison officer or a policeman. Yet I heard it said that the life of the policeman or prison officer was no more valuable than the life of a prostitute or the life of any person living a low form of life. I am not here to discern the difference between the morals of people. But the reason why special mention is made of this crime is that it is absolutely necessary to recruit people to the police force and require them to confront violent criminals in all sorts of situations in which they are at a serious disadvantage. How are wc to have esprit de corps or generate courage that will effectively confront a criminal unless the police are given an assurance that their criminal opponent will be deferred by the highest penalty that we can impose?
I have heard of a statement issued by the New South Wales police at one of their conferences about the increased number of killings of policemen since capital punishment for murder was abolished in England. I cannot put my finger on the statement at the moment. But honourable senators will remember that conference in New South Wales where, 1 think, it was stated that the murder of police in England had multiplied about 5 times since capital punishment was abolished. The prison officer is in the same position, lt is not that a prison officer has any more virtue or value than other members of the community, but because he takes a stand against criminals in the defence of the community the community gives him some added protection. If a criminal commits the murder of a prison officer he pays with the forfeiture of his life.
Lastly, I avail myself of an argument that to me is unanswerable. I have before me a statement from the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ of 30th September 1971. It concerns 2 policemen who went to a cottage where it was believed a murder had been committed. They went in and found a woman dead. Then, one of them was shot. The other one, trying to avoid the gunman, was also shot. But another squad of police did not squib it. lt arrived and found the criminal, having taken possession of a car, fleeing. As a policeman in the pursuing car turned the corner, he saw the barrel of the criminal’s gun pointed at him. Fortunately, the policeman shot first and the criminal was killed without the benefit of the judicial process or a jury and without consideration of any mercy by the Cabinet. The policeman shot in proper self-defence. If any man says to me that we are to deprive the ordinary citizen of his right to self-defence or the policeman of his right to self-defence in a situation like that, 1 say to him: ‘You are losing your senses’.
If that right of self-defence exists for me and if, in such a situation, 1 happened to be half a second slower on the trigger than the criminal and I am killed, if my comrade arrests the criminal and he is brought to trial and judged guilty of murdering me and 2 policemen, by what reason or logic is it said that in that case the community should not carry out the course which was perfectly available to me if I had been half a second quicker on the draw? We have the case of the Bosnian raid.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Brown) - Order! I call for order from honourable senators on my right.
– Let us assume that there is an invasion by 20 or 30 terrorists. It may be into New Guinea, Hobart or Sarajevo. Are. not the lawful forces of the country involved not bound to get their rifles and shoot? Then, if we take the national situation of war and the enemy attacks, as was the case in the last World War, is not it the first duty of any man in the country to defend it, even to death? If it -is proper for self-defence to be undertaken by a.n individual, by a group or by a nation, then it is proper that the Government of this civilised country should not yield that ultimate right basing itself as it does on laws made by, 1 hope, a thoughtful Parliament, upon a system whereby the police are strictly regulated in the prosecution of crime, upon a situation in which the courts are scrupulously fair in the evidence they use and upon a system where the judgments are those of juries and then of the Executive Council which applies its standards of mercy. If it docs it ought to be ashamed of itself. For those reasons I strongly oppose this Bill.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Brown) - Order! Senator Wood, before 1 call you, 1 wish to indicate that I am not very happy about the noise emanating from my right. Senator O’Byrne, if you must have a conversation with your colleague, would you either leave the chamber or at least join him in his seat to give the Senate some sense of dignity? 1 call Senator Wood.
– We have listened to a very fine oration by Senator Wright in connection with capital punishment. I thought that he covered the subject in an excellent manner giving very sound reasoning for the retention of capital punishment. I know that we hear a lot of namby-pamby sentiment on a subject such as this.
– Oh, no!
– Yes, we do. It is nambypamby sentiment. We hear this sort of talk: You may not take a life’. What about the life the murderer takes? Is that of no consequence? Then we hear the argument that capital punishment is not a deterrent. That, in my opinion, is not the real basis of capital punishment. So far as I am concerned, if a person kills others the most important thing is his elimination. We live in a society of human beings and we are all expected to act and live in a reasonably decent fashion. If certain people cannot behave as human beings and if they overstep the mark to such an extent that the lives of others are lost because of their actions, then the thing to do is get rid of them. When I say such things, I recall the practices of tribal people. What did they do? It was a case of an eye for an eye, a tOOth for a tooth, a life for a life. Those are the natural instincts of people who are not carried away by this sickly sentiment.
I am always amazed at the way some people lean towards the guilty person. They do not show the same sentiment towards those whose lives have been lost. As far as I am concerned, people who commit murder deserve no consideration whatever. Sentimental trash is handed out to us, such as: ‘This person probably did those things because he was sick. Corrective measures can be applied. If you would only give him a better status in life he would not act in this way’. What is the evidence that we can see? We see the repetition of crimes by people who are let. off the hook by soft judges. One often sees that somebody has been sentenced to life imprisonment for 20 years, or some such term, and then after 4 or 5 years he is released on parole. This is utter nonsense. For display, such people arc put in prison for a long period of their lives, but release on parole means that they serve a much lesser period.
