29th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Justin O’Byrne) took the chair at 4 p.m., and read prayers.
– For the information of honourable senators, I lay on the table a letter dated 25 June 1975 from the Principal Registrar of the High Court of Australia forwarding a copy of the order made by the Court of Disputed Returns on 24 June 1 975 on the hearing of the questions referred to it by resolution of the Senate of 22 April 1975. The Court answered the 2 questions referred by the Senate as follows:
Copies of the letter and order have been circulated to all honourable senators.
– I inform the Senate that His Excellency the Governor-General determined the appointment of Dr J. F. Cairns as Minister for Environment on 2 July 1975 and that day appointed Mr Whitlam as Minister for Environment. Senator Bishop will continue to represent in the Senate the Minister for Environment.
– It is with deep regret that I have to inform the Senate of the death of Senator Bertie Richard Milliner, which occurred on 30 June 1975. Pursuant to section 2 1 of the Constitution, I notified the Governor of the State of Queensland by letter dated 1 July 1975 of the vacancy in the representation of that State caused by the death of Senator Milliner.
– by leave- I move:
That the Senate expresses its deep regret at the death on 30 June 197S of Bertie Richard Milliner, Senator for the State of Queensland, places on record its appreciation of his long and meritorious public service, and tenders its profound sympathy to his widow and her family in their bereavement.
All honourable senators were shocked to hear of the untimely death of Senator Bert Milliner in Brisbane on 30 June. Despite growing fears about his health, Senator Milliner continued to work in the interests of his State, and he died at his office desk. He took his seat in the Senate in 1968 after a long career in the Australian Labor
Party, trade union and community affairs. He was a former State President of the Australian Labor Party and a former State Secretary of the Printing and Kindred Industries Union. Bert Milliner held almost every executive position in his union, from shop steward to vice-president. He began his working life as an apprentice compositor in the Government Printing Office and later became active in the Labor Party and his union. His work on behalf of his Party was long and meritorious. He was a member of the Queensland Central Executive of the Labor Party from 1944 to 1967 and President of the Queensland Branch of the ALP from 1958 to 1967. Within the community at large Senator Milliner played an active role. His many interests included adult education, the Prisoners’ Aid Society and the working conditions of apprentices. After joining the Senate in 1 968 Senator Milliner played a full role in the chamber and on various committees. At the time of his death he was Chairman of the Publications Committee and Chairman of the Joint Standing Committee on the Australian Capital Territory.
Bert Milliner will be long remembered in this chamber for his ability as a senator and an outstanding representative of his State. He will be greatly missed because he was such a wonderful colleague and a friend. His belief in fair play, his kindly attitude to other senators on both sides of the chamber and his sense of humour are the attributes that many will recall when remembering Bert Milliner. Mr President, on behalf of all senators I express our deepest sympathy to the late Senator Milliner’s wife and family.
- Mr President, on behalf of the Opposition I join with the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Wriedt) in expressing our regret at the sudden death of our colleague Senator Milliner. His untimely death was both a shock and a loss to all of us because Senator Milliner was a courteous, principled and most honourable senator. He was respected throughout this Parliament, throughout his Party, and throughout the trade union movement, and he served all three for many years.
As the Leader of the Government in the Senate has said, prior to his election to the Senate, Senator Milliner had a long career in the Labor movement. He rose to become SecretaryTreasurer of the Queensland Branch of his union, the Printing and Kindred Industries Union, and his experience in that industry led to his becoming a member, and later Chairman, of the Printing Committee of this Parliament. He was President of the Queensland Branch of the Australian Labor Party, a position he left on entering this Parliament. He and I served together on both the House Committee and the Joint Standing Committee on the Australian Capital Territory. He succeeded me as Chairman of that Committee.
He had an impressive record of committee work: He was a member of the House Committee from November 1 969 to February 1 973; a member of the Printing Committee, which later became the Publications Committee, from 1 969 and became its Chairman in 1973. He was a member of the Senate Standing Committee on Primary Industry and Secondary Industry and Trade, a member of the Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts, the Library Committee, the Joint Standing Committee on the Australian Capital Territory, the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, and the Select Committee on the Canberra Abattoir.
I suppose it was in committee work that we on this side of the chamber got to know Senator Milliner best As I have often said previously in this chamber, one of the great spin-offs from Senate committee work is that we learn to know one another across the chamber. I well recall that when I became Chairman of the Joint Standing Committee on the Australian Capital Territory we were then completing an inquiry which had been commenced when Senator Marriott was the Chairman. The friendliness and assistance round the table of Senator Milliner in the preparation and completion of that report I will always remember.
Senator Wriedt referred to his friendliness within the chamber. I suppose that in some ways I will also very much remember him for that. When the roses were blooming in Canberra and I used to enter the chamber wearing a different one each day he would invariably come over to me or stop me somewhere in the chamber and say: ‘Are you wearing one signifying peace today or is it warfare? Can I tell by the colour? Is it white for peace or red for warfare?’ He always took an interest in every individual senator in the place. He occasionally interjected, like most of us do and should not. When he did interject there was always a smile afterwards and one knew it was part of the parliamentary process. He was a good interjector, but having made his interjection there was always a large smile on his face as much to say: ‘Well, I have done that in a political sense but under no circumstances do I mean it in a personal sense’. I think that is how we will remember him. Without in any way denigrating his parliamentary career I will remember Bertie
Milliner mainly as a person rather than as a senator. For those reasons on behalf of my colleagues I extend to his widow and his children our deepest sympathy.
– I am privileged today to have the opportunity to say a few words on this motion of condolence. At the outset I completely endorse the comments made by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Wriedt, and by the Leader of the Opposition, Senator Withers. They referred to the public life of the late Senator Milliner and to his life as a senator in this chamber. I would like to make a few brief comments about the personal relationship which existed between myself and Bert Milliner during his life in this Parliament. I did not know him before he came here but in the 7 years he was here we formed a friendship from the beginning. That friendship grew and blossomed into something which was very real and enduring between us. It became a close personal mateship and it involved not only Bert Milliner himself but extended to embrace both our families.
It is interesting to note that in the course of our parliamentary lives our courses on many occasions were parallel. For instance, I shall never forget the unique occasion when Bert Milliner and I almost solely conducted a Senate Select Committee. It may be recalled by some honourable senators that the inquiry of that Committee related to the affairs of the Canberra abattoir. It was a pretty daunting task when one considers that whilst three of us were elected to undertake that responsibility only two of us contributed until the later stages when the third member of the Labor Party appointed to the Committee was able to rejoin that Committee after a period of illness. That inquiry tested us very sorely indeed because it meant the load had to be shared by the limited numbers available. We were obliged to work during the day in examining witnesses and at night to study the submissions which we had to deal with the next day. I must say that although the inquiry was a very difficult and rather daunting task which put a tremendous load on both of us, at no stage did Bert Milliner back off in any way. He gave 100 per cent loyalty and stayed with it throughout. That went on for some weeks, day and night, but he never once complained. One could say without any hesitation that his was a loyal, absolutely reliable and totally dependable support which I shall never forget. That was the sort of thing which characterised the man in everything he did. He was a man of absolute integrity and I am sure we all acknowledge that point. We also were fellow members of the Joint Standing Committee on the Australian Capital Territory and he became Chairman of it. He worked tirelessly and effectively in that capacity, as he did in everything else he took on.
For me the important thing was the close personal relationship we shared. All honourable senators know that around this place where you saw one of us the other was not too far away. For me the friendship and mateship I shared with Bert Milliner was a deeply rewarding experience. Quite apart from his fierce loyalty and his complete honesty, integrity and dependibility, he had a marvellous sense of humour which I am sure we all salute. It came through from time to time and always at the appropriate time. His sense of humour would come to the fore and enable us to get over difficult situations. He also had a very engaging personality which communicated itself to everybody with whom he came in contact. Quite frankly, I would not know of anybody who could dislike Bert Milliner. I will miss Bert Milliner terribly for the mateship we shared together. On the brighter side, I am the richer and the wiser for having known him and for having been able to share so many experiences and enjoyable times with him. We need people like Bert Milliner around us and we can 111 afford to lose men of such calibre from the public life of this country. He gave himself unselfishly and unstintingly to the service of his country, to its people, to this parliament and in particular to the Senate. I am bound to say, the level of that commitment contributed greatly to his untimely death. I join in offering to his wife, Thelma, a very beautiful woman, and to his lovely family- 2 sons and 2 daughters and his grandchildren- and to all other members of his family the condolences of myself, my wife and my family in the great loss that they have sustained in the passing of our esteemed colleague.
-Senator B. R. Milliner will be missed from this place. He was an aggressive debater and an advocate for those policies which, as a member of the Australian Labor Party, he believed to be correct. He was a loyal and industrious worker for his party, for his State and for the trade union movement in Queensland. In retrospect, his term of 7 years in this place was all too short a time but during those years he was effective on a number of Senate committees and his record stands his name in good stead. He was a man of genuine friendliness and the members of the National Country Party in this place regret his passing. His many friends on all sides of politics bear testimony to the high regard in which he was held. Senator
Milliner belonged to that fraternity of men which prizes honour and virtue above the external advantages of rank and fortune. On my own behalf and that of my National Country Party colleagues deep sympathy is extended to Mrs Milliner and to her family.
-I should like to add a brief tribute to those already paid to the late Senator Milliner. The leaders of the respective parties in the Senate already have dealt eloquently with his distinguished career in the industrial and the political movement and I wish to associate myself with all that has been spoken of previously. Bert Milliner, above all, was a great Queenslander and he was fiercely proud of it. He was born at Kelvin Grove, an inner-city suburb in the western districts of Brisbane, and he lived there all his life. So it was not surprising that the name Milliner became synonymous with western suburbs and any of the activities of organisations in that area. One of his greatest loves was his association with the Western Suburbs Rugby League Football Club, which he told me on the morning of his death was certain to win its first premiership since 1954. 1 think time will prove him a good judge because the club is far enough in front at the moment to win even a Melbourne Cup.
Whilst we could speak at length about his illustrious achievements, time is not available and I want to avoid repetition. But there is one thing I should like to mention regarding his career and that is the contribution he made to community afFairs and the unselfish service he gave to them. As my leader has said, Senator Milliner was a member of the Queensland Apprenticeship Committee. He was a member also of the Board of Adult Education, a member of the Pensioners ‘ Aid Society and a member of the committee that selected people for Churchill fellowships. To these committees he gave many hours of valuable and unselfish service in an honorary capacity and the committees were all the richer as a result of his participation and the trade union experience that he was able to bring to them.
While reflecting on the service that the late Senator Milliner has given to these committees, one wonders just how government committees would function without men like Senator Milliner and the other trade unionists who give so much of their time in an honorary capacity. Whilst Bert Milliner will be missed by many, he nevertheless will be remembered. I suppose one could sum it up in a true Australian term: He is one who has certainly made a scratch on the mirror of time. I join with the previous speakers in extending to his wife, Thelma, and his family, my deepest sympathy.
-! want to speak briefly to the motion. I suppose that I had a longer personal association with the late Senator Milliner that any other senator. We first met over 25 years ago when he was a fairly junior member of the executive of the Printing and Kindred Industries Union. Afterwards I saw him go on to take over as State Secretary and to high offices of other organisations. He was very devoted to the cause of the trade union movement. During his term of office with the PKIU many negotiations were carried out which resulted in industrial agreements and award improvements. Incidentally the improvements were to both the working conditions and the wage standards of the many members of that union in Queensland and throughout Australia. Many people today will remember with gratitude the things that Bert Milliner did for them.
He was an active member of the State Executive of the Queensland Branch of the Australian Labor Party when I first became a member of the Executive. I was closely associated with him in the organisation of State conferences and in the general organisation of the party. For the last three or four years of my regime as State Secretary Bert Milliner was State President. On each occasion that we made a decision, whether it was popular or not, Bert Milliner never let me down. As all of us would know, such a tribute to the State President of a party organisation is a great tribute indeed. He fulfilled many other active roles, as my colleague Senator McAuliffe has said. He acted as Chairman of our Rules Committee. People who belong to political organisations would know the great discussions and in depth studies that are held on rules which control political parties and on the way in which those rules are carried out.
When he was first elected to this chamber his health was not the very best, but he carried out his parliamentary duties in the manner of someone who had never experienced ill health in his life. In other words, he attended regularly each parliamentary session. He was active on various committees associated with the Parliamentary Labor Party and on the committees named by Senator Devitt. I think one of the tragedies associated with his death was that a small element of the Press endeavoured to turn his funeral into a circus. I regret that very much. I think that every decent Australian regrets it too. It was a time of some political discussion. Unfortunately some people took advantage of this for the sake of so-called news.
I conclude by saying that my family and 1 pay tribute to the work that Bert Milliner did as an Austraiian and as a member of this Parliament. I join with the other speakers in extending sympathy to his widow Thelma and her family.
-For the first time in 22 years in Parliament I rise to speak to a motion such as that now before the Senate. I rise for 2 reasons. Firstly, I was privileged to be made deputy to Senator Bert Milliner when he became chairman of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory. Secondly, I admired his amazing qualities of friendship. Whenever I think of Bert Milliner in the years to come or hear his name mentioned, his words of greeting will ring in my ear: ‘Hello, friend. Good morning, friend’. That was the greeting one got on meeting him in the corridors. I believe that was his attitude to life. I remember when one senator retired and speeches were being made about his qualities, in reply he said that he was glad that he was retiring from the Senate so he could hear the nice things people on both sides of the chamber would say about him. I would say this of Bert Milliner If following his illness, which finally caused his death, he had any thought of passing on without returning to the Senate he would have said to himself: ‘I don’t think I have left an enemy. I think they will say nice things about me because I was their friend’. I believe that the words ‘friend ‘, ‘friendship’ and courtesy ‘ sum up the character of the man.
As the chairman of a committee he soon gained a consensus around the table, and he was quick of decision and firm in having that decision put into operation. He was not a time waster. I should think also that he would have been the answer to a Whip’s prayer because time and again during the years in which he was a member of this chamber I noticed that he was called into the debate to liven it up, as well he could, and to give his Party a boost, which he sincerely wanted to do. That is a great attribute. It is a great help to any party to have members of that ability and sincerity.
I have not had the pleasure of knowing his family, but tributes have been paid to his family. I say, particularly on behalf of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory and of myself, that we have lost a very good friend. Our sympathy goes to his family.
-I support the condolences that have been expressed about my colleague Bert Milliner. He was a close colleague of mine. He led the team in the campaign that resulted in his and my election to this chamber. We are fortunate that the qualities that have been described here today are reflected in his wife, his sons and his daughters. I am sure that our sympathy goes out to them. They must be comforted by the pride that they feel concerning their husband and father.
