30th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Condor Laucke) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I present the following petition from 1 43 citizens of Australia:
To the Honourable President and Members of the Senate in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That whereas the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission has introduced wage indexation to all federal award rates of pay, the Australian Government has not yet introduced indexation of taxation rates which is essential if wage indexation is to survive.
Your petitioners humbly pray that the members, in Parliament assembled, will take the most urgent steps to ensure:
That the Australian Government introduces indexation of personal income tax rates in the 1976-1977 Budget, and that this operate from 1 July 1976.
That the Australian Government announce its intention to introduce tax indexation as above described prior to the hearings before the Full Bench of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in January, 1976, when the future of wage indexation will be debated.
That the Australian Government implement immediately a reduction in income tax rates to compensate wage and salary earners for the absence of tax indexation in the present fiscal year.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
– I present the following petition from 48 citizens of Australia:
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 whereas the natural environment of Fraser Island is so outstanding that it should be indentified as part of the World Natural Heritage, and whereas the Island should be conserved for the enjoyment of this and future generations.
Your petitioners humbly pray that the members, in Parliament assembled, will take the most urgent steps to ensure:
That the Australian Government uses its constitutional powers to prohibit the export of any mineral sands from Fraser Island, and
That the Australian Government uses its constitutional authority to assist the Queensland Government and any other properly constituted body to develop and conserve the recreational, educational and scientific potentials of the natural environment of Fraser Island for the long term benefit of the people of Australia.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Industry and Commerce. In an address to the Aus:r:li:n Co rife d crs tion of Apparel Manufacturers last weekend, did the Minister say that he is ‘a person who believes Australia can only recover if the consumer begins to move again’? Bearing in mind that this was the approach of the previous Administration and one much criticised by the present Government when in Opposition, how does the Minister relate his statement to the Government’s recent opposition to the 6.4 per cent indexation increase? Is it not a fact that, had the indexation increase been the 3.2 per cent sought by the Government, consumer demand would have been reduced accordingly, notwithstanding the alleged improvement in unemployment that may have taken place with the smaller increase? Will the Minister now acknowledge that the maintenance of wage indexation and thus of consumer demand is critical to economic recovery?
– I do not recall, as a person or as a member of the Opposition or of the Government, ever not being in favour of an active consumer demand and an active purchasing policy by consumers in this country. I have always argued that economic recovery would need to be achieved by the consumer beginning to buy again out of the massive accumulation of savings in the household savings area. The argument about the 6.4 per cent indexation increase is quite unrelated, except in one context. This was a worry about continuing inflation, about that inflation growing to higher levels, and about continuing unemployment. I hope that the general understanding we all have is of the importance of trying to get inflation down and of getting people back to work. Until those things are consciously seen as acts of a government determined to recover its country, people will be unlikely to spend, despite any kind of strictures placed upon them by people in the Australian Labor Party whose economic policies are shown to be totally stupid.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs aware of any trade union ban against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or Cuba because of their massive military intervention in Angola? Is he aware of any demand by those groups who are vocal in demanding the withdrawal of Indonesian troops from Timor for the withdrawal of Soviet and Cuban military assistance to the Marxist forces of Angola? Did either the Soviet Union or Cuba ever claim that events in Angola threatened their national security? If no bans have been placed on trade or other communications with the Soviet Union or Cuba, is this another example of the double standard of left wing groups who attack so-called expansive aggressive acts by right wing governments but are noticeably silent in relation to aggressive acts by communist governments?
-Not only am I totally unaware of any such protests, but also I do not expect them to occur. This is in line with the normal double standard adopted by so many left wing groups in this country. According to them, only white people or people of non-communist origin indulge in acts of aggression and ought to have proceedings taken against them. This is nothing new. It has been a continuing matter at least since 1945. There has never been any attempt to place a ban on the Soviet Union because of certain acts, whether they be in Hungary or Czechoslovakia. One would certainly not expect any such action to arise out of the events in Angola- events which, I might say, we all deplore because of the massive loss of human life and the suffering that has been caused there. Nobody seems to be prepared to take to the streets, to have marches, to ban trade, to ban sporting organisations or to suggest that the people of Perth ought not to go at this moment and see the Cossack dancers. I am not one of those who believe that people ought necessarily to get involved in these matters anyhow because they are matters between governments. But it does point up the double standards of many people in this country. Those honourable senators opposite who have laughed must believe in the same double standards.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Will the Minister inform the Parliament whether the 2 Iraqis who have been constantly mentioned in certain newspapers over the past week had only one passport between them and that neither of them had a visa? Why were they not searched and, if they were carrying arms, why were they permitted to retain them?
-I am unable to say whether they had only one passport or no visas. As I understand it, one certainly had a diplomatic passport. I also understand, as I think I said in the Senate last week, that the Iraqi Ambassador in Japan applied to the Australian
Abassador in Japan for visas for the 2 Iraqis. I understand that one of them certainly had a diplomatic passport. Whether the other one had a normal passport or a diplomatic passport is something about which I will have to ask the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, and that I will do. I doubt very much whether anybody possessing a passport and no visa would be allowed past the immigration officials at any airport in Australia.
– Is the Minister for Education aware of some staffing difficulties at the Canberra Technical College? In particular, will he examine the proposal for the appointment of seventeen technical and library support staff which is currently with the Public Service Board and ensure that the matter is handled with utmost urgency as an additional staff of seventeen is regarded as the minimum required to maintain teaching and class standards at the College?
– The technical and administrative support staff at the Canberra Technical College are employed under the Public Service Act and, as such, are subject to the ceilings under that Act. My own Department has recommended that a growth of seventeen in the support staff is necessary and has asked the Public Service Board to give its approval to their appointment and to make them available. What has happened is that the Public Service Board, with an overall ceiling on it, is seeking to make the availability from those who are surplus elsewhere. I appreciate the urgency of the matter. We will act to obtain the seventeen and hope to do so as quickly as possible.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry aware of the very keen disappointment of Tasmanian fruit growers at the inadequacy of the assistance offered to them by the Government in respect of the current apple and pear crop? Will the Government again take this question under consideration and review its announced decision with a view to assisting a very significant primary industry area in the State of Tasmania and enabling the producers involved to earn a livable income?
– I have not had anybody from Tasmania- except the honourable senator, who did so this morning- making any comment to me about this matter, but I understand the significance to Tasmania of anything relating to apples and pears. The best I can do for the honourable senator is to direct the question to the Minister for Primary Industry and see whether he has any further information.
– At an earlier stage in my parliamentary life I was more up to date on the question of surveillance and checks at airports than I am today. There was a very strong international arrangement between most of the principal countries that had either departure or landing facilities for the sort of checks to which the honourable senator refers. Most of the customary checking was done on outward going passengers. I have always felt that there was a case for some checks to be made on people entering a country. The same device- a magnetometer- may be used for checks on people leaving as well as for people entering a country. I do not know what the current practice is in other countries. But for a long time there has been an international cooperation arrangement about checks, particularly with regard to hijack problems. I would imagine that it is still operating. I am not totally familiar with the area of diplomatic immunity in checking arrivals at airports. I think it is a very useful question to have asked and I shall try to get full details for the honourable senator.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Administrative Services. Who ordered the impounding by Commonwealth Police of the diaries of the 5 Commonwealth policemen who were the bodyguards of the former Prime Minister, Mr Whitlam? Who ordered the interrogation last Friday by Commonwealth Police of executives of the Australian advertising agency, Mullins, Clarke and Ralph? What is the nature of any report that has been made to him as Minister responsible for the administration of the Commonwealth Police
Force? Finally, because the Minister is reported to have said in connection with another circumstance that he will not interfere with the way in which police conduct their inquiries, do I understand that he condones the impounding of the diaries and the interrogation of executives of the Australian advertising agency?
– I am delighted that the honourable senator has asked this question because it will give me an opportunity to put the facts straight about some allegations which have been floating around. The honourable senator talks about the impounding of diaries and the interrogation of people in advertising agencies. All police not under immediate supervision are required by regulation 1 7 of the Commonwealth Police Regulations to keep a diary. With the concurrence of honourable senators, I seek leave to have regulation 17 incorporated in Hansard.
-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The regulation read as follows)- 17. (1) A member who is not immediately under supervision shall keep a diary in which he shall, each day, enter particulars of the duties performed by him and the time occupied in the performance of those duties.
-The diary is to show particulars of duties performed and the time occupied in the performance of those duties. Commonwealth Police General Order 16 states that diaries are to provide an absolute record of all duties performed and places visited, the salient facts being concisely stated. They are to be entered daily except under special circumstances. Mr President, as this order runs to 2 pages, I seek leave of the Senate to have it incorporated in Hansard.
– What is it?
-It is the General Order in regard to the keeping of diaries and notebooks kept by police officers. It is an official document.
-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The General Order read as follows)-
General Order 16
Diaries and Note Books
. Maintaining diaries. Official diaries and note books will be supplied for use by plain clothes members and those not under immediate supervision (See Regulation 17). The diaries are to provide an absolute record of all duties performed and places visited, the salient facts being concisely stated. General entries will not be accepted. When an enquiry is made it must be stated whom it concerns, for what purpose, and with what result. The object of visiting certain places must be recorded. Impressions may be usefully noted but ought not to take the place of basic facts. Occasionally it may be desirable to record a matter not of a strictly official character, which may become of interest to the Force.
Detailed entries. The mere entry ‘patrolling’, inquiries’, ‘visiting’, ‘office’ is insufficient as it is almost impossible that a vigilant Officer whilst in the performance of his ordinary duties will see nothing worthy of closer attention.
Inspection. Diaries are to be entered daily except under special circumstances and are to be inspected as follows:
Plain Clothes Police and other Police engaged on criminal investigation work- weekly by the OfficerinCharge of the District; or member authorised by him weekly, and by Officer-in-Charge, monthly; in the Districts of New South Wales and Victoriamonthly by Inspector First Class and quarterly by the Superintendent.
Other members not under immediate supervisionweekly by the Officer under whose control they are and forwarded to the Officer-in-Charge of the District every fortnight.
Erasures, etc. Diaries and note books must be kept carefully and neatly, and under no circumstances mutilated or entries therein erased. If any alteration is necessary, the entry should be ruled through and the correction inserted in such a manner as to leave the original legible, and if required, a brief explanation entered. Spaces and vacant lines are not to be shown in the entries recorded in one day. One line space only is to be left between the entries for each day.
Issue. Officers-in-Charge shall ensure that a proper record is kept of the issue of official diaries and the date of return on completion. They will take care to see that the particulars required to complete the form on the inside of the cover of the official diary are obtained at the time of issue, and at the time of completion of the diary, and are entered in the space provided therefore.
Completion. When a member of the Force is transferred, his diary and/or note book will accompany him, and the particulars thereof will be promptly entered in the records of the new station to which he may become attached. The records of the station from which he is transferred will be endorsed to show the date and station to which the transfer has been effected. When completed, diaries issued to Plain Clothes Police and other members of the Force required to maintain diaries, shall be filed at the office of the Officer-in-Charge of the District.
Access to diaries and note books. An Officer-in-Charge of a District will ensure that diaries and note books are filed away in such a manner that they are kept under lock and key. They will further ensure that they are filed in such a way that reasonable access to such books may be gained by Plain Clothes Police who may from time to time desire to refer back to their entries. It is desirable that inquiries being undertaken by Plain Clothes Police should not be unduly hampered in any way.
Police note books. Official note books are issued to members of the Police Force. All Police shall observe the following rules in regard to official note books:
their name, rank, station and date of issue of the note book must be written on the first blank sheet of the book; and on completion the date thereof must be inserted
all entries must be made neatly and concisely in ink or lead pencil, not in indelible pencil, commencing at the first page;
all entries should be in proper sequence; a line must be ruled under each entry leaving one line vacant before commencing the next entry and continuing on in consecutive order until the book is completed;
erasures and mutilations and alterations of pages are not allowed. If any alteration is necessary, rule through the original and insert the alteration or addition in such a manner as to leave the original legible. If such alteration is likely to be of importance bring it under the notice and obtain the signature of an officer, non-commissioned officer or reputable citizen to establish such entry beyond doubt;
whilst Police are on duty, a note book must always be carried;
note books may be used for official purposes and not for recording private memoranda;
when Police are absent from duty for any length of time on leave or otherwise, note books should be left at the station for reference if required during absence;
when a note book has been completed, it should be returned to the issuing officer or the Officer-in-Charge of the station concerned so that a fresh one may be issued without delay.
Contents. The following general information may be inserted in note books issued to Police:
descriptions of offenders supplied by their superior Officers, descriptions of motor vehicles, the location of which is desired;
for the recording of notes made on the spot concerning any occurrence which happens during the tour of duty such matter being attended to by the Police Officer concerned upon a matter in which he is interested in some way, e.g. as a possible witness before a Court.
any specific instructions given to them by a superior Officer concerning the performance of their immediate duties.
Use. Note books shall be kept clean and tidy and entries made neatly:
it is frequently impracticable to make a fair set of notes owing to bad weather conditions, absence of light, or other difficulty, but such hazards will add rather than detract from the value of the notes and will go far towards establishing their authenticity; and
a ‘copper plate ‘set of notes stated to have been made under adverse conditions can be laid open to doubt on the grounds of improbability.
The value of notes and note books has always been recognised; should a court determine that a member’s note book be subjected to examination it is important that perusal be confined to the notes concerning the case in issue, and reference to other entries should be prevented. This can be done with the aid of a rubber band fastened in such a way as to give access to the relevant pages or position of the book.
It must be accepted that a well prepared note book is the badge of an efficient Police Officer; it is only by the maintenance of a high standard of entries that it will be accepted as the epitome of accuracy, detail and truth which will ensure reliance being placed upon it as being a factual and unbiased record of an occurrence recorded under circumstances when detail is fresh, and conjecture unnecessary.
The basic rules are simple to follow and when strictly adhered to will ensure that recorded notes in the note book will assume the full value and strength of an authentic document.
-The requirement to keep such a record is common to police forces throughout Australia. This record is usually kept by the officer at the station to which he is attached. It is not the personal property of the officer. It is part of normal police records. It is preserved and is available for authorised inspection or reference. Regulation 17 states that a member shall, whenever required by a senior member under whose authority he is placed or by a person authorised by the Commissioner, produce the diary for inspection. The diary is not to be confused with a police officer’s notebook in which he contemporaneously records occurrences. Such diaries are used to supervise the activities of the officer concerned. They are also used to provide information to corroborate personal claims in respect of overtime, injury etc.
Since the diaries form part of the normal police records any information in them is part of total police information and is available to be used as thought necessary by the police. In particular the diaries are used from time to time to assist in investigations of breaches or alleged breaches of the law. They have also at times been subpoenaed by defendants in legal proceedings. Police officers assigned to escort duty are in plain clothes and are not under immediate supervision and are therefore required by Regulation 17 to keep a diary. The status of the person for whom an escort is provided does not affect the requirement of Regulation 17 nor the purposes for which the diary may be used by the police. Police officers assigned to escort duty remain part of the police force in all cases and are not members of personal staff. Diaries are used in the investigation of instances of police misconduct, and of any criminal offence which the police have reason to believe may have been committed. In no circumstances would the diaries be used for any purpose which constitutes merely an invasion of privacy. In the course of investigations, and any reports or prosecutions flowing therefrom, some information of a private nature may unavoidably be involved. I think that answers the first part of the question which concerned impounding. The second part of the question referred to the so-called interrogation of members of an advertising agency in Sydney. I have received a report from the Chief Commissioner of Police which reads as follows:
On Friday, 26 February 1976, Inspector D. Thomas of our Sydney office rang Mr Keith Forbes, a co-director of the company, to arrange an interview and at 2 p.m. he saw Mr Forbes. Mr Keith Forbes was quite happy to talk to the Inspector and explained that the subject account had been handled by his co-director Mr Malcolm McFie who was overseas until 7 March 1976. No statement was taken from Mr Forbes. No examination of accounts was made nor sought, and certainly no documents ‘seized’. The interview was conducted in an amicable manner.
I hope that puts to rest that furphy also. As to the authorisation I trust that honourable senators opposite will not get excited too early. The simple fact of the matter is that the AttorneyGeneral authorised an investigation to be made. It was made for quite a simple reason. In view of allegations in the Press relating to a recent visit to Australia by 2 Iraqis, questions have arisen whether a serious breach of the Banking (Foreign Exchange) Regulations may have been committed or attempted. Because of that the Attorney-General asked the police to make certain investigations into the matter. I stand by my statement as to my role concerning the Commissioner of Police. I regard the Commissioner of Police as a statutory officer. He, and he alone, is responsible for the internal conduct of the police force. If any honourable senator opposite alleges police have committed a breach of the law the honourable senator has a right of recourse to the courts to test that proposition.
I certainly have no intention of directing the police force to do certain things or directing it not to do certain things. What the police do is a matter for themselves, acting in accordance with the Act governing their operations. We were lectured here for almost 3 years that there ought not to be ministerial interference in certain areas of government. I am not going to interfere in an administrative sense in how the Commonwealth Police carry out their duties. They have a certain statutory obligation imposed upon them. I understand they take an oath of office. I have total confidence that they will carry out their duties.
– My question to the Minister for Social Security concerns an offer made by the Voluntary Health Insurance Association to pay out Medibank rebates at no charge to the Government or the public at the same time as it pays gap insurance benefits from the respective funds. The offer was reported in today’s Advertiser. Can the Minister enlighten me whether the proposal has been examined by the Government? If so, can the Minister say whether a favourable reaction resulted? Can the Minister envisage any insurmountable difficulties arising from the proposition as reported?
– I have no information from the Department of Health with regard to the proposal outlined by the honourable senator. I will obtain an answer for him as soon as possible.
– I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. I refer to the reported difficulties in the selection of the Australian Olympic team and the position of one of the swimming members who does not possess Australian citizenship. Since Australian governments of all persuasions fund, to some degree, the cost of the Games, I assume the Minister agrees that all team members should have Australian citizenship. In the light of previous difficulties of sporting teams, am I to assume that the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs is ready and willing to expedite citizenship for the team member involved?
– In answer to the first question, I would agree with what has been asserted by the honourable senator. Regarding the second question about citizenship of Mr Paul Nash- a matter which has been the subject of Press comment- I would say that if the report is correct Mr Nash might apply for Australian citizenship. I am informed by my colleague, the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, that the application would be expedited by his Department. I suggest, therefore, that Mr Nash should contact the Regional Director of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs in Melbourne. I can assure him that the Department will be prepared and willing to deal expeditiously with his application.
– Will the Minister for Science reconsider the question asked by my colleague, Senator Wood, on 19 February concerning cyclone warnings? Will the Minister investigate the possibility of having cyclone warnings refer to miles and miles per hour as well as metric distances and speeds? I hope that the Minister will take this question very seriously because at the moment a cyclone travelling down the east coast of Queensland could be of danger to many people. A number of elderly people in Queensland do not yet understand the metric system and the broadcasting of warnings as I have suggested would save them a lot of undue stress.
-My answer to Senator Wood ‘s question can be found on page 87 of the Hansard report of 19 February. An agreement was made between the Metric Conversion Board, the Bureau of Meteorology and various media outlets that weather reports would be given in metric terms- that is, wind speeds would be given in kilometres per hour and so on as from 1 April 1973. 1 am advised that all parties are adhering to that agreement. Thus, the situation is that wind speeds have been given in solely metric terms for almost 3 years. I fee! it would be a retrograde step to revert to a system of issuing weather reports in both metric and imperial terms. I repeat my statement of 19 February: If it can be demonstrated that the people of Queensland are severely disadvantaged by the metric system of cyclone warnings, I will certainly look into the matter for the honourable senator.
– I ask a supplementary question: In view of what the Minister has said will he have a survey conducted in Queensland to ascertain the position for himself?
– I ask the honourable senator to place his supplementary question on notice. I feel that there is no need for an investigation of this matter to be carried out by the Metric Conversion Board. I think the honourable senator will acknowledge that the metric system has been operating in this field for 3 years. Indeed, I do not recall many questions being asked in this Senate about it. It may be more appropriate for the honourable senator to direct letters to me on this matter. I repeat the answer that I gave earlier: If it can be demonstrated that the people generally are disadvantaged I will take up the matter further.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Attorney-General. I refer first of all the statement by the Prime Minister that the calling-in of the diaries of the Commonwealth Police Officers who escorted the present Leader of the Opposition last December was not a matter for the Government. As a former Attorney-General, does the Minister regard that statement as being a proper expression of the notion of ministerial responsibility? In view of the Commonwealth Police regulations, will the Minister inform the Senate whether any statement has been given by the Commonwealth Police as to whether they had any suspicion of offences committed upon which they could proceed in relation to the calling-in of those diaries?
-The honourable senator’s question seems to have 2 parts. One is in fact an invitation to me, in respect of a portfolio which I held previously, to express an opinion upon the probity of conduct of some other person. I decline to do so. I think the honourable senator would appreciate why I would not do so. I suggest to the honourable senator that he direct the second pan of his question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate who might have more information on this matter than I have.
– Is the Minister representing the Treasurer aware of the practice which, I am informed, is common among some Public Service departments, including the Treasury, of unnecessarily using up overtime allocations in the present Budget period to ensure that similar allocations are made in future appropriations? If so, what is the Minister doing to cut down on this waste of taxpayers ‘ money? If not, will the Minister make a close inquiry into the matter?
– If that were happening it would be quite reprehensible. If the honourable senator has any evidence to support his concern I should be very grateful to have it and without any doubt at all I will be taking up the matter with the Treasurer. It would be something about which one would be quite worried.
– I ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General: Will he ascertain from the Attorney-General how information came to him that foreign money had entered Australia by way of 2 Iraqis in breach of the Australian currency regulations, which gave rise to his orders for police diaries to be seized and to the role of the Australian Police being seriously queried? Does the Attorney-General give approval to any vindictive newspaper report, which evidently gives newspapers the right to defame an Australian citizen by a sensational news story and then have it given credence by the action taken by the Attorney-General? Finally, is the Attorney-General aware that his action is viewed by Australian people as one of the most blatant, arrogant and neo-Gestapo acts of aggression against civil rights since the days of Hitler’s Germany and that the precedent now established should not be repeated?
-If Senator O ‘Byrne had listened closely to what the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Withers, said earlier, I think he would have secured the answers to his questions. Senator Withers made it quite clear that the investigations which are being carried out by the Commonwealth Police are investigations into allegations, and allegations only. The allegations are serious allegations involving a possible breach of the Banking (Foreign Exchange) Regulations which, I understand, the Labor Government amended in order to impose, amongst other things, a 5 -year term of imprisonment for any breaches which were established in the courts. It is entirely proper that the law enforcement authorities of this country should investigate allegations of crime.
Whether or not the Attorney-General had information additional to what was alleged in the newspapers- there is no pre-judgment as to whether money has come into this country or has been paid- all that is occurring is an investigation of the allegations. As to the last part of the honourable senator’s question, if anybody in this country feels that his privacy has been invaded by unlawful acts committed by the Commonwealth Police, access to the courts is ready and available and, furthermore, assisted by legal aid.
– Following the question asked by my Queensland colleague, Senator Bonner, I ask the Minister for Science a question. Why is he so insistent that people must understand the measurement of cyclones in kilometres when people do not understand those measurements? Is he also aware that one of our national daily newspapers recently took a survey of people in capital cities and found that most of them, including young people, did not understand information containing references to kilometres? The fact that there is a lack of knowledge of these things does not appear to have registered with the Minister because when I asked a similar question 2 weeks ago I referred to the registration of these warnings in KILL-o-MEtres and in his reply to me he talked about kilOM.etres. If the Minister does not know what KILL.oMEtres are, which is the pronunciation I used, how do people know what kil-OM-etres are, which is the pronunciation that the Minister used?
– The honourable senator’s question appears to contain a number of parts. Dealing with the last part of his question first, let me say that whether the word should be pronounced KILL-o-MEtre or kil-OM-etre depends upon whether one is mixing with Americans or with Australians. I do not enter into the argument. At times I have found that I have used both pronunciations. Dealing with the part of the question which refers to the use of kilometres in relation to the wind speed of cyclones and other weather warnings, I acknowledge that there is difficulty in the conversion of miles to kilometres. I think the same difficulty was experienced when we converted to other measurements in the metric system. Indeed, there was some difficulty when we converted to the decimal currency system, the adoption of which was recommended by this Senate.
If the honourable senator has read the report that I tabled last week he will know that there are, I think, only 5 small countries which today are not attempting to use the metric system. I think it would be impractical for us to say that Australia should attempt to revert to imperial measurements. I again acknowledge that there might be some difficulty with the metric systemwe all have experienced it- but I think we should try to adopt in this country the system which is now adopted world wide.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Social Security. I refer to Press reports that a bricklayer in Queensland has been refused unemployment benefit because he turned down a job the conditions of which did not comply with his industrial award. Is it a policy of the Department of Social Security that benefits will be refused to workers who refuse to accept jobs the conditions of which are below the award provisions? Does the Government intend to support arbitration conditions, or is the withholding of unemployment benefit to be used as a method of breaking down such conditions.
