30th Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Condor Laucke) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– by leave- I inform the Senate that the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Andrew Peacock, left Australia on 22 September to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York. He is expected to return on 9 October. During his absence the Minister for Primary Industry, the Rt Hon. Ian Sinclair, will act as Minister for Foreign Affairs. I also inform the Senate that the Minister for Special Trade Negotiations, the Hon. John Howard, left Australia on 23 September to have discussions with the Commission of European Communities, and with individual European Economic Community member governments. He is expected to return on 3 November. During his absence the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Robert Cotton, will act as Minister for Special Trade Negotiations until the Deputy Prime Minister, the Rt Hon. J. D. Anthony, returns to Australia on 7 October and assumes that responsibility.
I further inform the Senate that the Minister for Construction, the Hon. John McLeay, left Australia on 24 September to lead the Australian Delegation to the 17th South Pacific Conference in Pago Pago. He is expected to return on 6 October. During his absence the Minister for the Capital Territory, the Hon. A. A. Staley, will act as Minister for Construction.
– Petitions have been lodged for presentation as follows:
To the Honourable the President and Members of the Senate of the Commonwealth in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That where whole or part of a deceased estate passes to the surviving spouse it should be free from Federal Estate Duty.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Senator Douglas McClelland.
To the Honourable President and Members of the Senate in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of the Central Coast, New South Wales, respectfully shows that:
The Central Coast Parents and Citizens ‘ Associations condemns the action of the Federal Government in issuing guidelines which effectively cut-back funds to Government schools whilst increasing funds to private schools, in particular a few wealthy independent schools.
That we do not want education to revert to being used for political gain.
We call upon the Federal Government to make urgent financial assistance to education throughout Australia.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Senator Carrick.
To the Honourable the President and Members of the Senate assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That many pensioners who are holders of the Pensioners Health Benefit Card, have suffered undue hardship as inmates of Private Nursing Homes, because the Federal Government subsidy was insufficient to meet the charges as laid down.
Many pensioners whose spouse was an inmate of the Private Nursing Homes suffered poverty in an endeavour to sustain their partner while in the nursing home.
Only in rare cases was the statutory minimum patient contribution as laid down adhered to.
That the telephone was a matter of life and death to many pensioners, but because of the cost of installation of the telephone many are unable to afford the installation.
That those pensioners who have only their pension and very little else to live on and are forced to pay high rents, are in many cases living in extreme poverty.
The foregoing facts impel your petitioners to ask the Australian Government as a matter of urgency to-
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Senator Cotton.
To the President and Members of the Senate assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens (students, parents, teachers) of Australia respectfully showeth:
That the decision by the Government to withdraw all forms of financial assistance to students of Non-state Tertiary Institutions is in total conflict with stated Government education policy.
The decision will result in a shortage of places for training secretarial and clerical students and an inordinate demand upon the State Government education system.
At a time of severe economic disruption, this action must lead to a serious worsening of the current employment situation, particularly school leavers.
Your petitioners, therefore, humbly pray that the Federal Government will act immediately to reverse its decision.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Senator Cotton and Senator Mulvihill.
To the Honourable the President and Members of the Senate in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That the existence of a system of double taxation of personal incomes whereby both the Australian Government and State Governments had the power to vary personal income taxes would mean that taxpayers who worked in more than one State in any one year would-
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that a system of double income tax on personal incomes be not introduced.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Senator Mulvihill.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Does he recall making the following statement in the Senate on 22 September?
We deal with reputable people when we wish to borrow overseas.
As the Swiss financial group Credit Suisse is a major borrower for the Australian Government, is the Minister aware that in May of this year the Swiss National Bank launched a prosecution against Credit Suisse for contravention of foreign exchange rates? Was Credit Suisse also prosecuted in June of last year for grave infringements of Swiss currency regulations and also accused of the improper direction of $786m? I ask the Minister Has the Government verified these matters to satisfy itself that it is in fact dealing with reputable people?
-I am quite sure that the Hansard record is correct. I am quite sure that if Credit Suisse is no longer a reputable organisation we will know about it and stop dealing with it. Surely that is what the honourable senators opposite would have done.
– Have you borrowed from it?
– I ask a supplementary question of the Minister representing the Treasurer. Has the Government verified the accuracy of these accusations?
-I really try very hard to help all honourable senators opposite. I say in response to Senator Georges’ interjection that I have not, myself, borrowed from Credit Suisse. Honourable senators opposite would expect me to ascertain from the Treasurer, who deals with these matters, the answer to the Leader of the Opposition’s question. That is the best that I can do. I cannot help honourable senators opposite if they engage in general chit-chat with each other.
– Is the Minister for Education aware of radio reports this morning that the staff association of the colleges of advanced education plans to mount a campaign to force the Government to abandon the present system of funding education on a rolling triennium basis with yearly reviews? Can the Minister say whether the present system is causing any uncertainty in the planning or delivery of education? Is it his intention, or that of the Tertiary Education Commission, to restore annual funding for colleges of advanced education?
-Senator Martin has asked a question in three parts in relation to a radio report regarding the restoration of triennial funding. I heard that report. Let me say that I fully understand the desire of all those connected with tertiary institutions that triennial funding should be restored. It is worth recalling the history of this matter. The previous Governmentthe Whitlam Government- found it necessary to set aside triennial funding in its 1975 Budget because of record inflation and because it is impossible to have such funding under high inflation. The incoming Fraser Government decided that whilst it could not restore triennial funding as such it would introduce the next best thing, which is the rolling triennium and which does give indicative planning capacity but not, of course, full certainty. In response to Senator
Martin’s question about the present situation I say that whilst inflation still exists and whilst it is coming down to more manageable proportions the fixed triennium is not really practicable and it ought to be possible through a rolling triennium to do indicative planning. As to the intention, my own desire and hope would be that as inflation comes down fully to manageable proportions the government of the day may then be able to consider the restoration of the fixed triennium.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Has the Government, as stated on page 26 of the 1977-78 Budget Papers, advised the Reserve Bank that it wants to see banks and other financial institutions encouraged to increase their lending for private home building? If so, how does the Minister explain the Reserve Bank’s prediction, in a report made public last week, that the rate of growth of lending for housing will fall from over 20 per cent for last year to only 17 per cent in the current year? Is it a fact that it is the Government’s tight adherence to a slow down in the rate of growth of the money supply which is in fact responsible for the predicted reduction in the rate of growth of housing finance available this financial year?
-The question is based upon a newspaper report of a Reserve Bank document of which somebody obtained a copy. I understand that it is an internal memorandum that was prepared in the Bank a while ago- it was said to have been prepared, I think, a month ago- and circulated within the Bank. It bears little relationship to the Budget Speech, which says that the Government would be directing a request to the Reserve Bank. I am sure that that has been done, but, in order to be quite positive about the matter, I shall ask the Treasury to let me know the date when such a direction was given.
– My question is addressed to the Attorney-General. I refer to the facts that the 1976-77 appropriation for the Institute of Family Studies, to be set up under the terms of the Family Law Act 1975, was almost entirely unspent in that financial year and that the proposed appropriation for 1977-78 has been reduced from $80,000 to $50,000. Will the Minister inform the Senate what steps have been taken to secure the appointment of a Director and suitable staff for the proposed Institute and to enable it to perform the important duties assigned to it by the Family Law Act?
-The Government attaches great significance to the establishment of the Institute of Family Studies. It is a matter of regret that there has been some delay in setting up the Institute. However, the main reason for the delay is the filling of the position of Director. The position was advertised widely and very great interest was shown in it. A great number of applications were received from within Australia and also from overseas. Because of the importance of the position and the specialised nature of the Insitute’s function it was thought necessary to establish a suitably qualified panel to make recommendations on this appointment. It is hoped that that panel will recommend a preferred applicant to me in the near future. It is also hoped, of” course, that whoever is successful will be able to take up the position next year. The sum of $50,000 is being appropriated in the present Budget to provide for payment of the Director’s salary for the remainder of the financial year and to permit work to proceed on securing accommodation and staff for the Institute.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. I refer to repeated statements by Government Ministers during 1976 to the effect that State governments as well as the Federal Government would be expected to cut spending and reduce employment or, as it was put in the words of the 1976 Budget Speech, to ‘turn back the recent trend towards bigger and bigger government’. In view of the most recent employment figures which show private sector employment decreasing by 11,400 in July and government employment rising by 3,000 in the same month, I ask: Has there in fact been any response to the Government’s stated intention of reducing public sector employment? If so, where? Do the figures not suggest that the government sector rather than the private sector is being stimulated at this stage?