– As the senior senator from the State of Queensland serving on this side of the chamber I feel that I should pay a tribute to the late Senator Bert Milliner. I knew him before he became a member of this chamber. I think I can say with the approval of everybody here that those of us who knew him looked upon him as being a very fine, cleanminded person. He was a person with a very happy personality and disposition. Wherever he went Bert Milliner was always felt to be a friend. He was sincere in his political beliefs. I also feel that he never carried his beliefs to the extent of showing any degree of animosity towards anyone on the other side. He never let the fact that he was on another side interfere with his splendid feeling towards his fellow man.
I look upon him as being a person whom it could be truly said was a gentleman. He was a kind and, as I have said, friendly person. I feel that his departure from this chamber will be a loss to us as human beings who appreciate a decent, good living, fine person as a senator in this Australian Parliament. As a fellow Queenslander I very much regret his passing. He and I led the opposing sides at the last Senate election. As I have said, I will always remember him as being one who was prepared to pay a tribute to someone on the other side even if he was not a successful person. I join in the motion that has been moved for a vote of sincere sympathy to be passed on to his wife and family. I hope that their knowledge of the fact that he was thought of so highly by his fellow senators on both sides of the chamber will be at least some solace to them in their very sad loss.
-I wish to associate myself with this condolence motion in relation to the later Bertie Richard Milliner. I knew Bertie- as I am sure he was known to all his colleagues and to thousands of Queenslanders and Australians generally- to be a warm-hearted, friendly person. When I first came into the Senate in 197 1, Bertie Milliner was one of the first persons here to extend the hand of friendship to me. As in the case of my colleague Senator Devitt, Bertie Milliner and I struck up a very firm friendship. In the true Australian way, I regarded Bertie then- and I will remember him very fondly- as a good mate.
He made his contributions in this chamber, and they were worthwhile contributions. He asked no quarter and he gave none, but to thousands of Queenslanders he will be remembered very fondly, because he was most conscious of his duties as a senator for Queensland, and he helped many, many people in that capacity. I am sure that he will be remembered with great fondness for the human touch and for those things he was able to do for many people, as well as for his contributions as a senator representing Queensland. Sir, I wish to proffer my deep sympathy to his wife and family. Mrs Milliner has lost a great husband, his children have lost a great father, and his grandchildren have lost a great grandfather, but Queensland has lost a great Queenslander.
– I invite honourable senators to signify their assent to the motion by standing in silence.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honourable senators standing in their places.
Senator WRIEDT (Tasmania-Leader of the Government in the Senate)- Mr President, as a mark of respect to the memory of our late colleague, Senator Milliner, I suggest that the sitting of the Senate be suspended until 8 p.m.
– The sitting of the Senate is suspended until 8 p.m.
Sitting suspended from 4.33 to 8 p.m.
– The following petitions have been lodged for presentation:
To the Honourable the President and Members of the Senate in Parliament assembled. The humble Petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That the insurance industry is already coping with
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Senate will reject the Bill.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Senator Sir Magnus Cormack, Senator Guilfoyle, Senator Missen and Senator Drury.
To the Honourable the President and Members of the Senate in Parliament assembled. The humble Petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully sheweth:
That the insurance industry is already faced with
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the House will reject the Bill.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray, by Senator Drake-Brockman (2 petitions).
To the Honourable the President and Senators in Parliament assembled: The humble Petition of undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth that the establishment of an Australian Government Insurance Office will:
Your Petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Senate rejects completely the Australian Government Insurance Office Bill 1975
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Senator Drake-Brockman.
- Mr President, I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move:
That the Senate is of the opinion that the Government has failed to give to the Parliament and the Australian people a proper, full and accurate account of the activities of its Ministers, servants and agents, relating -
– You have not given us a chance yet.
-I hope that copies of this notice of motion are being distributed. If they are not being distributed it may be because there is a reproduction problem. The notice of motion continues: to all dealings by them both prior to and subsequent to the Executive Council meeting of 13 December 1974, which authorised the Minister for Minerals and Energy to borrow a sum not exceeding $4,000m in the currency of the United States of America for temporary purposes, and because the Government refuses to appoint a royal commission with proper and adequate terms of reference to investigate and report upon all aspects of the Government’s overseas loan activities, the Senate resolves-
Sir Frederick Wheeler, C.B.E.;Secretary, the Treasury
Mr J. O. Stone; Deputy Secretary (Economic), the Treasury
Mr R. J. Whitelaw, O.B.E.;First Assistant Secretary, Overseas Economic Relations Division, the Treasury
Mr A. R. G. Prowse; First Assistant Secretary, Revenue, Loans and Investment Division, the Treasury
Mr A. P. Bailey; Assistant Secretary, Revenue, Loans and Investment Division, the Treasury
Mr I. Hay; Revenue, Loans and Investment Division, the Treasury
Mr C. W. Harders, O.B.E.;Secretary, AttorneyGeneral’s Department
Mr M. H. Byers, Q.C.; Solicitor-General, AttorneyGeneral ‘s Department
Mr A. C. C. Menzies; First Assistant Secretary, Advisings Division, Attorney-General’s Department and such other person or persons as the Senate determinesto answer questions-
-I am sorry.
– We do not have copies of it but the Press has copies. That is the way in which you have been working all alonghandouts to the Press before the Parliament.
– Order! Copies of the document -
- Mr President, I am a senator and I do not have a copy of the document but the Press already has copies of it. It is just another handout to the Press.
-Copies of the document are now being distributed. I believe that honourable senators should be a little patient until the attendants distribute copies of the document. Senator Withers can then proceed. I think everyone now has a copy. I call Senator Withers.
-I apologise to you, Mr President, and to the Senate.
– I rise to a point of order, Mr President. I still do not have a copy of it.
- Mr President, I apologise to you and the Senate. I had a heap of documents here that I ought to have given to the Clerk for distribution. I mistook them for other documents, and I inadvertently did not give the Clerk the set of documents for distribution. I apologise to the Senate.
– Order! The attendants will distribute the documents to honourable senators forthwith.
– My motion continues: upon these matters and to produce all documents, files or papers in their possession, custody or control relevant to these matters which have not been tabled in either House of the Parliament; and
Senate may be moved without notice prior to the commencement of the examination of witnesses each day.
- Mr President, the Senate has been recalled in what may be termed unusual circumstances. It would be customary for the Senate now to proceed with questions without notice. I gather from the notice of motion that has just been moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Withers) that the principal purpose for which the Senate has been recalled is to discuss the question of overseas loan raising by the Government. For that reason, I suggest that we proceed with that matter, without having question time this evening. I seek leave to make a statement relating to the overseas loan raising activities of the Government.
-Is leave granted? There being no dissent, leave is granted.
-The speech I will make is virtually identical to that delivered this afternoon in the House of Representatives by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitiam). When the first person personal pronoun is used, it should be taken as referring to the Prime Minister. Mr President, this House has been recalled so that once and for all the people of Australia may hear and judge any allegations of impropriety, illegality, or malpractice against the Government or any Minister. In all the welter of information and misinformation of the past 2 weeks, in all the orgy of trivia drummed up as investigative reporting, one clear fact emerges: No responsible person has expressly or directly made any specific charge of impropriety, of illegal or corrupt conduct on the part of my Government, myself or any individual Minister. Innuendo, insinuation, the sneer, the smear, yes; the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives and his Deputy, willing to wound but afraid to strike, have proved adept at it; but no specific charges. If such charges are to be made, this is the place to make them. Now is the time to make them.
The privileges of this Parliament fully protect members who believe that their information, even partial information, even suspect information, would warrant making specific charges of impropriety against Ministers which the laws of libel might render dangerous if made outside. Here allegations can be made, persons named and documents produced with impunity and immunity. It is not only a privilege which Parliament bestows but a responsibility which it imposes. Through this Parliament, Ministers are responsible to the people, but an equal responsibility rests with members of the Opposition to produce their information, if they have any, to formulate their charges, if they have any.
This is the place to make them; this is the place where they shall be answered. The inquisition by innuendo is over. This is the tribunal in which the Opposition, as much as the Government, will be judged- in the highest court- by the jury of the people. We are all on trial now.
There is a special and overriding reason why this Parliament is the proper place. For it is upon the very question of proper parliamentary conduct that the one authentic event in a week of squalid intrigue turned- not the pseudo events of the media but the one definite event, tremendous in the life of a Party, of a nation, supremely tragic in the life of a man. On 2 July I advised the Governor-General to terminate the commission of the Minister for Environment, Dr J. F. Cairns. As documents which I made public on 1 July and 2 July make clear, I took that decision and was obliged to take that decision on 2 grounds. They were the sole grounds for that decision. First, there was a total discrepancy between a reply given on 4 June and a letter written on 7 March 1975. Secondly, reported activities by a ministerial officer and a government employee would make it possible for him to make a profit from his position on his Minister’s staff. I received no satisfactory explanation for these activities.
The explanation I sought from the Minister did not concern the propriety or prudence of any activities he had entered into as Treasurer concerning petrodollar loan raisings. I emphasise this to draw the contrast between my decision to transfer the honourable member for Lalor from Treasury to Environment on 6 June and my decision to advise the Governor-General to terminate his commission. The first decision sprang from my belief in the unwisdom of the honourable member’s action.
In the case of his dismissal, the issue was very precise. The standards which this Government sets, and upon which I insist, were not upheld. The personal integrity of my colleague was not an issue and is not in doubt. The fault was grievous, but it lies not in his integrity or reputation as a man of honour. He has rendered remarkable service to his Party and the nation. But the lapse from the standards which this Prime Minister at least, and this Government at least, insist upon, left me with no choice.
And in this lies the supreme irony of the present occasion. The dismissal of a Deputy Prime Minister, for whatever reason, cannot but be damaging to any government. The dismissal of a Deputy Leader from the Ministry particularly one held in the regard- affection- of his Party in and out of Parliament as is the honourable member for Lalor, is a tragedy for all the Party, not least its Leader. The course was taken because it had to be taken, because of standards, because of parliamentary propriety.
Yet the Government and Party which has set for itself these standards and which has shown in action how swift, complete and condign is the penalty for any lapse from them, is at the same time being smeared for improper conduct. The House can judge these matters for itself. I ask leave of the House to present papers related to overseas loan negotiations with Mr George Harris and to move a motion to authorise the publication of the papers. I present the following papers: Letter from the Prime Minister and replies to him and a memorandum from the Solicitor-General commenting on those replies arising from the letter to Mr Harris of 10 March and the 2 letters to him of 15 April and cables and letters arising from the letter to Mr Harris of 7 March.
-Is leave granted? There being no dissent, leave is granted.
Motion (by Senator Wriedt) proposed:
That the Senate, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliamentary Papers Act 1908-1974, authorises the publication of papers relating to overseas loan negotiations presented to the House by the Prime Minister this day.
– Statements made in this House are central to any examination of the matter now before the House- the overseas borrowings sought by this Government. The basic facts have been stated in this Parliament in answers to questions. None of the so-called revelations, none of the photostats, the purchased or purloined documents, none of the leaks from the disaffected or disloyal, alter basic facts which have been well known for 5 months.
Until we recalled the Parliament for this matter, members of the Opposition relied on the Press to create an impression of new and neverending revelations. When the Parliament was sitting they initiated nothing, although the nature and amount of the proposed loan had been public knowledge from the second week of February when the session began. On no occasion did the Opposition move a specific motion dealing with overseas loan borrowings; not until the last day of sitting did it move for the suspension of Standing Orders.
For 4 months, while the House was sitting, members of the Opposition took no opportunity to raise the matter on the adjournment or by way of an urgency motion. They refused my repeated invitations to place questions on notice. They relied upon the newspapers to create an atmosphere and yet at the end of it all the research team of journalists of the Melbourne Age, the newspaper which has been most active in the matter, had to concede the basic fact remained as I stated it in the Parliament. In yesterday’s Age Mr Peter Cole-Adams wrote from London: as far as we know Australia has not in fact lost any money as a result of the affair . . .
I could have saved the Age £ Stg8,000 because on 26 May I had told the Leader of the Opposition:
There has been a very great deal of speculation about this. Let me nail it immediately: Not a cent has been paid to the gentleman. Not a cent has to be paid to the gentleman. Not a cent will be paid to the gentleman.
The Age will not query them; it will only condemn. Behind that fact lie all the other basic facts which there has never been the slightest attempt to conceal. They are these: Since 14 December 1974 the Minister for Minerals and Energy had Executive Council authority to borrow up to US$4 billion and to determine on behalf of the Australian Government the terms and conditions of the borrowing. The Minister was also authorised to sign and deliver promissory notes for the purposes of the borrowing, or to authorise any other person in writing to sign and deliver the promissory notes. That authority was revoked on 7 January 1975 since it had not been used and it conflicted with a Deutschmark loan then pending.
I interpolate here to inform the Senate that the answers to 3 questions on notice- Nos 643, 645 and 646- by Senator Wright, 2 of which relate to the Executive Council instruments, will be circulated this evening.
On 28 January 1975 the Executive Council authorised the Minister for Minerals and Energy to raise a loan not exceeding US$2 billion. The authority was revoked on 20 May 1975 for the reason that negotiations were in train for a borrowing of US$1 00m through Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated of New York. Executive Council authorities are usually only sought when a loan matter approaches finality. This does not mean that negotiations or discussions about possibilities are precluded without Executive Council authority.
The purpose of the borrowings, as set out in the explanatory memoranda for the Executive Council, was to meet the needs of the Australian Government for ‘substantial sums of non-equity capital from abroad for temporary purposes; amongst other things to deal with exigencies arising out of the current world situation and the international energy crisis, to strengthen Australia’s external financial position, to provide immediate protection for Australia’s supplies of minerals and energy and to deal with current and immediately foreseeable unemployment in Australia’. The Australian Government intended to carry out these purposes by means of the expenditure of the borrowed moneys on development of the nation’s energy resources. At my Press conference on 10 June 1975 I said that henceforth no person will have any authority to do anything in relation to borrowings by the Australian Government, unless it is done with Mr Hayden ‘s authority.
These are the basic facts. The fundamental facts of the authorisations to the Minister, first to raise up to US$4 billion and then to raise not more than US$2 billion, were confirmed by the Minister for Minerals and Energy in Parliament on 23 April in response to a question from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. From the very outset, as early as 1 3 February- in this House, on this matter- I freely acknowledged that open government did not and should not apply to two financial matters- overseas borrowings and the value of the currency. The real financial unorthodoxy, the real breach of convention, lies with those who would assert that a responsible government should not strive to preserve confidentiality in loan negotiations.