– The honourable senator’s question referred to a newspaper report, part of which stated that some submission had been made to me for my discretion to be exercised. In general terms, no submission has been made to me or to my Department on this particular issue. But in answer to the general question I state that a person will not be refused benefit if he refuses to accept employment which is not covered by an industrial agreement or award unless it is employment carrying remuneration at least equivalent to the recognised or ruling rate for the employment. This instruction is interpreted as requiring a person to accept a job at the award or going rate for the position without regard to any over-award payments.
The person referred to in the newspaper article lodged an unemployment benefit claim on 27 November 1975. This was rejected by the Commonwealth Employment Service, which claims that Mr Cousins declined an offer of a casual bricklayer’s job for 3 weeks because of the wages which were offered to him. The prospective employer said that the wages offered were $32 per day plus $7.50 travelling allowance. The Queensland Department of Industrial Affairs advised that the State award is $152 per week plus $7 site allowance and that this wage includes all allowances. On 22 December Mr Cousins appealed against the rejection of his claim and the Independent Appeals Tribunal twice considered his case. On each occasion determined wages were offered to Mr Cousins in accordance with established award conditions.
On 19 December he lodged a further claim for unemployment benefit. He was granted a claim until 9 February 1976, when he commenced employment at $159 per week gross plus $10 overaward payment. Those are the facts that relate to the specific instance which was mentioned. The provisions of the Act, as I outlined them, have been applied. Any suggestion that unemployment benefit is to be used to have any application to arbitration or any of the other things suggested by the honourable senator is not valid. The situation in this case was that the man concerned was unwilling to accept the position which was offered to him at the award rate for the position concerned.
– Has the Minister for Education seen the report in today’s Canberra Times concerning the School of Automotive Engineering at the Canberra Technical College which alleges that the building was not ready, stores and equipment remained unpacked and storemen were not available, shelving was not ordered, teachers were not available and an office had no lighting? What truth is there in these allegations?
-I saw the article in the newspaper referred to by the honourable senator. Indeed, I understand that this was a matter for radio news. I therefore sought information and I am able to advise the honourable senator as follows. As to the claim that the building was not ready, the occupancy of the building was given on Monday, 23 February, to enable stores and furniture to be moved in. This took place last week, including last weekend. The formal handover of the building took place yesterday. It is true that not all stores were unpacked at that stage. This is a responsibility of the College and work is proceeding as quickly as possible. As to the question of shelving, the building required $15,000 worth of shelving, of which $14,000 worth has been installed. Shelving to the value of $1,000 is for heavy equipment and work on that is proceeding.
At present the School has a head teacher and two other teachers. Two further teachers have been recommended for appointment. They are expected to take up duty in about 4 weeks. The recruitment of a sixth teacher is under way also. When he is available the School will be reasonably staffed. It was announced about 2 weeks ago and employers were notified that stage 1 apprentices would not begin classes until teachers were available- estimated at that time to be in 4 to 6 weeks. The Press report implied that stage 1 was expected to begin on 1 March but that is not so and its commencement will depend on the availability of the fourth and fifth teachers. I do report one ‘strike’ being accurate: It is true that one teacher’s office had no electric lighting yesterday. This was because light fittings in that office were being changed. This is being rectified.
– I ask Senator Cotton, in his capacity as Minister representing the Treasurer: Is it a fact that the Government borrowed $30m from Germany a week ago for the reason given by Mr Lynch- ‘to keep Australia’s name before lenders’? I now ask the Minister: Is that not a very odd reason for going into debt and was not the loan unnecessary as Australia’s overseas reserves are ample and it must surely increase the money supply inside Australia?
– In 2 years the previous Government spent $7,000m more than it had in the till. It is therefore a case of the current Government trying to recover from that mess. In the Australian context it is essential to appreciate that capital formation takes about 10 per cent of total investment. It is necessary for all governments, including the previous Government, to borrow from time to time small amounts of money overseas. That is a wise practice, and the honourable senator will find in speeches delivered in past years in this chamber by the present Leader of the Opposition references to the principle that a particular loan would be raised, as this one is being raised, to keep Australia’s lending position before the people who have money to make available from time to time when it may be necessary.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for the Northern Territory been drawn to the statement made in the Northern Territory media that only $3m in additional funds has been made available for low interest housing loans in Darwin and that funds made available for home finance trustee loans are still about $ 1 m short of meeting the commitment for approved loans? Are those statements factual? What money has been made available for such loans?
– I acknowledge Senator Kilgariff’s great interest in this facet of the Northern Territory administration, for which he is responsible. The statement to which he referred has been brought to my attention and I believe it illustrates the danger of relying on ‘informed sources’ and ‘unnamed informants,’ as did this article. The Minister in another place will be making a full statement this afternoon on the 6 per cent concessional loan scheme. Whilst not wishing to pre-empt that statement, I have been advised that in addition to the original appropriation of $4m provided by the previous Government a further $3m was provided recently. I am also advised that the Minister’s statement will detail a further advance of something substantially more than $lm, so the original appropriation will have been more than doubled. I understand that representations made by Senator Kilgariff and his colleague in another place have played a large part in the Government’s decision. The media reports are to be deplored because they did not come from any official source and I believe that they have caused needless additional grief and distress to people in Darwin who have already suffered as a result of cyclone Tracy.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and refers to the joint railway projects in South Australia. Is it a fact that the current cuts in funds allotted for the South Australian standardisation works will delay and impede the connection of Adelaide to the east- west standard system? Is it also likely to cause retrenchments in South Australian workshop staff? I also ask the Minister: Has any action been taken, or will he consider and promote action, to review the cuts that might have been made and will affect staff? Further, is it likely that the Alice SpringTarcoola project will be affected similarly?
– The only reference I have is to a very small comment in today ‘s Press about the Adelaide to Crystal Brook work, which is a joint operation. The answer to the honourable senator’s question requires quite a lot of precise detail. I understand his concern and after question time I shall direct his inquiry to the responsible Minister.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Science and relates to a report in this morning’s Courier Mail about cyclone Colin. The question arises out of those already asked this afternoon by Senators Bonner and Wood. The newspaper reports that cyclone Colin has moved steadily southwards from its location 470 kilometres east-north-east of Gladstone. I should say to the Minister that that sounds like a long way from Gladstone, but can he tell the Senate and the people of Gladstone how far it is in miles and can he advise whether there is any simpler way of doing the calculation than by multiplying by 1.8 and dividing by three?
-My understanding is that it is approximately 270 miles.
– My question, which I direct to the Leader of the Government in the Senate as Minister representing the Prime Minister, arises out of the answer that he gave to the question asked by Senator Douglas McClelland. If the action of the Government is so fair and above board in relation to the matter mentioned by Senator Douglas McClelland, why will the Prime Minister not give his authority for me to see a file on the arrival in Australia last September of an Arab, Mr Jawad? That is a file with whose compilation I was associated as I was then Minister for Police and Customs. The file is now available in the Department, but the Department cannot show it to me unless the permission of the Prime Minister is obtained. No response has been received from the Prime Minister to a telegram asking that that file be shown to me. I believe that Mr Jawad is associated with the arrival of 2 Arabs in Australia in December. Why is it that we are not allowed to look into this matter, or is it only a matter for the Commonwealth Police?
-I had no knowledge that Senator Cavanagh was interested in a Customs file concerning a Mr Jawad. Neither did I know that he had applied to the Prime Minister. Has the honourable senator had a reply?
– No, I have not.
-He has not had a reply from the Prime Minister. I do not know whether he has been refused permission or whether permission is about to be refused or about to be granted. I will seek information from the Prime
Minister as to the present state of the request from Senator Cavanagh.
– 1 ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport: In view of the most recent statement that the date of publication of the Nimmo report on shipping to and from Tasmania is likely to be March, and as the month of March has now commenced, can the Minister indicate whether the earlier estimate of when it would be published is accurate and, generally, when we may expect to see that report?
-I do not have the detail to answer that question, but I shall get an answer for the honourable senator.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, ls the Minister aware of the existence of a dispute which could result in all inward and outward Tasmanian shipping cargoes being brought to a standstill within the next few days? Is the Minister aware that the proximate cause of this situation arises from the refusal of the Association of Employers of Waterside Labour to make arrangements with the Australian Foremen Stevedores Association to introduce a guaranteed wage for five of its members who are the only casual workers in the main Tasmanian ports denied this wage? Is the Minister aware that this continued refusal is despite a request by the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission that the AEWL enter into meaningful discussions with the AFSA and the fact that Tasmanian companies involved in stevedoring operations generally support the workers? If the Minister is aware of this situation, will he impress upon the Association of Employers of Waterside Labour in Sydney the importance of this matter to Tasmania and the need for it to rectify the discrimination against those 5 workers and to avoid the unnecessary action which would result therefrom?
– I cannot say whether the Minister is aware of the matters which Senator Harradine has raised, but I am quite sure that the statement which he has made will bring the attention of the Minister to these matters. In any event, I shall convey to him the honourable senator’s request.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Overseas Trade. It refers to the continuance of the 10-year agreement between Australian governments for softwoods planting. It is provoked by a report in the Nation Review of 19 February to the effect that some secret decision has been made by government in connection with that agreement. I ask the Minister: Is the report true that a decision has been made by the Government not to renew the 10-year softwoods planting agreement? Is it the opinion of the Government that national softwood demands would not justify a renewal?
– I asked that question last week. I am waiting for an answer. I have not got it yet.
– No such decision has been taken. Therefore, the report is not true. But what is unusual about that in comments which one reads from time to time? Any one of us can find himself cast in a role which is totally unfamiliar to him. However that is just life in the Parliament for all of us. I think the honourable senator has raised a matter which is of quite some consequence to the island State of Tasmania. I am aware of the fact that Senator McLaren is awaiting an answer from the responsible Minister. I have some material on this matter which I got out a little while ago before question time. It deals with the general position of the agreement. The actual agreement expires on 30 June 1976. It provides for payment of $7.9m to the States this year. This year the States will spend about $9m. Altogether, an area of about 55 000 acres will be planted. As far as one can tell, prior to the bringing in of this joint operation and assistance from the Commonwealth, the planting program was for about 30 000 acres per annum of which Tasmania would have planted a not very significant amount. As far as I can tell in the current year Tasmania will plant about 4600 acres out of 55 000 acres.
It is probably understood by some honourable senators that I had a long association with timber before coming to Parliament. I remember going to Tasmania in about 1963 as chairman of the Australian timber industry. I thought to myself then that one of the logical things for Tasmania to do was to have a fairly substantial forestry planting program. I have held to that view. This area comes within the responsibility of the Minister for Primary Industry. My best information to date from him is that he expects this matter to go forward fairly soon for resolution by Cabinet. So far there has been no discussion or decision. A report on the general financing of forestry operations and planting programs is being taken up by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and by the Minister’s Department.
-The Minister for Administrative Services will recall his Press statement of 10 December in his then capacity as Minister for the Media wherein he said in part that after 18 months of negotiation a television service was to be established at Leigh Creek in South Australia and that planning could be started immediately. In view of the fact that the Prime Minister announced on 2 February that economies to the tune of $8.4m would be made in the operations of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, I now ask the Minister whether he can give a definite assurance that these cuts in expenditure will in no way delay the commencement of installation of the television service for Leigh Creek.
-I am not the Minister responsible, therefore I cannot give the undertaking which the honourable member seeks. However, I shall inquire of my colleague in the other place who is in charge of this matter and get information for the honourable senator.
-I ask the Minister for Environment, Housing and Community Development: As there is a continual need for the protection of the environment in this country, will the Minister state what is the policy in relation to federal funding of both the national park lands acquisition program and the Australian Heritage Commission?
-The Government’s policy for the protection of the environment is quite clear. It is to be found in the policy statement on this subject which was issued prior to the 1975 election.
– Words are not acts.
-As I am sure Senator Mulvihill has ascertained, it refers to land use planning, to adequate research, to the protection of the environment and to the promotion of Australia’s heritage. A program of financial assistance was instituted by the previous Government for the protection of the environment and for the promotion of Australia’s heritage. That program will be continued. I think that in this current year a sum of $ 1.8m will be available to the States for the acquisition of land for national parks and for land conservation. I think that in this year’s program the sum of $5m has been made available to the States for promotion of the national estate program and that most of that money has been committed; but the sums which were unexpended have been subjected to the pruning that arose as a result of the Government’s decision to impose a sensible economic curtailment. As for the future, the honourable senator will appreciate that I cannot say what the Government’s intentions will be as the Budget is formulated; but, consistent with our economic policies, the promotion of these objectives will be taken care of as the Budget is planned.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. Is the Minister aware of statements in the Sunday Independent of 29 February relating to the use of the Stirling naval facility in Cockburn Sound by the United States Navy as a rest and recreation centre? As there would appear to have been little or no consultation with the authorities in Western Australia, will the Minister advise whether an approach has been made by the United States Government to the Australian Government to ascertain whether we- that ‘we’ means we in Western Australia who may not care to become part of another Las Vegas or even another King’s Cross- would be prepared to make this facility available for that purpose?
-I must admit that I did not read the Sunday Independent of 29 February.
– Two days ago.
-I have a little more to do with my time than read the Sunday newspapers. I know that some people get enormous satisfaction out of reading the Sunday newspapers, especially journals in which they used to appear in columns which nobody read. I do not know whether the United States Navy wishes to be invited to Western Australia. I can only say that -
– We think you read it.
-No; truly, I did not. I do not buy either of the Sunday newspapers in Western Australia. I am quite certain that if the United States Navy wishes to come to Western Australia, whether for recreation leave or any other purpose, it will be welcomed by all the decent people of Western Australia, and they comprise the overwhelming majority of the people of Western Australia because at the last election the people of Western Australia returned not only six of the ten senators to this side of this House but also nine of the ten members to our side of the other place. That is an indication of how the people of Western Australia feel towards the United States and our policies in respect of the United States. Some honourable senators on the other side of the chamber may be of the view that Americans, whether they be civilians or members of the armed forces, are not welcome in Australia. I suggest to them that they look again at their thinned ranks and discover the truth about that.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Science. Despite the impression that I may appear to be pushing the point, I ask: As there is still so much confusion regarding metric conversion, despite the Minister’s quick and, I am quite sure, most accurate answer, will he consider deferring the completion date for the conversion? I am sure that not only the elderly but also the majority of the population would be most grateful if he were to do so.
-I appreciate the interest that is being generated in the conversion to the metric system of measurement and I thank the honourable senator for asking the question. The conversion to the metric system was originally planned to be completed over a 10-year term, finishing in 1980. That program has gone ahead quite satisfactorily for 5 years. The report which I tabled last week indicated that it had been assessed that Australia was more than two-thirds of the way along the line to full conversion to the metric system. There are some difficulties ahead in various areas. I think it is fair to say that the Metric Conversion Board has done a wonderful job. In fact, the advice that it is able to offer is being sought by countries overseas. The United States of America, which has now by law decided that it will convert to the metric system, has requested that the Chairman of the Metric Conversion Board and others go to the United States and give advice as to how the United States should proceed with its conversion.
Comments have been made about the expense of conversion. If one compares this with the cost incurred in converting Australia to the decimal system, one will find that the cash outlaid by the Federal Government has been minute. In view of the fact that we are more than 5 years along the line towards metric conversion and have proceeded two-thirds of the way though what was to have been a 10-year project, I believe it would be a retrograde step if we were to revert to the imperial system of measurement.
– I desire to ask a supplementary question of the Minister for Science. He has missed the point of my question which was that the people do not understand the metric system yet. Could measurements in the 2 systems be placed side by side on packages for a longer time? As it is now, many goods in the supermarkets show only one measurement or weight. If the time for conversion could be extended and weights in the 2 systems of measurement were shown, I am sure the people would be most grateful.
– I acknowledge the honourable senator’s remarks. I realise that for those of us who have been dealing in the imperial system of measurement for a long time it is difficult to get used to kilograms and the other metric weights that have been introduced under the metric system. Difficulty was experienced in South Australia. Storekeepers in a particular area were showing the imperial measurements as well as the metric measurements on goods. The difficulty was created because part of the population wished to see the system simplified by having the prices shown on the goods relate to the imperial weight as well. The storekeepers were taking advantage of this and perhaps were drawing customers to their stores. South Australia has taken the strong step of declaring that in certain areas there is to be only the one notation- a metric notation. I am informed that no difficulty has been experienced in those areas. Indeed, the difficulty that occurred when the 2 systems of measurement were being used side by side has been overcome.
I will give the honourable senator’s suggestion consideration. If it is thought wise to continue for some time the dual presentation of weights, I will certainly so advise the Metric Conversion Board.
-Senator Cavanagh asked me earlier why the Prime Minister had not given him permission to look at a file. I have now received some information on that matter. Since the telegram was sent only on 1 March, I think that even Senator Cavanagh was pressing his luck a little to have expected an answer in 24 hours.
– I sent a telegram.
-One would have thought Senator Cavanagh would have written a letter to save the taxpayers some money. I can advise the honourable senator that the Prime Minister has given approval for Senator Cavanagh to refresh his memory from departmental papers relating to the Jawad case. That is a pretty quick reply for the honourable senator.
-Last week Senator Bishop asked me a question about staff reductions at Woomera. I undertook to obtain certain information for him. I have received the answers in the form of a letter. If Senator Bishop wishes, I will read the answer into Hansard and then have the letter delivered to him.
– Thank you.
-The Minister for Defence has provided me with the following information:
As indicated in ministerial statement I made on behalf of Mr Killen on 18 February 1976, the rundown of the joint project at Woomera and Salisbury will involve some 700 personnel on the number employed at the beginning of July last year.
Senator will recall that the decision to rundown the joint project to a care and maintenance basis follows months of negotiation between United Kingdom and Australian officials.
At this stage it is apparent that a reduction of this size cannot be expected to come from natural wastage alone particularly as there are virtually no other job opportunities in the Woomera area.
The Commonwealth Public Service Board (which has responsibility for Public Service Act employees) has been asked to make arrangements for the redeployment of surplus staff.
However, I expect that there will shortly be consultations with the Staff Associations concerned, the Public Service Board and the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations on this important matter in which the Government is fully aware of its reponsibilities.
Until these steps have been taken, the need for retrenchment, if any, will not be clear.
– For the information of honourable senators I present the interim report of the Industries Assistance Commission on domesticrefrigerators, washing machines and clothes driers.
– Pursuant to section 70 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904-1975 I present the annual report of the president of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission for the year ended 13 August 1975.
– For the information of honourable senators I present the report of the Australian Government delegation to the 59th session of the International Labour Conference held in Geneva in June 1974. Appended to the report are the texts of the following instruments adopted by the 59th session of the Conference: Convention No. 139 concerning prevention and control of occupational hazards caused by carcinogenic substances and recommendation No. 147 concerning prevention and control of occupational hazards caused by carcinogenic substances and agents; convention No. 140 concerning paid educational leave; and recommendation No. 148 concerning paid educational leave. These 4 instruments have been circulated to the appropriate Commonwealth and State authorities for examination and comment. This examination indicates that, while Australian law and practice comply with many of the provisions of the instruments, they do not comply in all respects. For this reason, ratification of the conventions in the immediate future does not appear to be a realistic prospect. However, in accordance with normal practice the position regarding compliance with ILO conventions Nos 139 and 140 will be kept under examination with a view to possible ratification in due course.
– Pursuant to section 10 of the International Monetary Agreements Act 1947-1973 I present a report on the operations of that Act and of the operations, insofar as they relate to Australia, of the International Monetary Fund and of the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development for the financial year 1974-75.
– Pursuant to section 90 of the Wool Industry Act 1972-74 1 present the final report of the Australian Wool Corporation for the period from 1 January 1973 to 30 June 1973, the final report of the Australian Wool Corporation for the year ended 30 June 1974 and the interim report of the Australian Wool Corporation for the year ended 30 June 1974. Pursuant to section 84 of the Wool Industry Act 1962-1971, as continued in force by section 4 of the Wool Industry Act 1972-74, I present the final report of the Australian Wool Board for the year ended 30 June 1 972 and the final report of the Australian Wool Board for the period from 1 July 1972 to 31 December 1972.
– For the information of honourable senators I present the report on research sponsored by the Committee on Research into the Crown of Thorns Starfish.
– I move:
I seek leave to continue my remarks at a later date.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– I move:
The purpose of this motion, as honourable senators will recall, is to allow honourable senators to attend an official luncheon tomorrow. I remind honourable senators that the proceedings of the Senate will be broadcast tomorrow.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move:
These Bills were supposed to appear on the notice paper ahead of the debate on the AddressinReply. Arrangements were made last week for that to be done. I am informed that the Senate officers did their job properly but that the Government Printer overlooked the alterations. This is why the notice paper appears as it does.
– If I am permitted I would like to oppose the motion moved by the Leader of the Government (Senator Withers). I do so because it appears to me, as a new senator, on reading the Standing Orders that they are designed to ensure the passage of the motion or amendments to the
Address-in-Reply before any Government business is dealt with. I would like the Leader of the Government to indicate why there is such a great urgency for the Bills to be dealt with, particularly the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. As I understand it, that Bill is precisely the same as the Bill that was introduced when the previous Government was in power.
I assure the Leader of the Government and the Opposition that I am not prepared to allow this BUI to go through this place without any proper consideration, which apparently has not been given it until this point of time. I am in a difficult situation because this is the first inkling I have had that this legislation would be introduced as a matter of urgency. I feel that the Government would be well advised not to proceed with this matter until the conclusion of the debate on the Address-in-Reply. If the Senate wishes to have these Bills proceed through this chamber without the proper attention they deserve, it will pass the motion now before the Chair.
– in reply- I am well aware of standing order No. 14. 1 understand that when the Minister for Environment, Housing and Community Development (Senator Greenwood) delivered the second reading speech on these Bills he moved that so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as to permit the Bills to go through all their stages without delay. I should like to refer to the need for these Bills to be dealt with immediately. The Conciliation and Arbitration Bill is consequential upon an earlier Bill. I hope I am not making another second reading speech, but the earlier Bill was introduced by the previous Government. Both Bills are to permit Mr Justice Woodward to become the Director-General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. Mr Justice Woodward is a member of the Conciliation and Arbitration Court and is, at present, Chairman of the Trade Practices Tribunal. So that Mr Justice Woodward may take up his new position as Director-General of ASIO, it is necessary also to amend the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. I suppose that one could say that in a strict parliamentary sense there is no urgency for this matter, but after all this appointment was approved months ago by all Parties in the general expectation that His Honour would take up this work at least about this period. His Honour having been offered and having accepted the post months ago I do not think the Parliament should any longer delay putting it into legislative form. For those reasons the Government wishes this legislation to be debated and concluded this week.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Ordered that the Bill may be taken through all its stages without delay.
Bill (on motion by Senator Cotton) read a first time.
– I move:
I shall read the second reading speech in this place on behalf of the Treasurer (Mr Lynch). The purpose of this Bill is to authorise the payment of capital grants to the States in 1975-76 totalling $430,333,000. This amount represents the grant component of the State Governments’ Loan Council programs for 1975-76 and is equal to one-third of the total programs. The Bill also provides for the payment of capital grants in the first 6 months of 1976-77 up to an amount equal to one-half of the 1975-76 amount pending passage of legislation to authorise grants in that year. Payments authorised under this Bill may be made from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or from the Loan Fund, and appropriate borrowing authority is included. This is consistent with past practice.
This Bill is identical, except in respect of the year cited in its title, to a Bill introduced by the previous Government and passed by the Lower House, but not by the Senate, prior to the double dissolution of Parliament. I do not propose to reiterate the details of this Bill. For those honourable senators who may be interested I refer them to pages 1618 and 1619 of Hansard for 30 October 1975 for Senator Wriedt ‘s second reading speech in relation to the Bill as previously introduced.
These grants represent a continuation of arrangements initiated by the Liberal-Country Party Government in June 1970 and which provide that portion of the State Governments’ Loan Council programs is in the form of interestfree grants in lieu of what would otherwise be borrowings by the States. The grants were initiated to help the States finance capital works such as schools, police buildings and the like from which debt charges are not normally recovered. The States are, however, entirely free to apply these grants as they see fit and no terms or conditions are applied to them.
The effect of the grants is to relieve the States of debt charges which they would otherwise have to pay and the grants accordingly have a substantial beneficial effect on the States’ financial positions. I point out to honourable senators that the capital grant for 1975-76, and the State Government Loan Council borrowing programs to which they are an adjunct, are now estimated to be worth more in terms of actual works and services than at the time they were settled at the Premiers’ Conference-Loan Council meeting in June 1975. This is because cost increases have proved to be significantly less than estimated at that time. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Douglas McClelland) adjourned.