-In order to answer that question properly one would need to search out the figures, get them up to date and be sure that one was quite correct. My impression is that the Federal Government decided that there had been much too big a demand on resources by government. It had left insufficient resources available for the private sector. The Government also thought that there had been a great amount of extravagance and waste and money flung around. It decided to get matters back into restraint. I think it has shown itself able to do so. It has done so. It also suggested that some areas of expenditure in some States could well stand inspection. If honourable senators look at the rate of expansion in Commonwealth expenditures and the rate of expansion in State government expenditures, they will be able to see what I mean. The Commonwealth has wound down its own demand on resources. It has wound down its own expenditure. Concurrently with that, the expenditure patterns in some States have gone up. Equally it ought to be observed that the Commonwealth is running a very large deficit; yet in many cases the States have balanced for surplus budgets. I believe the States have increased their employment activities. As to whether this will continue and what its total effect will be, I do not know. I think that what one could usefully do would be to look at the position and try to get for the honourable senator something in the way of a more considered answer.
– I am not aware whether the Minister for Health has had drawn to his attention the comments appearing in the London Economist. I will refer the matter to him to ascertain whether he wishes to make any comments in response to the question. I stress that he continually has under review the medical inspection services and requirements at overseas postings and I am sure that no relaxation of these has occurred in recent months.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations. Has the
Government been approached by the Premier of Queensland requesting Federal intervention in the continuing dispute between the Seamen’s Union of Australia and Utah Development Company? If such a request has been made, is it aimed at the Federal Government taking action to deregister the Seamen’s Union? If so, what is the Government’s attitude to such a request by the Queensland Premier? Can the Minister say how the national deregistration of a trade union, if effected, can possibly have any constructive effect in solving industrial disputes? Is it not a fact that deregistration normally only inflames and prolongs industrial disputes?
– I am not in a position to say specifically whether such a request has been received by the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations from the Premier of Queensland. However, I did hear the Premier of Queensland this morning on AM in which he made his view perfectly clear as to what action should be taken in relation to this very serious dispute. I certainly know that the Government regards the prolonged dispute to which Senator Sibraa has referred as one of most serious national importance and consequence. I will refer to the Minister whom I represent the specific question that Senator Sibraa has asked. I assure the Senate that the Government regards this whole dispute with the utmost seriousness.
– My question is addressed to the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister in Federal Affairs. I draw attention to the terms of the Queensland Budget brought down by the Treasurer, Mr Knox, on 22 September and I ask: Is it true that in that Budget there were no increases in taxes, charges, fares or freights? Is it true that the Queensland Treasurer was able to budget for a surplus while still increasing State expenditures? Is it also true that further concessions in the areas of payroll tax and workers’ compensation premiums were announced? Is this not clear evidence that the new federalism is working in Queensland as in Western Australia and the other States that have recently announced their budgets? Is it not also clear that the Queensland Government is acting responsibly with taxpayers’ money? Therefore, will the Minister assure the Senate that nothing will be done to affect adversely arrangements which are so obviously advantageous to all States?
-Taking the second last question first, the honourable senator has asked: Is this an indication of the successful working of the federal affairs policies? I simply remind the Senate that we are now able to say not only that in our first year of office all States have balanced their budgets and cut taxes while expanding programs but also that those States that have brought down their budgets have done those things for a second year. So it is quite clear that there is demonstrably an expanded capacity in the States. As to the specific question of whether there were no increases in taxes, I am able to say that in Queensland in the Budget there were no increases in taxes, charges, fares or freights and there were no income tax surcharges. I am able to say also that the Queensland Government managed to achieve a small budget surplus of $397,000 after making a series of concessions in its further development which included the abolition of probate duty, payroll tax and workers compensation concessions and the elimination of road transport permit fees. I am happy to be able to say, for example, that education spending is up $5 1.2m or 12.9 per cent to $447.8m. I am also very happy to be able to say that despite the cries of the Jeremiahs, Queensland primary schools, under the federalism system of providing direct per capita funding, have reached in the year 1977 the target set to be reached by the year 1980. So, the target set for the improvement of primary schools in Queensland by the Schools Commission has been reached three years ahead of the target date. This must provide a demonstration that the funding is working and working well.
Yes, we are able to say that the States themselves today have a sufficient restoration of sovereignty for them to engage in their own decision making, their own determinations to increase programs or otherwise, and their own determinations to cut taxes. All this is very good news for those who want to see the success of the States. It is disastrous news for the centralists opposite who want the States to be destroyed and who want local government authorities to be amalgamated and taken over.
– I direct a question which refers to two aspects concerning Woomera, to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. The Minister will recall that recently he gave some information about the exercises which are presently taking place with the Services at Woomera. I think he promised to update that information as soon as possible. The second question I raise is related to a statement by the responsible South Australian Minister, Mr
Hudson, who talked about the place of Woomera with respect to the development at Roxby Downs undertaken by the Western Mining Corporation. Can the Minister give any estimate of” the new involvement at Woomera in respect to the two aspects- one concerning the Services exercises and to what extent Woomera is proving a suitable place for those exercises and the second as to whether the discussions which are taking place between the Federal Government and State Ministers about the Western Mining Corporation’s exercise at Roxby Downs may mean a new operation which would help Woomera? Can he advise the Senate about these matters? If he cannot, will he do so at the first opportunity?
-I regret that I do not have the updated information I said I would seek for the honourable senator. I will ask my colleague, the Minister for Defence, in the other place whether I can have that information as a matter of urgency. As to the matter of Roxby Downs, I remember Senator Jessop asking me a question on this when the Senate last met some 10 days ago. The information I had at that time from the Minister for National Resources was fairly sketchy. But in view of the interest of the honourable senator and Senator Jessop in this matter, I will ask for some more detailed information on this project.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Post and Telecommunications which concerns Telecom Australia. I preface the question by stating that no doubt the Minister is well aware of the importance of the electronics industry to any advanced nation such as Australia and that the number of people doing research and development in the electronics industry and the number employed in the industry in total has been declining over the last five years. Has the Minister any knowledge of the reason for Telecom Australia awarding the recent $S00m contract for switching equipment to L. M. Ericsson Pty Ltd of Sweden? How much of the work will be done in Australia? Is it true that Telecom Australia is about to award a contract, if it has not already done so, for a new type of ceramic microphone for telephone hand sets, developed in Australia, to a Japanese firm when the work could be done in Australia? Finally, has the Minister noted any change in the purchasing policy of Telecom Australia since it became an independent statutory authority?
– The Government is acutely aware of the need for Australia to maintain a highly sophisticated and developing electronics industry not only for defence, of course, but also for the progress of development. It must therefore, maintain and develop sophistication in research and development. The industry is one of the most rapidly expanding of all industries in world terms. It is, I think, a tribute to the industry that it has developed so rapidly over the years; indeed, that it can maintain such sophistication in the defence sphere as, for instance, in the very high electronics of, say, the FI 1 1 and other kinds of aircraft. It is true that there has been a decline in overall employment in the industry.
Senator Townley referred to the recent award of a contract to L. M. Ericsson Pty Ltd for switching equipment. This has been the subject of a statement which I put down in this Senate. I think it was incorporated in Hansard but, if it was not, I will be happy to give it to the honourable senator. The circumstances were such that because of the Government’s keen desire that there should be maximum Australian content and effort and a minimum displacement of employment, there was intense scrutiny of the tenderers consistent with the desire to obtain the best possible equipment. My understanding is- I ask honourable senators not to hold me to this figure- that some 80 per cent or more of the total equipment will be manufactured in Australia. I have some idea that recently in response to a question by Senator Baume I referred to such a figure. Whether the contract had gone to one tenderer or another was not a question of whether there would be a higher rate or a lower rate of employment in Australia -
– I raise a point of order. Mr President, on several occasions during the last sitting week you ruled that questions were not to be lengthy and that the Minister’s replies were not to be lengthy. We have now gone through almost half an hour of Question Time and twothirds of that time has been taken up with Ministers’ replies. I draw your attention again to the ruling that you have previously given.
– I am watching the situation carefully. I call on Senator Carrick to continue his reply.
– The question of the award of the tender was influenced by the location of the persons employed and not the numbers of those employed. I am not aware of any change in purchasing policy. I am aware that the Commonwealth Government is insistent on maximising the Australian content of all purchases. It will keep this in mind in all its undertakings.
-I direct a question to the Minister for Social Security. Is the Minister aware that on the Australian Broadcasting Commission radio current affairs program PM on 28 September, a former employee of an unnamed credit company, Mr Dennis Williams, claimed that inspectors of that company threatened customers that unless debts were met they would be forced to hand over their pension cheques in payment to the company? Will the Minister investigate this allegation and, if the claims are proven to be correct, ensure that appropriate action is taken against the company concerned?