What were the international circumstances the Australian Government had to confront? In 1973 and 1974 eruptions of unprecedented magnitude shook the financial world. Balance of payments surpluses from the sale of oil began to accumulate in enormous quantities in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries world, principally in the Middle East. Surpluses amounting to no less than US$55 billion to US$60 billion are believed to have accumulated in this way in 1974 alone. This huge shift in the location of capital greatly altered the situation of the financial institutions of New York and London which had traditionally dominated the international financial world. This is not to say, of course, that they have not struggled to maintain their hold on international financial business. Like the rest of us, however, they have had to depend on the OPEC countries, the Middle East, for funds.
Let me also point out that there have been some very large borrowings of petro-dollars, since the OPEC surpluses began to accumulate a year and a half ago. In August 1974 the International Monetary Fund raised US$3.4 billion, and the World Bank has made a series of quite large borrowings. We also are aware of individual borrowings of US$ 1 billion or more by the United Kingdom, Japan and France. But if the Australian Government seeks it- this is sinister, this is a scandal. This Australian Government is interested in obtaining loans from that source. We were last year and we still are. We make no apologies for it. It is absurd to suggest that this Government or any future Government will be able to ignore this potential source. No government will be able to fly in the face of economic reality for the rest of this century.
Sources of overseas loan funds do change. Today’s unconventional sources are tomorrow’s traditional sources. Whenever possible, previous Australian Governments have readily turned to new sources, even though at times there has been resistance and criticism, at home and abroad. In the 1920s and 1930s Australia borrowed mainly on the London market. After the war we began to look much more to the United States and Swiss markets, and even to Canada. Then, with the effective closure of the United States capital market as a result of the introduction of the interest equalisation tax in 1963, the Australian Government turned to Euro-currency raisings in the German, Dutch and Swiss markets. The previous Government also borrowed on the Japanese market.
Many honourable members, including those who served in previous governments, will be aware that unsolicited offers of overseas loans are received from time to time. The very fact that a new source of borrowings of unprecedented magnitude appeared in the Middle East has meant that there has been a great increase in the offers from people outside the traditional channels who have claimed to have access to these funds. Obviously, a government which had made clear its interest in seeking such funds, as we have, will receive a great many such offers. There is no reason in prudence or propriety why they should be ignored or just pushed aside. Treasury records indicate that over the last 10 years there have been about 500 names associated with approximately 250 offers claiming access to loan funds available overseas. Almost one hundred of these offers have been received in the last 12 months, no doubt as a result of the changes that have occurred in the distribution of capital funds in the financial world.
I have had a schedule prepared in the Treasury on unsolicited- unconventional offers of loans referred to the Treasurer and Treasury by members of Parliament and others in the period 1950 to 1975. The schedule lists approaches made within the period indicated, through then-serving 3 State Premiers, 7 Federal Ministers, 2 senators, 5 members of the House, 2 State members, one State Treasurer and one former Prime Minister and the present Prime Minister, to be precise, through my Department.
To press the point I mention that the schedule indicates approaches made through my own good offices and those of Senator Wright, the honourable Sir John Cramer, the honourable
David Fairbairn, the honourable Ian Sinclair, the right honourable John Gorton, Mr Michael Mackellar, Senator John Wheeldon, the honourable Les Johnson, the honourable Jim Cairns and Mr Armitage. I seek leave to have the schedule incorporated in Hansard.
-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows)-
Schedule of unsolicited/unconventional offers referred to the Treasurer/Treasury by Members of Parliament, 1950 to 1975 Notes: The details on this schedule have been taken from Treasury files which are all classified Confidential in accordance with standard practice with respect to loan offers from individuals. The offers can be placed in three main groups: Those referred by a Minister or a member of the Federal Parliament; Those referred by a State Premier or Treasurer; Those referred by other members of a State Parliament.
– Sometimes the approach has been made to the Treasurer himself. For instance, in a letter dated 7 April 1961, a Mr Pisterman of Melbourne, apparently the Australian attorney of a Swiss insurance company, wrote to the then Australian Treasurer, the right honourable Harold Holt putting forward a proposition for a borrowing of 25 million Swiss francs in Switzerland by the Australian Government. After examination by the Treasury, there were discussions between Treasury officers, including the then Secretary to the Treasury and Mr Pisterman about the proposition. Subsequently a senior officer of the Treasury who was overseas in connection with various loan matters visited Switzerland and had discussions with the Swiss insurance company to whom Mr Pisterman had directed him. Nothing came of the matter. Clearly this Government is not alone in responding to such offers and fairly it may be assumed that a Government has, as we say, an obligation to check such reference. This we have done as have previous Governments.
In the case of the authority to the Minister for Minerals and Energy great care was exercised, with the assistance of the Government’s legal advisers, to ensure that the intermediary, Mr Khemlani, would have no claims against the Government and that the Government was protected at all points in connection with the proposed borrowing. Swiss lawyers were actually engaged to advise at the settlement stage and arrangements were made for a senior officer of the Attorney-General’s Department to go to Switzerland to be present at the settlement discussions. Mr Khemlani was not an agent of the Australian Government. He has all along been dealt with by the Australian Government as a person representing undisclosed prinicpals
The Minister for Minerals and Energy also made a statement in the House of Representatives today. I seek leave to have his speech incorporated in Hansard.
-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows)-
The same international forces and their Opposition puppets which frustrated the early birth of the AIDC, which destroyed Prime Minister Gorton, now turn their malice, their spleen and their venom on an Australian Government which stands in their path as they seek to further enlarge their grip on Australia’s resources of minerals and energy. U.S. Ambassador Marshall Green has said that per capita Australia is the world’s most resources rich nation. Australia’s proven recoverable resources of minerals and energy are worth SA5.700 billion- an astronomical figure at today’s prices. They will be worth even more. They represent a security ratio of SA1425 in assets for every $A1.00 of our proposed borrowing. The best security ever offered to overseas lenders.
Last week in Tokyo I negotiated with the Japanese steel mills a five year coal export arrangement, which is worth over SUS10 billion. It is over Vh times the amount of the $US4 billion emergency loan, the subject of this debate. The whole of the Opposition case is based on the alleged enormity of the loan transaction. Our borrowing proposal is the proverbial ‘peanuts’, compared with the depth and range of Australia’s resources. The loan transaction was for the necessary infrastructure for their emergency development, based on the energy crisis. The profit from the loan transaction will be 1 ‘A times the loan transaction. When one talks in billions, it is difficult for people to understand the true measure of Australia’s real and potential minerals and energy wealth.
Our offence in the eyes of those international forces is to borrow through official Australian Government channels capital funds on the credit of Australia to cope with an energy crisis. Their alternative is for those funds to come in as foreign investment, foreign ownership, the tragedy of Australia’s development hitherto.
In one of the most shabby episodes in Australian journalism, rival newspapers in ‘chequebook journalism’, offer unheard of sums to shabby continental ‘fringe men’, beyond the jurisdiction of the Australian courts, for fabricated documentation suitably slanted to support their malice. Having bilked the newspapers, their denials follow.
Sixty-five billion Middle East petro-dollars seek investment yearly, generated by the energy crisis. Between $20 and $25 billion of these go to the United States- the merest trickle to Australia. The orthodox financial institutions are unable to cope with this unprecedented flow, just as orthodox economic advisers of some of the world’s major governments were unable to anticipate the results of overdependence on cheap imported crude oil. Today they are bewildered, and lack plans to correct the distortion in the world economy.
Australia, although more fortunately situated than most, still imports $A650 million worth of crude oil yearly. This will be further escalated by the decision of the OPEC countries to further increase crude oil prices in early October, to match the impact of world inflation on their oil incomes. A projected increase of up to 35 per cent could raise Australia’s payments to $1 billion annually.
In this situation, which I forecasted in April 1973, it was no less than my duty to present to the Prime Minister and my senior colleagues, a plan by direct overseas borrowing of $A3 billion (SUS4 billion) to deal with this menace to our overseas trading balance on a ‘crash programme ‘ basis. $A450 million of our import bill can be replaced with the full availability of natural gas throughout Australia in substitution for imported crude. This economy alone would have aggregated in seven years the total projected loan.
The full list, and cost of urgent energy items was presented, not only to my co-signatories of the Executive Council Minute, but also in the presence of the Secretary of the
Treasury and the Governor of the Reserve Bank. The Secretary of the Treasury has consistently opposed the project. My name was inserted in the Executive Council Minute itself, in the course of the drafting. I understand that the Minute itself was drafted jointly by officers of the Treasury and the Attorney-General ‘s Department.
The orthodox objections that such funds could cause distortion, if admitted into the Australian economy, were answered by my proposal to domicile such funds in the United States, invested in approved securities in the name of the Reserve Bank of Australia, and with the approval of the United States Federal Reserve Bank. The United States interest rates then available were comparable with those of the proposed borrowing. The monies would have been drawn down as the respective parts of the energy crisis programme were implemented on a ‘crash’, and in some cases, ‘turn-key’operation basis.
Apart from the completion of the natural gas pipeline from Cooper Basin-Palm Valley-Dampier-Perth, provision was made for the 84 miles submarine pipeline from Dampier to the North Rankin production platform.
Provision was made for participation in the necessary petrochemical plant at Dampier, to extract the natural gas liquids for conversion into motor spirit and other derivatives.
The cost of three uranium mining and milling plants in the Northern Territory and assistance to the Cooper Basin natural gas consortium, in which the Australian Government is now a partner, was included and also the cost of the plans to economise in diesel fuel consumption, by electrification of the heavy freight rail areas in New South Wales and Victoria. Initial expenditure on coal conversion and solar energy research was also provided.
Of current significance was a further provision for the upgrading of the four major coal exporting harbours of eastern Australia, namely Hay Point, Gladstone, Newcastle, and Port Kembla. The need for over $200m for this purpose alone is proven by the agreed coking coal export program for 1975-1980, negotiated by me with the Japanese steel mills, and of which details were published this week.
The $A7 billion coal export programme is 214 times the amount of the proposed loan borrowings. It was negotiated despite the presence in Japan of Mr Anthony doing his ineffective but unpatriotic best to discredit Australia’s national Government. Let any member of the Opposition stand up and challenge the validity and viability of any of these projects.
To maintain and to increase ownership by the people of Australia of our own resources calls for immense sums of money far beyond even our very high Australian propensity to save. It is for this reason that we are prepared, and continue to be anxious, to borrow sums of money on this scale on the best of all possible security, namely our own country, its wealth of resources, and the integrity of the Australian people. In our probings for loan funds we are in such a wellknown company as that of Sir William Gunn, Member of the Reserve Bank Board, who has been busy in Europe doing the rounds. Mr Lang Hancock has also announced his interest in such sources for financing the development of his iron ore interests in Western Australia.
The issue in short is ‘ Who will own Australia? ‘ It is a major issue on which the next Federal election will bc fought, ignoring the smears and sneers of an Opposition which has, to its eternal discredit, the current majority foreign ownership or control of A Australia ‘s mineral and energy resources.
Mr Khemlani was introduced to me on 1 1 November last, by the then Minister for Labor and Immigration, the Honourable C. R. Cameron, M.P. He tendered a Letter of Introduction of 6 November 1974 from Johnson Matthey Bankers Ltd of London, addressed to the Australian High
Commission in Hong Kong. I table a copy of this, together with a report which was sought and obtained by the Permanent Head of my Department that day from Mr C. R. Drover, a senior partner of Messrs Coward Chance and Company, who have for so very many years been the legal advisers in the United Kingdom of the Australian Government.
Separate Treasury inquiries, which were then unknown to me- and I give the lie to the smears and innuendos of 26 May from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition- from Scotland Yard and Morgan Guaranty of New York, confirmed his integrity. The firm of Dalamal and Sons of which he is manager, was stated by Morgan Guaranty to the Treasury to be linked in ownership to the second wealthiest family in India.
In discussion with Mr Khemlani on 12 November, together with my Permanent Head, I informed him that in no circumstances would he be authorised to ‘negotiate and arrange for a loan’. To the contrary, confirmed by letter of that day, a copy of which I now table, I informed Mr Khemlani ‘that the availability of such funds for lending should be confirmed at this stage whereupon negotiations on amounts and other terms and conditions could be commenced immediately between principals’.
Mr Drover was advised of the terms of the letter, and, in relation to the last sentence, that his name had been given to Mr Khemlani, who had been informed that it would be acceptable if Johnson Matthey Bankers Ltd provided to him their confirmation or authentication of the availability of such funds from a lender.
Mr Drover was also told that the whole thrust of the response to Mr Khemlani had been for him to demonstrate that he had a lender of substance before the Australian Government could commence negotiations.
Since the Opposition has made so much of traditional Treasury practice, I now table a Treasury statement concerning unsolicited offers of overseas funds, and if honourable members will read, they will see that that was my purposeto identify principals and secure proof of availability of funds.
I table telex of 1 December to Mr Cameron and myself from Mr Khemlani, also my reply to him of 3 December, and his reply to me of the same day. The two telex messages of 3 December were published in the Melbourne ‘Age’.
On 5 December, Mr Driver reported by telephone that ‘It looks as though it will be alright. I have seen satisfactory evidence that this money is deposited with a first class bank. I have undertaken not to reveal the name of the bank at this stage’.
Mr Khemlani returned to Australia on Saturday, 7 December. He attended a meeting with myself, officers of my Department and the Attorney-General’s Department, and representatives of Darling and Company Ltd, and their legal advisers, Messrs Freehill, Hollingdale and Page, at which the drafting of documentation was discussed.
I table a copy of a Memorandum of Advice given by the representative of Darling and Company Ltd on 8 December. This arose from some question about the effective cost of the loan to the Australian Government.
On the 13th December, the proposed borrowing was further discussed by Ministers and Executive Council authority for borrowing given in a document which has already been published, and of which I table a copy.
I also table a copy of the draft Acceptance given to Mr Khemlani on 16th December for examination by his principals.
This was the latest redraft prepared at meetings attended by officers of the Department of the Prime Minister and
Cabinet, Department of Minerals and Energy, AttorneyGeneral’s Department, Treasury, the Reserve Bank and Mr Khemlani, prior to his departure from Australia on 16th December. We also had the benefit on 1 6th December of Sir Roland Wilson advising on the wording of the draft Acceptance.
Special attention was paid in the drafting to ensure that there would be no liability for payment by the Australian Government to Mr Khemlani, and that he must look to the lenders for payment, which would have been a once only payment. It would not have been applicable to the deferred interest accruing on the original borrowings- which in fact would have become annually recurring loans (over gradually decreasing periods) equal to each successive interest accrual- as explained in the memorandum of Darling and Company Ltd.