– I move:
I understand that the Opposition will move an amendment to this motion. The history of Senate committees is well known, I think, to both those honourable senators who have been in the Senate for some time and those who have just come into this place. There has been general agreement, within the Senate and certainly outside it amongst commentators and people interested in the field of political science, on the enormous benefit of the committee system, not just to senators and the Senate but to the institution of Parliament as a whole. The committee system also has brought enormous benefits to the public at large.
Since the Senate legislative and general purpose standing committees were established, a vast number of references has been made to the committees, and, as a result, many an important committee report has been put down. At one time or another many senators from both sides of the chamber have been chairmen of those various committees. I think I have said before in this place that one of the other great benefits of the committee system is that senators from both sides of the chamber learn to work with each other and to respect each other while disagreeing with each other’s political opinions.
– That is putting it too high.
-Well, they learn to respect most other senators. I always tend to be more generous than I ought to be. I do not think that I need to canvass at length the value of the committee system to the Senate or to the Parliament as an institution. As I understand it, the Opposition ‘s amendment is designed basically to convert the Senate committee system into a joint committee system. There may be arguments for that point of view, but I think there are even better arguments against that point of view. It was one of the matters considered in the last Parliament by the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee system- commonly known as the Committee on Committees- of which Senator Sir Magnus Cormack was the ViceChairman. I think that senators, certainly on this side of the chamber, are opposed to the joint committee system. Joint committees have a proper place when the joint affairs of the Parliament are at stake. I refer to the Joint House Committee and to the Joint Library Committee. Certain functions, such as broadcasting and television, concern both Houses.
Those of us who have served on joint committees know that there are some problems associated with them. The first, I suppose, is that the senators tend to be submerged, at least numerically if not mentally, by the numbers of members from the other place. Secondly, people in the other place tend to want the chairmanship of these committees. Another reason why I have been opposed to joint committees in the sense that the Opposition puts up- I chaired for some time the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory- is the practical difficulty of getting together large numbers of senators and particularly members of another place. I think it is fair to say that the Senate and the House of Representatives are more than 2 Houses separated by King’s Hall. We have a role which is different from that of our colleagues in another place. We tend to have different electorate and electoral responsibilities.
– To refuse Supply- is that our role?
-And quite rightly, too, as the people judged. Our colleagues in the other place have greater electoral and electorate pressures upon them than we tend to have in this place. I suppose it is fair to say that almost twothirds of us, because we are placed first or second on our respective party tickets, are assured of coming back to this place. This gives a better possibility of being returned than is given by the number of safe seats in the other place. The Senate is able to devote itself more often to the national issues than are our colleagues in the other place as they do not have the same amount of time available to them. The Parliament has certain functions of co-ordination to perform. But the Parliament was never designed to sit as a joint operation. I think that it has sat jointly once in the history of the Parliament and that was in August of 1974. The Constitution envisages that there should be two Houses of Parliament. For that reason there ought to be committees of each House of Parliament. I have yet to understand what advantage we would achieve from having joint committees, unless joint problems were brought before them.
-It would avoid duplication.
-Honourable senators opposite think there would be duplication because they imagine that the House of Representatives would necessarily have the same committees as the Senate. If the other place likes to set up committees on exactly the same basis as the Senate, that is its business. But I believe that whilst we all have colleagues from the other place in our own separate party rooms, we must at all times in this place maintain our independence as members of a House of the Parliament within the Parliament. I certainly did not come here to be submerged by the members in another place in a ratio of two to one.
– What about in your Party room?
-I do not get submerged even in my own party room, nor do senators.
– You stand on shaky ground.
-I manage to float to the top. It is a matter of different roles for the different Houses of Parliament, and we in the Senate, having embarked upon the committee system, should stay with it. I think it is true to say also that, certainly when we were in government before, the Senate committees functioned without fear or favour to or from the Government and that the Senate committee chairmen exercised great independence in carrying out their duties. I believe that honourable senators have a greater capacity for exerting that necessary independence from the Executive than do our colleagues in the other place occasionally. After all, that is the House of Government where Governments stand or fall as a result of losing the majority- unless, of course, the Government has done something reprehensible and the Senate needs to intervene for the sake of the nation. I think what I say is true and that we have a greater capacity for exercising independence in this place.
I do not believe really that honourable senators opposite would want to go into a joint committee system. I think that they, like us, would prefer to stay with the Senate committee system. I have no doubt that when the question is put and lost honourable senators opposite will be as delighted with the result as we are. There appears to be no argument as to the areas of jurisdiction which each of the committees ought to investigate. I notice that already some honourable senators in this place are becoming active and putting down matters of reference. I have no doubt that there is total support for the suggestion that all old references should be referred again to the committees for examination. I commend my motion to the Senate and indicate that if the Opposition moves for a joint committee system we will oppose it.
– The Opposition has given consideration to the notice of motion put down by Senator Withers as Leader of the Government in the Senate on 1 8 February last, calling upon the Senate to establish certain legislative and general purpose standing committees. The committees that Senator Withers has suggested should be established are the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee, the Education and the Arts Committee, the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, the Social Welfare Committee, the Trade and Commerce Committee, the National Resources Committee and the Science and the Environment Committee. I think that all told 7 committees are involved whereas in the last Parliament, and indeed in the Parliament before that, there were some 8 Senate standing committees. As I have said, the Opposition has given consideration to the subject of Senator Withers’ notice of motion and also to his second notice of motion concerning annual reports of Government departments and statutory bodies which are tabled in the Parliament being referred to the various standing committees once they are established.
I want to say at the outset that we as an Opposition are not opposed to parliamentary committees. Indeed, it was the Opposition, through the then Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Murphy, that moved originally for the establishment of committees of this nature. We supported the establishment of Senate committees; indeed, we proposed the establishment of them. We supported also the establishment of House of Representatives committees- standing committees and select committees- as we have at times proposed as well as supported the establishment of certain joint committees. The Opposition affirms that the committee system embracing the Senate standing committees, the House of Representatives committees and the joint committees has been of tremendous assistance to the legislature and therefore, of course, to the Australian community. I refer any honourable senator who is interested in the history of standing committees, particularly Senate standing committees, to the Fourth Edition of the Australian Senate Practice, written by the Senate Clerk, Mr Odgers. I direct their attention to pages 419 to 429.
– Was he in favour of joint committees?
-No, I am not saying that he was in favour of joint committees. I am saying that for a dissertation on the work of standing committees or parliamentary committees one should read the Australian Senate Practice, written by Mr Odgers, from page 419 to page 429 inclusive. However about 2 years ago- in July 1974, I think- a joint committee of both Houses of the Parliament was established. It was a joint committee presided over by Dr Harry Jenkins, the honourable member for Scullin in another place, with Senator Sir Magnus Cormack as the Vice Chairman. The committee was established virtually to inquire into the committee system of the Parliament. That Committee presented an interim report prior to the prorogation of the last Parliament. After certain members of that Committee had been sent abroad to investigate the committee system, particularly that operating in Ottawa in Canada and in Westminster, an interim report was submitted. I emphasise that the interim report of that Committee seems to come down in favour of the establishment of committees of the respective Houses of Parliament. For the benefit of honourable senators I read from Chapter V, page 37, paragraphs 81, 82 and 83 of the Committee’s interim report, which is headed ‘A proposed system of committees for the Australian Parliament ‘. The report states:
Witnesses before the Committee presented arguments supporting various committee systems. Some advocated a system of joint committees while others, each with their own view of the constitutional differences between the two Houses, urged separate committee systems for each House.
The Prime Minister suggested that the establishment of joint standing committees would reduce confrontation between the House of Representatives and the Senate and would also prevent duplication of inquiries. On the other hand, the Clerk of the Senate argued that ‘joint committees subvert bi-cameralism’ and that the constitutional roles of the Houses militated against joint committees. Other witnesses opposing joint committees pointed to administrative difficulties.
Interpolating there, I think it is fair to say that Senator Withers has relied on most of the arguments so far embodied in those 2 paragraphs to support his notice of motion. Paragraph 83 states:
On balance, the weight of evidence did not support the establishment of an extensive system of joint committees -
I emphasise those words- for the Australian Parliament although domestic joint committees have worked successfully and there seems no reason why they should not continue to do so.
- Senator Sir Magnus Cormack was the deputy chairman of that committee.
SenatorDOUGLASMcCLELLAND-Yes,I have already said that. The report continues:
The predominant attitude was that a system of institutional committees, recognising the different roles of the two Houses, be established. There was general agreement that duplication between committees of the two Houses was inefficient and, so far as possible, to be avoided.
I emphasise that that report is only an interim report and that to date no notice of motion has been given in either House that the Committee that was established during the last Parliament be reappointed by this Parliament to consider the matter further. The Opposition believes that that Committee should be re-established by the new Parliament and suggests that it is the responsibility of the Government to consider the presentation of an early notice of motion in either or both Houses to re-establish that joint Committee so that definite and specific recommendations can be put to the Parliament concerning the effectiveness or otherwise of the committee system. The Opposition suggests that, until such time as that notice of motion is presented and debated by both Houses of Parliament, it is the responsibility of the Parliament to establish joint committees to avoid the duplication mentioned by the interim committee.
I do not intend to labour the issue much longer, but I again assert that the work of committeesSenate committees, House of Representatives committees, and joint committees- has been of tremendous benefit to the legislature. Indeed, the Senate committees arose from consideration of a report by the Standing Orders Committee that was presented to the Senate 6 years ago this month. Two resolutions arose from consideration of that report. One, moved on 1 1 June 1970 by Senator Murphy, the then Leader of the Opposition, related to the re-establishment of 7 standing committees. The second resolution, moved on that same day by the then Leader of the Government, Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson, related to the establishment of estimates committees. The development of those committees was to be a gradual process, with 2 standing committees operating initially and the balance of 5 committees to be determined over a 12-month period, depending on a report from the President on the operation of the first 2 committees. Those 2 committees were the Committee on Health and Welfare, which I believe was presided over by the late Senator Dame Ivy Wedgwood, and the
Committee on Primary and Secondary Industry and Trade. On 16 February 1971, about 12 months after the establishment of those 2 Senate standing committees, the President made a report to the Senate. The report was adopted and became Parliamentary Paper No. 32 of 1971. That is referred to in the fourth edition of Mr Odgers’ Australian Senate Practice. Since that review was conducted in 1971, all 7 standing committees have continued to function. An additional standing committee was established in 1975 to deal with aspects of national development but I understand that that committee has not really functioned.
The legislative action a rising from committee reports is hard to identify, except in the case of Bills such as the Family Law Bill, on which there was considerable debate in the Parliament last year. Many other reports have helped to shape legislation coming before the Parliament. May I interpolate at this stage and say that the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts inquired for some considerable time into all aspects of broadcasting and television. When I was the Minister for the Media I was accused by certain sensational journalists of being at loggerheads with the activities of that Committee. The simple fact of the matter was that I as Minister for the Media was awaiting a report from the Committee before I took any action on the matter.
The Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts, which inquired into all aspects of broadcasting, recommended amongst other things a general inquiry by the government of the day into the introduction or otherwise in Australia of frequency modulation broadcasting. Having received a report from the Committee, I as Minister for the Media, made a recommendation to the Cabinet that a general public inquiry be established. The Government brought Sir Francis McLean of the BBC from England to chair the inquiry. As a result of that independent inquiry being established by the Government on my recommendation, which flowed from a recommendation of the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts, frequency modulation broadcasting was established in Australia. The Press moguls at the time made out that there was a great conflict of interest between Senator James McClelland, who was the chairman of the Standing Committee, and I, Senator Douglas McClelland, as Minister for the Media. There was very little conflict at all because I was awaiting the report of that Committee before I made a recommendation to the Cabinet. Because I was not going to be hurried or flurried into making my recommendation prior to receiving a report from the Committee, I was accused of being in conflict with the members of that Committee.
– What you are saying is that you support Senate committees?
– I am asserting that Senate committees have done valuable work, but I am saying that until the Government re-establishes the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System to inquire into the committee system generally and until the Committee brings down specific recommendations as to whether there should be joint committees, House of Representatives committees or Senate committees, then we should embark on joint committees in order to avoid duplication. I should like to put on record other aspects of the committee system. Perhaps the greatest benefit arising from the establishment of standing committees is that the reference of a subject for investigation and the attendant publicity of the committee’s work focuses the attention of all groups concerned, both official and private, on the subject matter. The committee’s hearings become a forum where interested parties can express their views through what is virtually a direct channel to Parliament. A good example of that is when those interested in conservation were able to give evidence on water pollution and air pollution to Senate committees. The evidence placed before the committees undoubtedly led to greater publicity and a wider interest in those important subjects.
Like the growth of the committees themselves, the staff growth has been a gradual process. Resolutions establishing standing committees have included a proviso that adequate staff be provided to support committee operation. The staff has built up gradually from four in 1970 to seventeen in 1971, and the number in February 1976 is forty-five. The staff is made up of professional officers as committee secretaries, and research officers, steno-secretaries and clerical staff. Since August 1970, the time of the first report of a Senate committee, 63 subject references have been passed to committees for their consideration and 48 reports have been presented to the Senate. Those reports related to death duties, the Family Law Bill, a national compensation Bill, television and broadcasting, teacher education, Japan, Indonesia and a whole host of other subject matters.
Again I emphasise that the Opposition being, as it were, the parent of or the godfather for the establishment of these committees, asserts the importance of the establishment and the effectiveness of these Senate committees. But we believe that this joint committee to inquire into the committee system of Parliament generally should be re-established by the Parliament. Until that takes place, we believe that there should be a joint system of committees in the Australian Parliament. Therefore, on behalf of the Opposition, I move:
Finally, may I draw attention to some difficulties that the Opposition sees which might well develop if the motion put down by Senator Withers be adopted. The difficulties influence our acceptance of that motion. Paragraph (2) of the motion provides that standing committees . . be empowered to inquire into and report upon such matters as are referred to them by the Senate . . . and, in addition, where applicable, have power to inquire into and report upon such matters as were referred to the Legislative and General Purposes Standing Committees appointed during previous sessions and not disposed of by those Committees.
Who determines the applicability or otherwise of such a proposal?
– The committees.
– Is it the committees or is it the Senate? Secondly, paragraph (4) provides:
Each Standing Committee shall consist of six Senators, three being members of the Government to be nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and three being Senators who are not members of the Government, to be nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or by an independent Senator.
Paragraph (5) of the motion states that where unanimity of opinion between the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and independent senators cannot be obtained . . the question as to the representation on any particular Standing Committee shall be determined by the Senate.
Virtually, by adopting such an attitude, we would be allowing members of the Government to determine who should be the Opposition representatives on those Senate committees. We believe that that cannot be allowed by us. For those reasons, I have moved the amendment on behalf of the Opposition.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator DrakeBrockman) Is there a seconder?
- Mr Deputy President!
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT-Is the amendment seconded?
– Wait a minute! What goes on here?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Order! Is the amendment seconded?
– Yes, I second the amendment.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- The amendment is seconded. I call Senator Sir Magnus Cormack.
Senator Sir MAGNUS CORMACK (Victoria) (4.24)- Mr Deputy President, I apologise. It was a just and natural irritation which had been building up in me while Senator Douglas McClelland was speaking. I do not intend to traverse the whole gamut of his address to the Senate this afternoon on the question of committees. But I want to put the historical record right. I ask honourable senators to listen to this.
Let me explain the origin of the Senate committee system as we know it now. Such a committee system was discussed by the Standing Orders Committee of the Senate for a substantial period. I was a member of that Committee, so I know what I am talking about. The Standing Orders Committee was concerned quite naturally to examine a great number of the matters which have been mentioned, for example, by Senator Douglas McClelland. In other words, it was no good just baldly putting down a motion to establish Senate committees of one form or another unless the relationship of those committees to the plenary body, the Senate itself, and the Standing Orders was thoroughly examined. This is quite unexceptionable.
But now I am bound to inform the Senate that one day when the Standing Orders Committee of the Senate was discussing the final form which these committees should take the then Leader of the Opposition, Senator Murphy, said that he was sick and tired of the Standing Orders Committee arguing about this, that and the other, and that he felt it his duty to inform the Standing Orders Committee that irrespective of any conclusions of the Standing Orders Committee he intended to enter the Senate and to move a motion himself. Since then, vast barrages have come out including references in newspapers and magazines, the opinions of academics, and this that and the other to the point that now it is believed- and certainly seems to be believed by Senator Douglas McClelland, as he has made the claim this afternoon- that the Australian Labor Party was the godfather as it were, of the Senate committees.
– That is entirely incorrect.
-It is absolutely incorrect. It was a corporate effort of honourable senators sitting on the Standing Orders Committee. I think that it is time that that was put down so that everyone knows what in fact did happen. The next matter to which I wish to address myself- and I do not think that any honourable senator sitting across from me will deny this fact- is the reason why the Prime Minister of the day, Mr Whitlam, moved in the other place to set up a committee to examine the committees of the Parliament. His action was not induced by any desire to avoid duplication but was in order to curb the power which he felt was growing in the Senate ‘s capacity to -
– No. It was the proliferation of committees.
– It was. That was the reason.
– That had nothing to do with it.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Order!
-It was simply a method to try to take away from a growing reputation that the Senate was developing, and which was acknowledged by the Australian electorate, through its system of parliamentary committees which were presenting reports most of which were unanimous, as rarely was there a dissenting report. The work of those committees was performed expeditiously. They were quick in the methods by which they went about their business.
-Well, most of them, but not all of them.
-The Senate Select Committee on Off-Shore Petroleum Resources took a long time. I remember that Senator Young chaired it.
– I wound it up.
-Yes. Mostly those committees worked expeditiously. Another matter that is of interest is that in the office of the Department of the Senate responsible for keeping accounts, a running cost of Senate committees is maintained so that the Presiding Officer of the day knows how much those committees cost. Some day, perhaps, Mr President might be willing to divulge to the Senatethis would be on the appropriate occasion- just what those committees did cost. What I can say to honourable senators is this: If a Senate committee had been set up to examine the Barrier Reef instead of a royal commission being appointed under Sir Gordon Wallace, the cost would have been $100,000 instead of the $1.5m or more that the royal commission cost- and it still has not reported.
– What about the Toose inquiry into repatriation?
-Yes. In other words, the Senate committee system was not only expeditious but also was not costly to the taxpayers. Most Senate committees were efficient. That background led the Prime Minister of the day to try to subvert those Senate committees by moving to set up a system by which all committees should be joint committees. The characteristic of a joint committee is that it would have twice as many members from the House of Representatives as there would be senators from the Senate, and the Senate would be submerged.
When the matter came up for consideration in the Party to which I have the honour to belong, I said that I would fight this proposal to the death. Instead of that, I found myself drafted onto the Committee that was eventually set up by both Houses to examine the committee system. That Committee was set up in 1974. 1 am pleased to notice that I am recorded as being the Deputy Chairman of that Committee. It was chaired by a distinguished member of the Australian Labor Party, Dr Jenkins from Victoria. I have never sat under a fairer chairman than Dr Jenkins. He felt it was proper, and the Committee agreed with him, that he should bring down an interim report. Senator Douglas McClelland referred to it and Senator Withers read from it. I shall repeat what Senator Douglas McClelland stated when he read from it. Chapter 5 on page 37 states:
On balance, the weight of evidence did not support the establishment of an extensive system of joint committees for the Australian Parliament . . .
I emphasise those words ‘the weight of evidence’. The report then goes on to state that the domestic joint committees have worked successfully. Of course they have worked successfully. For example, how can we have a separate committee for Joint House matters or a separate committee for the Library -
– Or on publications?
-Oron publications and so on. Those committees might be described as housekeeping committees. They are joint committees. On policy committees the Senate has a separate constitutional role when compared with the House of Representatives. The Senate must maintain its own committee system. Apart from all the other reasons of time, and the difficulty of getting members from the House of Representatives, an honourable senator, because he has a longer term in Parliament, is able to take a tougher line when a difficult situation arises, without being responsive to pressure of one sort or another from the electors. Therefore I say without any hesitation that I will have nothing to do with joint committees. It is not proper for me even to hint at what the draft report will contain, but I think it can be said that if the draft report does not contain a strong recommendation that the Senate retain its own committees, there will be a substantial dissenting report in my name.
– Do not divulge committee business.
-I am not going to divulge committee business. I said that if the Committee does not bring down a report that the Senate retain its own committee system I shall submit a strong dissenting report.
I agree that we should get the committees reestablished. So keen am I to have them reestablished that I have written to the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) about the matter. I have received a letter from him in reply. But the Senate has to be occupied in the meantime. There are references which were cut off at root level when both Houses were dissolved. Those reports have to be completed. For example, there is a report to come from the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence in relation to Vietnamese refugees which has not been completed. I imagine that it will be a pretty devastating document when it is produced. Other references to committees must be completed. I suggest that the Senate should give no credence at all to the arguments propounded by Senator Douglas McClelland. They have no substance. I support the motion and reject the amendment.
Debate (on motion by Senator Keeffe) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 26 February on motion by Senator Greenwood:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
-Mr Acting Deputy President, I understand that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Bill is being taken jointly with the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Devitt)- That is not my understanding at this stage.
- Mr Acting Deputy President, I think that would be the sensible thing to do.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT- As there is no objection, we will adopt that course.
-The Bills deal in their essential points with related matters, and I certainly commend that course. I shall deal first of all with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Bill 1976. The Opposition does not oppose it. In all but a couple of detailed respects it is identical with the legislation which was introduced in the House of Representatives in November of last year by the then Labor Government. The legislation has relevance at this time because of a great deal of community concern over the role of intelligence agencies. That concern has been expressed both here and in the United States of America. In the United States it led to the appointment of the Church Senate Committee. The relevations of that Committee have also been a source of great comment and public discussion. I believe that the thing which concerns people both in the United States and here is the belief that intelligence agencies have sometimes developed to a point where they have almost become the tail wagging the dog. A previous government established a body which has reached such proportions and whose ramifications and activities have been so great that in the United States the Government has in fact found itself embarrassed by the activities of that agency, namely, the Central Intelligence Agency.
It is precisely because of this sort of factor that the Opposition looks forward to the publication of the report of Mr Justice Hope in relation to ASIO. It is also because of the degree of community concern about this matter that we look forward to that report. Insofar as the Bill now before the Senate is concerned, the Opposition has consistently taken the view that it is appropriate for a judge to be the Director-General of ASIO. I suppose, put in its simplest terms, it is felt that if one does have to have spooks in society, it is at least advisable that the spooks be supervised by a non-spook, that is to say a member of the judiciary. It is also felt, having regard to the traditional acceptance of the role of the judiciary in Australia as being an independent one, that the fact that the Director-General is a judge symbolises in some way the independence of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation from the government of the day.
We hope that the symbolism of having a judge as Director-General will be reflected in the actions of the Director-General who will be appointed as a result of this legislation being passed. I believe that most members of the Opposition are confident that that will be the case. Of course, we are concerned that the judge in his role as Director-General should be assiduous in the protection of civil liberties as far as the organisation is concerned and in seeing that many public statements which are made by parliamentarians from both sides to the effect that an organisation such as ASIO should be constrained not to invade the civil liberties of citizens are carried out. The Australian Labor Party has always supported the appointment of a judge. In fact, the Chifley Government appointed a judge as Director-General of ASIO. Honourable senators will recall that even in the life of the last Government the then Attorney-General who raided ASIO headquarters was a prospective judge. So we have always taken the view that in some ways a judicial function should be exercised in relation to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.
There is one point on which there seems to be some difference between the Government and the Opposition and that is the question of whether the Director-General of ASIO should be responsible to the Prime Minister of the day or to the Attorney-General. It is true that the legislation introduced by the Labor Government last year made the Director-General responsible to the Prime Minister and that the present Bill is different in that the Director-General is responsible to the Attorney-General.
– Perhaps we do not have such a snoopy Prime Minister.
- Senator Missen always provokes me to say things which otherwise might have remained unsaid. I share the view that it is desirable that the Attorney-General should be the Minister to whom the Director-General of ASIO is responsible. Senator Greenwood is looking askance at me, feeling, with his acute sensitivity for some division of opinion within the Opposition, that he has detected something. I thought what I said was quite clear. I take the view that the Attorney-General is the responsible officer to whom the Director-General should be accountable. I think it is probably particularly desirable when that fact is coupled with the fact that the Director-General is to be a judge. As I have said, Senator Missen provoked me. I am surprised that he did so because I would have thought that the conduct of the present Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) in relation to recent inquiries into the movements of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr E. G. Whitlam) had shown that he is not a fit person to understand or appreciate -
– It is the movement of money that we are interested in.
– I understand Senator Withers’ interest in money, but the point I am trying to make is quite a serious one. In the last few days we have seen an example of the Prime Minister saying that the Government has no responsibility for the orders which have been given to the Commonwealth Police officers in connection with returning their diaries to their superior officer. If the Prime Minister has no feeling of responsibility about that it seems to me that he does not understand the notion of ministerial responsibility and that it is more particularly appropriate that this matter of responsibility to a member of the Parliament and the Cabinet should be to the Attorney-General rather than to the Prime Minister. In saying that I am mindful also of the fact that other activities about which members of the Australian Labor Party have complained were, in fact, authorised by the Attorney-General- and properly so if he thinks in his discretion that that was the appropriate course to take. I make no value judgment about what he has done. I merely say that he is the responsible Cabinet Minister to do that if it is decided that it should be done.