– I have not had drawn to my attention the comments made by Mr Dennis Williams on the PM radio program of 28 September. I will certainly have the allegation investigated and take whatever action is necesary in light of information that comes forward.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Education. Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to a report in the Sydney Sun oi 21 September last in which the Wran Government is accused of breaking an election promise on education funding for New South Wales independent schools? Did the Wran Government promise to maintain per capita grants to non-government schools at 20 per cent of State school costs, as determined by the Schools Commission? Is it true that per capita grants in New South Wales have now shrunk to less than 16 per cent? Is it also true that despite the generosity of the Fraser Government’s new federalism policy, the New South Wales Government currently is paying nongovernment schools only $122 per primary student and $202 per secondary student, compared with the Victorian Liberal Government’s payments of$ 155 and $260 respectively?
-I did not see the item to which Senator Lajovic refers which was in the Sun of, I think, 27 September, but I will have a look at it. It is my recollection that the Wran Government undertook to maintain the 20 per cent per capita grant. I notice that Opposition senators tend to laugh when this percentage -
– We have not even smiled.
-I can understand that. If I were Senator Georges I would find grave difficulty in smiling. It is important that those who rely upon the Schools Commission as being the source of knowledge ought to know that it has repeatedly reported as being fundamental the maintenance by each of the States of the 20 per cent per capita grant in order that there should be an interlocking of it including, incidentally, the Whitlam Government’s 20 per cent per capita grants to the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory which honourable senators opposite conveniently forget at the moment. The Schools Commission in a previous report indicated that the desirable funding would be a basic minimum per capita grant from the Commonwealth interlocked with the States. If the evidence is that the New South Wales Government has fallen away in this funding it is a sad fact. Under the Commonwealth funding, the revenue to the States has been boosted sufficiently to enable them to do this and more. This is demonstrated, for example, by the fact that in the recent loans budget that it brought down the New South Wales Government was able to increase loan programs by 18 per cent. However it cut back the increase in schools expenditure to about 8 per cent. It is worth noting in this situation that that is so. The decision not to keep promises and to make cutbacks is one for the Wran Government but it is not made from a shortage of funds. It is made by the Government according to its own judgment. Sadly, it is against all the evidence before us.
-I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations. In view of the findings in a Department of Employment and Industrial Relations report which showed that young unemployed persons have tried harder to obtain jobs than unemployed adults and that in fact some 33,000 people under 25 years of age have not registered with the Commonwealth Employment Service and consequently are not receiving benefits, is the Minister prepared to state that the term ‘dole bludger’ as applied to young unemployed people is inaccurate and grossly misleading? Will the Minister make it clear to Government supporters that it deprecates the use of the phrase and that some dignity should be restored to those who are unable to find employment?
-I think that the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations in particular and the Government in general have expressed their concern over and over again about the problems which large numbers of young people are having in finding employment. Not only has the Government expressed concern in that regard but also it has taken some positive action by introducing a number of schemes to provide and increase opportunities for young people to obtain work. Certainly the Government does not regard as appropriate the use of dole bludger’ as a general term in relation to these young people who are genuinely seeking work. As I have said, I have already detailed in the Senate on a number of occasions the programs that the Government has undertaken. The Government will continue to maintain these programs and to keep the situation under very close observation.
-I preface my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs and the Minister for Health by referring to a news release from the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs dated 23 September. The release informed us that the eleventh boat load of Indo-Chinese refugees had arrived on the north coast of Australia. I understand that soil is usually carried as ballast in these boats and I therefore ask: Because of the risk of disease transmission, will the Minister consider having the boats sunk as soon as they arrive?
– Since March of this year there have been reports of foreign fishing vessels on the Kimberley coast in Western Australia. In addition, over the last few months there has been a number of unauthorised landings by Vietnamese refugees in the north-west of Australia. These incidents are matters of grave concern because of their human, animal and plant quarantine aspects. The implications of these landings have been considered by the Standing Committee on Australian Coastal Surveillance, which is responsible for co-ordinating off-shore surveillance activities on behalf of a number of client departments, including the Department of Health. The off-shore surveillance program developed by this Committee is managed and co-ordinated by the Marine Operations Centre. It has been decided to enhance offshore coastal surveillance activities in the northwest area in the form of a co-ordinated patrol boat-charter aircraft search of the coastline between Broome and Darwin at weekly intervals.
The purpose of this enhanced program is to supplement existing surveillance activity with light aircraft to detect, report and act on, as appropriate, illegal landings and breaches of Australia’s quarantine, immigration, fishing and Customs laws, including the location of Vietnamese refugees through the co-ordinating machinery of the Marine Operations Centre.
The Department of Health initially accepted the responsibility for this additional surveillance and the Department of Defence has assumed financial responsibility, using DC3 aircraft and subsequently Tracker aircraft stationed at Darwin. Quarantine authorities in Western Australia and the Northern Territory are participating directly in this new program and will liaise closely on action required in response to any report of quarantine significance. As to the suggestion about the sinking of boats which arrive under those circumstances, 1 will have that drawn to the attention of the Minister for Health, the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, and the bodies which are undertaking this additional surveillance to see whether there is validity in the suggestion, bearing in mind our very strict laws on animal, plant and human quarantine.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Social Security and refers to the incident in Brisbane two weeks ago when six or eight men were allegedly rescued by Commonwealth and State police from a condition of apparent slavery. I ask: As there were accusations at the time by the Press and by members of the Minister’s Party of abuse of the warrantor system and of people being held against their wills, and because the Minister promised at that time that there would be an investigation, can she tell us what stage the investigation has reached at the moment? What action has been taken and has anyone been charged with offences arising out of this incident? When can the Parliament expect to have a report on this matter?
– The incident involving six members of the public, which was referred to by the honourable senator, and the actions of the Commonwealth and State police did reveal that there was no abuse of the warranty system under the Social Services Act because, of the two members concerned who held pensions from my Department, neither of them had used the warranty system. I understand that the Commonwealth Police withdrew from the investigations which were taking place because it was considered that there had been no breach of any Federal Act. I am unaware whether the State
Police have laid any charges with regard to any of the matters which were being investigated by them. I have had a look at the provisions of the Social Services Act with regard to an arrangement made by a pensioner to have a pension paid on his behalf to some other person. I am advised that the provisions as they exist are necessary for the operation of our system of payment of pensions. However, if a matter were referred to us or if we had reason to believe that there was any abuse of this system, protection of the welfare of pensioners would be of first priority in our minds and any appropriate investigations would be made. As far as the six people involved are concerned, the two pensioners concerned did not use that particular system.
-Mr President, I wish to ask a supplementary question. At the time, a member of the House of Representatives and of a Government Party made accusations of abuse of the warranty system by people not necessarily directly involved in this question. I ask: Has an investigation been made into the accusations made by that member against two members of the public in Queensland and what have been the results of the investigations?
– I did not relate the comments from the member of the House of Representatives to the six members of the public who were subject to investigations by police recently. In regard to the names mentioned in the question by the member of the House of Representatives, I understand that my Department is having some investigation made. I have not had any conclusive report yet, although I understand that my Director-General has made some personal investigations about the matter. If any information comes forward from them that shows that there is any need to look at the warranty system or any difficulty with the system which may or may not have been used in that instance, I shall see that the honourable senator is advised.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for National Resources. In view of a statement recently made by the marketing manager of an Australian oil producing company that South Australian gas resources are now largely committed to the Sydney market, that not a drop of gas is contracted to South Australian users beyond 1982 and that South Australian prospective discoveries are unlikely to exceed commitments already made to New South Wales, can the Minister give an assurance that the Government is aware of this position and that action will be taken in conjunction with the South Australian Government to encourage further discoveries in that State or, alternatively, to connect that State’s pipeline system with the other Australian gas reserves?
-I am not aware of a statement having been made on this subject, but what the honourable senator raises is a very serious matter for the State he represents. I shall certainly ask my colleague, the Deputy Prime Minister, for a full report on this so that I can give it to the honourable senator at the earliest possible date.
-Has the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs noted the remark of Mr Justice Toohey in his first report in accordance with the provisions of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act that the Act is not as clear as it might be in regard to the proper construction to be given to section 50 (3) of the Act? As the Commissioner has concluded that section 50 (3) of the Act applies only to section 50 ( 1 ) (a) and not to section 50 ( 1 ) (b), is that conclusion in keeping with the Government’s intention with regard to the Commissioner’s duties? If not, will the Government amend the Act to make intentions more clear? Will the Minister assure the secrecy of the Lands Register to the extent that the Commissioner states, in the concluding paragraph of his report, that he thinks may be necessary?