To put the matter simply, any school boy can calculate that $100 at 8 per cent interest compounded annually over 20 years will amount to $466 at the end of the term. The expenses per cent was not applicable to what in fact would nave been loans aggregating $466 for every $100 borrowed but only to the original $ 1 00.
In view of the false Opposition allegations, I also table a list of the net proceeds per cent of loans borrowed by the former Government between 1967 and 1972. In many cases the expenses per cent exceeded that contained in the draft Acceptance. As an illustration of the borrowings by the Liberal-Country Party Government in New York, the Commonwealth loan raising in that market in December 1966 involved expenses of 2.55 per cent and the net proceeds were 94.95 percent.
Also on 16th December, I gave to Mr Khemlani a Letter of Identification, which I now table. The letter, which speaks for itself, has been the subject of malicious guesswork. 1 table copies of the documents referred to, together with copies of telexes of the 20th December, to Union Bank of Switzerland and Mr Khemlani, containing necessary details of the Executive Council Minute. I also table a copy of the Draft Acceptance of 21st December, to deal with multiple drawings. The borrowing was not consummated, and notification of the termination of the proposed borrowing was conveyed to Mr Khemlani on the 2 1st December, a copy of which message I table.
In the light of this notification, cheques and a letter referred to by the ‘Melbourne Age’ on 4th July have no validiity, nor is the reference to payment of commission by the Australian Government correct. That reporting is typical of the guttersnipe levels to which ‘The Age’ has descended- to borrow the title of its celebrated slander of the Australian Government.
To add to the ‘egg on their face’, I remind Honourable Members of their libellous editorial on Saturday the 5th July, suggesting the complete failure of my coal mission to Tokyo, when I had in fact negotiated the best commercial arrangement in Australian history, and I remind them of the ungracious, grudging, half-hearted withdrawal in last Monday’s Age Editorial, after it bothered to examine the facts. It is a pleasure to see red faces on even the psychopathic editorial writers of this delightful journal.
Gradutes from the same gutter are those in ‘The Australian’ newspaper who, on 14th June last, after splurging all over its front page a completely inaccurate and misleading story quoting alleged transactions of a Mr Go and Dr Ako with a Mr MacDonald, devote a single final sentence to a complete denial by Mr MacDonald that he even knew either of these people. They are of course unknown to me. Mr MacDonald ‘s denial was repeated on a recent Australian telecast interview of him in his London office.
On 7th January, in connection with the refinancing of a Deutschmark loan, the Executive Council borrowing authority of the 1 3th December was cancelled.
On 28 January 1975 I was given a new Executive Council authority for a borrowing ofUS$2,000m ($A 1 , 500m ). On 30 January, I received telex advice from the Moscow Narodny Bank, London, seeking confirmation that I would accept loan funds prior to their unnamed client ‘committing himself to blocked funds’. I table a copy of that telex, and my reply to it of 3 1 January. The Bank was further advised by me by telex on 7 February, following further discussions with Mr Khemlani, of the draft terms and conditions upon which the Government would be prepared to borrow if confirmation was provided that funds were available in blocked accounts, and immediately available with the permission of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for transfer. I table a copy of that telex, and further three telex messages of 27 and 28 February exchanged with Moscow Narodny Bank. Neither those funds, nor funds which were subsequently to have become available through the Seattle First National Bank (Switzerland) and the Overseas Development Bank, Geneva, became available.
I also table a copy of my letter of 22 March to Mr Khemlani, relative to the Seattle First National Bank, Switzerland, transaction and of my telex of 28 February 1975, to the Seattle First National Bank Switzerland, referred to therein, together with the telexes of 21, 25, 26 and 27 February referred to therein. In paragraph 3 of the telex of 28 February I continued to repeat that in no way whatsoever was the Australian Government to be committed to payment of any costs, fees or other liabilities, and that necessary funds for such purposes were to be obtained from the lenders.
The Executive Council authority of 28 January was rescinded on 20 May to permit of the finalising of a $ 100m loan to Australia in New York. Matters have not been further pursued with Mr Khemlani.
On the 7th instant I was personally informed by Senator Wriedt that a luncheon was given to him when he was in Zurich, Switzerland, at which he met representatives of the Union Bank of Switzerland, Credit Suisse, and other banks. They informed him that in the last month they had arranged loans to the extent of US$6,000m spread pretty evenly between Britain and France, and that in fact Australia’s credit rating still stands high in Switzerland. In other words, they are in a position to act similarly for Australia. Australia has need for such funds.
– I lay on the table the following papers, tabled in the House of Representatives by Mr Connor:
Overseas loan negotiations-
Borrowings by the Liberal/Country Party Government 1967-72.
Taken by Mr Khemlani on 16 December 1974, after discussion with Commonwealth officers.
Dated 21 December 1974.
From Mr P. J. C. Firth, Director, Johnson Matthey Bankers Limited, to the High Commissioner for Australia in Hong Kong, dated 6 November 1 974.
From Sir Lenox Hewitt to Mr Khemlani, dated 12 November 1974.
To Mr Khemlani, dated 16 December 1974.
From Mr Connor to Mr Khemlani, dated 22 March 1975.
Memorandum, dated 8 December 1974, from Mr J. H.
Broinowski to Sir Lenox Hewitt, and attachment. Teleprinter messages-
From Mr Charles Drover to Sir Lenox Hewitt, dated 11 November 1974.
From Mr Connor to Mr Khemlani, dated 3, 20 and 2 1 December 1974.
From Mr Khemlani to Mr Connor, dated I and 3 December 1974.
From Mr Connor to Mr N. Senn, Vice-President. Union Bank of Switzerland, Zurich.
From Mr Connor to Moscow Narodny Bank, London, dated 31 January, 7, 27 and 28 February 1975.
From Moscow Narodny Bank, London, to Mr Connor, dated 30 January and 27 February 1 975.
From Mr Connor to Seattle First National Bank (Switzerland), dated 26, 27 and 28 February 1975.
From the Seattle First National Bank (Switzerland) to Mr Connor, dated 21,25 and 27 February 1 975.
Treasury statement on unsolicited offers of overseas funds.
I will now continue to read the Prime Minister’s statement.
There has been much deliberate confusion created about the manner of use by the Government of these overseas borrowings. Any moneys borrowed by the Government would become part of the loan fund, in the public account, requiring an appropriation by the Parliament for expenditure for the purposes of Australia. None of the moneys could have been spent except in accordance with Parliamentary appropriation.
Loan raisings are not normally referred to Cabinet for decision and they were not in this case. It was proper to authorise the loan raising negotiations by Executive Council instrument and this was done. The initial Executive Council meeting comprised senior Ministers of the Government- in this instance myself, the then Treasurer, the Minister for Minerals and Energy, and the then Attorney-General. Before making their recommendation to the Governor-General, the Ministers had the advice of the first and second law officers of the Crown. It was proper for the Governor-General to act on the advice of his Ministers.
It is no secret that the Treasury had reservations about my Government’s intention to authorise the Minister for Minerals and Energy to investigate loan raising overseas in the terms of the Executive Council Authority. I freely admit that fact, which apparently has become known to the Opposition and the electorate through the leaking of documents. In the event we took the advice of other departments. In saying that we did not accept the Treasury reservations I make no apology, as I make no apology for the Government’s original concept of borrowing extensive petrodollars for capital development. Nor should I have to. It is an arrogant suggestion that a government, whatever its policies, should be frustrated in its decisions because of any bureaucratic opposition.
Is there any real challenge to this view from members of the Opposition? Certainly there was none when they were in government. If it needs support, I need go no further than the 1968 Garran Oration by the former Governor-General and former Minister of the Crown, Sir Paul Hasluck, who examined very closely the proper relationship between advisers and Ministers. And there are numerous other authorities, such as those quoted by the Solicitor-General. This reaches to the heart of the matter- the real origins of this present controversy. Our decision had political objectives. It was a decision about policies.
Those policies meet opposition from many quarters. Some of the opposition comes from those quarters who prefer to believe they are threatened or disadvantaged by our policies and our program. The allegations of impropriety are just a smokescreen for the real ground of opposition. The way to destroy the policies is to destroy the men who promote them.
There is no part of the program of this Government so deplored and resisted by the business establishment- the national establishment and the international establishment, the orthodox at home and abroad- as our determination that Australians shall have the maximum share in the ownership and control of Australia’s resources.
Equally, there was no aspect of our program which received more support from the Australian people in 2 elections. In the 1974 election it was perhaps the decisive issue- the enemies of that policy know that the people support it. Therefore, to discourage popular support for the policy, the methods through which that policy can be implemented must be discredited.
Because the loan proposals which the Minister for Minerals and Energy was given authority to pursue were to be the vehicle for carrying out those policies, the proposal itself must be discredited. The borrowing we seek for energy purposes involves projects of immense scope and great consequence to the development of Australia by Australians. Those projects involve immense sums of money.
A feature of this whole affair has been the way in which figures have been wildly bandied about. The fact is that over a period Mr Connor discussed various sums with Mr Khemlani. At no stage, however, was there authority to conclude any borrowing outside the terms of the 2 Executive Council authorities. It would be absurd to suggest otherwise. Equally, there has been much deliberate confusion about the nature of costs which might have been paid. In fact, the interest rates proposed and the expenses associated with the loan, including commissions, were never at all out of the ordinary by comparison with other government loan raisings overseas. For instance, during 1974-75 there were 10 overseas borrowings by the Australian Government in the German, Swiss and New York markets. The highest rate paid was 10 per cent for a German loan of 200 million deutschmarks in September 1974 with an issue price of 99 per cent and total expenses estimated at 2.22 per cent. As a result the yield to the investor was 10.23 per cent and the cost to the borrower 10.74 per cent. The interest rates for all the other loans were in the range of 8 per cent to 10 per cent. Expenses of borrowing have also fluctuated.
In a number of instances total expenses have exceeded 5 per cent on the face value of a loan. For instance, loans were raised in Switzerland in 1967, 1968 and 1970 when the right honourable member for Lowe (Mr McMahon) was Treasurer. A Swiss loan raised as recently as March 1975 had a coupon rate of 8 per cent, an issue price of 100 per cent and total expenses estimated at 4.37 per cent. The proposed borrowing being negotiated through Mr Khemlani had a coupon rate of 8.35 per cent, an issue rate of 100 per cent, and it was understood that all expenses, including the commission, would be met by the lender. This would have meant that the yield to the lender and the cost to the borrower would also be 8.35 per cent.
Further, it is suggested that sums like $2,000m are so vast as to be unmanageable or unusable. Yet only this week Conzinc Riotinto of Australia Ltd. made a submission to the inquiry into the petroleum and mining industries being conducted by the Industries Assistance Commission. In its submission, the company claims that Australia will need to invest more than $4,000m to boost mineral production by 1980 to maintain its position in the world minerals trade. It is investment of this magnitude we have to be thinking about. Let me recall some of the matters which were concerning the Government- along with all governments in comparable countrieswhen drafting the Executive Council minute of December 1974. Unemployment was rising to a level quite unacceptable to my Government. The world energy crisis had shown no signs of easing. World-wide inflationary pressures compounded both problems.
We saw one opportunity to counter these temporary, short-term pressures on our economy and energy sources, while at the same time reaping long-term benefits of enduring significance to Australia. If the opportunity was to be seized, we knew we should act promptly. We wanted to distribute the money we were hoping to raise quite promptly in a way which would most effectively counter the immediate problems facing the nation. These were the considerations and the circumstances which prompted our urgency. The operation of the financial agreement was of course considered. The former Attorney-General advised orally that, in the exceptional circumstances I have outlined, the borrowing could probably be regarded as a borrowing for ‘temporary purposes’ within the meaning of the financial agreement. There were no requirements under the financial agreement for consultation with the State Premiers for a borrowing of this kind for temporary purposes. It is of course usual and proper for loans to be sought overseas in advance of Loan Council approval. The terms and conditions of a proposed overseas borrowing are usually referred for approval to the other members of the Loan Council- the States- only when there is a firm proposition to put to them. I made our position quite clear in this Parliament. On 20 May the Leader of the Opposition asked me when would the Government seek approval of the Loan Council for the proposed $2 billion borrowing by the Minister for Minerals and Energy. I answered:
If and when the loan is made’.
What is the purpose of the loan? ‘
For matters related to energy. ‘
Provided with the capital, Australia’s vast opportunities to develop its energy resources could be quickly realised. The nation, every State and Territory would benefit from the development of our uranium, our natural gas, our coalour immense natural resources. Australia’s wealth of uranium resources offers vast opportunities for the establishment of an enrichment plant. We are determined to exploit Western Australia’s enormous natural gas potential- the North- West Shelf- rather than selling off its vital part of Australia ‘s farm.
In order to tap the natural gas resources in South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia, we have under consideration proposals costing over $400m for pipelines. My Government is exploring ways of using the vast coal deposits in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria to produce oil by hydrogenationagain an enormously expensive operation. The growing coal market is inhibited by the lack of adequate port facilities. We must up-grade our major coal ports. Australia is heavily dependent on foreign-owned shipping for the carriage of its trade. We are entirely dependent on foreign vessels to carry our crude oil imports. We should not be so dependent on foreign shipping for such vital resources. We need equipment to electrify our railways in Brisbane and Adelaide and many trunk lines in the eastern States.
These are the great, the challenging uses to which we were contemplating putting the funds. Are we to apologise for seeking these goals? Are we to apologise for our determination- our continuing determination- to see them realised? Of course, in all such projects, nothing should be done before full investigation of their feasibility and cost benefits. Quite clearly, there is no point in investigating the feasibility of projects likely to cost at least $3,000m, if one has no prospect of raising such funds. To maintain and to increase ownership by the people of Australia of our own resources call for immense sums of money far beyond even our very high propensity to save. We need foreign capital, but as loan funds, not as equity. It is for this reason that we were and still are prepared and anxious to borrow these sums of money on the best of all possible credit, our own country and the wealth of our own resources. And the real opposition to this loan proposal comes from those hostile to that objective.
It has been suggested by some of our critics that these borrowings would have been inflationary. In economic terms of course, this is pure nonsense. The proceeds of these borrowings would of course have been invested overseas until they were required, probably in New York where a good part of our international reserves are now invested. Does the Opposition suggest that it would be inflationary to import pipes, tankers, hydrogenation and electrification equipment, mining and milling machinery, all or most of which we must import? Would it be inflationary to purchase shares in Australian enterprises from their present owners in London and New York?