I wish to speak very briefly about the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. The purpose of that Bill was most eloquently described in the last paragraph of Senator Greenwood’s scintillating second reading speech, on the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Bill, which states: . . the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, provides for an increase of one in the number of judges in the Australian Industrial Court so that the Court will consist of a Chief Judge and ten other judges. This will allow the Court to operate if necessary at its present strength during the period of Mr Justice Woodward ‘s appointment with ASIO.
In connection with that statement I invite the Government to look quite seriously- I am not making any Party comment when I say this- at the way in which the Australian Industrial Court is currently operating and, to use Senator Greenwood’s expression, ‘its present strength’. The present strength of the Australian Industrial Court has been numerically described as being ten, but if one examines the actual strength of the court one will see that the bulk of the industrial work is in fact being done by two superannuated Liberal Party Cabinet Ministers and one other judge who can best be described as being of mature age and that the other judges of the court are most frequently used in various other capacities and jurisdictions- in inquiries of various kinds, such as the inquiry into the maritime industry, in work as judges of the Supreme Courts of the Territories and, indeed, in restrictive trade practices work.
Since the boilermakers’ case in 1956 the role of the Australian Industrial Court, having originally been quite clearly denned, has changed very considerably. That court has now become something of a catch-all court for all sorts of miscellaneous jurisdictions. I put it to the Government, being as it is in a position to do something about this matter, that it should very seriously consider the implications of this situation. We touched on this aspect in the Senate last year when we were debating the Superior Court of Australia Bill. One of the results of that dissipation of the court’s activities into various areas has been that there has been a marked decline in the confidence of practitioners in the industrial relations field in the activities of the court and the particular work in respect of which it was originally established.
One welcomes in some degree the newspaper reports of this morning that the decision in the boilermakers’ case has, I understand, on the basis of submissions from the Commonwealth Government, again come under some criticism in the High Court of Australia. Over the years the Industrial Court has developed- first of all in perhaps a very rigid sort of way- a great number of unnecessary legalisms in the industrial jurisdiction and there is growing concern about the practice and the strength of the court, if I can use that expression which Senator Greenwood used, amongst those people concerned with industrial relations. Let me illustrate the sort of point I have in mind. It seems that the court, perhaps with the wisdom of great maturity which most of the judges have or for some other reasons, has been taking upon itself in recent years some quite unusual criteria for determining matters in the industrial jurisdiction. I refer, for example, to the judgment of that court in the hospital employees’ case of 27 June 1975. In the course of that judgment the court made a comment about the function of evidence in the Australian Industrial Court. It said:
After several such objections had been taken and dealt with on their merits, the court indicated a general view that the ordinary rules as to the leading of evidence should not be too strictly applied in cases such as these.
It was in 1975- some 20 years after the boilermakers’ case- that this new-found discretion developed in the minds of the judges of the court. The judgment continues:
Although in form these are actions between named parties, in substance they involve an investigation into the good government of the organisation. In other words the court has in such cases an underlying duty to get to the heart of the matters before it. At the same time it must endeavour to do justice according to law as between the immediate parties.
The court there sees- in its own judgment- a dichotomy between doing justice and what it calls getting to the heart of the matter by abandoning to some degree the normal rules of evidence.
– Was that a joint judgment or an individual judgment?
-That was a joint judgment. The point I make about that sort of comment is that if a court which seeks the respect and the confidence of the parties involved in industrial relations and, more particularly, the respect and confidence of the trade union movement, which, by virtue of the provisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, is under the general supervision of that court in relation to its rules, conduct and so on, makes comments like that in judgments which reflect perhaps inquisitiveness on behalf of the court or perhaps an onrush of senility, then there can be no such confidence. I put it to Senator Greenwood that the Government should be very careful to ensure that it is just not sufficient by this legislation to talk about the strength of the Australian Industrial Court as being ten and that satisfying the matter. The Government should take every step possible to ensure that the word ‘strength’ used in relation to a court does not mean just its numerical strength, but it means its capacity to handle the problems with which it is confronted in a judicial manner and in a way which not only is fair but also seems to be fair and which earns the respect of the parties which appear in that jurisdiction. I very firmly believe - . .
– Was not justice done in the hospital employees case, or do you take a different view?
-I take a totally different view. The result may have been socially desirable, if that is what Senator Greenwood’s question is directed at. I regard the result as socially desirable but judicially inept. It is a matter which should have close examination if Senator Greenwood is seriously concerned, as I believe he is, about the point which I am seeking to make.
As I have said, the Opposition does not oppose either piece of legislation. We hope, in relation to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation legislation, that the concept of the independence of its Director-General will be maintained by this Government. We also urge the Government to consider the view that that is best maintained in the eyes of the members of the public and in the eyes of the people concerned with the matter by a judicial appointment to the job of DirectorGeneral. In regard to the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, we take the opportunity to invite the Government to look very seriously at the current strength, both intellectual and otherwise, of the Industrial Court in order to ensure that that jurisdiction enjoys the respect which it should have if it is to solve some of the problems which it is cur.rently enjoined to solve. I refer not only to the jurisdiction with which it was originally invested in 1956 but also to the very complex jurisdiction which it now has as a result of the amendments to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act following the Moore v. Doyle case and matters of that kind. Apart from those comments, I commend the legislation.
- Mr Acting Deputy President, I ask for leave to make my remarks at a later time.
Leave granted, debate adjourned.
– I do not want it to be felt that I am flogging a dead horse by resuming the debate and resuming the criticism of some of the remarks that have been made by the Opposition on this subject; but I believe that extraordinary factors have been raised already by Senator Douglas McClelland. I am grateful to Senator Sir Magnus Cormack for his explanation of the true nature of the term ‘godfather’ in relation to the creation of the Senate committees. It relates to the claim that Senator Douglas McClelland made, namely, that the Australian Labor Party was the godfather of the Senate system of committees. These days the word ‘godfather’ sometimes has a rather sinister ring to it. I am assuming that it is not in that sense that the Labor Party makes its claim. However, I think it is quite interesting that Senator Douglas McClelland is claiming this role for the Labor Party. It is quite natural that he should want to do so. An important and valuable system such as the Senate committee system is one that any political party would like to claim the credit for originating. Of course, that is a strong argument for the restoration of the system and not for embarking on a new field of committees at this time. It was also very significant that the honourable senator referred to the interim report of the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System. Of course, there was no doubt that the effect of that interim report was that we should continue the Senate system of committees and not embark in the meanwhile on a system of joint committees with both Houses- the Senate and the House of Representatives- contributing members to those committees. Why should we take away the existing system in the light of what that report has already stated to us?
In addition, there was the argument that the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System has not yet been re-established. Then came the extraordinary conclusion from Senator Douglas McClelland that consequently in the meantime we should set up joint committees ‘for the time being’, to use his words. Why on earth would we destroy a system of committees which has references which we would expect to be returned to it? Why would we set up a new system of joint committees and then perhaps pull down that system as soon as we receive the report of the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System? I suggest that there is no logic in that and no sense in it for the Senate. I recollect- I mention this for the benefit of new Senators- that at the time of the resumption of the Parliament in July 1 974 the same arguments were presented. We were presented with the same deja vu situation that we should not re-establish the existing committees, so the Labor Party said when it was in government, until we had received the report of the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System. I ask honourable senators to think of all the reports of Senate committees of the last Parliament which would never have appeared and of all the debate which occurred on Bills and which was greatly advantaged by committee reports of the Parliament but which would not have occurred if we had taken notice of that advice at that time. We would not have had those reports because we were advised then- fortunately the Senate did not take that advice- that we should give away the committees until the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System had reported. Once again we are given this advice by the Australian Labor Party and it is just as foolish. We should proceed with the resurrection and complete establishment of committees, in their slightly amended form, in the context of the motion before the Chair. I say that, bearing in mind that, whatever might be said about the motion from the Labor Party, that motion accepts the nature and number of committees proposed in Senator Withers ‘ motion.
It seems that the Australian Labor Party is just ignoring some of the facts which arise at this time and in the present Parliament. If honourable senators opposite are suggesting that we should establish joint committees, they should bear in mind, if they have not realised it, that there is a great disparity of numbers in the House of Representatives. They should realise the difficulty which their Party surely would have to face in filling the membership of those committees because the House of Representatives numbers are traditionally larger than the Senate numbers on joint committees. Consequently, we would have expected that they would find a great deal of difficulty in filling those committees. It may be that it has not come through to them yet that they have a very small number of representatives in the House of Representatives. After all, it took some time to come through to the members of the Labor Party on 1 1 November that they were no longer in government. I realise that in November for some hours they were left in the dark.
– They spend their full time on their parliamentary duties.
-They may apply their full time to their parliamentary duties. But is the honourable senator suggesting that somehow Labor members in the House of Representatives are 3 times better as workers than members of the Liberal and National Country Parties?
– That is right.
-That is not a modest suggestion which the honourable senator is making. I believe that the Australian people would find it very difficult to accept the proposition that a Labor member of Parliament is 3 times as good as a Liberal or National Country Party member. However, that may be a new reason why the Australian people elected a Parliament with only about one-third its members being members of the honourable senator’s Party. As I say, I find it difficult to accept that argument. What the honourable senator is ignoring is the fact that Senate committees are small in number. If there are 3 members from each side of the Parliament, we can cope with that number. But, if we are to have joint committees, obviously the membership of those commutes will be much larger. In view of all the difficulties and for the reasons which have been explained by Senator Sir Magnus Cormack and Senator Withers earlier in the debate but which I will not repeat, it would be difficult to set up and man joint committees as proposed by the Australian Labor Party.
Two expressions came to my mind as I listened to the speech by Senator Douglas McClelland. The first one was that we should not give away the substance for the shadow. We have the substance of a committee system which has been recognised widely not only by the academics and others but also by the people who understand the position and who very recently in a poll indicated their enormous support for the Senate as a House of review and for its continuance. One of the things which in recent years has made the Senate much more acceptable in the eyes of the public is that it has operated a successful committee system. Why should we give away that substance for a shadow, which the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System says is a very unsatisfactory shadow? That Committee did not propose such an idea and does not yet recommend a change. For that reason I think we should not agree to the amendment.
The second expression which immediately came to mind when I read the Opposition’s amendment was this: Why should we buy a pig in a poke? The amendment does not describe how a joint committee system would operate. Clause 3 of the amendment states:
Provisions relating to membership powers and proceedings of the committee be contained in a subsequent Resolution.
We do not know whether that will be acceptable to the other House of the Parliament. We do not know what those terms will be. We will, as I say, be receiving a pig in a poke instead of the important and valuable system which has been tried in the last few Parliaments.
My experience in the short period I have been here is that the standard of debate has been affected considerably by the fact that members sit together on committees. We have an opportunity of debating privately and fully many matters which are then of assistance to members in debate in this place. I listened to a lot of the debate on the Family Law Bill which, as we know, was a matter of substantial report and agreement by a committee of the Senate. There was a genuine debate on that matter in the Senate and at the Committee stage. We knew what we were talking about because senators on both sides had a great background of information on the subject. I see Senator James McClelland nodding in agreement. Under his chairmanship the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs carried out a very valuable exercise which was reflected in debate in the Senate. With the greatest of respect to our colleagues in the House of Representatives and having sat through a couple of days of debate in that chamber- members came in, made their contribution, their speech, a declaration of their views, and then walked out- I found that there was not a debate in the real sense because the members did not have the advantage that we had.
– You should not be making imputations against the other House.
– I am not making imputations. Just because debate in one House may be superior to debate in the other does not mean I do not appreciate the very many things which are done in the other House, but the valuable work carried out by honourable senators on committees improved many debates in the past Parliament and will improve debates in future in this chamber. To throw that away and to become a mass of members, with honourable senators being submerged in joint committees, would, I think, be a very great loss.
I say finally that I believe the Senate is a specialised House, both by virtue of its election and by virtue of the work which its members do. They have an opportunity of meeting together at particular times. They have the opportunity of devoting a lot of attention to committee work, which has not appealed so much to members of the House of Representatives. Of course members of the House of Representatives, with their enormous local electorate work, do not have the time to deal with such matters in an equal way. By all means let the House of Representatives set up policy committees. Of course it can do this. Nothing has stopped it from doing so for some years. Let us not abandon in any way the system of the Senate which has become one of the features of i*.s value and the resurrection of its acceptance in the community. I support strongly
Senator Wither ‘s motion, because the restoration of the committees is of great value and importance to this country.
– I rise to support the amendment moved by my colleague, Senator Douglas McClelland. I will outline my reasons for doing so. I have served on a joint parliamentary committee and I found no problem at all associated with its work. As a matter of fact I think the committee worked very well. Senator Withers said that he did not want to support the Opposition ‘s amendment because he did not want to be swamped by the other place. Also Senator Cormack in his remarks said that he did not want any part of a joint committee system because the House of Representatives would have twice as many members on the committees as the Senate would have.
I have had a look through the notice paper of the last Parliament and on only 2 occasions could I see the ratio of members on a joint committee being anywhere near two to one in favour of the House of Representatives. On the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory there were 5 members of the House of Representatives and 4 senators. A senator was the chairman. There were twice the number of members from the House of Representatives as there were senators on the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence. The Committee consisted of 14 members from the House of Representatives and 7 senators. The Joint Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House consisted of 8 members from the House of Representatives and 7 members from the Senate. The Joint Committee on the Northern Territory, of which I was a member, consisted of 5 members of the House of Representatives and 4 senators. I intend to say a few words later about the setting up of that Committee. The Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System consisted of 7 members of the House of Representatives and 6 senators. The Joint Committee on the Pecuniary Interests of Members of Parliament consisted of 5 members of the House of Representatives and 4 senators. The ratio was nearly two to one on the Joint Committee on Prices. There were 7 members of the House of Representatives and 4 senators. So of all those committees it can be said that on only 2 occasions the ratio of members of the House of Representatives to senators was nearly two to one. It cannot be said truthfully, as Senator Cormack said, that the membership of joint committees of members of the House of Representatives and senators was of a ratio of two to one. I am sure that that would not be so.
I recall when the previous Government moved to set up the Joint Committee on the Northern Territory a dispute ensued between Liberal and Country Party senators as to who should be the representatives on that Committee. Because of that dispute the work of that Committee did not commence when it should have done and we lost thewholeofthewinterrecessof1974.Nowork was done by that Committee because one honourable senator objected to there being no Country Party representation. When we came back after the winter recess that honourable senator was successful in having the representation altered and he became a member of that Committee. The record attendances show that the honourable senator who held up the work of that Committee for so long had the worst record of attendance of members of that Committee. He attended only when he felt like it and then finally got off the Committee when Senator Sheil was elected to his place. Senator Sheil replaced that honourable senator on the Committee. Having worked with members of the House of Representatives on that Committee I want to say now that they were most diligent in their attention to the Committee work and most diligent in their attendance. I am not sure whether it was Senator Cormack or Senator Withers who said that the House of Representatives members do not give attention to committees. The record of attendance of members of the House of Representatives was first class, and that could not be said for one senator on that Joint Committee.
In my opinion joint committees work very well. As Senator McAuliffe pointed out by way of interjection, some of the reasons why we moved in the last Parliament to have joint committees set up and to have the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System set up were to try to avoid the duplication of members having to sit on 2 committees and also to try to avoid the inconvenience of witnesses having to appear before 2 separate committees and give practically the same evidence to each committee. If we had joint committees we would do away with that problem. I do not intend to delay the Senate any more. I have put on record what I wanted to say. I fully support the amendment moved by Senator Douglas McClelland.
– I am not surprised to find the Labor Opposition proposing that the committee system of the Senate should be abandoned in favour of joint committees. The truth, of course, is that the Opposition does not believe in a bicameral system of government and would be much happier to see as a permanent feature of our Constitution the Senate combined into a joint House. The fact of the matter is that the committee system which we are debating today was pioneered in the Senate, and it has proved to be a great success. I wonder whether the Opposition has really asked itself why the Senate has achieved this success, why the Senate pioneered the committee system and why the success of a parliamentary committee system has been proven largely by committees of the Senate. There can be no question about their success. Senator Douglas McClelland, in proposing his amendment, has argued, forcibly I think, for the whole institution of parliamentary committees. He has established that success by reference largely to the Senate committee system. That is not the real issue. All honourable senators agree on the importance of parliamentary committees.
The only question that we must resolve today is whether the committee system should be retained in the Senate as a separate committee system from that of the House of Representatives or whether we should join forces entirely with the House of Representatives and set up only joint standing committees. We are not debating today whether there should be 2 entirely separate committee systems. We are not debating whether the existing joint committees, such as the Joint Statutory Committees on Public Works and Public Accounts and the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, should be disbanded in favour of entirely separate Senate committees. We are discussing a motion to reestablish the unique Legislative and General Purpose Standing Committees of the Senate as they have been established since 1969. The motion makes some minor changes in the areas covered by the committees. In fact, it reduces the number of the Legislative and General Purpose Standing Committees from eight to seven. In essence, what we are discussing is the reestablishment of the Senate Legislative and General Purpose Standing Committees which, as I have said, were first proposed in the Senate in 1969 and which have been a singular feature of the Senate ever since. I think all arguments have been well canvassed by honourable senators on both sides of the chamber. I do not want to delay the Senate unduly with further reiteration.
I should like to raise an important aspect of these committees which I have not heard emphasised in the debate- although some honourable senator may have mentioned it when I was not present. These committees are known as Legislative and General Purpose Standing Committees. The point I wish to emphasise is that they are legislative standing committees which are available to consider legislation which comes before the Senate. It would be impossible to achieve what these committees have achieved in the past if they were joint committees of the 2 Houses. In the past these committees have embarked on the examination of some very important general references. They have made valuable contributions to public life. In recent years- I hope that it will be a more notable feature of the committees in future years- they have dealt with specific Bills referred to them by the Senate. I think this is one of the major developments which has occurred, particularly during the last couple of years. Mention has already been made of the reference to the Legislative and General Purpose Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs of the Family Law Bill when it was introduced into the Senate. I see Senator James McClelland happily on the front bench again and I am sorry it is not a permanent seat. I am sure he will agree that the work carried out by that Committee in relation to the Family Law BUI provided the foundation for the passage of that highly controversial piece of legislation through both Houses of the Parliament. I think that is probably the most notable example of the point I am making, but other Bills were referred to committees.
The selection of references to these Legislative and General Purpose Standing Committees should be such as to cover areas in which one or other of the committees is a suitable vehicle for that type of consideration. I do not believe, as I said earlier, that the committees of the House of Representatives will ever achieve that type of consideration of Bills. I do not think the set-up in the House of Representatives is such that there is a likelihood that it will develop a committee system along those lines. As I said, it is quite impracticableindeed impossible- for that type of reference to be dealt with by a joint committee. Therefore, that type of development of the parliamentary committee system has to be pursued and developed by the Senate itself.
I think the reasons for the success of the Senate committee system are clear. They have been drawn out in this debate. I simply reiterate the 2 major reasons for that success. Firstly, it is due to the institution of the Senate itself and its record and tradition of independence from government. Despite the fact the we have Ministers in the Senate it was notable to hear the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Withers) earlier in this debate emphasise the fact that the Senate is a chamber independent of government -more independent than the House of Representatives could ever be.
If the Senate is to develop its role and, indeed, maintain the role of Parliament in the community it has to retain that independence of government which, I believe, has been a notable feature of the Senate. From my own experienceI served in the lower House of my own State Parliament for a term- I am able to make the contrast between the independence of government of the 2 Houses. There was a most notable difference between the 2 parliamentary experiences. I think that independence of government is the basic reason for the Senate’s success in developing the committee system. The other reason, of course, which has been emphasised is the greater freedom that senators enjoy from constituency work in comparison to members of the House of Representatives. Honourable senators have the time to specialise. Some honourable senators have a longer term in which to develop expertise in various areas. They seem to me to be the 2 main reasons that the Senate is likely to succeed in developing further the parliamentary committee system. These are the reasons that the Senate has already succeeded.
Let there be no doubt about the fact that the Senate has succeeded in this area. A distinguished professor of political science in Australia has commented to me that the Senate is really the only chamber of any Parliament in Australia that has done its job as a parliamentary institution. That is a comment by an independent observer that is worth noting. I think because we have developed this committee system we can make that claim. This is our major responsibility as a parliamentary institution. I believe that we must retain the independence of our committee system. Only by doing so will we be able to develop the committee system further. Hopefully, we will be able to give a further lead to other parliamentary chambers in Australia.
If we adopted the amendment moved by the Opposition it would be a retrograde step. Although it would not destroy the parliamentary committee system, it would not advance the development of that system. By setting up these committees in the life of this Parliament we will take the development of our committee system a step further. I hope that during this Parliament we will be able to make further developments along the road by the reference of Bills to the committees and closer examination of the Bills by the committees. For those reasons I will support the motion and oppose the amendment.
– I wish to support strongly the amendment that was moved by my colleague Senator Douglas McClelland. I do not propose to cover again the point he raised or the points that were raised by Senator McLaren, but I wish to point out a couple of matters of which I think the Senate ought to take note. In the re-arrangement of the committees there has been rather a confusion about the name that has been given to each of the committees. The old system of standing committees was quite straightforward and I think most of us knew the types of reference that could be placed before the committees. I believe the points made by the mover of the amendment concerning the joining together of the 2 Houses to be quite satisfactory. I think we ought to have a wider command of investigation. It is true that when at odd times joint committees have been established they have worked very effectively. I see no reason why we cannot adopt the amendment in its broadest terms.
Some speakers have said that our attitude will lead to the abolition of all Senate committees. A number of statutory committees operate under the authority of the Senate and we have not said at any stage that we want to see those abolished. They are all of a domestic nature handling the work of the Senate.
– The committee which you chaired worked well, did it not?
– Some committees have worked very well. This is not a condemnation of what we have done in the past, but if one can broaden one’s attitude to take in other groups of people, inevitably a better committee must result.
– A plunge into the future.
- Senator Missen and the bunch of budding speakers sitting four in a row can have a go afterwards. Before the advent of the Labor Government a number of Liberal Party people who manned the Senate committees, such as they were in those days, seldom turned up to committee meetings and there was great difficulty in forming quorums. I do not know how quorums are to be maintained under this new system if the motion moved by the Government is agreed to. Is it a method of keeping quiet the surplus back benchers in the Liberal Party? I would think that could be done much more effectively if the Senate adopted our amendment.
I wish to go through a couple of points which have been raised by speakers on the other side. I think Senator Withers, the Leader of the Government in the Senate, said that there could not be a duplication of committees but the Senate was responsible for duplication, particularly with regard the committee dealing with defence.
I think he also made a remark about reprehensible action, but he said that the real House of the Government is the Lower House. If we are to ignore the Lower House and not work in cooperation with it we will be put in a situation where something reprehensible may take place and Senator Withers may have to eat his words on that point.
I am not quite sure how the old references will be transferred to the suggested new system of Senate standing committees. Even if our amendment is agreed to there will be some difficulties. But I presume that better brains than ours will work out the appropriate references. Senator Sir Magnus Cormack said that he wanted to put the historical record straight. He started off in an hysterical way by claiming that all the good work was started off in a certain committee meeting in the bowels of Parliament House, but I think most fair minded people would admit that the Labor Party in Opposition gave a very great fillip to the establishment of committees. According to Senator Sir Magnus Cormack, the committee which was set up to inquire into the setting up of committees was a brainchild of the then Prime Minister with a view to abolishing the Senate committee system. That is not true. There are people on the other side of the chamber at the moment who are claiming for themselves the policies of the interim report of the committee investigating the committee system, but we have not yet seen the final report. Whether that committee will be re-established under the new Government remains to be seen.
The honourable senator referred in passing to the Senate Select Committee on Off-Shore Petroleum Resources. It is true that it sat for a long time. It is equally true that it brought out a very comprehensive report. The recommendations in the couple of pages of minority report, to which the 3 members of the Committee from my Party subscribed- this is matter of historical interest now- were largely adopted by the 2 previous Governments. Again our attitude on this subject will not prevent the establishment of Senate select committees. If something of sufficient importance requires the setting up of a select committee, I have no doubt that the Opposition would agree to it. Senator Sir Magnus Cormack referred to the report on Vietnamese refugees. He is not in the chamber at the moment but I should like to bring him up to date by reminding him that his Government has said that all that has now been called off. I shall be speaking about that matter when I make my contribution in the Address-in-Reply debate.
Senator Durack said that the Labor Party does not believe in the bicameral system. I presume that Senator Durack was not out of order and I do not believe I am out of order in referring to the fact that if great damage has been done to the Senate it was done by the Liberal Party in Opposition by its behaviour over the last 3 years. There were people on the other side of the chamber who wanted to do the right thing and who did not want to hold up Supply. What did the Liberal Party do to them? There were 2 better class senators from Tasmania on the other side of the chamber whom the Liberal Party would not even endorse, and they are no longer with us. Senator Missen was a victim in Victoria when he was put near the bottom of the ticket instead of at the top where he ought to have been because of his political attitudes.