– I shall draw to the attention of the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs the matter raised by Senator Cavanagh, and in particular to comments of Mr Justice Toohey. If there is any information I can give with regard to his reponse to it and any amendment he deems fit to be considered, I shall see that the honourable senator is advised.
-Is the Minister representing the Minister for Health aware of statements by the Tasmanian Minister for Health, Mr Lowe, that the Commonwealth dishonours promises concerning the funding of school dental schemes? Can the Minister say whether or not these statements are true?
– I am not aware of any statements that the Tasmanian Minister for Health may have made with regard to the school dental scheme. However I am aware of continued government support for this scheme. In fact, the Commonwealth’s contribution to the scheme in this year’s Budget is $24.5m, the total amount, with the States’ contributions, being $3 8.9m. This is an increase over the funds which were given in last year’s Budget. The Commonwealth is still funding the major portion of the scheme. This year the Commonwealth is funding something like 63 per cent of the scheme. I understand that the Minister for Health discussed this matter and long-term funding arrangements at the Health Ministers’ Conference recently. In answer to the specific question, I am unaware of any statement that the Tasmanian Minister for Health may have made with regard to this matter.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. What evidence, if any, is available to the Government to show that the announcement last week of further Government borrowings overseas has reversed the recent business and public speculation about a dollar devaluation? In particular, what change has occurred in the Reserve Bank’s holdings of gold and foreign exchange in the last week and also to the premium being charged by trading banks on forward purchases of United States dollars? If the Minister has such evidence that the balance of payments situation has improved, does the Government now plan to lower interest rates, as foreshadowed earlier this year and again last week by Mr Fraser?
– Many honourable senators have felt it desirable to have some short answers, so why not have this question put on notice?
-I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Transport. Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to a report in the Sydney Sun of 29 September in which it is claimed by a Melbourne doctor that medical equipment and drugs carried on international flights are not sufficient to treat even the most minor ailment? Has the Minister’s colleague in another place been able to determine the validity of this claim? If these allegations are correct, will the Minister undertake to take action or ask his colleague to take action, in consultation with the Minister for Health, to ensure that adequate equipment and drugs are available on overseas aircraft to cope with any emergency?
-I have seen a newspaper report- I do not know whether it was in the Sydney Sun-basically reflecting what Senator Jessop has said about the statement by a Melbourne doctor that the medical equipment on overseas flights was insufficient. I am not aware of the validity or otherwise of the claim. I have not been advised. I have no doubt that my colleague and his Department have checked upon this matter. I will bring it to his notice, seek information on it and certainly refer to him the suggestion that he should discuss this matter with his colleague the Minister for Health. I will let the honourable senator have a note about this matter.
-I preface my question, which is directed to the Minister for Social Security, by referring to the fact that women receiving supporting mothers’ benefit are allowed to earn only $20 per week if they wish to retain full benefit and that this limitation on permissible earnings is a disincentive for women to get work and rise above the poverty line. I ask the Minister: What is the situation facing a woman on supporting mother’s benefit when she approaches the Commonwealth Employment Service to register as unemployed for the purpose of getting assistance to find employment? Does the receipt of supporting mothers’ benefit preclude these women from registering as unemployed?
– When people go to the Commonwealth Employment Service they register for employment, not as being unemployed. If people wish to be registered for employment, whether or not they are in receipt of a pension or benefit, that registration should be accepted by the Commonwealth Employment Service. I am unaware whether the question suggests that this has not been the case in some instances. If that is so, I would like to hear about it because registration with the Commonwealth Employment Service is available to people who are in receipt of pensions or benefits. On gaining employment their eligibility for a pension or benefit would cease.
-I direct a question to the Minister for Science. It relates to the conversion of the measurements made in the field of medicine to the metric system, in particular to the System Internationale d ‘Unites, which is known as the SI system and which was developed by the Conference Generate des Poids et Mésures. In view of the magnitude and significance of the change which is occurring in medical measurement can the Government assure the Senate that those who care for patients will have available appropriate conversion charts, particularly in the next few years? Further, has the Government given any thought to making available for training members of the medical community resources that would help them in the proper use of the new metric SI system of measurement?
– I understand that the main change to the use of metric units in medical practice occurred many years ago- basically in 1965- when the formulation of prescriptions based on the medical drug lists was converted to metric standards. I understand that in other areas where changes have occurred more recently, such as pathology, pamphlets have been prepared and distributed by bodies such as the Royal Australian College of Pharmacologists. In addition, there have been pamphlets on the use of metrics in radiology and these have been prepared by the Metric Conversion Board.
Since the inception of metric conversion it has been the policy of all governments that the costs of conversion should lie where they fall. This policy is based on the principle that conversion programs for each sector of the community should be prepared by persons representing the organisations in the sector that would have to implement the conversion. So planning in metric medical units is a matter for the medical profession. Its planning institutions assist it in that regard. Many of them already receive some contribution from the Government. If the honourable senator can identify particular problems or organisations that are experiencing difficulties, I would be pleased to pass on the information to the Metric Conversion Board, which I understand would then convene a meeting of all interested bodies to define the problems and propose suitable action.
– I share the concern of Senator Primmer regarding the future of interest rates. As a consequence I am prompted to address a question to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Is the Minister aware that the Prime Minister, at the beginning of his tour of Queensland last week, foreshadowed a fall in interest rates? Does the Minister feel concerned that the Reserve Bank does not share the Prime Minister’s optimism? I say that because in a confidential document leaked last week it stated:
Does that mean that we cannot expect a downward movement in interest rates in the future?
-I share the honourable senator’s interest in this subject. I refer him to Standing Order 99, which states that questions shall not ask for an expression of opinion or a statement of government policy. I think that this question clearly falls within that area. I do not know what the Prime Minister said in Queensland, but I will get a copy of his speech.
-I direct a question to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, who is in charge of the Public Service. I refer to suggestions in the Administrative and Clerical Officers Association’s journal for September and recently by officers of the ACOA that staff ceilings have been particularly responsible for an increase in the number of public servants on long term sick leave. Can the Minister say whether the increase from about 770 to 1,507 since December 1975 in the number of public servants on long term sick leave is considered to result primarily or significantly from staff ceilings? Can he say whether other factors such as the age structure of the Service or the 1976 Superannuation Act might also be important in accounting for this increase? Is a study of the increase to be carried out? If so, will the Minister ensure that in the interests of the Government’s own employees the study is completed as quickly as possible? Will he also ensure that the Administrative and Clerical Officers Association is consulted in conducting such a survey in view of the information available to the Association? Finally, will the results of such a study be made public?
– As honourable senators will know, I only represent the Prime Minister in this matter, and I do not think any honourable senator would expect me to answer such an involved, complicated question without notice. Therefore, the honourable senator ought to put it on notice.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. I preface my question by reminding the Minister of the many questions I asked during the recent Estimates Committee sittings which have yet to be answered. Will the replies to all the questions be available before the Senate considers the reports of the Estimates Committees? If the answer is in the affirmative, when am I likely to receive the replies?
– I do not think we can ever forget the number of questions Senator Keeffe asked during the sittings of the Estimates Committee. The officers of the Department and the Minister undertook to make available to Senator Keeffe and the Committee information relating to those questions. I will ask the Minister when it is likely to be received, although I think it will be appreciated that a lot of information was requested and perhaps it may be made available progressively if it is not all ready at the one time. I will ask the Minister and let the honourable senator know later today when the information could be available.
- Mr President, I have a supplementary question. Part of my question was whether we would get the information before the Senate as the Committee of the Whole debated the reports.
– The Minister, through me, undertook that this information would be available before the Senate was asked to deal with the estimates for the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. Senator Keeffe now asks me when it will be available and whether it will be available before that time. If part of the information is already available, perhaps I could give that to him to enable him to consider it. I have undertaken that it will be available prior to the discussion in the Committee of the Whole.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Education. Is it true that the Australian Territories Accreditation Committee for Advanced Education has recommended the accreditation of a four-year course in teacher education to be offered at the Darwin Community College? Can the Minister inform the Senate whether he has accepted the Committee’s recommendation and, if he has, what the benefits will be to the people of Darwin and the Northern Territory?
– When I was in Darwin last week I was very happy to announce that the Accreditation Committee had recommended to me the adoption of a four-year degree course in education at the Darwin Community College and that the Government had acceded to the recommendation. Senator Kilgariff’s keen interest in the Northern Territory and its progress being known, it will be clear to me and to others that the ability of the College itself to produce teachers with a full graduate degree is of considerable significance to the development of the Territory as it moves towards selfgovernment. There are already students in their fourth year who will be able at the end of this year to qualify to achieve this degree. From memory, there are some 70 students altogether in the college who are in progress in that direction. I am very happy to say that the Accreditation Committee of Dr Burton made very pleasant comments about the quality of the delivery of education at the Darwin Community College. Again this is a very useful thing for the development of education in the Territory itself.