We saw one opportunity through which the objectives so strongly supported by the Australian people in the last 2 elections could be pursued. That particular opportunity has not yet been realised. If the opportunity presents itself with reasonable chance of success we shall try again. It is, of course, impossible to answer every allegation, every innuendo thrown up by the Opposition, by the media, in all the outpourings of the last week. In the exact words of the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton) in a very different context in very different days:
I cannot follow the Leader of the Opposition down every manhole, through every sewer. ‘
Spare a thought for the right honourable member for Higgins, overwhelmed by a combination of the present Leader of the Opposition and the interests who opposed his efforts to secure greater Australian control of Australian resources.
There has been a third loan negotiation which, by the way that it was given a sinister connotation and by the way in which the name of a Minister behaving in complete innocence and with perfect propriety was dragged in, epitomised the conduct and encapsules the motives of the Opposition. The television program This Day Tonight on 22 May alleged that the Treasury was negotiating a loan with Transia Corporation Ltd. In fact that company had been informed in February 1975 by the Treasurer that the Government did not wish to take any further action in relation to its proposal.
There was a further approach from Transia Corporation in April 1975, this time through Sir William Gunn, a shareholder of the company and also a member of the Board of the Reserve Bank of Australia. A proposal for US$3.7 billion in loan funds was put forward. Sir William rang Dr Patterson, the Minister for Northern Australia, the Treasurer being unavailable. Dr Patterson passed the message on to the Treasurer, received confirmation from the Treasurer that the Government was interested in raising loan funds and passed the response back to Sir William Gunn. On 20 April 1975 Sir Frederick Wheeler, the Secretary of the Treasury, telephoned Sir William Gunn to say that the Government was taking no action in respect of proposals he had made. I was informed about Transia Corporation’s involvement on 23 April 1975 in respect of a separate approach by the company. On this occasion the company was referred by the Treasurer’s office to the Minister for Minerals and Energy, and subsequent dealings with Transia Corporation Ltd, were conducted by the Minister’s department. The company has not been able to satisfy the government’s requirements as to verification and identification of funds, and nothing has eventuated.
The papers relating to Transia Corporation could be tabled but I would be reluctant to publish them. Many financial institutions are mentioned. People in the financial world are named and their standing commented on. The papers relate to transactions in a delicate area of business, and companies and individuals are entitled to feel in dealing with the Government that the normal confidentiality will apply. Surely there has to be an end to the attempted disruption by the Opposition of the country’s big name and reputation and these insidious imputations against Ministers, companies and individuals. Does the Leader of the National Country Party (Mr Anthony) want Sir William Gunn’s papers to be tabled? Does he make any charge against Sir William Gunn?
Of course, in that respect this has been a damaging affair. The Opposition intended it to be a damaging affair. No attempt has been made to check the bona fides or motives of notoriety hunters and self seekers. Attempts to damage Ministers and the Labor Party are one thing; attempts to damage Australia and Australia’s credit are another. These have failed. Of all the charges made, the one that can be most quickly and fully disproved is that the Australian Government damaged Australia’s creditworthiness by seeking the petro-dollar loan. The truth is that Australia’s credit has never stood higher. Last October Moody’s, one of the two great New York credit rated agencies, gave Australia, for the first time, an AAA rating, the highest available. On 9 June, at a time when the international financial community was completely aware of our proposal to raise the loans which are the subject of the present controversy, that AAA rating was confirmed by Standard & Poor’s, the other agency.
For the whole period of the existence of the Executive Council authority, our credit rating has remained at the highest. If that is not enough, let me point to the extremely successful US$100m loan floated in the New York market in June. New York investors expressed a confidence in Australia’s credit which some Australians seem quite willing to undermine. I cannot take any responsibility for any damage our opponents’ approach may have, but where it really counts and where it can really be tested, we find Australia’s credit higher than at any time in our history.
Let me bring all these points together in one summary of all the issues involved. At no time was Parliament misled about the nature, size or source of our loan proposals. Their purpose was to pursue policies in the interests of Australian control of Australian resources. The proposal was economically sound. Legal advice was obtained from the Government’s legal advisers before the Minister for Minerals and Energy was given authority by the Executive Council to proceed with negotiations for the loan. Proper care was exercised with the assistance of the Government’s legal advisers to ensure that the intermediary in this matter would have no claim against Australia and the Australian Government. Australia and the Australian Government was protected at all points in connection with the proposed borrowing. Proper checks were made on the bona fides of the gentleman involved. Not a cent has been paid or will be paid or is liable to be paid to the intermediary. There has been no impropriety on the part of the Australian Government. There have been no breaches of the law. Australia’s international reputation as a Government with prime borrowing status remains unchanged- remains as high as it has ever been. These are the real matters at issue. These are the important issues.
It all boils down to this: Was there impropriety in the Australian Government seeking a loan which would help promote Australia’s immediate and urgent well-being and promote great long-term Australian objectives? Was there any impropriety in the manner in which the Australian Government sought to achieve those objectives? The objectives were proper. The means were proper. Let those who say otherwise now specify their allegations of impropriety or illegality- specify the precise charge, the precise breach. The purposes for which we sought the loan command the clear support of the Australian people. The purposes, the means were perfectly proper. The Australian people have shown their clear support for our objectives in promoting Australian control of Australian resources which in the final analysis is nothing short of Australian control of Australia ‘s destiny.
In the perspective of these great objectives, the Australian people will despise the pettiness, the self-serving, of those who have chosen this issue to undermine the fulfilment of those objectives. They will quickly see that those who would use any weapon to damage this Government do not give a damn if in the process they damage Australia itself. This is the great impropriety in this affair: The wilful attempt to damage Australia, her credit and the people’s chance to control and develop the resources of their own land. These efforts will fail as they deserve. Australia’s credit remains untarnished and, on any charge of impropriety or any toleration of impropriety, the record will show that this Government is equally untarnished. I move:
– I wish to speak to the motion that the Senate take note of the statement. In the other place today and here again tonight we had an explanation provided by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) which in no way satisfies the Opposition as to this whole matter. An awful lot has been said in recent months and a large degree of criticism has been levelled by the Prime Minister against the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Lynch) in another place. I deal with that matter first. If it had not been for the persistence of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in another place most of what is now revealed would never have surfaced. But in spite of what has surfaced so far, the situation is far from satisfactory. I put to the Senate that the Government’s documents show virtually nothing that is new. Everything that the Prime Minister has produced appears to be an exercise aimed at killing the political reputation of Dr J. F. Cairns, the Prime Minister’s previous deputy.
The facts concerning the rushed- the almost panicky- meeting of the Executive Council which took place on 13 or 14 December last have not been revealed at all. The reasons given for that meeting are totally unsatisfactory. I put to the Senate that the Government has not explained satisfactorily why that meeting was held with such urgency the day before the Prime Minister went overseas- or was it on the day on which he did go overseas? I say that because Senator James McClelland tabled a minute paper in this place just before the Senate rose and that minute paper, which I take to be a draft, bears the date ‘13 December’. I understandand I put it no higher than that- from one of my colleagues in another place that from the documents tabled today it could appear that the Executive Council gave that approval on 14 December. I therefore say that it was either one date or the other.
– Is it not a fact that members of the Executive Council must not divulge details of the Council ‘s deliberations?
- Mr President, if the -
– The honourable senator does not propose to answer the interjection.
-I will come to the suggestion of my colleague, Sir Magnus Cormack, in a moment. I ask the rhetorical question: Why is it necessary that the facts of this meeting ought to be exposed? If all the facts are not given the Government has only itself to blame if there is a suggestion about that there may have been an illegal conspiracy to defraud and deceive the States and the people of Australia because of the secrecy and the haste in which this meeting was called. It is up to the
Government to produce the necessary information which will clear its name or which will condemn it. I put to the Senate that the Government has a duty to produce full disclosure, not selective tabling of documents. We saw in the Senate some 2 years ago selective tabling of documents by the Government on another matter. It is the Government’s duty to produce information which will show whether it was advised that its actions were legal or illegal. It must show whether it was advised that the loan raising was proper or improper. It must show whether the legality of its actions was questioned by either the Governor-General or its own advisers. I put to the Senate that for the Prime Minister to suggest that all the advice it received was the oral advice of the then Attorney-General as to the probable- I understand that is the term- lawfulness of this operation is preposterous.
I put to the Senate that the only way in which this matter can be properly resolved is by a royal commission consisting of at least one judge, preferably three, with all the powers that a royal commission has- with all the powers to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents and to provide protection for witnesses who give evidence before it- not one of those hole in the corner so-called judicial inquiries but a full royal commission of at least a judge or judges with all the power that goes with a royal commission. The basic charge that we make against the Government is that it is the Prime Minister who has ignored constitutional requirements. On the face of it at the moment, the Prime Minister appears to be the leading member of a conspiracy to deceive and defraud the States. Why do I say it in those terms? Let us go back to the minute paper of the Executive Council, a draft of which I take it was tabled in this place by Senator James McClelland last June. It commences by referring to section 61 of the Constitution. The opening paragraph, I suppose, is one of the 2 pertinent sections of it. It states:
Whereas the Commonwealth of Australia herein after called Australia proposes to borrow a sum not exceeding $4,000m in the currency of the United States of America for temporary purposes . . .
What is the meaning of temporary purposes? That can be open to dispute. The question is: Why was the term ‘temporary purposes’ used? It was used as a simple device- a devious device perhaps is a better description than a simple device- to get around the necessity of consulting the Australian Loan Council. It was done for that reason, no other. I note that some of the apologists for the Government are reported in one of the newspapers this morning as saying that the Government was claiming that temporary purposes does not relate to the length of the loan but to the purposes for which the loan was borrowed. The Prime Minister denied that argument in the statement which was just read by the Leader of the Government in the Senate. As I understand it, in the simple terms which I would use, the Government intended to borrow $4,000m, invest it somehow or other in New York where it would earn some interest in the meantime and then indulge in some massive national projects, as the Prime Minister termed them. It is hardly a temporary purpose to electrify half the railways of Australia or to go into oil exploration. These cannot be temporary purposes. Surely the word ought to be given its proper and ordinary meaning- namely, temporary purposes means a loan of a limited duration. I think that the normal man in the street would regard that as being a loan of some months’ duration. I put it to the Senate that that was the intention when the financial agreement between the Commonwealth and the States was drawn up. Therefore we charge the Government with having promoted a meeting of the Executive Council either on 13 or 14 December that was deliberately attempting to deceive and get around the provisions of the financial agreement between the Commonwealth and the States. That is a fraud on the States, a fraud on this Parliament and a fraud on the taxpayers of Australia. It cannot be regarded as being anything less than that.
It also has been said, of course, that the Minister for Minerals and Energy (Mr Connor) had but power to seek the availability of loans. That will not stand up to a reading of the Executive Council minute which was tabled in this place. He was authorised to borrow for temporary purposes. He was entitled to determine, on behalf of Australia, the terms and conditions of the borrowing. He could even make the promissory note. He could issue one and deliver one. He was not just authorised to seek out the availability of the loan; he was fully authorised to enter into the loan itself.
How can these matters be determined? How can it be determined whether the Government has acted properly? I understand that one of my colleagues in the other place- the honourable member for Wentworth (Mr Ellicott)- has just finished a speech in which he has put quite clearly his view that what the Government did was not lawful; it was illegal. I think the terms are interchangeable.
– That is his view.
-lt is not only his view but also the view of Mr Deane, Queen’s Counsel, of Sydney. He is one of the more distinguished Queen’s Counsel of the Sydney Bar. I understand that that opinion has been read into the record or incorporated in the Hansard of the other place. I am quite prepared to have it incorporated in the Senate Hansard. The facts are simple. Mr Deane dealt with the matter very clearly on page 4 of his opinion when he said:
It is clear thai if the proposed borrowing: had not been borrowings ‘for temporary purposes’ they would have been in breach of the Financial Agreements and illegal. It follows that the restriction of the authority conferred by the Governor-General in Council to borrowings “for temporary purposes’ was essential if the conferring of the authority was not to amount to a purported authorisation of an illegal act. lt also follows that if, in fact, it was intended to expend the moneys borrowed for other than temporary purposes, the proposed borrowings would have been illegal as being both beyond the authority conferred by the Governor-General in Council and as being in contravention of clause 4 (4) of the Financial Agreement.
That is the burden of the charge that we lay against the Government. How can the facts best be elecited in, as Mr Malcolm Fraser has said, this whole sorry, sordid business? I think that the terms of my proposed amendment have been circulated. 1 trust that Senator McAuliffe has a copy. We believe that the proper way in which to look at this marner is by way of a royal commission. Those honourable senators who look at paragraph (2 ) of the amendment which has been circulated will see that we still hold to that view. I have given notice of a motion on this matter, Mr President. 1 think that the cleanest procedural way for us to proceed would be for me to be given the leave of the Senate to withdraw that notice of motion and to move the amendment which I have circulated. Therefore, Mr President, I ask for the leave of the Senate to withdraw the notice of motion which I gave earlier this evening.
– Before I put that to the Senate, 1 just draw your attention to standing order 1 14, which states:
No Notice or Contingent Notice shall have effect for the day on which it is given.
But if you wish to proceed.
– Well, if 1 do not need to give -
– You do not need leave.
-Then I inform the Senate that I withdraw it. If I have to do something formally, I will do it at the table with the Clerks. Honourable senators will see that my amendment, which I have circulated- and if the Senate believes it ought to be read I am prepared to read it- states that we prefer that a royal commission should look at this matter but, if the Government is not prepared to accede to a royal commission, the Senate itself must take on the burden of attempting to elicit the facts.
I freely admit that the Senate is not the best place to do that. A royal commission is the best place; the Senate is only the second best place. I appeal to the Government to conduct this inquiry in the best way, as it will look better and be better. As the Government appears to be quite resistent to setting up a royal commission as we have suggested, I believe that the Senate has no alternative but to call before the Bar of the Senate- and I have suggested that the date for this should be Tuesday next at 2.30 p.m.- the persons set out in the amendment which I have circulated. May I say why those persons are listed? They are listed for a fairly simple reason.
First, in the Larkin minute- if I can call it that- of 23 May last, which was tabled in this place by Senator James McClelland just before we rose for the winter recess, Mr Larkin mentioned certain persons who were present, as he says, in the course of the evening while the Executive Council minute was being typed up. He refers to Sir Frederick Wheeler, etc, and then Mr Hay. He states those who were present as Messrs Byers, Harders, Menzies and Rose of the Attorney-General’s Department, and Sir Frederick Wheeler and Messrs Prowse, Bailey and Hay of the Treasury. He says that he was also present. I think that I have enumerated there 7 people who were present that night. To that list the Opposition has added Mr Stone, the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and Mr Whitelaw, the First Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. I think that the other one is Sir Lenox Hewitt.