What is the penalty of imprisonment today? People who have been in gaol have said that it is like living in a very nice motel; they are pandered to, they are catered for and all the rest of it. Gaol has been made so soft-bedded for them that imprisonment today has not the terror it had in days gone by. That is the sort of tripe we are fed about those who kill others. So far as the ease of correcting these people is concerned, we are told that we should let them off and they will not do it again. Some years ago a man whose name, I think, was Lawson raped 4 models in a park near Sydney. Of course, he was later released on parole; he was reformed. What happened? A few years later he got into a school and, I think, he killed a little girl and wounded a school teacher. Yes, he was on parole; of course, he had been in gaol and it was said that he would be a good boy. But what about the poor little girl who was killed and the school teacher who was wounded? This man was imprisoned again. Certain sentimental people go into the gaols to entertain prisoners. A young lady in a group which was entertaining Lawson and others was attacked by Lawson during the entertainment. She was saved by Lawson’s fellow prisoners who restrained him. What utter nonsense some people talk. Am I to believe that a man such as Lawson is fit to move among human beings? Of course he is not.
As for the reformation of such people, one can quote the celebrated case of Darcy Dugan in Sydney, a man guilty of various crimes. Ultimately he was released from prison and people of some church organisation got hold of him. He was said to be such a good fellow, that he had accepted the Christian faith and was going about doing good among people. But suddenly it was discovered that under the cover of this reformation Dugan was committing crimes; so eventually he was gaoled again. We see such incidents time after time. Yet we hear certain people talking this weak, namby-pamby stuff about these poor fellows who are sick in mind’. Only the other day I read about a chap in the United States who killed his mother and cut her into pieces and also killed about 6 other people. Does anybody think he is the sort of person who should be running about the country after a term of imprisonment? Does anybody think that such a person is likely to say when he comes out that he will not to it again? Such examples come before us time after time. But, of course, we hear from sentimental people who refuse to see the realities of life. What do we find in countries in which capital punishment has been abolished? There are indications that crime is increasing and there is a demand for the restoration of capital punishment. The President of the United States has called for the restoration of capital punishment and in the United Kingdom, although the parliamentarians once again squibbed it as they so often do on issues they are afraid of - many of them are weak when it comes to grasping that nettle firmly - there is a rising demand for the restoration of capital punishment. I believe, as Senator Wright has rightly pointed out, that we have to be strong and that if we throw away the strength that we have for the control of such people we will be a very foolish nation indeed. It is a recognised fact that, unless authority is strong, weakness permits the development of attitudes and movements that would not otherwise come about. If we are not strong in dealing with this type of person, then naturally, because of that weakness, more and more people will go on a rampage of killing others.
To give a simple example of how authority can stand up, I recall that in Toowoomba some years ago a magistrate who convicted people of driving under the influence of liquor did not impose only a fine of $20, as many of our weak magistrates do, but put them in clink for a month. As a result, the traffic situation in Toowoomba became almost a perfect example for the rest of the State of Queensland. That magistrate eventually retired, and when he stood for election to the city council his vote was always near the top of the poll. That shows that the people like public men to be strong on matters on which they should be strong. 1 believe that that man evidenced in that simple way that authority gets results. Therefore it can get results when people do not conform to the decent standards of this society.
When speaking on this issue in this chamber some time ago I said that I believed that probably the abhorrence many people have of capital punishment arises from the old. outdated method by which we finish off murderers: They are put on a platform, it falls away and they are hanged. We ought to execute them in a more modern and more simple way. F believe that this would find favour with people much more than the old. out-of-date method which includes a parade for about a week, all sorts of religious services and so on, and then the hanging. My view is that in these modern times the more effective and humane way of execution would be to give them a needle and so send them off. To my way of thinking that is all that the people who commit these hideous crimes deserve. They should be eliminated from our society because they will be a menace if they get out into it again. They are capable of repeating their crimes.
As 1 have said before, if some of the parliamentarians in this chamber were to experience the situation where their own families were being seriously threatened by a released prisoner of. this type they would be the first to call out for the restoration of capital punishment. I have said before, and I say in conclusion, that there must always be a strong authority to make sure that people live as decent human beings. If people are not prepared to live in that way, it is not a matter of a deterrent; it is a matter of their elimination. The one thing they deserve is to be eliminated. I believe that there should be no fear or worry about taking the life of an individual who had no worries about ending perhaps not just one life but several lives. 1 am strongly in favour of the retention of capital punishment.
– This will not be the first time t’hat t have spoken in this chamber on the subject of capital punishment. Because I believe that this Bill is such a serious proposition. I propose to make a few brief observations about it. I noted what Senator Wright had to say about some of Senator Carrick’s observations. I could not help but be surprised by 2 or 3 of the things he said when he spoke about the abolition of lethal conflict. One of the things Senator Carrick proposed was the abolition of the penalty that lethal conflict should incur. He went on to say that the death penalty precluded any possibility whatever of rehabilitation.