– I am quite comfortable down there now.
-The Liberal Party punished its own people because they believed the Senate had a job to do and that it was not the sort of job which the then Opposition gave it during a period of 3 years. It is all very well for Senator Durack to say that the Labor Party is opposed to the bicameral system when the Liberal Party has given a much greater impetus to the abolition of the Senate in 3 years than the Labor Party was able to do in 75 years. The final retort from Senator Durack was his reference to the independence of the Senate. One could say: What independence?’. I do not propose to lengthen the debate on this topic but I think we ought to keep those points in mind. I hope that sufficient senators on the other side will show their independence by crossing the floor to vote with us to carry the amendment.
– I wish to say a few words about both the motion and the amendment. I think the fact the Senate is debating the committee system is a tribute to the success of the committee system in the Senate. I agree fairly substantially with some of the remarks that have been made by Senator Durack about the pioneering role that the Senate has played in the whole review system of the Senate’s committees, particularly those that are the subject of the motion and the amendment. Having pioneered the way I do not think we ought to adopt a dog in the manger attitude and not extend that experience to those other members of the Parliament in the House of Representatives so that they may join us and have the experience that we have enjoyed since the Senate took the rather important and momentous step some years ago of establishing this very important part of the review responsibility of the Senate. I think that previously the Senate saw itself purely as another chamber deliberating upon matters and making decisions based on the debate within the chamber.
I think it is agreed that the establishment of the committee system was an evolutionary process. The Labor Party and in particular former Senator Murphy- he was joined by some of his opponents in this chamber- saw the merit in the proposal to set up a committee system and were able to convince the Senate, on the second or third occasion on which the proposal was advanced, of the value of introducing this form of procedure as a review responsibility. Having said that, I think that it is wrong for Government senators to suggest that Opposition senators want to extend that procedure to embrace members of the House of Representatives because we want to belittle the role of the Senate or pander to the House of Representatives or take any other course of action which denies the essential role and the essential experience that honourable senators had. After all, I think that Senator Missen and Senator Durack would agree that the finest hour of Senate committees could be related to the work that was done on the Family Law Bill.
Of course one can understand the reason for the belief that Senate committees should be maintained as separate identities. As a senator who has worked on Senate committees and has been fortunate enough to have been chairman of a Senate committee, as well as occupying a somewhat similar role as deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Prices and chairman of one of the sub-committees of that Committee, I can see the value of both arguments. I can see the value of the activities of joint committees and of a Senate committee acting in its own right. Our amendment, which we ask the Senate to consider, should be seen not as an endeavour in any way to belittle the independent role of the Senate but rather as part of the evolution of the committee system being applied to the Parliament itself.
The Parliament agreed to set up the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System because of the experience gained during the previous 3 years. For that reason, a decision was taken last year to establish a committee to review the committee system. We had reached the situation where public servants were being called before a committee of the Senate and then before a joint committee which had been established with somewhat similar terms of reference.
There was a duplication in the provision of time and resources because of the duality of the terms of reference. It is in the light of that experience, and not because of any ulterior reason or purpose that Government senators might believe the Leader of the Labor Party or any individual member of the Labor Party might have, that the Opposition is supporting the amendment that is before the Senate. It would be ludicrous to have the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence and the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence both considering the matter, for example, of Indonesia. Both Committees would call experts from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Defence and other public officials. The whole fabric of the committee system would surely be affected and damaged if, perchance, we had the situation where a Senate committee, in its review responsibilities, made a finding which was different from that of a joint committee.
– It does not happen, does it?
– It is true that in the life of this present Parliament that is not likely to happen. But it was certainly a possibility during the life of the previous Parliament. We would make fools of ourselves both in the Senate and in the House of Representatives should such a state of affairs come about. I do not know why the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Withers) has taken the unusual step of dropping from the list of committees set out in the motion the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations, of which I was Chairman in the last Parliament. I hope that it is purely a technical omission and that he will agree to insert the name of this Committee in the motion. My colleague, Senator Douglas McClelland, who moved the amendment on behalf of the Opposition, also seems to have made a technical omission and has left out of the amendment reference to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations.
I put it to the Senate quite seriously that I had no part in determining the original resolution to set up the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations, and certainly no part to play- other than to vote on the proposal- in giving to that Committee the responsibility to deal with estate duties. Honourable senators may recall that after a great amount of deliberation the Committee presented to the Senate a report which was adopted and which some of the States have now taken into consideration in framing their particular legislation. That Committee was concluding its deliberations. In point of fact, a month or so before the Parliament was dissolved, as a result of a year’s activity and of hearing evidence from industry and commerce generally, we had reached the stage where the Chairman had the report of the Committee for his consideration, before sending it to the other members of the Committee.
I have paid tribute to the members of the Committee, Senator Wood, Senator Laucke and former Senator Laurie, who were then members of the Opposition, who assisted us in making a real in-depth study of the whole vexed question of Government assistance to industry. Because of the interest in local government of Senator Wood, Senator Devitt and myself it was our intention, perhaps in the life of the next Parliament when we completed our work on the question of Government assistance to industry, to make an examination of the question of funding for local government. I am sure that my colleagues from New South Wales would agree with me that it is a subject that needs a great deal of investigation having regard to the particular problems that exist in the major States. I think it is a question of the Senate looking at the amendment not as having any party political implications but as being a genuine desire, on the basis of the experience and the evolution of the Senate committees, to have a number of committees in which the legislative role is examined by both the House of Representatives and the Senate. That work needs to be done in the way in which it has been carried out by the Senate in the past. Of course, never at any stage does the amendment seek to deny to the Senate in its independent capacity its role to set up a specific committee, should that ever eventuate.
I hope the Senate will take into consideration that the reason that we set up the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary System and the reason we are putting forward this amendment is, in point of fact, that a proliferation of committees was beginning. That point could be checked with Senator Sir Magnus Cormack, because I am sure that before he was replaced by Senator O ‘Byrne as President of the Senate, he was being pressed by officers of the Senate and by the Public Service about the real problem of the Public Service making available its officers to give the sort of expert evidence that was required by the committees that were operating in the Senate. We hope that the Senate will look at the amendment in that light and not in the way that has been suggested by one or two Government senators, namely, that this amendment is fulfilling some sort of a wish by some particular personality within the Opposition Party.
– in reply-I shall reply briefly, Mr Deputy President, because I imagine we want a division on this matter before the dinner break. Firstly, I should like to thank all honourable senators who have spoken on this matter. As I saw it, the Opposition was not opposed to Senate committees but rather had a preference for joint committees and I shall put the Opposition’s view in that manner. As to the matter of old references which was raised by both Senator Douglas McClelland and Senator Keeffe, I hope that if and when the committees are established and the chairmen are elected the chairmen will be able to come to some amicable arrangement. If there is any dispute the matter ought to come back to this chamber.
Of course, the other argument that has been canvassed is that of duplication and of our being of assistance to our colleagues in another place. In respect of that I suggest that honourable senators look at two committees of the Senate. The Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances was established about 1 934, 1 think. My maths are not terribly good but that is over 40 years ago. Over that entire period an attempt has never been made by the House of Representatives to follow our lead. I do not know why. That is a matter on which the House of Representatives could inform me.
- Senator, they accept over there that the Senate does the job and does it well.
-That is right and I think that maybe that is an attitude that flows on to other areas. That Committee was established a very long time ago and it has built up a store of knowledge and tradition and a method of operating which is accepted all around the Parliament. The other experiment of the Senate in recent times was the Estimates Committees. I think that we all admit that they are not the perfect instrument for examining government estimates but certainly they are better than any other method so far devised in the Parliament. Certainly I think they are better than the previous method of attempting to examine the estimates in this place as a Committee of the Whole. I think that much as the Senate Estimates Committees are handicapped by a number of things, the Senate at least attempts to make some examination of the Estimates, an essay not attempted in the other place, where the Estimates debate on many departments runs for 2 hours and people talk all over the place. As I recall, over more than 70 years, no attempt has been made by the House of Representatives, which claims to be the house of money where money Bills originate, to come to grips with the examination of money Bills. More or less by default it has fallen upon the Senate to make some attempt to come to grips with parliamentary supervision over the expenditure by the Executive of taxpayers ‘ money.
We know that the present Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) expressed a desire, certainly whilst Leader of the Opposition, that an expenditure committee should be set up. What form that will take if it is set up is yet to be revealed. The Public Accounts Committee has attempted to examine what has happened after the money has been spent. I have always felt that the role of a parliament is not so much of an auditing nature but rather of making certain how the money is going to be spent before it is granted. It is not much use shutting the door after the horse has gone. Again, the Joint Statutory Committee on Public Works attempts to look into some of these areas but limitations are placed upon it by its own legislation. But the Senate, through the Estimates Committees, has attempted to come to grips with this problem which most of the parliaments operating under the Westminster system abandoned long ago to the Executive. They do not seem to care over much about examining their government’s appropriation and supply Bills.
My final comment relates to duplication. The Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence and the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence have been singled out. I think it is 10 years today since I was sworn in first as a senator. Over those 10 years it has been a great mystery to me what the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence has ever done. I remember, Mr Deputy President, that somebody who once sat where you sit now described the Joint Committee as an interesting talking shop and not much else. Maybe it is a sewing circle or maybe it is a committee of information. I do not know. But I do know that the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence has brought in a number of reports, all of which have been of enormous interest. I think that the last report that was brought by this Committee concerned a matter which affected my portfolio, namely, the matter dealing with the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. 1 think it is fair to say that the reports on Japan, on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and on the Army were reports of real significance, certainly in a community sense. I do not think that in any way those 2 committees duplicate themselves. As I understand it the Joint Committee has a completely different role. It has almost a private role, if I could put it that way, whereas the Senate Standing Committee has very much a public role. Merely because committees may have the same name it does not mean that they do the same work. Again, I thank all honourable senators for their support of the Senate committee system, even though some of our colleagues may have a preference for a different system.
– Are you prepared to put that other Committee back onto the list?
-Not at this stage.
That the words proposed to be left out (Senator Douglas McClelland’s amendment) be left out.
The Senate divided. (The Deputy President- Senator Drake-Brockman )
Question so resolved in the negative.
-Mr Deputy President, I seek leave to move a further amendment to the motion.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator DrakeBrockman) Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I movethefollowingamendment:
Paragraph (1), sub-paragraph (c), leave out the subparagraph.
The deletion of the sub-paragraph to which I have referred would involve the deletion of the Senate Legislative and General Purpose Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence. The Opposition believes that because there is a Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, which had 2 1 members in the last Parliament and in the Parliament before that, inevitably there will be duplication. I therefore move for the deletion of the Legislative and General Purpose Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT-Is there a seconder for the amendment?
– Yes, I second the amendment.
- Mr Deputy President, I indicate again that the Government will not support the amendment, for the reasons already explained to the Senate.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– This is one of the rare occasions when the Parliament has an opportunity to study security operations. I know that this legislation virtually deals only with the successor to Mr Barbour, but in the calmness of this chamber I wish to say something about the principles that are involved. I think that the Minister for Environment, Housing and Community Development (Senator Greenwood), who represents the AttorneyGeneral (Mr Ellicott) in this chamber, will appreciate my point. Security is a subject that we can never take too lightly. My attention was drawn to this matter as late as yesterday when I received a copy of the current issue of the Meat Employees’ Journal. It contains a simple obituary.
– What is the publication?
-It is the Meat Employees’ Journal of the New South Wales Branch of the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union. I appreciate the interest of the Minister because I will ask for the leave of the Senate to incorporate in Hansard this obituary which is headed: Vale Bill Carter. He was a former senior official of the union. Later I will seek to have this page incorporated in Hansard. I do not want a decision now but will develop my theme. While we are dealing only with the appointment of a new Director to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, what I want to illustrate very simply is how a miscarriage of justice almost occurred.
Let me outline the history of the case of Bill Carter who, as a man in the hungry ’30s, as a slaughterman alternated between New Zealand and Australia. He was a very radical man. In 1961, a long while after his early days, his hungry years, the New South Wales Labor Government was appointing an employee’s representative to the Metropolitan Meat Commission. One Labor Minister had implied that this man, Bill Carter, had a subversive background. The then Premier of New South Wales, Joe Cahill, the then President of the Labor Party in New South Wales, Fred Campbell, and myself had sought at the request of the union that a person engaged in the industry be appointed to the Metropolitan Meat Commission. There was nothing unusual about that because on that Commission was a representative of the employers.
When these McCarthyist sentiments were expressed, to his credit the Premier asked: ‘Do you back this man?’ The union said that it did and we said that we did. The Special Branch was called in. Bill Carter received a complete clearance. In his life, he had certainly not acted treasonably. He was a very militant slaughterman but that did not make him a potential traitor.
Let me develop the story further. Whilst the Special Branch of the New South Wales Police had given him a clearance, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation had reported adversely on him. When he died a short while ago aged 74 years, Bill Carter had had 8 years on the Metropolitan Meat Commission. He held that position as a result of the actions of a number of people including members of his union and the
Premier of New South Wales. Joe Cahill was never renowned for being outspoken on civil liberties but he understood the basic fundamental, as demonstrated by the attitude of the union, that we are entitled to look twice at a person’s background, in essence he respected trade union militancy. I use that example as a prelude of what I wish to say in this debate. I use it to demonstrate the extreme importance of the Director of ASIO being able to ensure that civil liberties are fully observed and the consequences of faulty evaluations.
I do not know whether the Minister representing the Attorney-General has read the current issue of Time. One article in that publication is headed: New Policemen to Battle Abuses. It deals with the awful situation in the United States of America in relation to the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Let me deal with the latter first. In trying to understand the saga of J. Edgar Hoover, one can probably say on the positive side that in the Dillinger era certain measures were needed to combat certain types of crime. As the years went on, the adage about ‘power corrupting’ was demonstrated as there is no doubt that as J. Edgar Hoover grew senile he became a law unto himself. There is no need for me to go into a long discourse on the CIA. As a matter of fact, if Senator Wright were in the chamber- he is not- he would know that when we were on an expedition which concerned a man named Khemlani, he was almost prepared to jettison the concepts that I have about security. They are that every country must have some form of a security agency. Confidence is lost in such a body when it takes sides or when it becomes partisan and involved in party politics.
This legislation is virtually a replica of what former Prime Minister Whitlam propounded except that one or two modifications have been made in the wording. The use of the word ‘Commonwealth’ is more suitable to the Government than the word ‘Australia’. I am not going to canvass that point now. I know that the rating is very high. The Sydney Morning Herald on an earlier occasion dealt with his record in other fields. I have a particular reference. Senator Greenwood will recall that the question that I am about to throw to him now as the Government spokesman on this legislation is the same as the question I threw to my own Leader in the Senate when this legislation was introduced by the Labor Government. I make the point that the appointment of Mr Justice Woodward to ASIO will be an appointment from the judiciary. I prefer a judicial appointment to an appointment from the ranks of the Army because I have never yet met an Army officer above the rank of major who did not think that every trade unionist was a potential spy or traitor. There may be one exception. I had better not name him because I might damn his military career in the eyes of the Government. I point out to Senator Grimes that this man has packed down in a rugby scrum, so he is not a bad bloke. I will not name him. Honourable senators will not force his name from me. He is a swinging voter. He is in a different category.
In dealing with the role of the custodian of civil liberties and the dangers inherent in that role, I seek an assurance from the Minister, as I sought from my own Government, that when Mr Justice Hope presents his report on his long standing inquiry into security matters the Government will not say: ‘Look, Mr Justice Woodward has taken over as the Director of ASIO. He has certain guidelines’. I would like to believe and hope- and no pun is intended- that Mr Justice Hope’s recommendations will provide opportunity for a number of innovations. William Carter was exonerated because a Labor Premier probed a little further into his background, in defiance of what was an adverse ASIO report, and I would like to believe that we will emulate the situation in Canada- I intend no reflection necessarily on the future operations of ASIO- and provide for an appeals system in relation to citizenship.
Whether the Minister involved is Senator James McClelland, Clyde Cameron, Michael MacKellar, or any other Minister before those gentlemen, I do not believe that any one man is infallible. I do know that with respect to citizenship applications all parties can make mistakes. Sometimes a Minister receives a dossier at midnight when he is tired. I am simply hammering the theme that I look forward to the report of Mr Justice Hope as being one proposing reform. Without being at all egotistical, I should point out that I had the good fortune to spend over an hour with Mr Justice Hope. I signed a document stating that I would not repeat what I had said to him. I will not transgress the law in that respect. However, I would like that assurance in relation to his findings.
Let me go on to another point to illustrate why I am harping on the responsibility of the Director of ASIO. I refer to the Senate Select Committee on the Civil Rights of Migrant Australians. I notice in the Senate chamber Senator Durack who served with distinction on that Committee with me. I wish to refer to specific questions which were put to Mr Barbour on this matter. I have the report with me. I do not wish to put you,
Mr Deputy Speaker, or your advisers on the spot but I did intend to seek to have incorporated a big slab of that evidence. Perhaps a problem might arise if such a request transgressed the Standing Orders. The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation in that period needed to be re-tooled to improve its competency to get proper evaluations as it lacked interpreters and translators. I understand that under former Attorneys-General and Mr Whitlam we did endeavour to redress that limitation. I hope that we have done so because it is most important that we avoid the mistakes which were made in the United States. I think Senator Greenwood appreciates, Mr Acting Deputy President, that you have been tolerant and that you have let me stray a little. As much as I might differ with the American parliamentary system in some ways, there are still arrangements whereby the Congress and the Senate have some surveillance over American agencies. If one looks at page 24 of the current issue of Time magazine, one sees a diagram which shows that even under a rather conservative President like President Ford America has realised, perhaps rather belatedly, that it cannot have anybody acting like an emperor in these jobs.
I revert to the ASIO report. I believe that ASIO has a place but it has to be limited in its charter. Senator Greenwood will recall that in the dying hours of the previous Government he, on occasions, took to task Senator James McClelland over the treatment which had been accorded to a semi-agent of ASIO- I could use the word ‘informer’ but I will not- called Wechsler. I read in the Bulletin, which is not a left wing publication, that recently that gentleman was refused admission to or was asked to leave Singapore. I intended putting a question on the notice paper about the matter. Had I done so, I suppose that would have stopped me from raising the matter now. The moral of the story is that ASIO should be more careful not to employ people like this gentleman or Dr Bialoguski who was involved in the Petrov Royal Commission and was such a super-egotist that later on he hired the Albert Hall in London and paid to have 10 people listen to him conducting an orchestra. I believe that that man was mentally disturbed. If these are the sort of people we rely on for security evaluations there is something wrong. But that is past. I am sure Senator Greenwood will agree with me that that will not happen any more.
The track record of Mr Justice Woodward is excellent. I am sure that not being a military man he will not have the preconceived ideas about trade unionists being militants. He will not think that they will necessarily sabotage production in a time of war. That is what some honourable senators on the other side have thought and it is what some ASIO operatives have thought. I believe we have returned to the Chifley era. As ASIO Director-General we will have a man with a judicial mind. I simply say to the Minister: I sincerely hope we will learn from what is happening in the United States. Perhaps the Minister thinks I am rather Utopian in relation to the appeal system. If he is a reader of the London Times he will know that not so long ago an Italian syndicalist was going to be deported. He appealed against the decision and the Home Office did not say, as the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (Mr MacKellar) would say here: ‘You have to go’. The Home Office appointed 3 eminent jurists to study the case. As a matter of fact, he was still deported but it defused the issue.
I have tried to cover quite a bit of ground. I hope the Minister will give me an assurance that whatever Mr Justice Hope recommends will be receptive to the Government and to the Attorney-General (Mr Ellicott). I hope the day is not distant- I think even Senator Wright half concurred with me in a moment of weaknesswhen every year the Leader of the Opposition, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Leader of the Government in the Senate and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, and the 4 leaders in the House of Representatives, will get a broad idea of how ASIO is operating. I do not suggest that they be given dossiers but they might be told how many people were found to be mentally weak or alcoholic. Such people could be weeded out and we would not make the mistakes we have made in the past. I say this without any fear or favour: If the Senate Select Committee on Civil Rights of Migrant Australians proved anything it was that both the Commonwealth Police and the New South Wales Police evaluated the Croatian situation far more accurately than did ASIO in its belated evaluation. I leave the matter at that.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake-Brockman)- Senator Mulvihill, it is not my business but earlier in your speech you referred to the incorporation of a document.
– Yes. I ask that an extract from the Meat Employees’ Journal which relates to an obituary to a former official, William Carter, be incorporated in Hansard.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The extract read as follows)-
VALE BILL CARTER
In the passing of Bill Carter we feel a deep sense of sorrow and regret.
Bill at the age of 74 years passed away in Prince Alfred Hospital on the 18th January, 1976 and his funeral took place on the 2 1 st January.
Bill Carter had a sound knowledge of the meat industry and the Trade Union movement.
He was born in New Zealand and first came to Australia at the age of seventeen. For many years he worked as a mutton slaughterman, travelling during the early years of his working life, following his occupation between New Zealand and Australia, and during this period took an active part in the Union.
In 1939, he became the job president at the Homebush abattoirs and during the second world war accepted the position of Job Secretary. Whilst still in that position he was elected in 1941, as a member of the Committee of Management of the N.S.W. Branch and remained on the committee of management for a short period.
When the Federal Council of the Union moved in on the N.S.W. Branch in 1 953 it established him as President of the Branch. In 1954 he was elected by the members of the Branch to the position of President, which subsequently was made a paid position. In the same election he won a position as a delegate to the Federal Council representing the N.S.W. Branch. Subsequently he was elected by the Committee of Management as its Federal Executive member. He retained these positions until 1961 when he resigned after being appointed by the N.S.W. Government as the employees representative on the Metropolitan Meat Industry Board, having been nominated for the position by the N.S.W. Branch of the Union.
His work in the field during the years he was branch president was to look after the members employed at Homebush Abattoirs Sydney Meat Preserving Coy. and the Riverstone Meat Works and he performed this work with distinction.
In 1968 he retired from his position with the Metropolitan Meat Industry Board.
Bill was an able administrator and advocate, who worked consistently in the interest of the Union, its members, and the trade union movement generally. He fought for what he thought was right. For most of the period he was the President. I was the Branch Secretary, and during this period I sought his advice on many occasions in the same way as many others did; it was invaluable.
During his period as the employees representative on the Metropolitan Meat Industry Board he made his voice heard on behalf of the workers represented and on many occasions his advice was accepted by the other members of the Board.
The title, employees representative was misleading because the set up of the Board made each member responsible for the economic running and operation of the abattoirs, thus, he was not responsible only to represent the employees.
Bill was well liked and respected over a wide spectrum of the meat industry and the trade union movement.
We extend our sincere sympathy to his wife and other members of the family.
F.T.HALL Federal Secretary
– I shall deal mainly with the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. Before I do that I shall refer briefly to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation
Bill. I mentioned when I rose before to oppose the re-arrangement of business to allow this legislation to be debated now that I believed that the Government should consider its position. As far as the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Bill is concerned, I admit that there is some urgency. Obviously, Mr Justice Woodward has to be appointed DirectorGeneral of ASIO. Therefore an enabling Bill must be passed through the Senate in order that that can be effected. However, I express concern that in the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Bill reference is made to the Australian Industrial Court. I refer the chamber to proposed new section 6a, of which sub-section (3) states: “(3) If the Director-General is a Judge, other than Chief Judge of the Australian Industrial Court, and the rate per annum of his salary as a Judge is less than the rate per annum of the salary applicable to the Chief Judge of the Australian Industrial Court, he shall be paid additional salary at a rate equal to the difference between the rates of those salaries, and, if the rate per annum of his annual allowance as a Judge is less than the rate per annum of the annual allowance applicable to the Chief Judge of the Australian Industrial Court, he shall be paid additional annual allowance at a rate equal to the difference between the rates of those annual allowances.
That simply means that the prospective incumbent of the job ought to be paid what he is being paid now, namely, his salary as President of the Trade Practices Tribunal. Why did not the Government say precisely that in the legislation. As a trade unionist I object to the name of the Australian Industrial Court being used in a Bill relating to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. I know that there is no similarity between the ASIO and the KGB. We all know also that the previous incumbent of the position of Director of the KGB was the so-called president of the AUCCTU of Russia. Any link between the industrial system of a country and the intelligence organisation, albeit simply a mention of a name in a Bill, should be opposed. I suggest to the Government that it should rephrase proposed new section 6a (3) of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Bill. It should say what it means which is that Mr Justice Woodward should receive the salary he is now receiving, namely, the salary which applies to the President of the Trade Practices Tribunal.