Among those 10 gentlemen there must be knowledge of the advice tendered to both the Treasurer and the Attorney-General, as well as to the Minister for Minerals and Energy. Within the possession, custody or control of those 3 Departments and the officers of those 3 Departments must be all the relevant papers, documents and files which have not yet been tabled in the Parliament. That is our reason for calling those gentlemen.
I think it is only proper that the Senate should call these gentlemen before it to answer questions about this matter. The sorts of matters about which we would be seeking to obtain information were listed in another place by my colleague. Mr Malcolm Fraser. The documents at least that we would want to see to clarify the loan raisings would be as follows: The Executive
Council minute issued in December authorising the Minister for Minerals and Energy to borrow up to $4 billion, and all associated letters and documents. We would also want to see the Executive Council minute and documents authorising the borrowing of $2 billion. In addition, we would like to see the Executive Council minutes authorising the Treasurer in respect of the Deutschemark loan, the United States loan, and borrowings for the Australian Industry Development Corporation, and all associated letters and documents.
What is also necessary is the advice to the Government in respect of loan raisings- the advice from the Treasury, the AttorneyGeneral’s Department, the Department of Minerals and Energy, the Prime Minister’s Department, the Department of Labor and Immigration, the Australian Industry Development Corporation, the Commonwealth Bank, and non-government sources including banks and other financial institutions. I think it is also necessary that the Senate be informed as to the advice from the former Treasurer, Mr Crean; any advice tendered to the Government from the Reserve Bank; the advice to the Government about the legality of the Executive Council minutes; the Treasury advice on the impact of the $4 billion loan; and copies of all correspondence and records by Ministers and departments to and from intermediaries, contacts and their associates.
From the facts as laid down on the table not only the Parliament but also the people of Australia can come to a judgment on the Government’s activities. To do other than what I have proposed is not to be frank and fully open about what is happening to the money of the taxpayers of this country. It is of no use for the Prime Minister to make a speech, having set the stage in the House of Representatives today, hoping that this whole business will go away. It will not go away; it never will. Too many other things have happened in this Parliament which have proved that things just do not go away until everything is laid on the table for open and full inspection. We on this side of the House are well aware of what happened over the VIP issue when full and open facts were not put down. I put it to the Government that it is in the same situation at the moment. It is not a matter of our putting up or shutting up. Rather it is a matter of what the Melbourne Age said- put up or get out. I think that is far better advice than that which was tendered in the recent controversy over the loan raisings.
Mr President, does the Senate require me to read the whole of my amendment or may I have leave to move it and have it incorporated in Hansard as it has been circulated?
-Is leave granted? There being no dissent, leave is granted.
-I thank the Senate for its courtesy. I move:
For these purposes a request by the Leader of the Government in the Senate shall be deemed to be a request by every member of the Government, a request by the Leader of the Opposition shall be deemed to be a request by every member of the Opposition and a request by the Leader of the National Country Party of Australia shall be deemed to be a request by members of that Party.
Provided further that the request or requests may be made to the President by leaving the same with, or delivering the same to, the Clerk of the Senate, who shall immediately notify the President.
In the event of the President being unavailable the Clerk shall without delay notify the Deputy-President, or, should he be unavailable any one of the temporary Chairmen of Committees who shall be deemed to be required by the Senate to cancel the meeting on behalf of the President, in accordance with the terms of this resolution.
I would hope if the Senate carries this amendment that before 15 July the Government does accede to our request to appoint a royal commission and then the Senate need not go into this exercise. I hope that for the Government’s sake; I hope it for Australia’s sake. If the Government is not prepared to accept my proposal then I would hope that the Senate would be prepared to proceed and do its duty by the Australian electors. I realise that my colleagues in this place on both sides of the chamber will understand that there may have to be some new Standing Orders or new procedures worked out for the proposed date but they ought not be matters which would make us shrink from what is obviously our duty. We are to some extent involved, as my colleague Senator Sir Magnus Cormack mentioned earlier, in a constitutional crisis. It is part of the long continuing struggle between the Executive and the Parliament. It is a struggle which commenced long before the civil war between Parliament and Charles I which I think ended in his execution round about 1648. It was continuing before then. It has been a continuing struggle ever since.
– He would be an authority on executions.
– What happens these days is that one does not execute the monarch; the electors execute the Government. It is a far more civilised method of carrying things out. This is but part of the continuing struggle. It is the struggle of the Executive to keep secret to itself, especially to keep secret to itself, things which it ought not to have done and things which it has done badly. It is part of the duty of the Parliament to expose this. It is part of the duty of the Parliament to protect the electors against the worst excesses of the Executive. I put it to the Senate that that is what my amendment tonight is all about. My amendment tonight is about whether or not one House of the Parliament is prepared to make the Executive Government come clean as to its dealings for the sake of the electors who sent us here. I still say that we would prefer to have a royal comission. I hope that before 15 July arrives the Government will accede to our request and appoint a royal commission. If it does not intend to do so, I hope that tonight the Senate will support my amendment, in which case we can come back here on Tuesday next and embark upon this great adventure.
– The Government does not intend to debate the amendment which has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Withers). Before the Senate rose for the winter recess 3 weeks ago several invitations were made to the Opposition to produce evidence to support the allegations it was making. That evidence was never produced. Even today the Opposition has had ample time during the course of the debate taking place in the House of Representatives to produce the evidence which is obviously necessary to make out some sort of prima facie case to support the allegations of impropriety on the part of the Government. That evidence has not been forthcoming. I do not wish to say anything further except this: We do not agree with the course of action being taken by the Opposition. We are realists. We know quite well that if the Opposition wishes to have these persons brought before the Bar of the Senate it has the numbers to have them brought before the Bar of the Senate. I indicate that we do not agree with the course of action which is being taken. We do not believe that the Senate chamber should be turned into a Star Chamber before which many people of high repute in the Public Service will be dragged. I believe that it is an action which demeans the Senate, and I think it will be embarrassing and probably degrading to the people who will have to be involved. We regret that that course of action is being taken but there is very little that we can do about it. I suggest that we proceed to a vote forthwith.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion, as amended, agreed to.
Motion (by Senator Douglas McClelland)- by leave- agreed to:
That the Senate at its rising adjourn until 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday next, 15 July 1975.
– Pursuant to section 8 of the Urban and Regional Development (Financial Assistance) Act 1974,I present 15 agreements in relation to the provision of financial assistance to New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western and Tasmania.
Bearers of Official Passports: Entry into Britain- South Australia: State Election- Medibank- Premier of South Australia
Motion (by Senator Douglas McClelland) proposed:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I shall keep the Senate for only 5 minutes. I wish to make a complaint. I ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Senator Willesee) to take up with the British Home Office the apparent lack of parity existing between Australia’s attitude to John Stonehouse, who has an official British passport, and the attitude of the British authorities at Heathrow Airport to me last Sunday in regard to embarkation cards, a copy of which I have given to the Minister. I have asked repeatedly for some reciprocal agreement between Australia and Britain. Whilst in this instance the British authorities questioned my right to refuse, as I did, to sign these cards, I said I would continue to do so whilst Mr Stonehouse was given particular treatment in Australia. I am not objecting to certain immunities for members of Parliament, but I think if some privileges are accorded gentlemen from Westminster when they arrive in Australia I am equally entitled, travelling on an official Australian passport, to have the same understanding.
I repeat that it was a friendly disagreement. The officers from Australia House doubted that I had the right to refuse to sign the card. I took the point that if we had given respect to certain credentials that Mr Stonehouse had it was time we cleared our end. As the Minister for Foreign Affairs knows I suggested, at least on 3 occasions, that there be more effective liaison between the British Home Secretary and our people in
Australia House. For that reason I table another of these cards for the Minister. It will go with the one he already has. 1 hope, when we come back here on Tuesday, that I will receive an answer to this long standing grievance that I have raised before.
– I will certainly take up the matter. I do not think we will be able to have something by Tuesday. The matter may necessitate our doing something in London, but I will certainly deal with it as quickly as possible.
– I want very briefly to refer to a very strange occurrence in South Australia. At the moment the State Leader, Mr Dunstan, is busily repudiating his own Federal Party.
– There is an election on.
– As Senator Cavanagh has said very rightly, there is an election on in South Australia. His State Leader is repudiating the policies which the Minister for Police and Customs (Senator Cavanagh) and his Leader in the Federal Parliament have been following so assiduously for the last 2½ or 2¾ years. It is indeed an act of very great disloyalty by the South Australian Premier to the Party which has allowed him to govern South Australia without rift or without division. The State Premier has been going across Australia claiming close affinity with the Federal Party right throughout all the years of his tenure as a member of Parliament and yet, at the first show of real oppositiona show of defeat in South Australia- the Premier repudiates his Party. The inept way that the Federal Government has responded in trying to assuage the fears of the South Australian public especially in relation to the wine industry will not be successful. The announcement of the Federal Government that it will strangle the South Australian wine industry over 7 years instead of five in no way satisfies that industry in my State.
The claim that the Premier, as I have said, has made that he is not aligned with the socialist objectives of the Federal Government is not true. The South Australian Premier is guilty of taking a left turn to a far greater degree than his Federal colleagues. I cite 2 instances for the Minister for Police and Customs who is so disturbed by his State Leader. The State Labor Party in South Australia last month passed proposals for worker participation in our State which we know the State Premier is bound hand and foot to follow eventually by the pledge which he has given as a member of the Labor Party. Those proposals are not for worker participation but for worker control and would rival the control of industry by workers of any communist country in central Europe. In fact those proposals are to replace the boards of management by boards which will be composed one-third by representatives of owners, one-third by representatives of employees and one-third by appointees of the Government. That is the type of policy we have in South Australia.
Mr Dunstan will not prosper by throwing aside unpopular Federal Labor administration at this dme and going back to his own left wing policies which are, in fact, more left wing than those of the people from whom he tries to dissociate himself. Therefore, I should like to say that the Minister, who is so disturbed by his own State leader’s action, will get his answer next Saturday.
– I do not wish to continue the debate tonight for too long, but surely Senator Steele Hall, after twisting the sword in the backs of his ex-colleagues here, should be in South Australia as the Leader of that little group which is now proposing to join with the Liberal and Country parties. If that is not double crossing and then again coming back to the old fold, I do not know what it is. The honourable senator’s action in talking about Labor policies in South Australia indicates his lack of knowledge of what is happening overseas. It is not very many weeks since I pointed out to him that the notions about worker participation and the new ideas about industrial relations in South Australia that he was putting up indicate only that he is not aware of what is happening in Europe. As Senator Steele Hall has been told more than once, and as he ought to know by now, Western Germany, for example, which is held to be a great example of parliamentary democracy, a most advanced democracy with good leadership, has such a law in existence at the present dme, and the effects on industry are certainly much more stringent. The policies decided by the German Government and accepted by both the German employers’ federation and the unions indicate a greater participation in industry than the proposals made by the Labor Government in South Australia.
There is no question that in South Australia the State has been led very well by the Labor Government, as Senator Steele Hall well knows. Mr Dunstan has been such a good leader in South Australia that he chased Senator Steele
Hall into the Federal arena because he could not compete with him. Mr Dunstan is faced with a situation where Senator Steele Hall’s colleagues at last may be combining with the Liberal and Country parties, and they think that they will succeed in defeating the Labor Government. I do not think they will because all the things that have been done in South Australia have been proved to be the best from an industrial point of view, in any of the States, and they will help to entrench the South Australian Labor Government. I suggest that before Senator Steele Hall gets up again and talks about worker participation and the requirement that there ought to be worker representatives on boards and that they should take some responsibility for management on the shop floor, he ought to look at the European experience.
– 1 wish to raise a matter relating to Medibank. I note that there has been passed recently a statutory rule which relates to the Health Insurance Act. To be short in this matter, I wish to ask several questions which I hope the Minister will note and perhaps answer for me later. I ask the Minister: Is it a fact that a statutory rule, No. 135, has recently prescribed 160 public hospitals in Victoria for the purpose of section 17( 1 )(b) of the Health Insurance Act and, if so, why have they been so prescribed? I ask: Is it a fact that the effect of regulation 2A(e) of the Health Insurance Regulations prevents medical benefits under Medibank being paid to patients in public accommodation in prescribed hospitals and, if that is so, why is it? I also ask: Is it a fact that the further effect of regulation 2A(e) of the Health Insurance Regulations will be to prevent a Medibank medical benefit being paid in respect of any professional services rendered on the premises of any of those prescribed hospitals? I ask the Minister Will he make clear if this means that patients occupying private or intermediate accommodation in the prescribed hospitals will be denied a Medibank medical benefit? If that is so, why is it so? I ask that question in the light of this statement made by the authority of the Treasurer, Mr Hayden, on page 12 of the booklet entitled ‘Medibank and You’:
If you receive doctors’ bills for treatment in hospital you will be able to claim medical benefits from Medibank in the usual way.
The public confusion, at least in Victoria, has been caused by the Government by this recent regulation. I ask the Minister: Will he immediately undertake to withdraw regulation 2A(e) or give a suitable explanation to the people in Victoria?
– I rise to make some comment on the remarks made by Senator Hall. He never ceases to seize an opportunity to endeavour to denigrate the South Australian Premier who was always more than his match in the South Australian Parliament. Senator Hall does not denigrate only Mr Dunstan. He is on record as having denigrated the present leader of the Liberal Party in South Australia, Dr Eastick, on many occasions. Senator Hall is also on record as being one of the people who brought about the demise of Mr Snedden by supporting Mr Fraser. As I said to Senator Hall by way of an interjection on the last occasion that we sat in this Parliament, if by some chance the Liberals regain government, by backing Mr Fraser Senator Hall has been guaranteed a place in a future Liberal government as a Cabinet Minister. Senator Hall has backed Mr Fraser so much that when Mr Fraser a few months ago was to go to the electorate of Goyder campaigning on behalf of the Liberal Party, Senator Hall made very strenuous efforts to get him out of there. Mr Fraser was to appear at many functions and he appeared at only a few because Senator Hall could see perhaps that the seat of Goyder, now held by Mr Boundy, was in some jeopardy if Mr Fraser was to campaign most vigorously in that electorate.
While Senator Hall in this Parliament tonight has tried to denigrate Mr Dunstan he is also on record, according to the heading of the editorial in the Courier-Mail on 9 May of this year, as saying ‘Don’s a match for your Joh’. He was talking about the Queensland Premier who is now campaigning on behalf of the National Country Party in south-eastern areas of South Australia. The article which appeared in the Courier-Mail on 9 May reads in part:
The South Australian Premier (Mr Dunstan) would be a formidable opponent for the Queensland Premier (Mr Bielke-Petersen), Senator Steele Hall said yesterday.