This is where I want to bring Senator Cavanagh in. When Senator Bonner was speaking in the debate on this Bill last week lie asked: ‘Who is to say that a criminal will not repeat his crime?” By way of interjection Senator Cavanagh said: ‘The doctor”. Senator Bonner went on to say: ‘The doctor will say that the man will not commit a crime?” Senator Cavanagh interjected: ‘The doctor is the expert’. I believe that the community cannot afford the mistakes that are being made by the so-called experts - the psychiatrists - in regard to these matters. Senator Wood spoke about the case of a man who murdered his mother and 3 or 4 other people. I took particular note of the fact that that man was examined by psychiatrists before being designated as harmless and released from gaol. On his release he immediately proceeded to murder more people. Not many years ago a man was convicted in Sydney for strangling and raping a girl and was sentenced to gaol. During the 7 years he was in prison he was treated by psychiatrists. At the end of 7 years he was regarded as having been cured and let out. He immediately committed the same crime in a worse fashion. I repeat thai one cannot afford to take the risk that the alleged experts will not make mistakes in their assessment of people. The point I am trying to make is that a man who is past rehabilitation cannot be restored to a decent position in society. I say without the slightest hesitation that I would destroy him as one would destroy a mad dog.
What scares me about this proposition is that we could arrive at the position that has been arrived at in the United States of America and the United Kingdom, where the death penalty has been abolished. F believe it is a fact that half of the Stales of the United States of America are considering measures to bring back capital punishment. They are doing that because of the tremendous leap forward in their murder rales.
– There was a Supreme Court judgment that it was against the Constitution.
– Yes. They are looking for ways and means to get around that judgment. I go along with what Senator Wood said. I believe that one of the factors contributing to the violence that we see in the country in which we live and in the world in which we live is the fact that for some strange reason the sympathies of the general public are nearly always with the accused person and very seldom with the victim. I believe that this strange psychological factor is responsible for the meagre penalties that are being imposed. I believe that it is also partly responsible for the great increase that we have seen in the crime rate in this country and in most other countries.
There has been some agitation in the United Kingdom for the return of the death penalty, particularly for the killing of policemen. I was very interested in an article by James McMillan entitled ‘The gun supersedes the rope’. In it he said that in 2 months more people were executed by the law - that is in the streets - than were hanged in Britain in the 2 years before capital punishment was abolished in 1965. He went on to say:
The old argument about capital punishment Ls already being revived in Parliament. lt is, alas, one which rouses furious emotion and very little reason.
By abolishing the death penalty criminals are now carrying guns because they know their sentence - a few years in prison - will be the same whether they kill anybody or not. So they shoot.
And the police shoot back to protect themselves. For that reason, as I said a moment ago, more people have been executed by the law in the streets than were hanged in the 2 years prior to the abolition of capital punishment. The article also stated:
They may even kill without provocation, as they did . . .
A certain gentleman was mentioned. The article continued:
He did not resist, but he was still murdered.
It has been stated during the debate that a referendum was held in California. It was. There was vote of 2 to 1 in favour of the reintroduction of the death penalty. Twothirds of the people who voted voted for its reintroduction. I will admit that the vote was given terrific impetus by reason of the fact that a gang of young fellows who were going down the road in a motor car had a gun, and as they went along the road they shot a 2- year-old toddler who was in a yard. They slowed down the car. One of the fellows put the gun out through the window and shot the toddler dead. They laughed their heads off and drove away. I cannot understand the mentality of anybody who would say that a person capable of such an offence is fit to go on living and can be rehabilitated in society.
– They laughed their heads off? Are you speaking literally?
– That was in the report.
– They shot the kiddie.
– They shot the kiddie. They were apprehended. They were asked why they did it. It was divulged that they did it for kicks. Yet people in this chamber would say that persons such as that are fit to go on living. I do not hesitate for one moment to say thai I would destroy them without the slightest compunction. Such people are beyond rehabilitation. I do not think they could ever be made or induced to take a decent place in society.
I believe that the death penalty will be abolished in the Australian Capital Territory and in other Australian Territories. I believe that in some cases its imposition is the only way in which justice can be done. 1 believe that the penalty for some crimes can be only the extreme penalty. People say that it is no deterrent. The 2 countries which I have mentioned have not found that to be so. If it is no deterrent, no punishment is any deterrent. So why not abolish all penalties? Why not throw everything out through the window, let everything take its course, and let people do as they like? That argument was referred to by Mr McMillan in his article. He spoke about a lot of emotion and very little reason. The people who decry capital punishment by saying that it is no deterrent do so without any means of assessing that it is not. They have no means of proving their case. They are using their emotions with very little reason. I am genuinely concerned that if we abolish the death penalty and if its abolition becomes almost uniform in Australia we will live to regret it and we will live to see movements to bring about its restoration. That is what will happen. We will go down the scale, as the United Kingdom and the United States have done. We will have no reserve power. As Senator Wright has pointed out, where it has been used it has been of great advantage.