But I do not want to talk about ASIO. I agree with other speakers who have said that an intelligence organisation is necessary in any country. I do, however, want to refer to the Bill for an Act to amend the Conciliation and Arbitration Act,
It is basic to the implementation of any industrial policy, good or bad, that an entity such as the Australian Industrial Court should exist and that it should command the respect and obedience of the trade union movement. Does the Government agree with that? Does the Opposition agree with that? If they do, let us examine the situation of the Australian Industrial Court. Might I say that this has nothing to do with my being a party to the longest running case before the Industrial Court, which has cost the taxpayers of Australia $250,000 in the last year and which is now before the High Court of Australia.
– What case is that?
– The case of Egan v Harradine and Others.
– Who started that one?
- Mr Egan. Let me point out firstly that the Bill which is currently before the Senate is precisely the same Bill as was introduced by the Whitlam Government last year. Let me refer to something that the Opposition in the House of Representatives at that stage said. Mr Howard then led the case for the Opposition. Mr Howard, who is now the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs, had this to say -
– You do not want to be surprised at that. When you have been here longer you will have seen them take more somersaults than a gymnast.
-I am trying to assist. Mr Howard had this to say:
So I say at the outset that the Opposition is concerned that the Commonwealth Industrial Court may not have a sufficient work load to justify the appointment of an additional judge.
He went on to say:
We will not oppose the second reading of the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, but I emphasise again that the Opposition reserves the right when this Bill comes before another place -
He was referring, of course, to the Senate- to take a different attitude. We are of the opinion, on the basis of information and also our own assessment of the situation, that there is no justification for the appointment of an extra judge, that the work load of the court is not increasing. Therefore, if on further assessment and consideration of the information supplied by the Government we remain convinced that there is no justification for appointing an extra judge, it will be our intention to take in another place a different attitude from the attitude taken here.
I wonder what has changed between November and the current date.
– The Government.
– Yes, the Government has changed, but I say that nothing in the Industrial Court sphere has changed other than the fact that there has been the appointment of
Mr Justice Woodward to ASIO and that another judge is likely to come back full time to the work of the Industrial Court and be able to fill his place. I go back to 1973 when the spokesman on this subject for the then Opposition in this House, Senator Greenwood, had certain things to say about a proposal by the then Government, which introduced the Bill in the lower House- the Bill was introduced by Mr Clyde Cameron- that, as I recall it, there be no limit to the number of judges appointed to the Industrial Court. The following words were used by Senator Greenwood:
But leaving that aside, the substantive amendment seeks to remove the limitation on the number of members of the court from not more than 7 other judges after the appointment of a Chief Judge and to substitute the words:
Such number of other judges as are appointed from time to time.
In short, instead of the court being limited to, in total, 8 members it would be a court of an unlimited membership. The Opposition believes that the amendment in this area is unnecessary.
Therefore Senator Greenwood moved that the provision in this respect be omitted. He went on to say that the court certainly was not overworked. I have obtained figures from the Parliamentary Library which show that the court is certainly not overworked at the present moment. Senator Greenwood went on to say:
I know that in earlier years when I had a ministerial responsibility which comprehended a responsibility for these judges, the number of days and hours upon which they were engaged in matters in the industrial jurisdiction would have been the envy, I would think, of every Australian.
I go along with that, particularly in the circumstances at the present moment whereby the Government is trying to cut down on Public Service expenditure and yet in this Bill it is attempting to increase Government expenditure by appointing a new judge to the Industrial Court.
I propose now to analyse the situation as regards this Bill. Section 98 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act says:
There shall be a federal court to be known as the Australian Industrial Court, which-
shall consist of a Chief Judge and not more than 9 other Judges; and
shall be a Superior Court of Record.
We heard Senator Button say very well and succinctly that this court has the overview of the organisation provisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. As I said at the beginning, it is basic to the implementation of any industrial policy that the entity of the Australian Industrial Court should command the respect of the parties to that system. But I venture to say that the current Industrial Court does not command the respect of the parties to that system, as witness what was said by Senator Button.
Let me take the Senate into an area in which we can examine the situation in regard to the Industrial Court and the history of this legislation. The maximum number of judges in addition to the Chief Judge was increased from two to three in 1960 and from three to four in 1964. There was an increase from four to six in 1966, from six to seven in 1969 and in 1973 the number of judges on the bench was increased from seven to nine. Now, we see an attempt to increase that number to ten.
– In 1973 the number was increased to nine.
– I should have said that in 1973 the number of judges on the bench was increased from seven to nine. Now we have before us a Bill which seeks to increase the number to ten. Soon it will be possible to hold a mass meeting of Industrial Court Judges.
The judges appointed since 1 December 1972 are very significant. We have Mr Justice J. B. Sweeney who was appointed on 10 December 1973. Previously, he was a Deputy President of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. We have Mr Justice P. G. Evatt who was appointed on 2 July 1974 with very little industrial experience. We saw the appointment of Mr Justice R. J. B. St John, similarly qualified, from 15 April 1975. I am not reflecting at all on the Minister for Environment, Housing and Community Development (Senator Greenwood) who is in charge of the Bill. It is now proposed to increase the number of judges, other than the Chief Judge, from nine to ten to cover the transfer (but not the retirement) of Mr Justice Woodward to the position of Director-General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. Mr Justice Woodward will retain his judicial status during his occupancy of the position of Director-General of ASIO. He is hanging his hat on the Australian Industrial Court. Why should this be so?
Similarly several of the Industrial Court judges, in addition to holding that position, are also judges of other courts coming within Federal Government jurisdiction. I will delineate them: Dunphy, J.- Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory, Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, Supreme Court of Norfolk Island, Supreme Court of Christmas Island and Supreme Court of Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Joske, J.- Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory, Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, Supreme Court of Norfolk Island; Smithers, J.- Supreme Court of the Australian
Capital Territory, Supreme Court of the Northern Territory; Nimmo, J. does not have duties other than those involved in the Australian Industrial Court, except those that I will refer to later; Woodward, J.- Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory, Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, President of the Trade Practices Tribunal since 1 October 1974 and now appointed as Director-General of ASIO; Franki, J.- Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory, Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, Deputy President of the Trade Practices Tribunal, Copyright Tribunal; Sweeney, J.- from 5 September 1974, Supreme Court of the Austraiian Capital Territory; Evatt, J.- Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory from 6 September 1974; St John, J.- appointed to Industrial Court on 15 April 1974, no appointment in addition to that. Honourable senators might be surprised that there a members of the Supreme Courts of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory who are not Industrial Court judges. In the Australian Capital Territory they include Mr Justice Fox, Mr Justice Blackburn and Mr Justice Connor. In the Northern Territory, they are Mr Justice Forster, Mr Justice Muirhead and Mr Justice Ward.
As Senator Button said, over the years and more frequently over recent years, judges of the Industrial Court have been called on to perform assignments- not Industrial Court assignmentsrequiring their absence from the court in some cases for several months. For example, let us take Mr Justice Woodward. Honourable senators will remember that we are expected to approve of an increase in the establishment of the Industrial Court to fill the vacancy which will be created by the departure of Mr Justice Woodward. How long has Mr Justice Woodward spent in the work of the Industrial Court. Mr Justice Woodward has been inquiring into Aboriginal conditions, from which emerged the Woodward report on that subject, and into the pay and conditions of the armed Services. I will tell honourable senators how long he spent on the bench of the Industrial Court during the last 12 months. He spent 28 days. I will tell honourable senators what he did in 1974, the year before. In 1974 he spent 16 days on the work of the Australian Industrial Court; in 1973, he spent 2 days sitting in the Industrial Court; in 1972, he spent only one day sitting in the Industrial Court. Yet the Government is asking us to approve of the appointment of another judge to take his place. I say to Government supporters: What about the screams that are coming from your own public servants about cutting down on their employment? Yet the Government is trying to increase the number of judges on the Industrial Court.
– What about the mixed functions clauses in awards?
– That is a good thought. The Chief Judge, Sir John Spicer, has on numerous occasions presided over courts of marine inquiry and inquiries into air accidents. He is an Australian Industrial Court Judge and is now also the president of the Copyright Tribunal. Mr Justice Eggleston resigned on 30 June 1974. He carried out inquiries and presented reports on the salaries of staffs of universities.
– And entered upon a study of section 53 of the Constitution.
– And made a very great contribution.
– It may have been a great contribution but we are talking about the Australian Industrial Court. Mr Justice Sweeney has made inquiries into indemnity payments. Of course, he also inquired into the Moore v. Doyle situation. Let us have a look at the appointments that have been made since December 1972. The 3 appointments to the Industrial Court since 1972 have all been made from the Sydney Bar. Mr Justice Sweeney, Q.C., was a senior counsel engaged in diverse industrial cases as well as in a number of other matters. The other 2 appointments, Mr Justice Evatt and Mr Justice St John were in fact virtually unknown in the Federal industrial arena and were not greatly known in the State industrial arena.
Let me delineate the dates of appointment and the ages of judges appointed prior to 1972. The Chief Judge, Mr Justice Spicer, was appointed in 1956. His date of birth was 5 March 1899 and his age is seventy-six. Mr Justice Dunphy was appointed in 1956. His date of birth was 18 June 1907 and he is 68 years of age. Mr Justice Joske was appointed in 1960. His date of birth was 5 October 1 895 and he is aged eighty. Mr Justice Smithers was appointed in 1965. His date of birth was 3 February 1903 and he is 73 years of age. Mr Justice Nimmo was appointed in 1969. He was born on 5 January 1909 and he is 66 years of age. Mr Justice Woodward, whom the Government is now transferring to other spheres, was appointed in 1972. His date of birth is 6 August 1928 and he is forty-seven years of age.
– He is a fledgling.
– Yes. Mr Justice Franki was appointed in 1972. He was born on 23 June 1915 and he is aged sixty. Tonight we are being asked by the Government to approve the appointment of another Industrial Court judge. I have obtained from the Legislative Research Service of the Parliamentary Library- a very good service indeed; I did not know it existed until I fronted up to the Federal Executive- material setting out the number of sitting days of members of the Industrial Court from 197 1 to 1975. 1 seek leave to have the document incorporated in Hansard.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Devitt)- Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows)-
– That document mentions that Mr Justice Nimmo was seconded to the position of Chief Justice of Fiji. Since his return he has resided in Canberra and had appeared only infrequently on the Australian Industrial Court Bench. However, on the basis that his Norfolk Island assignment was supposed to be completed by the end of last year, he should be available for Industrial Court work in 1 976, thus providing an effective replacement for Mr Justice Woodward. Has the Minister thought of that? Here we have a judge of the Australian Industrial Court who over the last few years has done very little work in the Industrial Court- he did no work in 1972, none in 1973, 6 days in 1974 and 8 days in 1975. Now that he is returning to the Industrial Court he surely will be able to take up the slack, which will be caused by the transfer of
Mr Justice Woodward to the DirectorGeneralship of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.
I ask honourable senators to bear in mind that last year Mr Justice Woodward spent 28 days sitting on the Australian Industrial Court Bench. Surely Mr Justice Nimmo will be able to take up that slack. During the past 1 8 months Mr Justice Nimmo has been virtually full-time on the Norfolk Island inquiry. Mr Justice Sweeney, as honourable senators would know, has been engaged on the maritime inquiry concerning indemnity payments and prior to that on the Moore v. Doyle inquiry. The Chief Judge, Mr Justice Spicer, and Mr Justice Dunphy have conducted maritime collision inquiries. Mr Justice Woodward, as President of the Trade Practices Tribunal, has been engaged on trade practices matters which, in addition to becoming more numerous, are by their very nature lengthy in their hearing. Prior to that, he spent several months on the Aboriginal inquiry. Mr Justice Franki is dealing with matters relating to copyright. In addition to all of this, various judges are engaged from time to time in their parallel duties in Canberra as judges of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory. I have enumerated who they are. The departure of Mr Justice Woodward virtually coincides with the return of Mr Justice Nimmo, whose Norfolk Island inquiry, was expected to finish at the end of last year. The Minister may correct me if I am wrong but I believe it has conculded.
– You have said that twice.
– I understand that the inquiry may have finished. I have said it twice. What I am simply saying is that it is a case of one off, one on.
– I thought you were saying it ad nauseam.
– I am sorry.
– According to the statement issued by Senator Withers, who is in charge of royal commissions, Mr Justice Nimmo is not expected to tender his royal commission report until about May this year.
– It is a different Nimmo. The transport inquiry.
– No, it is not.
– I see. If all the judges excluding Mr Justice Woodward were available all the time for Industrial Court matters, there would be sufficient judges to cope with such matters. For a start, there would be sufficient for 2 full benches. I remind the Minister that on a
number of occasions when the trade unions have had matters before the Australian Industrial Court it has had to wait because there were not sufficient full time practitioners in the Australian Industrial Court to provide 2 full benches.
Two significant results would arise from having a. complete availability of judges. Firstly, the Industrial Court would be able to operate with the same degree of regularity, continuity and stability as do the High Court and the Supreme Courts of the States. Secondly, the reputation and effectiveness of the Industrial Court would be enhanced because of its increased efficiency and capacity to deal more readily with matters coming before it.
To replace Mr Justice Woodward with another judge would simply perpetuate the present unsatisfactory situation which has grown in recent years, whereby judges of the Industrial Court are available for Industrial Court matters only if they are not engaged on non-industrial matters. Reminiscent of what Senator Button said, the Australian Industrial Court has been regarded as the ‘grab-all’ by the Government to have judges appointed and then hived off into other areas.
Arrangements should be made for the nonindustrial court matters to be dealt with in 2 ways. Firstly, a specific judge or judges of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory should be appointed to head the Trade Practices Tribunal. This would, at one stroke, remove from the Industrial Court the need to have one of its own judges on the Trade Practices Tribunal and also sitting in Canberra on the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court. It would be preferable to appoint an additional judge, or judges to the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory Supreme Courts and allow them to be used for extra-curricular jobs, thus leaving all the Industrial Court judges free to deal full time with the more sensitive and more nationally important work of the Industrial Court. Secondly, senior barristers should be appointed to conduct inquiries into matters such as maritime collisions, instead of relying on the use of personnel from the Industrial Court and so denuding that body of the expertise which is required for the functioning of the Australian industrial conciliation and arbitration system.
There is one further aspect of Industrial Court activity, recently expanded, which should receive attention. More and more charges relating to breaches of Commonwealth awards are being laid as a result of the appointment of Commonwealth inspectors. As far as can be ascertained there was a ministerial direction, during the term of office of the previous Government, that these charges were not to be heard by local magistrates but by the Australian Industrial Court. Whilst none of these matters involve lengthy hearings or are of legal significance beyond the status and capability of magistrates courts, the fact is that a judge or judges have to go all over Australia to deal with them. That is absurd.
Let me give honourable senators one example of this absurdity. One case involved the charging of a husband and wife who operated a hotel with one part-time employee. I believe it was in Queensland. The charge was that of not keeping a roster record, even though only one part-time barman was employed by the husband and wife as owners. If a direction still exists that such matters should be heard in the Industrial Court, it should be revoked. Matters such as this could be dealt with in magistrates courts. Surely they are quite competent to deal with such matters rather than have them take up the time of the Industrial Court. There appears to be a growing tendency to use judges of the Industrial Court more and more in other activities the number of which, in terms of importance, frequency and duration of hearings, is expanding. The Trade Practices Tribunal is a good example. Its hearings are somewhat prolonged and are becoming more numerous. The practice of allocating extra- curicular activity to Industrial Court judges is, in itself, expanding. I refer to the inquiry being conducted into Aboriginal rights by Mr Justice Woodward; the inquiry into Norfolk Island by Mr Justice Nimmo; and the maritime inquiry into indemnity payments by Mr Justice Sweeney, who was, according to the Parliamentary Library, also the Chief Justice of Fiji. It is now 20 years since the Industrial Court was established, following the Boilermakers case, as mentioned by Senator Button.
– Which today the Commonwealth is controverting.
– Which today, the inexpertise or rush of senility, as expressed by Senator Button, is controverting. The degree of industrial activity in Australia has intensified in that time. The importance of the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and the Industrial Court in operating the machinery provided for in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act is now infinitely greater than it was in 1956. The Industrial Court, nevertheless, operates on a piecemeal basis subject to other requirements. It is time now, with the expected departure of Mr Justice Woodward, to take stock of the position to ensure that suitable Industrial Court judges are engaged full time in the work of the Industrial Court so that it carries on as a judicial body should carry on. The extracurricular activities which the Industrial Court judges have hitherto carried on over the years should now be carried on under separate arrangements unconnected with the Industrial Court and its judges.
The legal integrity or ability of judicial or quasi judicial appointees of the previous Government are open to question. I will not give examples here but all practititioners before the Industrial Court on both sides and on all sides of the political spectrum understand what I am saying. It is clear that we should return to a situation in which there are full time practitioners and full time judges of the Australian Industrial Court, not a situation in which we see the majority of its members hived off into other areas for political convenience. That is what we have seen over the last few years.
I return to what I said in opening and I say this with the greatest degree of commitment that I can gather at this time of night. I say it because I have defended for a long period the system of conciliation and arbitration that we have in this country. Of course there are problems with the system but those problems result only from the refusal of a minority of the participants in the system to agree to its working properly. There are 3 participants in the system- the unions, the employers and the Government. I charge that the Government is not playing its part in attempting to preserve the integrity of the Australian conciliation and arbitration system. What it has done with the Industrial Court is to denigrate it in the eyes of trade unionists.
I say in conclusion that is basic to the implementation of any industrial policy- good or bad- that the entity known as the Australian Industrial Court should exist and that it should command the respect of the other participants in the system. I believe it does not command that respect at this point of time. I charge the Government that it should go beyond the advisers it has at present, that it should go beyond the suggestion that we will fix Woodward’s appointment to ASIO by appointing another judge, and that it should inquire fully into the operations of the Australian Industrial Court. For the time being there is sufficient provision for appointments to the Australian Industrial Court to enable it to carry on its functions without this Senate ‘s agreeing to another appointment.
The Government is saying: ‘Cut down costs’. It is saying to each and every department: ‘You have a ceiling for employees and beyond that ceiling you cannot go’. I say to the Government: Have a look at the Australian Industrial Court, go beyond the advice from the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations and see whether you cannot exercise that policy in this area and also bring back to the Australian Industrial Court an integrity and an honour which people were prepared to give it in days gone by and which they are not prepared to give it now ‘. I say to the Government that the onus of proof is on it to prove to the Senate that there is a need for an increase in membership of the Industrial Court. The Government has not given us that proof. What did the Government say in the second reading speech? In regard to this Bill in the second reading speech there is one paragraph. Contempt! It reads:
The second Bill, the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, provides for an increase of one in the number of judges in the Australian Industrial Court so that the Court will consist of a Chief Judge and ten other judges.
Fancy that! We could read that in the Bill. We did not need a second reading speech to know that. It continues:
This will allow the court to operate if necessary at its present strength during the period of Mr Justice Woodward ‘s appointment with ASIO.
Strength’ is the word. That ought to be the word which the Government should take up- to strengthen the Australian Industrial Court to ensure that the appointees to the Australian Industrial Court are there to do the job. Why? So as to ensure, as Senator Button said, that a situation develops in which the Australian Industrial Court can operate with the same degree of regularity, continuity and stability as do the High Court and the Supreme Courts of each of the States. I oppose the Bill.
– I am constrained by circumstances to support the Bill, but I rise in response to the spirit of Senator Harradine ‘s address to say that I support the principles that have provoked him into speaking. I was here in 1956 when the Australian Industrial Court was created as a product of the Boilermakers decision that demanded a judicial court to decide those issues of a judicial character distinct from those of an arbitral character in the industrial field- which Chief Justice Dixon and the Privy Council had then established as a cardinal principle of the administration of justice in the Federal sphere of government in this country. We have been confronted in years following with an onslaught of purblind socialist manoeuvrings to create an omnipotent court called the Superior Court under a federal cloak to engulf all the judicial jurisdiction and, therefore, to dwarf to insignificance the independent judicial courts of the States. This amorphous creation of 1956 has grown like Topsy, according to the convenience of age and disposition, the appointment of particular persons and the making of assignments, until now we have a court consisting of one chief judge and 10 justices to perform the work the statistical details of which Senator Harradine has laid before the Senate. Anybody who has seen the working of the Constitution, the recent opportunity which Australian democracy had to give expression to its purpose, the people round the country -
– Oh, do not kid us, Senator.
-The Cavanaghs and others, the outcasts, have not enough confidence to be members of the shadow Ministry. Senator Cavanagh is so ashamed of the shadow Ministry that he remains an outcast of it. Australian democracy has had an opportunity to express its purpose of the Crown and of the Parliament pivoted on the judiciary. If we allow the Industrial Court, a by-product of the Boilermakers’ case of 1956, to become a polyglot, ratbag resort for justices according to political convenience, we are exposing it to the utmost risk as to the integrity and independence of the judiciary in the industrial field where the independence and integrity of the judiciary is demanded in a special fashion.
I rise simply to endorse the cogent arguments that we have heard from Senator Harradine as to the need to do something in respect of this Court, if this Court is to continue to be a court and only a court, and not a ratbag collection of people to be summoned by the government of the day to conduct inquiries of a social or political import. Honourable senators opposite who do not really give consideration to the imperative qualities of the courts of justice in our system do not understand what dedication is required from the judges every day of the year to administer, according to law, the laws according to conscience and independent judgment. If there is to be an Industrial Court it has to be concentrated on specific purposes and not used for a whole miscellany of extra-judicial functions for the purpose of conducting inquiries for social or political purposes. So we have in the Federal sphere, I think, an imperative requirement to demand that judges have regard to their ages, confine themselves to the jurisdiction and occupy themselves only injudicial work, especially where the industrial issues demand a greater perception of justice than in any other field. The pressures in this field are terrific and, as Senator Harradine has said, respect for independence and exclusive dedication to the solution of industrial issues are what is required in the Industrial Court. The Industrial Court should not squander its talents in other fields, however serviceable the justices may be in other fields.
I rise to speak in this debate only because I spoke, when in Opposition, as strongly as I could about the onslaughts upon the Federal judiciary made by the Whitlam Government under the guise of the Superior Court Bill. It is imperative, if we are to maintain a judiciary that serves the people, not divided federally, on the one hand, and according to States, on the other hand, that the people should have absolute confidence that according to the law they will receive justice expeditiously, economically and promptly. If this does not happen our system will be without one of the great safeguards on which ordinary peoples’ rights depend, especially today having regard to the importance of the industrial field. The individual rights in the industrial field are the most important rights to be balanced by the judiciary.
We are compromised by the fact that an important ASIO appointment was promised to Mr Justice Woodward some four or five months ago. His appointment, I think, has to be facilitated. Therefore, from the point of view of today’s politics and next year’s politics, our attitude should be ‘Right, let it go’. I rise to speak only because in the next 12 months I want to bring the principles that I have attempted to express to the attention of the Government- a Government of terrific resourcefulness- so that within that time the judiciary in the Federal sphere will be brought to proper dimensions.
– The Senate is debating 2 simple Bills. One is designed to amend the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act of 1956-1973 and the other is designed to permit the appointment of an additional judge as a result of the passage of the first Bill. I think it has to be said that the purpose of the legislation is to put into effect a decision that was made by the previous Government and, with minor amendments, a decision carried into effect by the new Government. I suppose that in a certain sense we are probably indebted to Senator Harradine for the long historical survey of the Australian Industrial Court. We are probably indebted to him that he refurbished Senator Wright and therefore brought some humour into the debate. I am just wondering what was the purpose of giving something of a biographical background of the judges in the
Court. The last two honourable senators who have taken part in this debate, by their contributions, probably have presented a case for paying overtime to the judges in this jurisdiction, because of what has happened under both the previous Government and the present Government.
Be that as it may, I think that whether the judges have worked so many hours or not or whether in fact they have been placed in this jurisdiction or not, the fact is that this Bill seeks to appoint one of those judges for the important task of acting as Director-General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. I should have thought that, having regard to the complexities of the modern industrial arbitration system and the hundreds of awards, to which these judges give attention from time to time and the demands which governments make upon the time and the energy of the judges in that jurisdiction, we would have given more thought and time to the factors which were in the mind of the previous Government when we sought to appoint Mr Justice Woodward to this important position of Director-General of out Intelligence Organisation.
I shudder for those unfortunate people who regard the reading of the Senate Hansard with any sort of relish, having listened to the last couple of speakers in the debate on this particular Bill. I do not think any attempt has been made to grapple with the philosophy upon which the previous Government acted when it made the decision which this Government has seen fit to follow. We all know that some 6 months ago Mr Whitlam decided that the time had arrived for the appointment of a person from the judiciary to this position. That person happened to be a member of the Industrial and Arbitration Court. I think it is established clearly in the public mind that we of the Labor movement believe that the person who occupies this important position should remain a member of the judiciary. I do not suggest- and I am sure a lot of people in the Australian community do not suggest- that the mere appointment of a person from the judiciary will guarantee that the intelligence organisations will operate in a manner in which they should -in the manner which was obviously in the mind of the Government in 1 949 when it established the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. Certainly I see that the objective of the appointment is to neutralise the political involvement of our principal security organisations in the legitimate area of political activity. That is a far-sweeping statement. But I think it has to be said, on the basis of experience during the whole post-war period that it is essential that the person who occupies this important position should be a person trained in the art of the law and a person having some respect for the rights of the ordinary citizen. That is how we of the Opposition see, and how we as a Government last year when the suggestion was made saw, the suggested appointment of Mr Justice Woodward to this very sensitive post of Director-General of ASIO.