-I ask a twofold question of the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Has the Minister had any feedback on the recent fracas between conservationists and whalers off the coast of Western Australia? Secondly- and I refer to an article in a newspaper distributed in another State, the Sydney Sun- has the Minister any information on the apparent trade blockade that has been imposed by Canada and the United States of America on 1,200 tonnes of Australian sperm whale oil? Will this affect the viability of the trade and thereby perhaps satisfy the conservationists?
-My information is that the activities of the lunatic harpoonist we were both worried about off the coast from Albany proved to be nothing more than a minor event. It did not do anybody any harm. He did not hit anything. As far as I can tell there has been no further occurrence and neither of us has anything to fear. On the other point, about which the honourable senator was good enough to let me know, concerning the impounding of Australian sperm whale oil, I got a reply just before Question Time. I am informed that this action does not indicate any growing opposition to whaling. The apprehension was made under specific United States legislation prohibiting the entry of whale products. I understand that it is the only country which has such legislation. The oil was destined for Europe and impounded while in transit. Obviously the owners and the master of the chemical tanker Stott Landass did not appreciate that the carriage of such oil could lead to action by the United States authorities.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Education. Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to an article in the Adelaide Advertiser stating that the South Australian Premier, Mr Dunstan, is claiming that the Federal Government had reduced spending on further education and that the South Australian Government has been forced to carry the extra load? Is it a fact that the Federal Government has increased spending in the technical and further education area this year and has also provided much more revenue for South Australia under the new federalism arrangements so that the State Government should provide more from its own resources to be spent according to its own order of education priorities?
-I have seen the article in the Advertiser of today’s date. I am aware that the Premier of South Australia claims, quite wrongly, that the Federal Government has cut education expenditure in the further education field. I want to say- it is not new to this Senatethat the only government that cut expenditure in technical and further education was the Whitlam Government.
– Nonsense! You ought to have a look at the 1977 Budget. Then you will see.
- Mr President, honourable senators opposite are very helpful indeed and I hope they will continue to be helpful. I repeat that the Labor Government cut technical and further education expenditure by $9m back to $65m in the 1975 Budget. It is the only government that has done that. The Fraser Government has over two years increased spending, first by 7 1/2 per cent for this year and secondly by 10 per cent for next year. Quite apart from that, the viability of the State governments now through general revenue funding is such that it would be a severe act if the Dunstan Government did not expand its funds to the further education field. I am happy to say that the Schools Commission, looking at the Karmel target, was able to report that South Australia after the first two years of federal funding has now in both its primary and secondary school targets reached and surpassed the Karmel and the Schools Commission target of funding because of the buoyancy of revenue provided to the States. It ought to be recognised that the States, including South Australia, now must stand up and be counted. They are without alibis. If South Australia does not bring down a Budget which substantially increases funding to all aspects of education it will not be because it is short of funds. It has an abundance of funds. It has a buoyancy of funds in both the revenue and loan fields. It is quite within its capacity to spend revenue on education. Therefore one looks forward to South Australia using the money that it has for greater increases in education expenditure.
-Mr President, I direct a question to the Minister for Education. I rise to ask the question because we are continually hearing statements by the Minister which are not true. We have just heard the answer he gave. Either Senator Carrick does not understand the position or he is deliberately misleading the Senate. We have just heard-
– Order! The Leader of the Opposition must realise that there is a reflection on the Minister in the words he has just uttered.
-Mr President, I withdraw any reflection on the Minister. I can say only that it is time some accuracy was put into statements. We have just heard a clear statement by Senator Carrick to the effect that the only government to cut education expenditure in the technical sector was the Labor Government and that this happened in the Hayden Budget of 1975. For the record, I ask the Minister: Is he aware that total expenditure on technical and further education in the 1974-75 Budget of the Labor government was $45m which was increased to $65m in the subsequent Budget? Is he aware that that information appears on page 42 of the Budget Papers for last year? Does he deny those figures?
-If there has been any misrepresentation of the figures, it has been done by the Minister who will try to use -
Opposition senators interjecting-
-I meant to say ‘the Leader of the Opposition’.
– A real Freudian slip.
-I acknowledge the Freudian slip. The Leader of the Opposition will try to respond by using financial year figures rather than calendar year figures. He knows, or he ought to know or he ought not to be -
– You did not use calendar year figures. You referred to the Hayden Budget. That is what you do not understand.
– My figures were calendar year figures. If Senator Wriedt does not know the position, I will let him into a secret. All education funding is conducted on the basis of calendar years. This is done by the Schools Commission, by the Tertiary Education Commission and by all the education councils. I will give the honourable senator the figures with respect to technical and further education. In the calendar year 1975 under the Whitlam government, expenditure on technical and further education was $74m, and it was cut in the subsequent Budget to $65m. For the calendar year 1976-the following year- it was increased by the Fraser Government to $70m. It is not good enough for the Leader of the Opposition to try to use the device of sneaking in expenditure for half of the previous calendar year to try to bolster his figures. The simple situation is that at all times the figures I use are calendar year figures. These are the figures that all educationists in Australia use. Of course, they are not the figures used by Senator Wriedt.
Assent to the following Bills reported:
Appropriation (Urban Public Transport) Bill 1977. National Health Acts Amendment Bill 1977. States Grants (Roads) Bill 1977. National Health Amendment Bill 1977.
– For the information of honourable senators, I present the report of the Burdekin Project Committee on Resources and Potential of the Burdekin River Basin, Queensland.
– Pursuant to section 125 of the Insurance Act 1973, I present the annual report of the Insurance Commissioner for the year ended 30 June 1977 together with selected statistics on the general insurance industry.
-by leave- I move:
I seek leave to continue my remarks.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Senator COTTON (New South Wales)Minister for Industry and Commerce)-Pursuant to section 34 of the Services Trust Funds Act 1 947 1 present the annual report of the trustees of the Services Canteens Trust Fund for the year ended 31 December 1976, together with the report of the Auditor-General relating to this report.
– For the information of honourable senators I present the text of a statement by the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) on the beef industry.
Senator ROBERTSON (Northern Territory) by leave- I move:
I seek leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– For the information of honourable senators I present the interim statement of the Australian Egg Board for 1976-77.
-by leave- I move:
I seek leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– Pursuant to section 45 of the Wheat Industry Stabilisation Act 1974 I present the annual report and the financial statement of the Australian Wheat Board for the year ended 30 June 1976.
-by leave- I move:
I seek leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– For the information of honourable senators I present the text of a statement by the Minister for Post and Telecommunications (Mr Eric Robinson) on a domestic satellite system for broadcasting and telecommunication purposes.
- Senator Button, you will restrict your comments to the matter before us.
-I am grateful to the Minister. With regard to the point relating to the question of satellites, the point which I was seeking to make- I think it is vitally relevant and may have eluded Senator Carrick- is this: A Government report which was commissioned in April 1976 and which was presented to the Parliament in September 1976 dealt specifically with the question of satellite broadcasting. Nothing has happened as a result of that report. As a result of the efforts of Consolidated Press last week the Minister has now seen some urgency in the matter. Let us look at what the Government commissioned Green report said about satellite broadcasting systems. Paragraph 452 of the report which was tabled in this Parliament states:
It believes that although the introduction of a domestic satellite system offers significant advantages in the field of broadcasting, such a system would be of maximum use if it were to form the centre of the national telecommunications system.
Nobody could disagree with that except the Minister in his recent statement where he says no such thing. The report, quoting from the report Telecom 2000, goes on to say:
Satellite technology is mentioned only briefly here as it is being studied in depth elsewhere within the Commission.
If the provision of satellite communication services to the people of Australia is being studied in depth within Telecom, it is quite extraordinary that this statement should have been made last week particularly when one refers to some of the detailed aspects of it. Let us look at a paragraph which appears on page 2 of the Minister’s statement which states:
The adoption of such a proposal -
That is a proposal for satellite communicationmight well mean a major revision of the television broadcasting frequency plan to accommodate additional rebroadcast transmitters.
All that was the subject of the Government’s own inquiry into broadcasting. All that sought to be the subject of the activities of Telecom and of the Postal and Telecommunications Department. The matter is suddenly resurrected, as I say, as a result of a document prepared by Consolidated Press. The result is that a so-called task force has been set up. The task force, which is referred to on page two of the Minister’s statement, is to embrace a number of government departments and, it is said, the Australian broadcasting industry, whatever that expression might mean in the context of this statement. For example, does it mean the Australian Broadcasting Commission?