Senator Steele Hall is the former South Australian Premier and now Liberal Movement leader.
He spoke in Brisbane yesterday at an executives’ lunch.
Mr Dunstan said on Monday that the mention of Mr Bjelke-Petersen ‘s name in other States raised laughter.
That is what Senator Hall said. The article continues:
Mr Bjelke-Petersen countered yesterday that he would go to Adelaide to ‘show up ‘ Mr Dunstan.
Senator Steele Hall, in his address to the Australian Society of Senior Executives, said Mr Dunstan would treat Mr Bjelke-Petersen with courtesy, but would be a formidable opponent in public debate.
As Senator Hall knows, he was more than a formidable opponent in the Parliament of South Australia both as the Leader of the Opposition when Senator Hall was the Premier and as the Premier when Senator Hall ratted on his own Party, the Liberal Party, and in a moment of petulance formed a breakaway party which is now known as the Liberal Movement. Speaking on the present election in which we are now engaged in South Australia Senator Hall said:
South Australia party ‘off its head ‘.
That comment appeared in the Canberra Times on 20 June. The article is headed ‘Adelaide, Wednesday’ and states:
The leader of the South Australian Liberal Movement, Senator Hall, said today the South Australian Liberal Party was ‘off its head ‘ to force an election over the railways issue.
The party was apparently interested in repeating the events of last year when the Federal Liberal Party forced a double dissolution. ‘The stand the Liberal Party has taken is without any popular base of electorate support ‘, he said.
I agree with Senator Hall that the Liberal Party is off its head and has no popular support in the electoral base.
But Senator Hall never ceases to seize on an opportunity for some cheap political propaganda. No doubt by making the remarks that he has made here tonight he is hoping to get some headlines in his Adelaide Advertiser tomorrow which has always been a great supporter firstly of the Liberal Party and then of the Liberal Movement. He is hoping that by making some sensational remark he will cop the headlines tomorrow and so help along his colleague, Mr Millhouse, in his efforts to become, as Mr Millhouse has said he will become, the Premier of South Australia. We must not forget that when the break took place Senator Hall and Mr Millhouse are on record as saying in the South Australian Parliament that they never again would combine with the Liberals. But what did the leader of the Liberal Movement say in his policy speech the other night in Adelaide? He said, with the full backing of Senator Hall, that he is prepared to work in coalition with Dr Eastick. What did Dr Eastick say? He said he would not have a bar of them at any price. He will not even talk to them until after the election.
– this is the matter I want to refer to mainly- never ceases to seize an opportunity to denigrate the union movement and the trade unions. I have here a supplement which was published in a trade union journal some time ago and it sums up Senator Hall to a tee. It is headed Liberal Movement- Liberal Myth’ and states:
Liberal Movement leader Steele Hall in the propaganda for his Senate election campaign makes much of his claim to be more ‘progressive’ than the official Liberals with whom he has bitter personal quarrels.
He claims to be a reform politician, for enlightened change, a genuine alternative to the Labor Party.
And for the working people of South Australia it is dangerous nonsense.
His political career and beliefs are based on a deep-seated hatred of trade unions and he is longing to throw into reverse all that the ALP and the union movement have fought for over decades to achieve wage justice and decent job conditions.
A study of what he and his handful of supporters actually say show this.
A look at just part of their record in recent years proves this- consistent, unjustified attacks on trade unions.
To them unionists are always wrong, employers always right.
Back in May, 1 970, when he was Premier, he roundly condemned a cement workers ‘ strike as irresponsible.
In October that year- in Opposition- he was attackingand distorting- the Government and the AWU over compulsory unionism. “This type of strong arm tactic … is repugnant to all fair minded citizens’, he said.
A month later unionists in the car manufacturing industry felt his wrath.
Industrial unrest posed a threat to Australia’s whole economy, ‘militant action . . . will destroy our existing capacity’.
A few months later, he claimed the industrial scene was in a state of deterioration and urged the Government to prevent black bans.
A month later it was the turn of the ACTU.
They were accused of making a secret agreement with retailers to enforce compulsory unionism, employees were intimidated and the Minister of Labour and Industry was encouraging the breaking of the Industrial Code’ because he is ‘ browbeaten ‘ by industrial leaders.
And so it goes on: Hall and his deputy Robin Millhouse -
He is the person who aspires to be Premier of South Australia after Saturday- vie with each other to attack unionists.
Hall: Says SA industries are moving to other States because of industrial disruption.
Accuses the TLC of ‘attempting to strip away the protection of the law from anyone who stands against it’.
Claims it is the unions’ attitude that has brought the (Adelaide Ship Construction) company to its knees.
Millhouse: Says workers are being urged, bullied, and pressured by the Transport Workers’ Union.
Described an Australian Railways Union strike as disastrous’.
Accuses the Liquor Trades Employees ‘ Union of intimidation, the Boilermaker and Blacksmiths’ Society of ‘grossest interference with the affairs of a company. ‘
A year ago Hall claimed Australian industry was in ‘grave danger’ because of a ‘reckless’ union ban on US ships. Now he is on the attack again professing concern about union management, demanding checking of accounts by the Auditor-General despite the fact that audited balance sheets are already required by law to be presented to the Registrar of the Industrial Court.
These are just a few incidents out of many.
Hall and Millhouse never miss a chance to knock a union.
Strikes are ‘disastrous, disruptive or irresponsible’- even when an industrial court upholds workers’ grievances.
Some people might regard persistent sniping at unionists as progressive. Workers won’t and won’t be taken in by the LM- the ‘Liberal’ Myth.
This supplement I have read was put out in many trade union journals. I want to say to Senator Hall tonight that the people of South Australia, the real workers of that State, the trade union members and their dependants, know what his Party stands for and they know what he stands for. They know that he would have the workers in chains if he could. He supported Mr Chapman in the South Australian Parliament- he is the Liberal member for Alexandra- when he said that the only way to get the workers to do as the big bosses say is through their stomachs, by starving them into submission. Senator Hall never objected in the State Parliament when Mr Chapman said that. I want to say to the people of South Australia -
– I take a point of order. I regard those words as being most offensive to Senator Hall. I base my objection on standing order 418. The words just used were most offensive to my colleague Senator Hall whom I have known for many years. The words just uttered are completely offensive. Standing order 418 states:
No Senator shall use offensive words against either House of Parliament or any Member of such House, or of any House of a State Parliament . . .
The standing order refers to any member. I think it is most necessary that Senator McLaren retracts that remark.
-Would the honourable senator please state the words he wishes withdrawn.
– I have not noted the actual words used. The meaning of the words to which I refer were an offence to any member of this Parliament.
– Speaking to the point of order, I have no intention of withdrawing what I said because I was quoting the words of Mr Chapman and they are recorded in the South Australian Hansard. Mr Chapman is the member for Alexandra. In referring to Senator Hall 1 said that he had made no effort to repudiate those words uttered by Mr Chapman, nor did other members of his party. I do not have the extract from Hansard with me but I have it my office. I will show it to Senator Laucke when the Senate adjourns.
– I wish to speak to the point of order, Mr President. It is true that the remarks are offensive to me in the sense of association because what Senator McLaren has said is not so. I have never associated myself with those remarks and they are repudiated to the extent that my Party is now standing against Mr Chapman because of those sorts of sentiments that he holds and my Party will take his seat on Saturday.
– I was speaking to the point of order, Mr President. I am pleased to hear Senator Steele Hall dissociate himself from Mr Chapman’s remarks and I wish that he and his colleagues had dissociated themselves from those despicable remarks when they were uttered in the South Australian Parliament. I want to conclude my remarks by saying that of the State election in South Australia on Saturday -
– Order! Are you still speaking to the point of order?
– No, Mr President.
– I do not propose to make an issue out of this matter. I ask the honourable senator to proceed with his speech.
- Mr President, I thought the discussion on the point of order was finished. Of course, Senator Steele Hall agrees that the South Australian Government will be returned to office- as it will be- after the election results are posted on Saturday night. He indicated this in the remarks that he made when Dr Eastick challenged Mr Dunstan to go to the people on the railways legislation. Mr Dunstan accepted the challenge which was thrown out by Mr De Garis. Senator Steele Hall might object to my calling Mr De Garis, the Leader of the Liberal Party in the Legislative Council, a good friend of his because I know he is not. The very next day we found Dr Eastick saying that if Dunstan were returned to office on Saturday his party would let the railways legislation through the South Australian Parliament. We find also that Dr Eastick has said in his policy speech that he will negotiate with the other State Premiers to renegotiate an Australia-wide railways agreement. Mr Bjelke-Petersen and Mr Hamer are reported in the South Australian Advertiser today- I think the headline indicated that they slapped Dr Eastick in the face- as having indicated that they will not negotiate at all. So we have a difference of opinion in South Australia on the hustings at the present time.
Although Dr Eastick brought the Premiers of the 3 eastern States to South Australia to support him, two of the most experienced of them- Mr Bjelke-Petersen and Mr Hamer- came out on the public platform last night in South Australia and repudiated the very things on which Dr Eastick was hoping they would support him. So we will be faced on Saturday in South Australia with a divided Opposition. We have the Liberal Movement, the Liberal Party and the Country Party all vying with one another and telling the people that they can form a government. At Murray Bridge last night the Country Party called a meeting and I was informed by telephone this afternoon that the only persons who were present were the 2 speakers and the local press reporter. So it was a large meeting! We can discount the Country Party as being a force in the electorate of Murray, anyway. No doubt the Country Party may win a couple of other seats. But if the South Australian people are going to have inflicted upon them after Saturday a coalition government made up of 3 disunited groups, all I can say is: God help the people of South Australia.
– I wish to intrude for a moment or two and comment on the remarks of the previous speaker, Senator McLaren I think it is quite extraordinary for him to defend Mr Dunstan in this way because I recall that in 1970, I think it was, the present Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) in a speech at the Australian National University suggested that all Australian Labor Party State members of Parliament and State premiers were working towards their own dissolution. I find it quite incredible for our friend from Murray Bridge in South Australia to defend his Premier here. I suppose I can understand that the Premier of South Australia is ashamed of being associated with the Labor Party. I want to draw the Senate’s attention to an advertisement that appeared in the Advertiser today in which Mr Dunstan asked people not to vote for the Labor Party but to re-elect the Dunstan Government. I find that an extraordinary about-face by a man who has been encouraging the Federal Government in its centralistic legislation. He has pulled out from under and is ashamed to be associated with the Labor Party.
I believe this advertisement condemns not only the Federal Labor Government but the State Labor Party as well. I condemn Mr Dunstan for his dishonesty in advertising in this incredible way throughout South Australia in an attempt to hoodwink the people of South Australia into supporting in that State a socialist government which is dedicated to the ideals of the Labor Party in eliminating not only State governments but also the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 9.37 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Minerals and Energy, upon notice:
– The Minister for Minerals and Energy has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
France, in association with Spain, Italy, Belgium and Iran (the EURODIF group), has commenced construction of a diffusion enrichment plant with a planned capacity of 10.7 million SWU per year expected to reach full output by 1982;
Britain, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Netherlands (the URENCO group) are co-ordinating in the building of two demonstration centrifuge enrichment plants each with a planned capacity of 200 000 SWU per year by 1977;
U.S.A. is improving and uprating the capacity of its three diffusion plants to a total capacity of 27.7 million SWU per year by 1986. In addition to the Australian Government’s intentions to which I have referred from time to time, reports of planning associated with the construction of enrichment plants suggest that:
U.S.A. United Enrichment Associates (a partnership comprising Bechtel Company) has completed plans for a nine million SWU per year diffusion plant to be in full production by 1983. Further, a number of industrial and utility groupings are expected to make proposals to the U.S. Government for small regional centrifuge plants by September 1975.
Britain, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Netherlands are planning to extend their centrifuge enrichment capacity to a total of two million SWU per year by 1982 with the possibility of a further expansion to 10 million SWU peryear by 1 985.
South Africa has plans to construct a five million SWU per year enrichment plant to reach full production by 1986.
Japan is planning to construct a centrifuge pilot plant by 1979 and a one million SWU per year centrifuge plant to reach full production by 1985.
Zaire has commissioned a Belgian Company to consider the feasibility of a 8.75 million SWU diffusion plant.
Plans are also being considered for the construction of a second multinational diffusion plant using French technology, the site of which would not necessarily be in France.
(a) At present, the U.S.A. currently satisfies almost the total world commercial demand for enriched uranium (excluding U.S.S.R., China and Eastern Europe);
asked the Minister for Labor and Immigration, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice:
– The AttorneyGeneral has provided the following answers to the honourable senator’s question:
l ) and (2) These parts of the question seek legal opinions on the effect of the Trade Practices Act and it would be inappropriate to answer them in answer to a question on notice. However, the relevant provision of the Trade Practices Act would be section 45 and I invite the honourable senator’s attention to the fact that the section is not applicable if no contract, arrangement or understanding is involved.
The names of the bodies that have been granted interim authorisations are:
Royal Australian Institute of Architects Association of Consulting Engineers of Australia Institution of Engineers Australian Institute of Building Institute of Surveyors, Australia (A.C.T. Division) Royal Australian Planning Institute Incorporated Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia A.C.T. Law Society
Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors
Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Australian Institute of Landscape Architects
Professional Photographers ‘ Association of Australia
Film Production Association of Australia
Dental Laboratories Association of Western Australia
Real Estate institute of N.S.W.
Real Estate Institute of Victoria
Real Estate Institute of Queensland
Real Estate Institute of South Australia
Real Estate Institute of Western Australia
Real Estate Institute of Tasmania
Real Estate Institute of Northern Territory
Real Estate Institute of the A.C.T.
Society of Real Estate Agents and Valuers Ltd
Commonwealth Institute of Valuers
Estate Agents Co-operative Ltd (N.S.W.)
Mortgage Brokers ‘ Association of Western Australia
Customs Agents ‘ Association of Queensland
Customs Agents’ Association of Western Australia
Australian Associated Stock Exchanges
Stock and Station Agents’ Association of N.S.W.
Homebush Stock Agents’ Association
Quirindi Saleyards Selling Agents’ Association
Bathurst Selling Agents ‘ Association.
asked the Minister for Labor and Immigration and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister in Matters Relating to the Public Service, upon notice.
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
The Public Service Board has provided the following information:
Graduates appointed as Clerk Class 1 constitute the largest group of graduate recruits appointed to a single designation, and represent about a third of the total number appointed each year to all designations. Departments notified a total of 594 vacancies for graduate Clerks Class 1 from the beginning of the 1974/75 recruitment campaign in August 1974 up to the end of December 1974. Since the beginning of 1975 a further 145 vacancies have been notified, bringing the total of demands to 739 as at 30 April 1975 compared to 652 vacancies notified in respect of the 1973/74 campaign.