I think one is entitled to say that in the intervening years from 1 949 when Mr Justice Reid was appointed to this office, appointments were made which permitted the Organisation to go in directions that were not in the best interests of either the community or of the Australian Parliament. I think it is essential when we are dealing with legislation concerning the Australian Security Intelligence Organization that the civil rights of the individuals are maintained as a vital principle. It is interesting to reflect on the fact that in 1949 it was the American State Department that suggested to the Australian Government that there was a need to establish an intelligence organisation in Australia that would be able to have passed to it information which would be of value from the American point of view and in the interests of the Australian people. It is interesting to look at the subsequent course of events and at what happened to the principal intelligence organisation in the United States and the experiences of the American people as a result of the activities of that organisation. At this very moment the American Government has reached the point where it is endeavouring to democratise the intelligence organisations so far as the rights of the ordinary people of that country are concerned. It is interesting to consider the passage of the Freedom of Information Act in America and to consider what that means in terms of the democratic rights of a great many of the activists in the political movements in that country.
It is clear that last year it was in the mind of the then Prime Minister, when this legislation was drafted, that it should follow the direction taken by the United States. I think it has to be stressed that the person who is to take on this important task will have to place more emphasis upon the democratic processes so far as political activity is concerned in this country. In fact, I think the principle should be established firmly that the security organisation should remain a servant of the Australian people and of the Parliament and not just of the government of the particular day. I think that is a very important principle which 1 am sure the new Director-General will take into consideration. I think the activities of the security organisations should be subject to constant public and parliamentary review because during the worst of the cold war years many people in Australia were affected by the security organisations becoming an instrument in the party political struggles of this country. So the Government and the Director-General who is appointed as a result of this legislation will have a tremendous responsibility.
If it is important for the Parliament to consider this particular judicial appointment then I wonder why it is that we in the Australian Parliament never concern ourselves with the other intelligence organisations that operate in this country. In addition to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation we have the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, the Joint Intelligence Organisation and more recently we have become aware of the Intelligence Branch of the Commonwealth Police as a result of the steps that it took in closing down the radio link that existed in Darwin between Australia and the independence movement in East Timor. It has subsequently been revealed that the Intelligence Branch of this organisation committed what was, in my view, an infamous act and a breach of privilege in certain activities related to Mr Fry, one of the local members here in Canberra. Yet no attempt has been made to place the activities of these other important organisations in the arena of public debate.
We do not have to look very far to see something of the model upon which the Australian security organisations have been based, particularly the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. It has been modelled upon the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States. I do not want to dwell at any great length upon this matter. But I do wish to refer to a number of articles that have been published in Australian newspapers indicating that the intelligence organisation in the United States, upon which we based our intelligence organisation, has been the subject of a very constant and long overdue review by the American parliament. I refer to an article published in the Australian on 12 June 1975 which states:
The Central Intelligence Agency engaged in scores of plainly unlawful and improper invasions of constitutional rights during its 28-year history, including domestic breakins, wiretaps, mail openings and data-collection on thousands of Americans, the Rockefeller Commission reported yesterday.
But I think that this is the important part of the report:
It recommended that Congress ‘make explicit’ that the CIA- upon which our agency is based- can only collect foreign intelligence, and that the President, by executive order, generally prohibit the agency from gathering data on the domestic activities of U.S. citizens.
We know of the activities of the Senate committee on the Intelligence Agency in the United States as well as of the Congressional committees, and it is alarming to read the reports which indicate that a variety of suggestions were made; for instance, that President de Gaulle ought to be removed from the political arena by a poison, that President Sukarno should be framed by the making of a pornographic film, that the President of South Vietnam, Mr Diem, be murdered, that Mr Trujillo, the President of the Dominican Republic, be murdered. The reports also relate to countries like South Korea, where the President was in fact removed from office as the result of an assassination.
I think it is proper that the Parliament should be debating these matters and not just the peripheral matters which have been debated today. I join with my colleague Senator Button in trying to raise some important questions relating to the activities of ASIO. I have a report in which the present Prime Minister, Mr Fraser, when he was Minister for Defence in the previous LiberalCountry Party Government, was critical in a public way of the activities of the Joint Intelligence Organisation over its refusal to report properly the decision of that Government in respect of a civil aid program in South Vietnam. It seems to me that there is a great necessity for us to understand more clearly the role of our intelligence organisations.
As a result of a Labor Government coming to office, we found out that an agent of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation was operating from our embassy in Santiago and playing a very difficult role, a nefarious role, an improper role in respect of the events that took place in that country and which subsequently resulted in the death of that country’s properly elected leader. We know that the Minister concerned took steps to have that officer removed from the staff of the Department of Labor and Immigration because he was carrying out a task which was not in accordance with that Department’s functions. We know something of what prompted Mr Whitlam to take the steps that he did last year in making the proposal to appoint a person of the calibre of Mr Justice Woodward to the position of Director-General of ASIO. Mr Whitlam, in response to a question, told the Parliament that in fact there were no Security Intelligence Organisation personnel in Dili, the capital of East Timor. The following day we were told by the head of another department that in fact there was such a person operating in that capacity in Dili.
The Opposition wishes to see a regularisation of the activities in Australia of ASIO. It does not want to see a continuation of the cold war type of politics. My colleague Senator Button talked this morning about the spook atmosphere that existed when we spent too much of our time on the domestic activities of legitimate political organisations, when we were more concerned with students in the universities who became involved in political activities or spoke about political issues when in fact their activities had nothing to do with intelligence gathering, which was the substantive reason for the establishment of ASIO.
– Who established it?
-Of course it was established by the Australian Labor Government and it was established at the request of the United States State Department- Senator Sim may laugh- for the purpose of swapping information of an intelligence nature. Unfortunately that changed very dramatically during the cold war period. One has to look only at the experiences in the national Parliament involving Mr Anthony and Mr Stallings to find that even the Prime Minister, under whose control the responsibility for this organisation subsequently came, when he attempted to obtain information had it denied to him. In point of fact, the United States had the temerity to send to our departments and organisations cables which sought in some way to intimidate them into keeping information from the Prime Minister. The Opposition sees the appointment of a judge in this area as a step forward in the ultimate democratisation of the security organisations and, based on the experience in the United States, as a development where the sort of excesses which have taken place in past years will be avoided.
I am not one of those people that takes the view that the security organisations have not endeavoured to carry out some part of their proper function. I said during the debate on Croatian terrorism that it was obvious that the security organisations had carried out a worthwhile exercise of their responsibilities. The failure in that area came about because the government of the day did not act upon the recommendations and advice that were given to it by ASIO. The Opposition hopes that as a result of this appointment the activities of the organisation will be restricted more to intelligence gathering and less to spying on their fellow Australians. There is a large grey area involved in what is legitimate political activity. If one examined the evidence presented to Senator Church’s inquiry in the United States and if one examined the files of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation one would find reams and reams of paper expressing points of view about the activities of decent Australian people who wished only to express their views about a particular political situation.
I have been to meetings concerned with the issue of Vietnam and with the peace of the world and found people who obviously were representatives of this organisation sitting and listening to the speeches of those who were contributing to ordinary discussion about the affairs of politics in Australia as they saw them. One waits with interest the publication of further information from the United States of America. I refer to the Pike Congressional Committee, which in its interim report, said that the Central Intelligence Agency, upon which ours is based, interfered in elections in other countries to the extent that something like 30 per cent of all its funds and activities related to the internal elections in those overseas countries. This is not the role of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. Its purpose is to gather intelligence to protect Australia. We have no disagreement with that purpose; but we do disagree when members of ASIO go to meetings held on the campuses of the University of Sydney or the Australian National University and employ pimps and other such people to relate conversations and the contributions that are made in a public debate dealing with a specific issue on which such meetings have been convened.
We trust- certainly this was in the mind of Mr Whitlam when he brought forward legislation similar to this in 1975- that the appointment of a member of the judiciary, in this case Mr Justice Woodward, will take us back to the 1 949 concept and that we will get out of the area where spies, counter spies, spooks and other similar people are involved in these activities. These are people whose prejudices ultimately are found to represent a considered objective viewpoint about a legitimate activity of a person involved in politics in this country. It is in those circumstances, not in the circumstances mentioned by Senator Wright or Senator Harradine, that we believe that this Bill ought to be supported. Our hope is that in the years that lie ahead people like Mr Justice Woodward will take this Organisation back to its legitimate role.
I join with Mr Hamer, who represents the conservative point of view in the House of Representatives, when he says that there is a great deal to be said for a limitation of 5 years being placed upon the appointment of a person to the very important position of Director-General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. I believe that in this country we ought to be moving to a situation where ordinary citizens are able to look at their security files and to see what is being compiled in the dossiers that are kept in this country in respect of their political activities. I conclude on the point made by Congressman Moss recently when he was asked whether such a right would not in some way endanger the security of the United States. He replied:
Well yes. But nowhere near the danger that existed before the Freedom of Information Act was written. There’s danger in disclosing information. How does one define the real security needs of the nation? I tend to feel that the greatest security of a nation is an informed public and I’m willing to take the risks of disclosing too much.
I am hopeful, as indeed is the Opposition, that in the person of Mr Justice Woodward- a trained lawyer and a man in whom we have confidencethis type of approach will become much more dominant in the activities of ASIO, as distinct from the sort of behaviour pattern which became commonplace over the last 20 years in that Organisation.
– I did not intend to speak in this debate. I will speak briefly. I would not have spoken but for the not extraordinary but predictable contribution from Senator Gietzelt. I notice that in the other place the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Whitlam, when speaking to the Bill, supported it. He merely referred to two relatively minor differences between the Bill introduced by the present Government and the Bill that he introduced last year. Those differences were largely a matter of semantics. The other Opposition speaker in the debate in the other place was Dr Klugman. He took a somewhat different view. I appreciate the comments which were made by Senator Button. He had some doubt whether the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation should be responsible to the Prime Minister or the Attorney-General. On balance, the Leader of the Opposition in the other place believed that the Organisation should be responsible to the Prime Minister. Dr Klugman came down quite firmly in favour of the view that ASIO should be responsible to the AttorneyGeneral. Indeed, Dr Klugman, as reported at page 286 of the House of Representatives Hansard of 25 February 1975, in his speech on this legislation said:
I am pleased to hear that control of ASIO is to be transferred back from the Prime Minister to the Attorney-General.
He proceeded to give his reasons. Senator Button, I think it is fair to say, was balanced between the 2 views. He had no specific objection to control being transferred back to the Attorney-General. The Leader of the Opposition in the other place, who was responsible for the legislation which proposed to transfer the control of ASIO back to the Prime Minister, naturally supported that view; but his attitude was very much one in support of the Bill.
It is predictable that Senator Gietzelt should stand up and engage in an attack upon the security organisations of Australia. Equally predictably, he returned to the Central Intelligence Agency. It is a wonderful thing, Mr Deputy President, that the CIA is responsible for the downfall of the Whitlam Government and, according to some of Senator Gietzelt colleagues- if they are his colleagues- is responsible for the latest scandal involving the Iraqis.
– Hear, hear!
– ‘Hear, hear!’, says the honourable senator of the CIA’s activities. But in this chamber we do not hear anything about the most ruthless, most sinister and most violent security organisation in the world, the KGB. Oh, no. It is in the clear. Because the United States of America is a free country, the CIA is under investigation. I do not oppose that action. If the CIA has abused its authority, it should be under investigation and those abuses should be made public. I do not defend the CIA. But is the KGB under investigation in Russia? Oh, no, no!
– But it may not do anything wrong.
– We hear now that there is nothing wrong with it. What about Solzhenitsyn? What about the stories coming from the Russians who have escaped from the mental asylums and the brutality of the KGB? We never hear a word about those things.
– What about Franco?
– ‘Ermolenko’, did the honourable senator say?
– What about Franco? What about the junta in Chile?
– This is all we get. It is so typical. We hear about Chile. We hear about Franco. But we never hear a word about the KGB; we never hear a word about the secret police in China. Never a word is said about them. No, it is the CIA and it is ASIO. They are the only ones in which the Opposition is interested. There is a purpose in this interest. The real aim of the left wing of the Labor Party is to destroy the security organisations that protect Australia. Its aim is to denigrate them. That is the real reason for the attack by Senator Gietzelt -
– I remind you that I appeared before Mr Justice Hope ‘s inquiry.
- Senator Mulvihill should sit down. He has had his say. That is the real reason. It was predictable. We knew that it would happen tonight.
– Only because you have a complex.
– 1 have no complex. Senator Gietzelt has the complex. The complex concerns the security organisations of Australia. It is always connected with the CIA.
– If they slipped on a banana skin, it would be the fault of the CIA.
– Of course it would. But it is an interesting story. We heard about the operations of the CIA in other countries. But Senator Gietzelt did not tell us tonight about the operations of the KGB in Australia. We all know that in the Russian Embassy there are odd fellows who have all sorts of odd titles. It is well known that not only are they watching their own diplomats, whom they do not trust, but also they are engaged in subversion and espionage in Australia. If we look at the Chinese Embassy in Australia we find the greatest mob of about 20 fellows who appear in the Diplomatic List as Attache, Attache, Attache’. Wonderful, is it not? What are these people engaged in? Not only are they engaged in watching their own, because they do not trust one another, but also they are engaged in security matters in Australia. I would give great credit to Senator Gietzelt if he were opposed to all security and if he attacked not only the Central Intelligence Agency for its operations and ASIO for its operations but also if he extended his net a little bit and attacked the communist countries for their subversive operations and for their security activities. This did not happen. All I am rising to say is that this is another example of the double standards of members of the Australian Labor Party.
– Yes, some. Senator Button made a reasonable speech. I think Senator Mulvihill, Mr Whitlam and Dr Klugman made reasonable speeches. But when we get to members of the left wing of the Party, they cannot resist the temptation to attack and denigrate the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. They attacked it.
- Senator Gietzelt knows all about the private investigation agents he had following me around.
- Senator Harradine, I know that your knowledge of the Labor Party is supreme. The honourable senator knows from his own experience of the Labor Party’s intelligence organisation. I agree it is magnificent. That only proves the point I am making. Tonight we had Mr Fraser dragged into the matter. Mr Anthony was dragged into it. That was a wonderful story. It was a great smear because Mr Anthony was alleged to have let his house to some character who, honourable senators opposite allege, was a CIA agent. So Mr Anthony is involved with the CIA! This is the sort of murk which the Labor Party lives in. We heard the wonderful expression ‘democratisation’. It is a great communist expression. It is given all sorts of meanings such as the people’s democratic republic. Senator Gietzelt trotted it out. We have heard it all. One has only to open the North Vietnamese Press today to see the same expressions.
The whole purpose of Senator Gietzelt ‘s speech, unlike that of his colleagues, was to attack and denigrate the security organisation. His purpose was to plant in the public mind the suggestion that this was some murky organisation which was in some way connected with the dreadful CIA but not with the KGB and not with the organisation- whatever it is called- in China which puts people in dungeons. Francis James knew all about that; he was put in a dungeon. Let us hear about the KGB from Senator Gietzelt.
– But we are not discussing the KGB.
– No, but honourable senators opposite were discussing the CIA. That is absolutely right. That is the whole point. That is why I rose to speak. The attitude of the Labor Party is selective.
– It is according to their predilections.
– That is true. Thank you, Senator Wright. It is a selective attitude. The KGB will never be investigated. Its activities will never come out in public. It will continue its nefarious activities throughout the world. It will put Russians, whose only crime is to make some mild criticism of the government, in lunatic asylums. Will honourable senators protest about that? No, not on your life.
– What about Angola?
– They will protest about Timor. But they will not protest about Angola; that is sacred. They will protest about Chile. I do not defend what may have gone on in Chile, not in any sense, but the honourable senators do not protest about what happened under the communist government in Chile. No, that is sacred. I rose to draw attention to the double standards and hypocrisy of the left wing of the Labor Party whose whole purpose tonight was to denigratewhatever words they tried to cloak it in- the security organisation of Australia. I think the people of Australia realise what is happening but it has to be brought forward continually to them that the objective of these people is to denigrate our security service and to defend the intelligence organisations of communist countries.
– I did not mention them.
– I bet you did not.
– It was not the issue.
– No, it was not with the honourable senator.
– I rise to pass a few remarks in relation to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Bill which relates to the appointment of a Director-General to ASIO. I think the former Labor Government is to be commended for setting up the Royal Commission on Intelligence and Security to inquire into ASIO and for initiating this Bill which will lead to the appointment of His Honour, Mr Justice Woodward, as Director-General of the security service. Undoubtedly, the credibility of intelligence organisations overseas has been brought into discredit. Their actions deserve their having been brought into discredit. I think the American Parliament has done a great service to the people of the world who believe in democracy by examining the actions of the Central Intelligence Agency and in revealing the kinds of activities in which that organisation has been involved in the last few years.
In reading the Hansard report of the debate in another place on this matter I note that a member of the Government claimed that American parliamentarians had done the world a disservice by revealing what the CIA had been up to. My own view could not be more contradictory of that. There can be no acceptance of a security organisation, and it cannot perform its proper function, while it engages in activities such as those revealed in relation to the CIA in the last few years in other countries. Senator Sim has just said that my colleague Senator Gietzelt was predictable in attacking the CIA. I ask the honourable senators on the other side of the chamber to consider that I have not been in this place long enough to know what is predictable from an honourable senator but it seems to me that 1 will very quickly form views about what is predictable from certain honourable senators on the Government side of the chamber. It seems to me that is it perfectly proper for Senator Gietzelt to draw attention to the facts revealed about CIA activities in recent times because those facts bear on the credibility of any intelligence organisation in any country.
– The KGB does too, does it not?
– Yes, of course it does.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake-Brockman)- Order! Senator Ryan, if you would address the Chair you would be a lot better off.
– Thank you, Mr Deputy President. The purpose of the debate is not to say who is the worse- the CIA and the KGB. Undoubtedly the KGB indulges in activities which also bring the role of intelligence organisations into disrepute. Nobody would dispute that. I consider it to be a red herring to indulge in some sort of competition about who is the worse, the CIA or the KGB, when the purpose of the Bill before us is to appoint a Director-General to ASIO. The royal commission into ASIO was appointed for the purpose of restructuring our security service and giving it a Director-General to enable it to have credibility in the eyes of the Australian community and prevent it from indulging in the excesses of either the KGB or the CLA. We do not want either types of activities in this country. Surely the purpose of investigating ASIO is to set up a new structure and to appoint a new Director-General.
I think the initiatives undertaken by the Labor Government in relation to ASIO were justified. Although ASIO may not have performed in a way comparable to the CIA or to the KGB, it has certainly indulged in activities which have brought it into disrepute. It has certainly indulged in activities which were unnecessary in order to protect the security of this country and which were an invasion of the privacy of the individual. I do not believe that I have to instance such occasions. I believe that everybody in this chamber is aware of the kinds of things to which I am referring.
It is because ASIO indulged in activities which lowered the standing of the intelligence service in the eyes of the Australian people, particularly in the eyes of those Australians who care very much about democracy and the rights of the individual, that an investigation and reform of
ASIO were justified. For this reason I consider the appointment of a judge of the status of Mr Justice Woodward to be an extremely important step towards establishing a security service which has the respect and support of the community. Because of the standing of Mr Justice Woodward and the position of judges in Australia it will be a step towards re-establishing credibility. If a security service does not have credibility it cannot perform its proper function. A security service’s proper function is not to accumulate a lot of irrelevant and embarrassing material about individuals who are not harming the security of this country in any way. It is to identify and investigate continuing threats to Australia’s security. Whilst it has a reputation for engaging in trivia and for engaging in politically biased activity it will not be able to perform its true function. However, I believe that the appointment of Mr Justice Woodward as the Director-General of ASIO will certainly improve the standing of the service in the community.
I would also like to make the point that I accept the argument that ASIO is more appropriately put under the Attorney-General than under the Prime Minister. I think Dr Klugman has given adequate reasons in another place for that. It is important that ASIO be open to proper criticism in the Parliament. If it is under the Attorney-General it is then, of course, more open to such criticism. I think that a security service which is cut off from proper and genuine criticism is a security service which can very quickly become corrupt. So I am of the opinion that it is appropriately placed under the AttorneyGeneral. I hope that the Attorney-General will be aware in general terms of the activities of ASIO, I do not expect him to be aware of its detailed activities; I expect him to be aware in general terms of the nature of the activities and the objectives of the investigations carried out by ASIO and to be able to answer questions about those matters in the Parliament.
I think that it is necessary to have a different kind of security service from that which we have had in the last few years. It is important to Australia’s security that the security service we have is headed by a person who is outside the party political scene and who is a person of respect and high status in the community. I am hopeful that the results of the royal commission into ASIO will provide us with more clues as to how to establish a better security service in the interests of the Australian people. I conclude by saying that I support the Bill which we have before us in respect of the appointment of the Director-General of ASIO.
– in reply- The Senate has been debating cognately a Bill which will facilitate the appointment of Mr Justice Woodward as the Director-General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and a Bill which will enable the appointment of an additional judge to the Australian Industrial Court to overcome the fact that Mr Justice Woodward will not be available to that court and, not unnaturally, each Bill has raised its own particular questions.
I think that one of the fortunate results of this debate has been the universal applause which has been given to the intention to appoint Mr Justice Woodward as the Director-General of ASIO. It is an auspicious beginning for any head of a security service to know that his appointment is accepted by both sides of the great national political debate. Mr Justice Woodward was, of course, nominated by the outgoing Government and his appointment was supported by the then Opposition. With the change of government the new Government has continued with the appointment. I am happy to see that Mr Justice Woodward still receives the support of the new Opposition. It is an opportunity which has been vouchsafed to few heads of our security service. I think it gives him a tremendous start to what will be a most arduous but tremendously important task. I do not want to be unduly provocative, but we should not underestimate the task that Mr Justice Woodward has ahead of him. Whether it was by design, inadvertence or simply the course of events, I think that the morale of the officers of ASIO has never been at a lower level than it has been over the past 3 years. The raid which took place on ASIO in March 1973 created a state of uncertainty, a feeling of suspicion and a sense that ASIO was not really wanted which communicated itself to many hundreds of loyal and dedicated servants of that organisation.
– But some of them were found wanting. They were incompetent and they were living 20 years behind the times with the cold war syndrome, and you know it.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator DrakeBrockman) Order! Senator Greenwood does not want any assistance.
-Irrespective of whether ASIO required changes to be made in its administration, in its work and in the objectives which it set itself, the methods which were used by a former Attorney-General had the effect of destroying the morale of so many of the members of that security service. It has not been generally acknowledged, because scarcely any publicity has been given to it, that virtually the whole of the top echelon of ASIO departed from ASIO after that raid and the Director-General of ASIO was brought to Canberra to be subject to the whim of whatever Minister of the day exercised a power over him. An interpretation was given to the directives in the terms of the appointment of the Director-General of ASIO which I believe were quite unlawful and which I believe subjected the head of that organisation to unlawful directives. Over a period of some two or three years we saw the work of ASIO ridiculed and denigrated by leaks to the Press and by the creation of an attitude within the community that ASIO was worthless and on some occasions was really working against Australia ‘s best interests.
At an earlier time I had some experience of some of the people working for ASIO. 1 am quite sure that that organisation devoted itself, as one would expect, to the service of this country. I think that the members of ASIO were served poorly by the previous Government and that, whatever be the effort which was made in the latter days of that Government to restore ASIO’s morale by appointing as its head a man who had bi-partisan support, who was a judge and who could therefore command respect and support throughout the community, so much damage had been earlier done. I observed it. I saw the way in which our security service in the Northern Territory was just obliterated at a stroke. I saw how the activities of ASIO were given publicity in the newspapers in a way which could only have occurred if someone, by unauthorised means, had disclosed what had happened and left some malicious journalist to write it up in a way that sought to denigrate what ASIO had been doing.
I have raised in this chamber the instance of one man who had been employed by ASIO and who had left ASIO on the basis that what he had said which was related to Australia’s security was ignored by the then Government. That man has had his words proved correct by so many events which have transpired since. Yet in this Parliament a statement was made which was based on a source which has not been disclosed that he had been in a mental institution when in fact he had been overseas for months. To this day we have not been given an explanation as to why that should have been done. But this is all part of a pattern which existed over a period of 3 years, a pattern which has been emphasised by what Senator Sim said tonight about the intent of certain persons with regard to the standing of Australia’s security organisation. I well remember, as I think does every member of the present Opposition, that at the Launceston conference of the Australian Labor Party in 1971 a motion to dissolve the security organisation was lost by one vote. One of the persons whose vote might have been supposed to have carried the day subsequently became the Attorney-General of this country. His argument in that famous debate was that you do not destroy an organisation which you can use for your own purposes when you get into government. How well he used that organisation for the purposes which he had in mind.