The statement goes on to say that experts will be invited to participate in the task force and that some of those experts will be from Papua New Guinea and from New Zealand. In the next breath it is stated that the task force will be given six months to report- six months to report, presumably on the material which it has put before it by all those government departments and the experts from New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. With respect, anybody who is associated with broadcasting knows that one cannot decide to embark upon satellite technology in a matter of six months. A number of questions arise as to the desirability of that technology in Australia. Those questions were raised by the Government’s own report of 1976 and concerning particularly the question of cost benefit judgments. In its report of 1 976 the Green Inquiry stated:
The Inquiry also accepts the view that any decision to introduce satellite transmissions will depend on cost/benefit judgments based on the costs of establishing satellite transmitting facilities and the associated charges or additions to domestic equipment used by the general public . . . and the costs of extending or improving the existing terrestial television and sound broadcasting system, on the other hand.
According to this statement, the Minister has given the inquiry six months to report, just as six months was given to the Green Inquiry and six months to the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal, all done with indecent haste and with no result which this Parliament can perceive, other than a series of inquiries and reports of which the Government quite clearly takes no notice, if one looks at the document now before the Senate.
If one looks at some of the other details of the Minister’s proposal, they are of course very attractive. The satellite, it is said, will offer instructional television; health care delivery by telemedicine, whatever that means, because I understand that there is no proposal for telemedicine in Australia; long distance telephone trunk calls, a facility which I thought we already had; closed circuit television; and digital data transmission. All those things are possible, it is said, if we get a satellite. But what is the cost of this proposal to be? Reliable estimates of the cost to the Government are that it will be not less than $100m. One asks immediately: Is the Government committed to expenditure of that kind? Is the Government committed to that sort of expenditure and, in making a statement of this kind, has the Government considered what it will mean to local and rural television stations if a satellite system is made available and networks established on a satellite basis?
The real reason for making this statement on broadcasting is the same as the reason for a number of other statements which have been made by the Government in recent weeks and it appears on page 3 of the statement. Having suggested the vast benefits which a satellite service would make available to the Australian people, that statement goes on:
The decision is an indication of the Government’s intention to positively assist people in provincial cities and in rural and remote areas while at the same time offering new and exciting opportunities to people in more densely populated areas.
It is sometimes said that you cannot have it both ways, but if ever anybody wanted to have it both ways it is the Minister in that statement. The Government is going to assist people in rural areas with opportunities for improved telecommunications and at the same time it is going to offer exciting opportunities to people in more densely populated areas. The whole point about that is that it is another example of the Government making a statement on some issue because it is totally incapable of grappling with the real issues in the particular case. For example, we have had a hasty decision on uranium mining offered as an answer to chronic unemployment in Australia. On the very grave deprivation of the meat industry in Australia, we have had this sort of offer to the rural sector. The Government says: We will give you, by means of this magical satellite, a better communications service in rural areas and we will give it to you straight away because we cannot really deal with any other problems you might have’. The appalling thing about this statement is that it is totally dishonest because it pretends that by provision of satellite services to rural communities in Australia they will immediately receive upgraded television reception. There is no television set in Australia that can receive satellite signals.
Before National Country Party senators go off to their electorates telling people that the Government is going to give them television reception, they should make some inquiries about the cost. Reliable engineering estimates say that it would cost about $3,000 a set for anybody in this country to receive a satellite television signal at this stage. It is totally misleading and dishonest to issue a statement of this kind which promises that sort of thing to rural communities without telling them what the cost will besomething of the order of $3,000 a set. That, again, is just typical of the sort of statements this Minister has made about broadcasting and the sort of statements which he just cannot carry out in terms of real provision of services to the Australian people, particularly those in remote areas.
Finally, I wish to make one comment about the last paragraph of the Minister’s statement which again is quite contrary to everything that has been said before in relation to Government broadcasting policy. The Minister says:
The Government, in deciding to move quickly on this matter, hopes that the decision will bring private industry and the Government together in another co-operative undertaking for the benefit of all Australians.
The implicit suggestion in that statement is that the Government can move quickly on an issue like this. Of course, it cannot. If the Government could move quickly on it I doubt very much whether the average Australian rural producer could move quickly on it at a cost of $3,000 a set. But that, of course, is one implication of the statement. The second implication, is that the Government has now abandoned and abdicated its function, which was suggested to it by its own inquiry on broadcasting, that is, to lay down planning guidelines for broadcasting. It has abandoned the function to a conglomeratewhat is called the Government and private industry working together in the interests of all Australians. There is not much elaboration on that statement in what the Minister has to say but the point is that it is a complete reversal of everything the Government has previously said on broadcasting policy. I commend to the Senate a very close examination of this statement and, more particularly, a close examination of the real motives underlying a statement of this kind at this point of time. I seek leave to continue my remarks.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Senator DURACK (Western AustraliaAttorneyGeneral) On behalf of my colleague, the Minister for Education (Senator Carrick) and pursuant to section 1 1 of the Cities Commission (Repeal) Act 1975 I present the final report of the operations of the Cities Commission and financial statements for the period 1 July 1975 to 8 January 1976.
-by leave- I move:
I seek leave to continue my remarks at a later date.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Reports on DURACK (Western AustraliaAttorneyGeneral) For the information of honourable senators I present the report of the Temporary Assistance Authority on brandy, whisky, gin and vodka.
For the information of honourable senators I present the report of the Temporary Assistance Authority on manually operated chain hoists, chain pulley tackle and chain winches.
Senator DURACK (Western AustraliaAttorneyGeneral) For the information of honourable senators I present the report of the
Industries Assistance Commission on assistance to the performing arts.
Motion (by Senator Mulvihill) agreed to:
That the following matter be referred to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence:
All aspects of the current Australian passport system.
Senator WITHERS (Western Australia-
Leader of the Government in the Senate)- by leave- I move:
-He is at the United Nations.
– Perhaps you could formally tell us that and the circumstances thereof.
-We do not normally talk about people who are overseas.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives without amendment.
Debate resumed from 14 September on motion by Senator Cotton:
That the senate take note of the papers.
Upon which Senator Wriedt had moved by way of an amendment:
At end of motion add ‘, but the Senate is of the opinion that the Budget:
will intensify and prolong the recession;
will increase unemployment;
c) will have little impact on inflation;
will make regressive changes in the tax system; and (c) will reduce living standards’
-Mr President -
– Hurrah! At last!
– As Senator Georges would know, my contribution to this debate has developed into an ongoing saga. Like Senator Cavanagh ‘s contribution my comments have taken many days.
– How long have you got today?
– 1 seem to have been going on now for months. When the debate was adjourned nearly three weeks ago I was talking about the unemployment problem. When the Liberal-National Country parties came to government in 1975 we found that the unemployment figure at that time was 328,705. That was a considerable number of people unemployed. It was a great problem then, and the Opposition, which was then in power, did not know how to cope with it. However, the Opposition now tells us that it does. It says that it has the answers and that it could cope with that extraordinarily large figure. It has been very critical of this Government’s inability to lower that figure. One of the answers that the Opposition had at that stage was to pay more than $90 per week to those people employed under the National Employment and Training scheme. At that time this scheme was helping 10,658 people. This Government has since expanded the NEAT scheme and is assisting nearly four times as many people- nearly 40,000 people. Whilst the Government is not paying them as much as the former government did under its lesser scheme, nearly four time as many people are employed.
I can remember that when funds for the NEAT scheme were reduced the Government received quite a bit of correspondence and quite a few complaints. The complaints hinged around the fact that the people employed under the NEAT scheme were no longer able to meet their mortgage payments or payments under the hire purchase agreements that they had entered into. I am sure that it was never the intention of the government at that time that taxpayers’ money should be spent on making these large payments to enable people to meet mortgage and hire purchase commitments. All honourable senators know that a considerable number of people are unemployed. We are aware also that some employers are finding it increasingly difficult to find unskilled labour for all areas. In the State of Tasmania growers of soft fruit in the Huon area are finding it increasingly difficult to get pickers for that soft fruit. It is a seasonal job but people will not go and pick soft fruit. Some heavy equipment manufacturers are also having difficulty in getting unemployed people to do heavy labouring jobs. This is increasingly so of young people. I can understand this to a large extent. Being a mother I am quite sure that I would say to my young son when he left school: ‘Do not take the first job available. Make sure you get a good job’. Teachers too are saying to children as they leave school: ‘Make sure you get the best job you can. It could be for the rest of your life and it must be interesting for you ‘.