We will have no reserve power to mete out adequate justice for these crimes of horror which are committed by animals who are not fit to live but who will be kept by the state, under supervision, as long as they choose to go on living. I will have no hesitation in voting against the Bill.
– I feel that we are discussing an emotional subject - the taking of life on behalf of the community. We are discussing the punishment for rape, murder, treason and terrorism. When we refer to capital punishment there must be a conflict of emotions. The debate has continued over many days. There has been a conflict of legal opinion. We have recognised the fact that there is a religious opinion associated with the matter. 1 find myself taken up by the spirit of the debate. Legal opinion on the question seems to be divided. Legal friends of mine have said that there have been cases in which capital punishment has been imposed and that afterwards evidence has been submitted which would suggest that the imposition was wrong. I believe that there is room for error on the part of the law. No honourable senator would wish to take a life. Honourable senators would be against capital punishment in most cases but 1 feel, as other speakers have felt, that to remove capital punishment from the statute book would be a mistake. J think that the average Australian today is alarmed at present world events. We have heard tonight and on other occasions, about happenings in Europe and at the Olympic Games.
– If there is a mistake in law how is it rectified when the person who has suffered as a result of that mistake is dead?
– I think every honourable senator would recognise that most people who are sentenced to death are given the benefit of the doubt and the sentence is commuted to life imprisonment. I become very concerned about the proliferation of violence in the world today, and 1 have just cited the example at the Olympic Games in West Germany when people came in and committed murder. 1 can point to the case in Beirut where gunmen came in and indiscriminately mowed down people at the airport. I think that these things are alive in the minds of the Australian people.
– Because America did that in Vietnam.
– Senator Cavanagh always mentions that matter whenever this subject arises. But it is in the minds of the Australian people. We have seen this not only at the Olympic Games last year; we also have evidence of it in our country. Senator Gair referred to a violence in Queensland when the proprietors of a picture theatre came home and were brutally murdered. In recent weeks we have seen further evidence of it at a nightclub in Queensland when some irresponsible person or persons created a situation where people’s lives were lost., I believe that this was done with malice aforethought. In my view the support of this chamber is needed to ensure that these things are prevented. I believe that the legislation which we support in Australia should provide for these extreme cases to be dealt with by the imposition of the death penalty. I support the retention of the death penalty, which is the subject of the measure we are discussing.
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The Senate divided. (The Deputy President - Senator Prowse)
Majority .. .. 8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 (Commencement).
– 1 take the opportunity to say what I might have said in the second reading debate on the Bill. I do not wish to transgress by making a second reading speech-
– Order! 1 am sure that you will not be given that opportunity.
– Thank you, Mr Temporary Chairman. I merely say what I said when this principle was debated earlier in the course of consideration of another Bill which came forward. My own personal attitude is that I am for the abolition of capital punishment and I am against any of those qualifications which others may choose to advance with respect to particular circumstances. I have shown my attitude by my vote. I draw attention to one fact: lt is a principle of and practice under English law - this is relevant to another debate which is taking place throughout the nation - that when a women, say a murderess, is condemned to death after due process of law and it is suggested that she is with child-
– Order! 1 am sorry to interrupt you, Senator. The Committee is dealing with clause 2, which refers to the commencement of the operation of the Act. I think you will concede that your remarks are irrelevant to clause 2.
– I might find a more appropriate clause as a vehicle for my remarks later in the Committee debate.
– I think you will be able to do that.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 3. 3 ‘1) This Act applies within and outside Australia and extends to all the Territories. (2.) Subject to sub-section (3.), this Act applies in relation to, and in relation to offences under, the laws of the Commonwealth and of the Territories, and, to the extent to which the powers of the Parliament permit, in relation to, and in relation to offences under, Imperial Acts.
– ] seek to move an amendment to clause 3 (2.). In doing so, I indicate that my Leader, Senator Withers, expressed the attitude which the Opposition was adopting to this Bill. That attitude was that the Opposition was not adopting a party line, as the Government was doing, but that the opportunity was given for every member of the Opposition to vote on this measure as he or she saw fit, that being regarded as consonant with the obligations of members of Parliament on such a vital moral issue upon which opinions run high. We used that principle in contradistinction to the Government’s attitude, which was a forced vote for every member of the Government Party.
Senator Withers said , I supported him subsequently , that when the Bill reached the Committee stage an opportunity would be given by proposing amendments for honourable senators, notwithstanding their general opposition to capital punishment, to express their view that capital punishment might be retained for some particularly heinous types of crimes. I think that there are some honourable senators who may have voted for the second reading of this Bill because the general principle appeals to them but who nevertheless believe that there are particular types of offences for which it is appropriate that the statute book retain the penalty of death. It may be that there were some honourable senators who voted against this Bill but who nevertheless believe that there are particular provisions for which the death penalty might be removed. In an oblique way, the opportunity might present itself in the course of the debate on the amendments for them to express that view. I say that because my intention is to move a number of amendments during the Committee stage to give an opportunity for this type of opinion to be expressed. A list of the amendments that 1 propose to move has been circulated to honourable senators.