So much of what has happened has to be looked at in the light of that intent of a significant section of the Australian Labor Party, reflected so evidently by what Senator Gietzelt said tonight, that is, that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation is linked with the Central Intelligence Agency and all the organisations which are designed to protect and promote the security of the free world and that you denigrate them, destroy them if you can. As Senator Sim said, if there happen to be organisations which painstakingly, as the record discloses, send their agents into the countries of the free world to promote the interests of the Soviet Union, its satellites and Communist China, you just ignore what they might be doing because they are not matters for debate.
I wonder when the Australian Labor Party will realise that the people of Australia are now aware and becoming increasingly concerned about the motivation of so many people in the ALP. It is not the fact that there is some doubt as to whether matters of finance were discussed at a breakfast that took place in December; it is the fact that Iraqis came to Australia for a consultation with the Leader of the Australian Labor Party and that no one in the Labor Party is prepared to disclose what the purposes of those conversations were. No wonder the people of Australia are concerned and no wonder we ought to have a security organisation which can properly evaluate the information which comes to hand and give proper advice to government.
Let us remember what the purpose of a security organisation is. The purpose of a security organisation is to protect the nation from espionage, sabotage and subversion. There has to be an organisation which collects, through its operatives in the field, all the information- some of it rumour, some of it speculation and some of it fact- and then has its operatives in the office evaluate what is truth, what is relevant and what ought to be looked at. That information, when it has been evaluated, goes to people with responsibility. It is in the hands of those people to determine what action should be taken. The role of a security organisation is to be the intelligence gatherer, to be the intelligence evaluator and the adviser to government. There have been many commissions of inquiry into security services around the world. There have been several in Britain over the past 25 years. There has been one in Canada within the last 15 years. All of these commissions have come out with essentially the same conclusion. That conclusion is that the only effective way to run an intelligence organisation in a democratic community such as ours is to put in charge of the organisation a man whom you can trust. You trust him and you rely upon his ability to do the best he can to get the best operatives working in the interests of the country so that the country may be provided with the best intelligence services.
We have heard so much denigration of ASIO tonight from one or two of the Labor Party speakers- fortunately there were only one or two. Senator Gietzelt looked at what has been revealed in the United States about the activities of the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA has been built up by the denigrators of America as one of the nasty organisations which in some way is regarded as a threat to democracy. I hope that in due course there will be a balance displayed which will reveal that for all the things which the CIA did which cannot be sustained and justified it also did a power of good in difficult years to protect the United States and, in protecting the United States, to protect a host of other countries which depend upon the stability and integrity of that country.
The CIA is regarded in some way as the organisation upon which ASIO is based. Therefore, it is said, if there are faults or flaws to be shown in the CLA, they are to be seen in ASIO. That was Senator Gietzelt ‘s basic point. But, of course, it is completely fallacious. ASIO is not based upon the CIA. The CIA had been established barely 2 years when the Chifley Government established the Australian Security Intelligence group. The CIA has an obligation to act outside America and to protect America’s security from activities external to America. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the body which is charged with the obligation of protecting America’s internal security. ASIO is concerned with the internal security of Australia and it operates within Australia, even though in a technical sense it might be said to have obligations outside Australia. However, experience has disclosed that the intelligence gathering activities of ASIO are concentrated almost exclusively within Australia. It has been disclosed in recent years that there are other organisations which look to Australia’s security outside Australia.
The whole basis upon which Senator Gietzelt sought to build up his edifice of assertion and denigration can be shown to be wrong because there is no link between ASIO and the CIA of the kind which he alleged.
– Do not knock him; he knows all about cloaks and daggers.
-He certainly knows a lot about condemnation by association and that was the sort of condemnation in which he sought to engage this evening.
I have raised these matters because I feel they ought to be aired. The Opposition has confidence in Mr Justice Woodward. The Government has confidence in him. He is a man of integrity who has a record which discloses that in the various tasks he has performed on behalf of government he has done so with dedication and application and ultimately to the satisfaction of those with whom he has had dealings. We wish him well. Australia needs at the head of its security organisation a person who will repair the damage of the years and ensure that we have an organisation which can perform its role.
– You have done him on that; what about the Conciliation and Arbitration Act?
– I was coming to the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill almost at the time the honourable senator interjected. Senator Mulvihill raised the aspect of the desirability of having some appeals provision so that those persons who regard themselves as adversely affected by security recommendations could have some redress. I am sure that the Government is sympathetic to that sort of approach. I will convey to the Attorney-General (Mr Ellicott) the thoughts which were expressed in the hope that what I have said is an ideal which the Government shares with Senator Mulvihill can find some expression in the near future.
It is also interesting to note so many of the speakers from the Labor Party ranks concurring in the view which the Government has put forward that the Attorney-General ought to be the Minister who has the broad administrative responsibility for this legislation. The AttorneyGeneral ought to have that responsibility because apart from being the chief law officer of the
Commonwealth, the Attorney-General, above every other Minister, has an obligation to look dispassionately at issues affecting the individual. I believe that an Attorney-General doing his job is a guarantee of the protection of the rights of the individual. This is an area where, if a need exists for that sort of protection to be exercised, the Attorney-General is best fitted to do it.
I turn to the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill to which Senator Harradine particularly and Senator Wright addressed themselves. I recognise -
– And Senator Button.
– And Senator Button also. I did not wish to ignore anyone who had spoken to that Bill. Senator Harradine raised several matters. One, which I think was a rather technical point, related to why the Government had included in the Bill a provision which equated the salary of the Director-General of ASIO to the Chief Judge of the Industrial Court. The explanation is that the President of the Trade Practices Tribunal- that is a position which Mr Justice Woodward has occupied- is similarly remunerated in a provision in the trade practices legislation. Section 33 of the Trade Practices Act states that the President shall, if he is not the Chief Justice of the Court, the Chief Judge of the Australian Industrial Court or the President of the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, be paid additional remuneration at the rate of $2,200 per annum and an additional annual allowance at the rate of $500 per annum. As a matter of drafting it was not possible to adopt the course which Senator Harradine has suggested and the effective and quite clear course which has been adopted by the draftsmen is contained in, I think sub-clause (3) of clause 6 of the Bill to which Senator Harradine referred. I offer to Senator Harradine that explanation of why that course was adopted.
Senator Harradine also suggested, and he was supported by Senator Wright, that the judges of the Industrial Court could well perform the tasks which Mr Justice Woodward is now vacating. The argument, as I understand it, was that there was no need for an additional judge. I have seen the figures which have been given by Senator Harradine and they accord with the material which 1 have. I only mention, because it indicates a trend, that the workload of the Industrial Court has been increasing significantly in recent years. The number of matters filed in the court in the last 5 years has grown considerably. In 1971, 58 matters were filed; in 1972, 138 matters were filed; in 1973, 136 matters were filed; in 1974, 249 cases were filed; and in 1975, 384 cases were filed. Additionally I think it should be stated in fairness to some of the judges whose workload in the Australian Industrial Court was mentioned that they have had other jobs to perform in the course of that period.
Mr Justice Spicer since 1972 has spent 7 days as a Court of Marine Inquiry into the Bass Trader, 4 days as a Court of Marine Inquiry into the Joseph Banks, 8 days into the Straitsman, 20 days into the Lake Illawarra and 10 days, of course, on the airlines agreement inquiry. Mr Justice Dunphy spent approximately 39 days on the inquiry into the Blythe Star. Mr Justice Nimmo after he returned from Fiji, spent the months from September 1974 until January 1975 on an inquiry into the subdivision of freehold land in the Darwin area. He has been on Norfolk Island since March 1975 on an inquiry which is still continuing and which, I understand, is not expected to report before about May of next year.
– This all shades of a cobweb court.
– I accept not the words that Senator Wright uses but the fact that the Industrial Court has become a tribunal in which in so many ways many jurisdictions have been invested. I think in our days in Opposition that we agreed to the Industrial Court, for example, being a court which could hear matters arising under the Trade Practices Act, under the Racial Discrimination Act and I think also under the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act.
Mr Justice Woodward sat for 2 1 days on the Trade Practices Tribunal in 1975 and for a period of time presided over the Aboriginal Land Rights Commission. Mr Justice Franki has been Chairman of the Design Law Review Committee during the period 1970 to 1973. He was Chairman of the Copyright Law Committee which was involved in a reprographic reproduction inquiry for 1 1 days in 1974 and for 32 days in 1975. He attended an international conference in a comparable capacity for 20 days in 1975. Mr Justice Sweeney had 3 1 days as a Committee of Inquiry- I think on the Moore v Doyle mattersand also had some 93 days as the Royal Commission into Alleged Payments to Maritime Unions. In other courts Mr Justice Dunphy has sat 14 days in the past 2 years in the territorial courts. Mr Justice Joske has sat 43 days in the territorial courts. Mr Justice Woodward has sat some 66 days in the territorial courts. Mr Justice Franki has sat some 65 days in those courts and Mr Justice Evatt 10 days.
I mention these matters only to amplify the record and to make it as complete as one can. It is not for me, as I see it, to justify the workload of the judges. The judges themselves determine the days on which they sit, and whatever comment might be made about their workload out of a possible 250 sitting days in any one year might be subject to the judgment that that is an unreal way of examining the workload of judges. There are many -
– We have the responsibility of constituting a court appropriate to the task.
– I appreciate it is a matter which from time to time the legislature must look at. There are, of course, many chamber matters with which judges have to deal. I acknowledge some validity in so much of what Senator Harradine has said, but the basic concern which the Government had in introducing this amendment to the conciliation and arbitration legislation was to ensure that there was a judge of experience, of competence and of adequate background, to take on the task of presidency of the Trade Practices Tribunal, which was the particular work upon which Mr Justice Woodward has been concentrating. In order to ensure that there will be a judge who can take on that work pre-eminently as the President of the Trade Practices Tribunal the Government has brought forward this legislation. I think it is likewise the reason that the previous Government introduced the same matter. It is less a matter of maintaining 10 judges in court as ensuring amongst the ten the court has the strength which will enable one judge to perform, with a background adequate to the task, the work of the Trade Practices Tribunal. I have taken a little longer than I had intended. I thank the Senate for its support of these measures.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– I rise to speak to sub-section (3) of clause 4 of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Bill. I have listened to the Minister for Environment, Housing and Community Development (Senator Greenwood), who represents the Attorney-General in this place. In his explanation the Minister has valiantly tried to explain the clauses of this Bill. He said that the reason the Australian Industrial Court was mentioned at all in clause 4 was that section 33 of the Trade Practices Act provided that the President of the Trade Practices Tribunal should be paid the same rate as the Chief Judge of the Australian Industrial Court. I understand that is what the Minister said. My point simply is that -I am not pressing this matter with a great deal of vehemence- as a trade unionist I object to the Australian Industrial Court being mentioned at all in a Bill dealing with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.
– Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate I formally put the question:
That the Temporary Chairman do now leave the chair and report to the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative. (The Temporary Chairman having reported accordingly)
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator DrakeBrockman) Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate I formally propose the question:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I want to raise a matter with the Minister for Environment, Housing and Community Development (Senator Greenwood). This morning I received a telegram from the Fraser Island Defence Organisation which implies that certain agreements that were made some time ago have not been kept by the Dillingham mining company. My purpose in rising tonight is to refer this matter to the Minister. In doing so, I should like to recall an occasion- this occurred in a southern State of America-on which the AttorneyGeneral, Robert Kennedy, sent marshals to a particular university which was accepting its first coloured student. He did so because the State was not obeying the rules. I have never had a lot of confidence in the Queensland Government’s capacity to ensure that mining companies follow the rules. Whatever trepidation I may have had in raising this question, I was fortified by Senator Bonner the other night when he indicted the Queensland Government for its lack of vigour in dealing with mining companies.
The telegram was sent to me by Mr John Sinclair, representing the Fraser Island Defence Organisation. In it he makes specific allegations. The Minister will appreciate that I did the right thing in relation to this matter. I alerted him this morning to the contents of the telegram. I think that the matter goes beyond that. I know that the
Minister has moved in with great gusto in relation to matters connected with environmental protection that have been raised by Senator Young and other people. We can talk in general terms, but I hope that the Minister, in his reply, will tell us what modus operandi the Federal Government will use in relation to this matter. Will he telephone the Queensland Minister for Mines or- to get back to the action taken by Robert Kennedy- is it possible for him to send in Federal authorities to see how truthful are the allegations that have been made by the Fraser Island Defence Organisation? I know that the Minister has the ace- if he does not have it, the Minister for National Resources (Mr Anthony) has- in the right to terminate export permits. I do not want to make a Gettysburg-type address. I gave the Minister the facts this morning. I feel that this could be a measure of our sincerity. If we believe in co-existence between mining companies and environmentalists, this is a classic case as to how honest mining companies are and as to accepting the umpire’s decision. I leave the matter with the Minister.
– I am concerned to inquire into what Senator Mulivhill has alleged. I understand that a telegram was sent to him. I do not know what are the alleged breaches of which Mr Sinclair complains.
– I left a copy of the telegram in your office. It is not too involved, but the allegations are enough to merit investigation.
– I appreciate that Senator Mulvihill gave notice this morning that he would raise this matter tonight. In the time available, I have sought some information from my Department. The details of the alleged breaches have not been made known. I suggest that Senator Mulvihill might be concerned enough to ask Mr Sinclair to identify the breaches of which he complains. I am a little surprised that Mr Sinclair did not contact me directly because I have spoken to him since I became the Minister. I assure him, as I assure the Senate, that I am interested in pursuing these matters and having them properly investigated.
I am told- of course, this does not resolve the issue- that in times past the Fraser Island Defence Organisation has made similar complaints which have been investigated. The committee of inquiry which has already delivered an interim report, referred to some of the claims which were made in the past. Whether or not this complaint has validity can be ascertained only by an investigation. I hope that Senator Mulvihill will pursue his inquiries. For my part, 1 shall ensure that my Department investigates the matter to see what is happening. I understand, that in the past the practice was to have regular 6-monthly inspections during the 12-month period for which export licences were granted. If anything intervenes or arises in the period between those inspections, a special investigation is required. With the enthusiasm of a new Minister, I shall ensure that it is done.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.37 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
Have any discussions been held between the Australian Government, the Papua New Guinea Government and Torres Strait Islanders on the current border dispute.
– The Minister for Foreign Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Australian Government officials have had several informal meetings with Papua New Guinea officials on the Torres Strait border question. The last such meeting was held in mid-1974. There has also been recent correspondence between Ministers of the Government of Papua New Guinea and of the Australian Government. The Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Dr Coombs (Chairman of the Council for Aboriginal Affairs) have kept the Torres Strait Islanders informed of developments and have recorded views expressed by them. The former Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) had a meeting with Islanders’ representatives in Sydney last year.
The Australian Government is concerned to see an early settlement of the Torres Strait issue and hopes to be in a position to resume substantive negotiations with the Government of Papua New Guinea in the near future.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
Did the Austraiian Government join forces with the British Government in lodging a protest with the Chilean Government over the torture inflicted on Sydney doctor, Sheila Cassidy, by Chilean secret police.
– The Foreign Minister has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Northern Territory, upon notice:
– The Minister for the Northern Territory has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
No separate statistics are kept on the instances of child abuse but officers who have been with the Northern Territory Police Force and with the Social Development Branch of the Department of the Northern Territory can recall only two (2) cases, as follows:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Northern Territory, upon notice:
– The Minister for the Northern Territory has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
A person shall not. on a public street or public place-
A person suspected of either (a), (b) or (c) when apprehended, is subjected to an ‘ALCOTEST’ (Roadside breath test) on the approved device- (Alcotest R 80). If this test proves positive, this person is then conveyed (arrested) to a Police Station tor a breath analysis. If the breath analysis shows a reading of .08 per cent or higher, the person is then charged with the offence.
The power to submit a person to a. breath test is contained in Section 8b(1) of the Traffic Ordinance, which is set out in the answer to Question No. 3.
The facilities that exist are operative Breathalysers in Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs and, where a person may be injured and is unable to take a breath test, there is provision in 8b (7) and (9) to require the person to have a blood test.
A member of the Police Force may require a person to submit to a breath test in accordance with Section 8c, if he has reasonable cause to suspect-
Section 8b (2) states where a member of the Police Force has reasonable cause to suspect that a person has committed an offence against Section 8 or an offence of culpable driving, he shall, if it is reasonably practicable to carry out a breath test and breath analysis, give that person an opportunity of submitting to a breath test and breath analysis.
Section 8b ( 1 ) (b) provides for the driver of a motor vehicle to be submitted to a breath test, and then, if need be, a breath analysis, and Section 8b ( 1 ) (c) provides for a person, not a driver, but in a motor vehicle accident, and includes a pedestrian who has been hit by a motor vehicle, to be submitted to a breath test and, if necessary, then a breath analysis.
The estimation of blood alcohol level is made by using an Alcotest R80’ Breath Test Kit. This kit is purely an indication to the Police Officer that there may be present an amount of alcohol in the body equal to 0.8 per cent or more.
If a person is injured in a motor vehicle accident, e.g. crushed or broken ribs, and it would be detrimental to the health of that person to submit to a breath test or breath analysis, then a blood test will be taken at the hospital.
Not included in the above are 357 accidents which have not been broken up into the different categories regarding, single, multiple vehicle or pedestrian accidents.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
– The Foreign Minister has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Northern Territory, upon notice:
Will the rail link to Alice Springs be broken for a period of at least four weeks; if so, will the Minister outline measures being taken to keep the people of Alice Springs and other centres, dependent on this link, supplied with perishables.
– The Minister for the Northern Territory has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The Australian National Railways have announced that repairs to the rail link from Port Augusta to Alice Springs will take at least four weeks.
The road linking Alice Springs with South Australia is open and adequate supplies of perishables are arriving in Alice Springs by road. Distribution of perishables north to Tennant Creek is proceeding normally. Centres north of Tennant Creek, which rely partly on perishables supplied through Alice Springs have had supplies slightly delayed by floodwaters cutting the road at Newcastle Waters. The flood level is now failing. Darwin has adequate supplies of perishables and Katherine is expected to receive supplies before Friday, 27 February.
A continuous monitor on road and rail conditions and on supplies of foodstuffs is maintained by the Northern Territory Emergency Service. Emergency Food Committees have been established in the main towns and they report regularly on the level of supplies of all foodstuffs.
– On 19 February 1976 Senator Primmer asked the following question, without notice:
In view of claims by the so-called Deputy Governor of the Indonesian-held areas of East Timor that 60 000 people, mostly women and children, have been massacred by Indonesian troops or so-called volunteers, I ask: What protests have been made to the neo-fascist Government of Indonesia by the Australian Government?
The Minister for Foreign Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
In an interview given to several Indonesian newspapers in Jakarta on 12 February, Mr Lopez da Cruz, a leader of the UDT party in East Timor, was reported as stating that there had been some 50 000-60 000 casualties since the outbreak of fighting in East Timor, many of them women and children. He spoke of excesses by Fretilin and of retaliation against these Fretilin actions.
In response to its inquiries in Jakarta, the Government was informed that the figures of 50 000-60 000 mentioned by Mr da Cruz related to victims of the fighting since it first began in August 1975, and that the figures included the 40 000 refugees who fled to Indonesian Timor in August and September, as well as others displaced from their homes as a result of the fighting. Mention was also made of mass graves discovered at Aileu and Bobonaro after their capture by PGET forces from Fretilin.
In the Government’s view the reports, from both sides, on the extent of casualties may well be grossly exaggerated. The construction the honourable senator has put on the report of the remarks made by Mr Lopez da Cruz is wrong.
The presence of the International Red Cross in East Timor would be of assistance in relation to these reports. Indeed, it might be said that the absence of the International Red Cross from Timor encourages the currency of such reports which at the same time are unverifiable and difficult to rebut.
The Government will continue to press the Indonesian authorities, and through them the authorities in Dili, on the need for a return of the International Red Cross to the territory. But there is no question of a protest to the Government of Indonesia. The Australian Government categorically rejects the honourable senator’s description of that Government.
– On 19 February 1976 Senator Missen asked the following question, without notice:
Has the Minister any recent information regarding the Indonesian invasion of East Timor and the present military and political situation there? I ask the Minister in particular: is it a fact that the Fretilin government of East Timor still maintains control of substantial territory and population despite the massive military resources of the invaders? Is there any new indication of willingness on the part of Indonesia and its allies in East Timor to allow free access to United Nations observers and the International Red Cross into the area? Is the Commonwealth Government undertaking any new or further initiatives to persuade our neighbours and allies to bring pressure to bear on the Indonesian Government to withdraw its alleged ‘volunteers’ in the face of widespread Australian and international opinion?
The Minister for Foreign Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
The military situation in East Timor continues to be rather fluid with Indonesian and pro-Indonesian forces consolidating around most of the major cities of the country. Fretilin appears to be concentrating its forces in highland country but still claims some presence in most parts of the territory.
The Government has no wish to attempt a public estimate of the proportion of East Timor held by the contending forces. It is likely that both sides’ claims are exaggerated. The Government certainly finds it difficult to accept Fretilin ‘s claims to control eighty per cent of the territory.
There was, of course, no hindrance to the visit of the United Nations Special Representative to Dili, Baucau and other centres in the control of the Provisional Government of East Timor. It is the Government’s understanding that the Indonesian Foreign Minister also informed the United Nations Special Representative that Indonesia had no objections to his proceeding to Fretilin-held areas of Timor but that the areas the mission wished to visit were either held by the Provisional Government of East Timor, or were being contested. There was a report on 3 February that the PGET had threatened to obstruct any aircraft or warship approaching East Timor but a subsequent statement issued by the authorities in Dili on 4 February stated their agreement to the United Nations Special Representative’s planned visit to Fretilin areas under certain conditions, including the notification of landing zones and the use of UN insignia, etc. On 8 February the Indonesian authorities conveyed to the United Nations Special Representative a further message to the effect that the Dili authorities were agreeable to the Special Representative’s visiting all the locations identified by the Fretilin spokesman. Mr Ramos Horta, on 5 February as possible venues for contact with Fretilin. According to the Provisional Government’s message, however, the locations concerned- -Lautem. Viqueque, Suai and Same- were all then under the control of the Provisional Government of East Timor. These claims by the PGET appeared to bc confirmed by a message received in Darwin from Fretilin on 6 February to the effect that the four locations were under attack and that Fretilin could thus not guarantee the safety of the UN mission.
The situation at the lime of the departure of the United Nations Special Representative from Australia, therefore, was that the Provisional Government of East Timor was inviting the Special Representative to renew his visit to the territory, including to the four locations earlier suggested by Fretilin, while Fretilin was unable to identify a secure venue in East Timor for a meeting.
The United Nations Special Representative himself concluded that in default of the necessary guarantees of safety he had no alternative but to suspend his efforts to proceed to Fretilin areas.
The Government understands that the Provisional Government of East Timor is not at present prepared to readmit the International Red Cross (ICRC) to East Timor. The position appears to be that the PGET wishes the Indonesian Red Cross to establish its operations first, before admitting other aid agencies, including the International Red Cross.
The Government has made it clear to all parties involved in the conflict that it believes that the ICRC should be allowed to play its traditional humanitarian role in East Timor. It is also keen that the ICRC be reinstalled to act as a channel for international humanitarian aid. The Australian Government will certainly take on its share of the financial burden of a renewed international humanitarian assistance program channelled through the ICRC.
The Government’s concern that the ICRC should be readmitted to Timor has been made known to the Indonesian Government on numerous occasions since early December and was repeated during the visit of the Minister for Foreign Affairs to Jakarta on 19-20 January. The Government is pleased that the Indonesian Red Cross has been active in East Timor, but is of the view that an ICRC presence is also essential. Apart from its roles as a channel for disbursement of aid, and in relation to prisoners-of-war, the ICRC could act as an impartial international observer in a situation where none at present exists.
Indonesia’s policies toward East Timor have been little questioned by its neighbours- except for Australia. This was reflected for example in voting in the United Nations General Assembly on the resolution on East Timor. Neighbouring countries as well as Western countries have shown no inclination to be drawn into the Timor issue.
But the position of the Australian Government towards East Timor is clear. The Government supports a cessation of the conflict, resumption of international humanitarian aid, a withdrawal of Indonesian forces and a genuine act of selfdetermination. The Minister for Foreign Affairs made it quite clear during his visit to Jakarta on 19-20 January that Australia looked toward a withdrawal of all Indonesian forces, however described, from East Timor.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Capital Territory, upon notice:
– The Minister for the Capital Territory has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Capital Territory, upon notice:
– The Minister for the Capital Territory has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Capital Territory, upon notice:
– The Minister for the Capital Territory has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 2 March 1976, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1976/19760302_senate_30_s67/>.