So, we find children leaving school, often with a higher expectation than their capabilities warrant. They are prepared, perhaps, to stay on unemployment benefits while looking for the job that they consider they are capable of doing. They will not go and pick soft fruit. This is understandable. They fear that if they accept this lesser job, if they go on the production line and do heavy labouring or soft fruit picking, they will not be available when that better job turns up. As such, I believe that we have quite a problem to overcome. The scheme which I have put to the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations (Mr Street) and which I sincerely hope he will look at is that the children who leave school and who are prepared to do the less attractive jobs, the labouring jobs, while they are waiting for the job of their choice ought to be given priority over those children who are not prepared to go out and do just any job and are willing to sit around and wait for the job of their choice to come up. I believe that a very large computer is now being made available to officers of the Commonwealth Employment Service. According to the Minister this could perhaps cope with the system. I am sure that it can be an answer. I sincerely hope that the Minister will look at this matter.
As I have said, this has been a long and drawn out speech. I will not detain the Senate any further, except to congratulate the Treasurer (Mr Lynch) on his presentation of the Budget Papers. They were acclaimed by the whole of the Press when they first came out as being very forward thinking and in line with the general thrust of our endeavour to keep down inflation. I commend the Budget to the Senate.
– I am extremely interested in the final comments of Senator Walters. I have not seen a great deal of evidence in the Press that the Press indeed thinks as she says or thinks. My prime concern in this Budget debate of 1977 that we are participating in this afternoon is a very small group of people who are at present demonstrating outside Parliament House. Regrettably the number of people is small. That is probably because people in their position cannot find the necessary finance to travel great distances in order to participate in this type of protest. I refer to the lone fathers of Australia. They are people who have been promised a great deal by this Government and who have not been given anything in this Budget. They are people who have found it necessary to sign a petition in the following terms:
We the lone fathers of Australia petition the Prime Minister, Mr Fraser, to have legislation passed giving assistance to fathers who have custody of and are sole supporters of their dependent children.
The assistance sought is in five sections. The petition continues:
I would like to go back to the report of the Commission of Inquiry into Poverty-the Henderson report- of April 1975 and quote from pages 204 and 206, where Professor Henderson stated that lone fathers were in an even more invidious position than lone mothers. In fact, his direct quotation, as appears at Chapter 3 in Table 313, was that a lone father was in an even more difficult position. The report went on to say:
A discussion of the pressure upon parents to work would not be complete without mention of the serious dilemma facing the lone father. Since he has not been entitled to a pension he has had virtually no choice but to work, and thus has been further handicapped by the shortage of child care facilities, both for pre-school, after-school and holiday care. A number of submissions highlighted the invidious position of the lone father. For example, Parents Without Partners, Brisbane, state:
There is no pension for men comparable with a widow’s pension yet the family needs are the same. Lone fathers are thus forced to work, even during times of crisis, and have less chance of keeping the family together.
Recent developments have enabled lone fathers to receive special benefit on the grounds of hardship but this does not offer the security of a pension, nor the opportunity to work limited hours and receive a part pension, as lone mothers are able to do.
Many lone fathers feel that the interests of their children and themselves would be best served if they could receive help in the home. Child care provisions for children outside the home may satisfy some, but others feel unable to handle the everyday tasks and responsibilities of the home and the children, or find that child care facilities do not fit in with shift work hours. However the high costs and scarcity of private housekeepers combined with the inadequate supply of public housekeepers mean that this alternative is only available to the father with a high income.
One lone father told the Commission about his experiences in trying to work and ensure adequate care for his children:
I have tried pensioners and they cannot cope with the emotionalism of the children, the energy of them and the hours. Other women 1 have tried have been first- and second-year university students who are almost completely naive to children’s needs and that has been a failure. I have tried final-year high school children who start at nine and finish at three. The hours are suitable but I found in general that the children were being neglected. They were tending to turn the TV on, sit in front of it themselves and expect the children to get ready for school, and then leave the house as the children did. None of it has been successful.
Professor Henderson ‘s report continues:
Evidence from both lone fathers and children’s homes indicates that the lack of options open to lone fathers can mean that these families break up. For example, a private children’s home in Sydney analysed their admission inquiries for the first quarter of 1973. Eighteen (or 28 per cent of 65) inquiries for long-term admission were from lone fathers.
The Lone Fathers Association in Australia has not been operating for a very long time, but already there is support for it in all States and in the Australian Capital Territory. This is evidenced by the letters and telegrams that have been received by the group outside Parliament House this afternoon. The first one to which I wish to refer was a letter from the Queensland Branch, which said:
The Lone Fathers Association of Australia (Queensland) wish to convey, through you, to the participants of the lone fathers demonstaration being held in Canberra this week, their wholehearted support and best wishes. We are only sorry that representatives of Queensland are unable to be in attendance with you . . .
We look forward to a successful campaign and trust that you will forward to us as soon as possible any data or information that is of a worthwhile nature, arising from this activity.
Equality to all lone parents without discrimination.
It was signed by Harold C. S. Fallon, President of the Lone Fathers Association, Woolloongabba. A telegram was received from the Lone Fathers Association in Tasmania. Interestingly enough it was addressed simply to ‘Lone Fathers Association Outside Parliament House’. It reads:
We fully support your demonstration.
The following telegram was received from lone fathers in New South Wales:
Our lone fathers support your action.
A lot of correspondence has been going backwards and forwards between the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) and Mr Fallon and Mr Williams. I think it is important that we look at other areas of concern. Other people have expressed concern that lone fathers are not getting a proper deal in this rather affluent society of ours and are saying that we tend to overlook the people who are really in need. I want to quote from a letter which was written some time in 1975. Because the gentleman concerned obviously has a very bad habit of not dating his letters it is very hard to determine just when it was sent. The letter reads:
Dear Mr Jones,
I have now received the enclosed reply from the Minister for Social Security, following my representations on behalf of the Supporting Fathers of Australia.
I am disapointed to see that although the Minister states that his Government ‘. . . is not mindful of the difficulties faced by single fathers’ . . . that relief of any substance will not be forthcoming in the foreseeable future.
The Liberal Party considers the benefits at present payable to supporting fathers to be most inequitable, and has at the moment a special sub-committee formulating a policy which will ensure that under a Liberal-National Country Party Government supporting fathers are treated in the same way as supporting mothers, and that the amount payable will be a realistic one.
I appreciate being kept informed of your views and would welcome any further comments you may care to forward from time to time.
The signature on the letter belongs, of course, to one Malcolm Fraser, the present Prime Minister, who was writing from his office at 4 Treasury Place, Melbourne some time after the knifing in the back of his predecessor and when he was Leader of the Opposition. What has been done for lone fathers? Nothing has been done. This subject came up for discussion at a recent congress of ACOSS- the Australian Council of Social Service. A great deal was said about what should be done by participants in that congress, which was held in September of this year at the university in Canberra. The congress came up with the following recommendations as far as lone fathers are concerned:
Call for the immediate review of the Budget with regard to the lack of funding for lone fathers and request urgent consideration in any forthcoming mini-budget. This availability of the special benefit is discretionary and the amount is inadequate.
Urgent need for community support services for lone fathers in crisis periods with a view of self help.
Urgent need for emergency, short term assistance at times of stress (sudden death, desertion, etc. of spouse) for men (or women) comparable to the ‘C class widows pension.
Senator Margaret Guilfoyle ‘s address is reproduced in part. It reads:
The whole of the social security system is ohe that now does deal with almost all categories of need, with, I regret, the exception of lone fathers. There is the opportunity for lone fathers to be paid the special benefit.
I would have preferred to see in this Budget the introduction of a lone parent pension which covers mothers and fathers who are sole and single parents in all cases. However that was not able to be introduced, it was one the Government felt was a new program and in the context of the Budget itself we were not able to see the introduction of this year. Although there is a growing recognition in the community and in the Government that this is a gap in the social security system.
Mr Brian Wylie of the Lone Fathers Association of New South Wales gave a few facts to Senator Guilfoyle and the Congress, stating that the pension availability to lone fathers would not cost any more than $6m. I quote again from Senator Guilfoyle ‘s reply. She said:
The proposition I have been arguing on, from the information that we can gain, is something between $8m and $10m is able to be the figure that we could use. Now we don’t know how many would take-up the Lone Fathers Pension, we don’t know whether people would take it up for a short term. I am inclined to think that maybe, and more likely, rather than looking at a widow or supporting mothers pension or benefit, where there is an assumption that while there are children under 16 the pension would be drawn upon. I would think that in many cases, in the case of a male sole parent, it may be a much snorter term that it would be used by him. It may be one used by him as an interim to rearrange his own affairs so that he can have that security of income whilst he either nursed or got other members of his family from another State or changed his employment to suit the changing needs and so on.