In relation to clause 3, 1 move: [n sub-clause (2.), omit ‘and, to the extent to which the powers of the Parliament permit, in relation to, and in relation to offences under, Imperial Acts’.
The purpose of that amendment is to ensure that the death penalty may be retained for those offences which occur in war time and which occur in the face of the enemy. There are a number of offences which have been part of our law for many centuries and I believe that they are offences which are necessary if we are to maintain the stability, morale and, indeed, the complete effectiveness of our armed forces. To recall an expression that Senator Wright used in the course of the second reading debate, ‘You cannot require your forces to take up arms in defence of the nation, send them into the field of battle and allow a traitor to expose them to the fire of the enemy by betraying them’. The effective penalty for a person who commits that type of offence is the death penalty, because the circumstances of war are involved and he is betraying colleagues in circumstances in which they are absolutely defenceless. 1 say to those persons who take the view that the death penalty should be removed in ail circumstances that I believe they owe it to this nation and to the persons who render service in the armed forces of this country, who may take up arms and be required to do so in the defence of this country or in the pursuit of national objectives following the acceptance of wider international obligations, to explain to them why, if in the circumstances which 1 have postulated they are betrayed, the person responsible should be treated as being in some way of higher quality than those whose lives have been sacrificed.
The way in which the amendment seeks to achieve this objective possibly requires some explanation. Clause 3(2.) of the Bill has been inserted following the examination of the clauses of this measure which was conducted by the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs when this matter was before the Senate in late 1971. The clause was subsequently amended because it was recognised by that Committee that there were a number of offences which were not created by Australian law but which were created by old English or Imperial laws which were adapted to Australia by reference provisions in certain Australian enactments. Because there was a real doubt - a doubt which was, I think, well founded - that the language of this legislation did not in its terms apply to Imperial enactments, it was felt appropriate to have a clause which extended to offences under Imperial Acts. If the reference to Imperial Acts is removed, the situation which existed before the Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs looked at this matter will be sustained, and that will have the effect that the various provisions of the Army Act of the United Kingdom and the Naval Discipline Act of the United Kingdom would not apply.
Hie TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Brown) - Order! I am sorry to interrupt but there are honourable senators on my right who are carrying on an audible conversation. Senator Gietzelt, would you mind desisting. This is not a lounge.
– I am indebted to you, Mr Temporary Chairman. This Bill was introduced by the Government. It is to be noted that it has received singularly quiet support in terms of speeches during the second reading stage and a disinterest which has been evident by what you have had to say to Government supporters and, of course, what had to be said by the Deputy President during the second reading debate, it is an important matter, as we have been told on many occasions. If for no other reason than the reason I just mentioned, I think it is obligatory on the Senate to justify its stand and its reasons for the course which is being followed. Whilst it may be typical of the Government that it treat* this measure in a somewhat cavalier way, there are several members of the Opposition who are prepared and concerned to raise each of the issues which we think ought to be raised for consideration by those honourable senators who are prepared to show sufficient interest.
The effect of this amendment will be to ensure that those provisions of the Imperial Acts which apply to Australia by reference only will not be provisions in respect of which the main operative language of this Bill will apply. For example, me Defence Act of Australia creates certain offences by way of adapting to the purposes of the Australian defence Forces the provisions of the Naval Discipline Act of the United Kingdom and the Army Act of the United Kingdom. The Defence Act contains no provisions creating offences for which the penalty is death: these offences are created in the bodies of law which apply separately to each of the 3 Services. This was set out in the report of the Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs in December 1971:
By virtue of section 34 of the Naval Defence Act, the Naval Discipline Act 1957 of the United Kingdom, subject to adaptations, is applied in the Royal Australian Navy. The offences which, under the latter Act as modified, carry the death penalty are: . . Misconduct in action by persons in command wilh intent to aid the enemy; . . Misconduct in action by other officers and nien;
Obstruction of operations:
. Corresponding with, supplying or serving wilh the enemy;
Mutiny; . . . Failure to suppress mutiny with intent to assist the enemy; . . Civil offences (contrary to the law of England) of treason or murder.
Sections 54 and 55 of the Defence Act apply to members of the Military Forces at any time serving overseas, and at all times during war, the provisions of the Army Act(UK.) as it was atthe date of its repeal in 1956 but subject to amendments affected to it by Australian Military Regulations.
Under this legislation the offences carrying the death penalty are: . . Traitorously delivering up to the enemy a garrison, fortress, post or guard or traitorous correspondence with the enemy;
Section 8 of the Air Force Act applies to the Royal Australian Air Force the Air Force Act 1939 of the United Kingdom, as adapted.
Under sections 4, 6 and 7 of the latter Act numerous offences committed in the face of the enemy, or treacherously or involving mutiny or sedition aremade the subject of the death penalty.