Vacancies are normally notified and filled on a continous basis throughout the year.
Although offers of appointment have been made in respect of all vacancies notified not all persons accepting offers have commenced employment.
Figures as to the numbers of graduates appointed to other designations over the same periods are not yet available.
(a) The numbers of graduates appointed to all Third Division designations in the Australian Public Service in the years 1972, 1973 and 1974 were:
Figures as to the number of graduates newly employed in all Third Division designations for the respective months of 1 975 are not yet available.
The number of graduate Clerks Class 1 newly employed in the first four months of 1 975 were:
These figures include graduates taking up duty following offers of appointment made in late 1 974.
Over 25 000 students graduate from Australian tertiary institutions each year. It is unlikely that any increase in the numbers of graduates recruited to the Australian Public Service in the first months of 1975 as compared to the same months in previous years would affect confidence and growth in the private sector.
Public Service: Decentralisation away from Canberra (Question No. 561)
asked the Minister for Labor and Immigration and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister in matters relating to the Public Service, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
The Government will be transferring other new and existing employment units to new growth centres in order to ensure that progress in these centres is as rapid and efficient as possible.
Among the criteria which will be considered arerelocation will be directed towards relieving pressure on major cities and at the same time promoting the growth of regional centres; decisions will be consistent with Australian Government priorities for the development of particular regions and growth centres; growth centres will have priority, to the extent of their capacity, in location of units of Government administration. New units will, as far as possible, be located in growth centres consistent with the efficient execution of their functions; although Canberra is a growth centre, it is less in need of growth stimulus than newer centres; new growth centres provide a viable alternative to Canberra for the location of units of ‘national’ or ‘central office’ character.
Each growth centre will tend to specialise in certain functional areas. This specialisation would be balanced by appropriate growth in the private sector and could be supported by the development of related academic disciplines in educational institutions in the growth centres. Functional groupings in growth centres which are expected to emerge are-
Albury-Wodonga: National education, environmental studies, transport, agencies with a national ‘market serving’ role (e.g. Health Insurance Commission).
Bathurst-Orange: Earth resources study and development, cartography.
Geelong: Biological sciences.”
This decision was made prior to the development of growth centre criteria, and the move is to take place in early 1 978.
National Companies and Securities Legislation (Question No. S6S)
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice:
– The AttorneyGeneral has provided the following reply to the honourable senator’s question:
Attorneys-General to meet with him to discuss matters of mutual concern relating to that Bill. As appears from my answer to Question No. 2429 (House of Representatives page 289 1 ), the response to that invitation was disappointing.
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice:
– The AttorneyGeneral has provided the following reply to the honourable senator’s question:
asked the Minister for Police and Customs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable Senator’s question is as follows:
Again, on 27 May, 197S, when he announced the creation of the Australia Police, the Prime Minister made it clear that both the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory Forces would be included in the new force.
To allow the Legislative Assembly to consult the Commissioner of the A.C.T. Region of the Australia Police and to provide easy access to the Minister for Police and Customs, Mr Enderby proposed the A.C.T. Police Council. The A.C.T. Legislative Assembly has yet to respond to an invitation to nominate two of its number as members of the Council.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education, upon notice:
– The Minister for Education has provided the following reply to the honourable senator’s question:
The Commissioner has conducted extensive recruitment campaigns to meet the needs of all schools in the Northern Territory, with particular reference to the requirements of schools in remote areas. As you will note from my reply to part 1 of this question, only in some case have schools been closed because of a lack of teachers. The possibility of providing special conditions for teachers in isolated schools is being examined by the Commissioner, and I will ensure that my concern in this matter is brought to his attention.
asked the Minister for Labor and Immigration and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister in Matters Relating to the Public Service, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
July 1973- seminar on more effective management services- $800
November 1973-A. D. P. seminar-$3460
March 1974- seminar on data based design and administration for the Department of Overseas Trade and the Public Service Board- Board’s share $645.
Since January 1975 the Company has been involved in three efficiency reviews of departments for the Public Service Board costing $35,3 10, $37,050 and $37,270.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice:
– The Prime Minister has supplied the following answer to the honourable senator’s question
I ) and (2) See my answer to Question No. 646 (infra).
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice:
Will the Government table in the Senate on Thursday, 12 June 1975, all files in (a) the Treasury, (b), the Office of the Minister for Minerals and Energy, and (c) the Office of the Prime Minister relating to the transactions conducted by the Treasurer and the Minister for Minerals and Energy, pursuant to the Governor-General-in-Council’s Minute for loan raising.
– The Prime Minister has supplied the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
– On 29 May Senator Davidson asked the following question, without notice:
I refer the Minister for Foreign Affairs to reports in today’s Press concerning a mission leaving for Hong Kong to determine the number of Vietnamese refugees eligible to enter Australia. Is this mission visiting Hong Kong at the request or suggestion of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees? Will the mission make inquiries regarding the whereabouts of ships reported to be making their way to Australia? If not, can the Minister give the Senate any later information concerning these people?’
I confirmed that a team had gone to Hong Kong to do a survey of refugees and undertook to see what further information could be obtained with regard to any ships that might be heading for Australia carrying refugees. I wish to advise the honourable senator that from the information available to the Government it does appear that any ships carrying Vietnamese refugees have headed for Australia.
– On 5 June 1975 Senator Gietzelt asked the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs the following question without notice:
In view of Australia’s good relations with both Thailand and the United States of America, will the Minister indicate whether any official statement has been made commenting on the recent use of United States bases in Thailand over the Mayaguez’ incident against the expressed wish of the Thai Government? Will the Minister assure the Senate that the Government supports the territorial sovereignty of both Cambodia and Thailand and will use all diplomatic means to express the attitude of the Australian Government to the United States against the use of force between friendly nations?
The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
Australia supports the territorial integrity of all countries including Cambodia and Thailand. The use of facilities in Thailand by United States Armed Forces in connexion with the Mayaguez incident is a matter for the Thai and United States Governments. It is understood that on 19 May the United States Charge d ‘Affaires to Thailand delivered a Note to the Thai Government in which the United States Government expressed regret for the problems caused to Thailand by its use of facilities in Thailand during the Mayaguez incident. The Thai Government has expressed satisfaction with the United States Note which it considered as a formal apology.
Refugees from Vietnam
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice:
Will the Prime Minister set out copies of the Minutes of the Governor-General-in-Council referring to loan raising abroad by the Government on the authority of Mr R. F. X. Connor, Minister for Minerals and Energy; if not, why not.
– The Prime Minister has supplied the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Yes. They are attached.
Minute Paper for the Executive Council SUBJECT
REVOCATION OF AUTHORITY TO BORROW THE EQUIVALENT OF 4,000 MILLION DOLLARS IN THE CURRENCY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FOR TEMPORARY PURPOSES.
CONSTITUTION SECTION 61
WHEREAS His Excellency the Governor-General, acting with the advice of the Federal Executive Council, was pleased on 14 December 1974 to approve the recommendation of the Minister for Minerals and Energy contained in Executive Council Minute No. 3 1 of the Department of Minerals and Energy;
AND WHEREAS by the said approval, inter alia the Minister for Minerals and Energy was authorised to borrow for temporary purposes a sum in the currency of the United States of America not exceeding the equivalent of Four thousand million dollars and to determine on behalf of Australia the terms and conditions of the borrowing;
AND WHEREAS the said borrowing has not been made and it is proposed that no further action will be taken by the Minister for Minerals and Energy under this authorisation;
NOW IT IS RECOMMENDED for the approval of His Excellency the Governor-General, acting with the advice of the Federal Executive Council, that he be pleased to revoke the approval in Council given on 14 December 1974, of Executive Council Minute No. 3 1 of the Department of Minerals and Energy.
F. CAIRNS, Treasurer.
Department No. 3 1 .
Executive Council Meeting No. 95.
Approved in Council, 14 December 1974.
DEPARTMENT OF MINERALS AND ENERGY
27 January, 1975 Minute Paper for the Executive Council SUBJECT
PROPOSED BORROWING NOT EXCEEDING THE EQUIVALENT OF 2,000 MILLION DOLLARS IN THE CURRENCY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FOR TEMPORARY PURPOSES
CONSTITUTION, SECTION 6 1
Recommended for the approval of His Excellency the Governor-General in Council.
WHEREAS the Commonwealth of Australia (hereinafter called ‘Australia’) proposes to borrow a sum not exceeding Two thousand million dollars in the currency of the United States of America (US$2,000,000,000) for temporary purposes;
NOW IT IS RECOMMENDED for the approval of His Excellency the Governor-General, acting with the advice of the Federal Executive Council, that, in pursuance of section 61 of the Constitution-
the Minister for Minerals and Energy be authorised to borrow for temporary purposes a sum in the currency of the United States of America not exceeding Two thousand million dollars and to determine on behalf of Australia the terms and conditions of the borrowing;
the Minister for Minerals and Energy, or any other person authorised by him in writing for the purpose, be authorised for and on behalf of Australia to approve, enter into and sign any necessary documents for the purpose of making the said borrowing, including a Promissory Note or Promissory Notes;
the Minister for Minerals and Energy, or any other person authorised by him in writing for the purpose, be authorised, for and on behalf of Australia, to issue and deliver any such Promissory Note or Promissory Notes; and
the Minister for Minerals and Energy, or such other person or persons as he appoints in writing, be authorised for and on behalf of Australia to take any other action and execute any other documents required or permitted to be taken or executed for the purpose of making the said borrowing.
F. X. CONNOR, Minister for Minerals and Energy.
Departmental No. 3. Executive Council Meeting No. 2 Approved in Council, 7 January 1975.
Minute Paper for the Executive Council SUBJECT
REVOCATION OF AUTHORITY TO BORROW 2,000 MILLION DOLLARS IN THE CURRENCY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FOR TEMPORARY PURPOSES
CONSTITUTION, SECTION 61
WHEREAS His Excellency the Governor-General acting with the advice of the Federal Executive Council, was pleased on 28 January 197S to approve the recommendation of the Minister for Minerals and Energy contained in Executive Council Minute No. 1 of the Department of Minerals and Energy;
AND WHEREAS by the said approval, inter alia the Minister for Minerals and Energy was authorised to borrow for temporary purposes a sum in the currency of the United States of Amenca not exceeding Two thousand million dollars and to determine on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia (“Australia”) the terms and conditions of the borrowing;
AND WHEREAS the said borrowing has not been made;
AND WHEREAS for reasons concerning the proposed public issue of bonds in the United States and other future borrowings by the Treasurer on behalf of Australia it is considered that the approval should be revoked;
NOW IT IS RECOMMENDED for approval of His Excellency the Administrator, acting with the advice of the Executive Council, that he be pleased to revoke the approval in Council given on 28 January 1973, of Executive Council Minute No. 1 of the Department of Minerals and Energy.
F. CAIRNS, Treasurer.
Department No. 1.
Executive Council No. 9.
Approved in Council, 28 Jan. 1975.
DEPARTMENT OF MINERALS AND ENERGY
13 December, 1974
Minute Paper for the Executive Council
PROPOSED BORROWING NOT EXCEEDING THE EQUIVALENT OF 4,000 MILLION DOLLARS IN THE CURRENCY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FOR TEMPORARY PURPOSES
CONSTITUTION, SECTION 61
Recommended for the approval of His Excellency the Governor-General in Council.
WHEREAS the Commonwealth of Australia (hereinafter called ‘Australia’) proposes to borrow a sum not exceeding Four thousand million dollars in the currency of the United States of America (U.S.$4,000,000,000) for temporary purposes;
NOW IT IS RECOMMENDED for the approval of His Excellency the Governor-General, acting with the advice of the Federal Executive Council, that, in pursuance of section 6 1 of the Constitution-
the Minister for Minerals and Energy be authorised to borrow for temporary purposes a sum in the currency of the United States of America not exceeding the equivalent of Four thousand million dollars and to determine on behalf of Australia the terms and conditions of the borrowing;
the Minister for Minerals and Energy, or any other person authorised by him in writing for the purpose, be authorised for and on behalf of Australia to approve, enter into and sign any necessary documents for the purpose of making the said borrowing, including a Promissory Note;
the Minister for Minerals and Energy, or any other person authorised by him in writing for the purpose, be authorised, for and on behalf of Australia, to issue and deliver any such Promissory Note; and
the Minister for Minerals and Energy, and such other person or persons as he appoints in writing, be authorised for and on behalf of Australa to take any other action and execute any other documents required or permitted to be taken or executed for the purpose of making the said borrowing.
F. X. CONNOR, Minister for Minerals and Energy.
Departmental No. 35.
Executive Council Meeting No. 49
Approved in Council, 20 May 1 975.
Freedom from Hunger Appeal
– On 29 May 1975, Senator Drury asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the following question without notice:
Has the Minister for Foreign Affairs noted that the AustcareFreedom From Hunger joint organisation will make an Australia-wide appeal for funds this coming Sunday? Will the Minister explain the Government’s policy in relation to aid for the needy overseas and the place of private initiatives in this sphere?
The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:
On 9 May 1975 Senator Willesee gave the opening address to the annual Conference of the Australian Institute for International Affairs in Melbourne. In this address which was entitled ‘New Directions in Australia ‘a Development Assistance’, he outlined the Government’s current thinking on several aid policy issues as well as the principles on which decisions in this field are based. The honourable senator is referred to the full text of Senator Willesee ‘s speech for details. A copy is available in the Parliamentary Library.
The appeal for funds referred to by the honourable senator was the Austcare National Appeal, held on Sunday 2 June throughout Australia, to mark the designation of the week 1-8 June as Austcare Humanity Week. In South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania, where Austcare and the Australian Freedom from Hunger Campaign are affiliated, the two organisations conducted a joint appeal.
The Government is aware of the widespread support for its various aid policies and programs from the Australian people. This year, we have instituted a new program to provide financial assistance for some of the voluntary overseas aid projects undertaken by non-government organisations in Australia. We intend to increase this assistance next year, because we believe that it constitutes a valuable source of encouragement to individual citizens to interest themselves in helping to overcome the complex problems which confront developing countries.
We recognise that voluntary aid organisations have a special capacity to help promote economic and social development at grass root levels in villages and communities in particular areas in developing countries where official aid frequently cannot penetrate. Such organisations can often also work with greater efficiency, speed and flexibility than governments or international aid institutions. Their efforts complement our official aid programs and materially improve the effectiveness of Australia’s overall aid performance to a degree which, we believe, merits the provision of limited financial assistance from the Government since this represents an efficient use of aid funds.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 9 July 1975, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1975/19750709_senate_29_s64/>.