The real basis for what is proposed is, I believe -I think there are members of my Party and of the Country Party and of the Democratic Labor Party who believe it also - that these offences should continue to carry the death penally. We believe that if the Government is prepared to require citizens of the country totake up arms and to fight in defence of the country they ought not to be able to be treacherously betrayed or delivered up to the enemy in time of war by actions of individuals, and if it does happen that there are such persons, the offence which is thereby constituted is an offence for which the punishment should be death. The morale of armed forces is maintained by ensuring that no action is able to be taken which is not met with rigorous punishment. If I suggest what punishment other than the death penalty would be appropriate in these circumstances, I suggest that it would be quite inadequate to bring in the sentence of life imprisonment for a person who has committed the type of crime to which I have been referring.
That is the essential purpose and intent of the amendment which has been moved. We believethatit will have the effect which we intend and it has been moved with that in mind. If we are to maintain support of our servicemen it would seem not only proper but also essential that the penalties to be attracted by persons guilty of aiding and abetting an enemy or betraying their fellows should be commensurate with the enormity of the crime.
SenatorMURPHY (New South WalesAttorneyGeneral) (10.17) - This Bill has been passed by the Senate on 2 earlier occasions, once in 1968 and once in March 1972. In March 1972 it was in precisely the present form. The arguments which have been advanced in relation to this clause and in relation to a number of others were advanced in relation to the Bill passed in 1972 and, as I recall it, they were rejected by the Senate.. Since that time the basis for rejection of the argument has been added to in a marked and different way such as to call for the support of all honourable senators, whatever their view might be about the merits of the case advanced by Senator Greenwood. There is a paramount reason for rejecting the proposal put by him now, and all the other proposals, because in the policy speech of the present Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam), made before the 1972 election and since circulated, these words were used-
– If you want to play politics, we can play politics also. Please do not introducethat sort of argument.
– These words were used:
We will pass the Death Penalty Abolition Bills which were passed by the Senate in June 1968 and March 1972 but which, in each case, were shelved by the Liberal ministry in the House of Representatives.
– This is a cheapskate argument.
– The words ‘passthe Death Penalty Abolition Bills’ were in italics. That means that the question as to whether this precise Bill should be passed-
– You are behaving like a cheapskate.
- (Senator Brown) - Order! Just a moment, Senator Murphy. I cannot remember his name but a French philosopher once said something like this:’I might not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it’. That is the position that I adopt while occupying the chair andI think it is well known. I ask this of honourable senators on both sides of the chamber, because this Bill is charged with some emotion.
– Thank you, Mr Temporary
Chairman.I can only say-
– Order! I have not finished.I again ask honourable senators on both sides of the chamber to respect my attitude in this Chair. Senator Rae, there is no need for you to make any further comment. Just respect my wishes.
– I simply say that I apologise. As one who has supported the Bill I had hoped that Party politics would not be introduced.
– Thank you. I accept your apology.
– Whatever might be said by the honourable senator opposite - he is entitled to put his view - I am entitled to put the view that this is a measure introduced by the Government in pursuance of an undertaking made to the people in most specific terms before the last election, I point out to the Senate that included in the Australian Labor Party policy speech were these words:
We will pass the Death Penalty Abolition Bills which were passed by the Senate in June 1968 and March 1972. . . .
The Prime Minister went on to say that they had been shelved elsewhere. That means that for good or bad the then Opposition took upon itself the undertaking and the obligation to proceed with these measures. The program was endorsed by the people. I think we are entitled to say that whatever might be the views and the judgments of persons on the measure - it is clear that a number do have judgments which accord with ours - rat the election for the House of Representatives where the people’s views were sought the people returned this Government with a mandate to introduce precisely the same measure which was passed by the Senate in March 1972.
– I represent Victoria and governments of this character have not yet been elected in that State.
– I hear an interjection about what might be the position in Victoria. In a clear democratic process the Government was elected by the people for the House of Representatives at the last Federal election held in December 1972. Part of the program put to the people was the passage of the Death Penalty Abolition Bill in the form which had been passed by the Senate last year.
– I am supporting this Bill but the honourable senator is not suggesting that because the Government has a mandate that would exclude the right of an individual honourable senator to exercise his private vote in conscience, is he?
– I am pointing out that not only are there arguments on the merits which were dealt with in March 1972 but added to that is the fact that the present Government sought a mandate from the people. I suggest to the Senate that it boils down to this: When one returns to the merits the proposal put by Senator Greenwood is that there should be an exception to this principle. I believe that there should be no exception and I ask the Senate to reject the amendment.
– 1 deprecate the attempt by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Murphy) to introduce Party politics into something which, I understand, has been regarded as a matter upon which the conscience of the individual honourable senator in this chamber should be exercised in a vote which was free from Party politics. To endeavour to suggest that there is some basis upon which the people, represented by honourable senators in this chamber, should be forced because of some artificial mandate allegedly granted to the Australian Labor Party to form a government which could introduce a Bill to abolish capital punishment is to cause even more confusion than that which has been introduced by speakers in favour of its retention. As Senator Murphy well knows I support the Bill. In this chamber I have always supported the legislation and have voted only one way in relation to it. But if ever I have found an occasion upon which my feelings, my conscience and my attitudes have been stretched it was when Senator Murphy attempted to defend the opposition to the amendment moved by Senator Greenwood upon the basis of a mandate achieved by his Government. If ever I uttered words seriously it was when I said by way of interjection to Senator Murphy that he would lose the situation which existed on the vote on the second reading if he continued with the sort of spurious argument which he was putting forward.
To my mind there is no doubt that there are good and valid arguments in favour of this Bill. Those arguments do not include some spurious argument that there is some sort of mandate from the people. The vote on this Bill, if ever there was one, is a conscience vote. I only regret that the Labor Party has not seen fit to make it a conscience vote. If we want to introduce party politics, we have had the allegations at various times that this is a conscience issue. As recently as this afternoon we heard Senator Murphy during question time talking about conscience votes on the part of the Labor Party. Yet there has never been a solitary defector from the Labor Party in relation to this issue during the numerous occasions on which it has come before this chamber. This is a matter which has divided the community widely. 1 do not pretend that the view I hold strongly is held by the whole community. But apparently the Labor Parly does. I can only say that I respect Senator Greenwood’s views, and I respect the views of other honourable senators on this side of the chamber who have argued their case and their views in relation to the retention of the death penalty for certain offences. 1 do not agree with them. At times 1 find it a little, hard to keep from replying in kind to some of the arguments which are put forward for the retention of the death penalty. I refrain from commenting on those arguments because I think the major debate is with those people who genuinely believe that in society’s interest there is a valid case for the retention of the death penalty. They see the taking of life as justifiable in that interest. [ do not. 1 presume that those who genuinely support this Bill also hold the view that the taking of a life does not justify the taking of another life in the name of society. But there is no reason for the introduction of spurious Party political views into this matter which, above all else, is a matter of conscience. I simply rise to deprecate the introduction of that aspect into this debate which I had believed, apart from a certain caucus aspect to which I have referred, had proceeded upon the basis that people would express their own conscience views. I have expressed mine. I, have entered into the debate. Because I had entered it previously I had not intended to enter it tonight but the invitation extended, in effect, by the Leader of the Government in the Senate was one which I felt was not to be resisted tonight.
– I wish to support the amendment which has been moved by Senator Greenwood. I do so conscious that I am one who supported the Death Penalty Abolition Bill. I believe that it should be amended in this regard. First of all I shall deal with the arguments of the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Murphy) as to why we should have no right to argue this matter or to express our own beliefs and feelings on it. Senator Murphy stated that this matter was mentioned as part of a policy speech delivered by a Party which was successful in winning the election for the House of Representatives. I suppose it could be argued by each honourable member representing an electorate that he should vote in accordance with the will of the people in that electorate, whether they voted for or against the Government’s policy. I think that that is just as logical a point of view as the point of view put by Senator Murphy. Indeed, it is a point of view which, over the years, his Party has not seen fit to put forward in this Parliament. Had it not been so there could never have been any opposition in the Parliaments of this country to the commitment of the Australian Government.
- (Senator Brown) - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate I formally put the question:
That the Temporary Chairman do now leave tha Chair and report to the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative. (The Temporary Chairman having reported accordingly)
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Prowse) - In accordance with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate I formally put the question:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following answers to questions were circulated:
(Question No. 209)
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice:
Will the Treasurer inform the Senate if the decision of the Government, through the Reserve Bank of Australia, to decrease monetary liquidity by a call on statutory reserve deposits is the first of a series of such calls; if so, how far does the Government propose to take this process of economic restraint.
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
The decision by the Board of the Reserve Bank to increase the Statutory Reserve Deposit ratio was taken against the background of exceptionally easy financial conditions. Bank liquidity was exceptionally high and bank lending was at record levels and expanding rapidly. The general economic situation was, and is, one of expansion. In these circumstances it appeared prudent to the Bank to modify the very easy monetary policy which had operated since December 1971. The Governor of the Reserve Bank, in announcing the increase in the Statutory Reserve Deposit ratio, emphasised that it was intended that the banking system should play its part in the provision of finance adequate to permit soundly-based expansion of the economy to continue. The Statutory Reserve Deposit action which has been taken does not involve any commitment to further action of this kind. Monetary policy in the period ahead will no doubt be determined as appropriate in the light of developments.
– On 15th March
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation the following question, without notice:
Why does the Government still allow Qantas Airways Ltd to disregard the interests of travellers by its refusal to permit cheaper air fares by the system of advance bookings on the most popular direct SydneyLondon route whereas it allows this system for travellers to the United States of America? Will the Government insist on Qantas serving the interests of the public before the interests of the International Air Travel Association?
The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
Qantas introduced cheap fares (a $700 return fare and a $420 one way fare) between Sydney and London on the Kangaroo Route early last year without requiring passengers to book in advance or to make advanced payments.
Advanced booking and advanced purchase arrangements would not in themselves make it economically feasible for a reduction to be made in the low cost $700’ return and ‘$420’ one way fares.
It is certainly not the case that either the Government or Qantas is disregarding the interest of travellers in obtaining cheaper international air travel. The initiatives I mentioned above are illustrative of the positive policy objectives of Qantas in providing low cost travel for the Australian travelling public consistent with a reasonable economic return for the airlines.
The majority of governments recognise and support IATA as the best available machinery for establishing international air fares, subject to approval of governments. Whatever deficiencies there may be in this form of multilateral machinery, the International Air Transport Association has over the years kept increases in the cost of international air fares down to much lower levels than has been the case with the majority of other commodities.
(Question No. 214)
asked the Minister for Works, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
Some instances are:
Canberra: Woden Hospital - 4 separate contracts involving a total loss of 54 working days 4th
March 1970 to 5th October 1972.
New South Wales: City South Telephone Exchange- 80 days lost from 28th October 1971 to date.
South Australia: Collinswood T.V. Studios - 59 days lost from 17th November 1970 to 1 1th December 1972.
South Australia: Waymouth Telephone Exchange -46 days lost from 30th July 1971 to 11th December 1972.
(Question No. 213)
asked the Minister for Works, upon notice:
In how many cases over the last 5 years, to the best of information and estimates available to the Minister, has a contractor been found
to be paying less than award rates, and
not to be complying with award conditions.
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
Very few cases of either category are recalled by Departmental officers as having been drawn to attention over the lust 5 years.
(Question No. 215)
asked the Minister for
Works, upon notice:
Will the Minister set forth a list of the contractors who. over the last 3 years, have carried out contracts of over $400,000 and are within the category of a contractor having an adverse ‘relationship with the Trade Union Movement’, within the terms of the Minister’s directive of December 1972.
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
There is nolist maintained by the Department of Works to give this information.
(Question No. 13)
asked the Attorney-General, upon notice:
What is the name and address of the firm of Sydney solicitors which has acted for the firm or firms whichhave supplied ‘Bally’ poker machines to clubs in New South Wales.
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
The engagement of a firm of solicitors by a person or company to advise on a business transaction is not a matter of public record. In the absence of any allegation of malpractice or other reason coming within the area of ministerial responsibility of the Attorney-General of Australia,it is not the practice of the Attorney-General to disclose the name of the firm of solicitors concerned without the consent of the parlies to (the transaction
(Question No. 178)
asked the Minister repre senting the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
Will the Postmaster-Genera) supply to the Senate the reasons why telephone installationsin the PrestonReservoir areas of Melbourne are being changed from underground lead-ins toprivate property to the overhead wiring variety, in view ofthe modern practice of preserving our environment and the ghastly distortion of our surroundings occasioned by overhead electric and telephone poles and wiring.
– The Postmaster-General has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
In the older housing areas in Preston and Reservoir it was the practice to provide for telephone services by a system of fully underground cable distribution. Unlike modern practice which requiresthe provision of pipe to facilitate the subsequent installs) tion and replacement of cables, these older cables were buried directly in the ground.
Renewal of these older cables, many of which have reached the end of their economic life, therefore presents a considerable engineering problem and inconvenience to the public sincethe areas are now fully developed, footpaths made up and serviced, and gardens established.
In recent years the Department has negotiated agreements for the sharing of power poles for both overhead electricity and telephone distribution, and replacement of the deteriorated underground telephone cables by aerial distribution in accordancewith these agreements obviates the need to excavatethe made up surfaces and gardens and is considerably less cosily than the underground alternative.
Whilst the Department is appreciative of the desirability, of preserving the living environments from unsightly aerial construction,the erection of comparatively light unobtrusive telephone leads on existing power routes does littleto add to the disfigurement of the environment.
– O n Thursday, 3 May, Senator McLaren asked me, without notice, whether I would inform the Senate of the Oppositions senators who will visit China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as representatives of the Australian Parliament in June this year. The answer to the question is as follows:
Senatorthe Honourable Ivor Greenwood (Liberal) has been nominated forthe delegation to China and Senator Maunsell (Country Party) for the delegation to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
(Question No. 238)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice:
In view of the impending debate on a Bill to provide for abortion on demand, will the medical officers of the Department of Health, in conjunction with the Institute of Anatomy and any relevant university medical school, arrange for the display in the
Parliamentary Library ot suitable anatomical specimens, diagrams and documents illustrating the development of the human embryo and foetus throughout its gestation, together with a description of the various surgical techniques used for the termination of pregnancy.
– The Minister for Health has provided the following reply to the honourable senator’s question:
Unfortunately my inquiries indicate that no useful anatomical museum display is readily available, but I have arranged for tonight (8th May 1973) the screening of a film from the National Library entitled Illegal Abortion’, notice of which has been circulated to honourable senators and members.
I am endeavouring to obtain Information concerning the availability of embryology texts from the Parliamentary and National Libraries and will forward this information to the honourable senator as soon as it is available.
Senate adjourned at 10.31 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 8 May 1973, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1973/19730508_senate_28_s56/>.