So whilst Senator Guilfoyle recognises that there is a drastic need in our society, she maintains that nothing can be done. I believe that her estimate of $8m to $10m could be reduced to something like $2. 5m because not all sole supporting male parents would want to accept the pension or would have a need for the total pension. They do want the other things. They want taxation concessions in regard to housekeepers’ allowances. When they employ a housekeeper in a similar situation who may be in receipt of a pension they do not want the Department of Social Security bed snoopers running around counting the heads and beds in their homes. The West Australian newspaper is not noted for its progressive views, but in its editorial on Wednesday, 14 September this is what it had to say about lone fathers:
The plight of lone fathers who are struggling to bring up children provides another reminder that discrimination is a two-edged sword. In this instance it is the man who is the victimand he is getting an extremely raw deal from the Federal Government.
Often the supporting father is in a far worse position to care for children than a lone mother; for one thing he is less equipped by nature or training for the task. Yet legislative concern for him has not kept pace with changed social patterns or with moves towards so-called sexual equality.
It should not be necessary for supporting fathers in desperate straits to plan a hunger strike to draw attention to their problems, as a group of Perth men proposes. The inequities are there for all to see.
Quite apart from fringe benefits, a lone mother is entitled to a benefit of $47.10 a week plus $7.50 for each dependent child and an additional mother’s allowance of $4 ($6 if she has a child under six). Thus a supporting mother with two school-age children can receive a total of $66.10 a weekand under an income test she can earn up to $164.20 a week before the benefit cuts out.
A supporting father in precisely the same circumstances is entitled to nothing. If he has a child under school age he can apply for a special benefit of $54.60, but this begins to reduce when he earns $6 a week and disappears when his weekly income reaches $48.60.
It is hard to imagine anything more anomalous, still harder to understand why the Government has done nothing about it. The cost would be infinitesimal in a Budget of $26,656m.
Surely the yardstick in such matters should be the wellbeing of the children involved, not the sex of sole parents.
It is little comfort for supporting fathers to hear the Minister for Social Security, Senator Guilfoyle, acknowledge that they are the victims of a gap in the social security system or remark, in a historical context, that social-welfare legislation was written initially to safe-guard women’s interests.
The Government has moved to rectify anomalies brought about for rural producers by the Budget tax proposals. It should do no less for lone fathers who stand by their children.
Whilst I very seldom agree with the West Australian, for once I would have to agree with it. It was quite prepared to say that these things are anomalous in our society and they should not be in our society today. I was even more surprised when this morning in my mail I received a letter from Kathleen Edwards, who fortunately still quotes herself as chairman of the Women’s Welfare Issues Consultative Committee. Only two weeks ago in this House a report was brought down giving a wide ranging number of issues in relation to women’s affairs that we should look at. Whilst Kathleen Edwards classifies herself as chairman she still puts the title ‘Mrs’ on her letter. She says:
The members of the WWICC -
That is the Women’s Welfare Issues Consultative Committee- were very pleased to have opportunity of meeting with you and discussing women’s issues during their meeting on 28 and 29 March.
To the best of my knowledge, I have never met Mrs Edwards, nor have I met her consultative committee. A meeting was arranged. I was unable to get across to the eastern States from Western Australia in time for Monday night’s dinner or tete-a-tete or whatever was being held. I understand that two of my colleagues on the Oppostion side of the chamber endeavoured to attend, but by the time they arrived the meeting was concluding. The thing that interested me about Mrs Edwards’s letter to me was that she enclosed a Press release in which she said that the sorts of issues covered in the submissions received from the community and matters raised by the members themselves included the question of increasing the mother’s allowance paid to women pensioners with dependent children and the possible extension of this benefit to all lone parents.
We have seen in this Parliament a great deal of time wasting. We have seen a duplication of activities ranging over a number of years. Of course one of the duplications we have seen is that which is being undertaken by this Government at present. As I mentioned, a report from the Women’s Advisory Committee to the Prime Minister was brought down in this Parliament two weeks ago. To the best of my knowledge and my ability to read them in the short space of time available to me, the Committee’s recommendations are merely a summation of the recommendations that were already in operation under the Whitlam Government from 1972 to 1975. Apart from such delightful things as what the Committee should be called and the fact that its advisory role should be defined in relation to the Prime Minister and his needs, the Women’s Advisory Committee advises that it should set up sub-committees, working parties or task forces as necessary, drawing on its own resources when appropriate and on resources in government and non-government areas. Some of the recommendations that it committed to paper are things that were actively being achieved under the Whitlam Government. The establishing and maintenance of effective communication with women and women’s organisations and all interested groups and individuals was done four or five years ago when Ms Elizabeth Reid was the Prime Minister’s adviser on women’s affairs. The Committee recommends that the Women’s Advisory Committee explore means of overcoming language and other communications barriers. That was set in train by Ms Reid. It is also recommended that the Women’s Advisory Committee should raise awareness within the community of the situation of women and of their varied and changing roles and aspirations. That was also in operation when Ms Reid was the special adviser to the Prime Minister on women’s affairs.
Let us look at some other areas where this Government has failed in the Budget to assist people in need. While we are talking about women, we cannot go past women’s refuges. To me, this is a most important and extremely sensitive area. It has been made more sensitive because of the actions of the Queensland Premier, who is hiding behind his position as Premier to misappropriate funds that were allocated for the specific purpose of two refuges- one in Brisbane and one in Townsville. He has failed to recognise that the women’s refuges provide a security, a haven, for people in need in our community. They are people who are not always capable of ascertaining for themselves in the immediate aftermath of perhaps an emotional, domestic crisis just what it is they need and what it is that they can obtain. We have seen over the past few years the emergence of women’s refuges, and we have seen a change not only in the amount of funding for these refuges but also in the method of funding them. Goodness knows what the Premier of Queensland used the money for-I would hesitate to hazard a guess-but something like $120,000 was given to the Queensland Government for funding refuges and the Premier refused to pass on the funds. I will read what Mr Macphee said in reply to question No. 618 asked by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr E. G. Whitlam) in the other place. Mr E. G. Whitlam asked:
– You would agree, would you not, that the correspondence should be confidential?
-I would agree that the terms of the correspondence should be confidential, yes, but I would not agree that a decision made like that should be confidential. I would say to Senator Baume that in relation to correspondence between State Premiers and Prime Ministers or heads of departments or Ministers in this Government, yes, there is a great need for a degree of responsibility and a degree of confidence. But I would say that when a Premier makes a decision which relates to Federal Government funding perhaps the responsible Minister in the Federal Government should in actual fact be able to make quite clear to the people who are also concerned why a decision has been made. The act of the Queensland Premier, in my opinion, was a criminal one. If he had been in industry and had misappropriated funds in this manner- funds appropriated for a specific purpose and used for another purposehe would have been liable to prosecution. My interpretation of that could be that he is using his position as Premier to preserve himself from the said prosecution. He is also using that position of power to refuse assistance to those who are desperately in need in Queensland, as they are in need in other States.
We have a situation in Western Australia where our own Premier not so long ago had his little bit to say on women’s refuges. On a talkback program on the Australian Broadcasting Commission one morning he said something to the effect that women in our community would not need the services of a refuge if they sought solace from their church and if they involved themselves more in parents and citizens associations and community activities. I suggest to honourable senators that it would be very simple to picture a scene of a domestic upheaval, where a person’s life could even be in some danger. A male marriage partner arrives home in a state of intoxication and proceeds to chastise physically his wife, his children, the dog, the cat and anybody who happens to come in his line of fire. Can honourable senators for one minute imagine that women racing off to a person whom she has met as a result of activities in the parents and citizens association at the local school and asking for solace and help? Well, I certainly cannot, nor can I imagine that this would do a good deal for the person who might feel that her life was in some danger. I could imagine that person with a brace of young children, in the middle of the night with very little money in her pocket, if she is not an independent working person and if her husband does not provide her with a separate housekeeping allowance, being subjected to all types of indignities, grabbing her children and perhaps a suitcase and trying to find a refuge, a refuge which has been set up in Australia only in the last few years, to enable her to leave a particularly repulsive situation; a refuge where she knows that she can find a shoulder to cry on if that is what she wants; a refuge where she can find medical assistance if that is what she needs; a refuge where she can find a home for her children and for herself until she gets her affairs straightened out; a refuge where her children will be looked after and sent off to the necessary schools; a refuge where she will be able to obtain advice about legal matters; and a refuge where she will be informed of her social security rights and all those things. This is the way Premier Court’s statements were interpreted by one of the listeners to that program I mentioned. In a letter to the editor of the West Australian of 5 August she said:
During an ABC talk-back show, Sir Charles Court, after extolling the virtues of his own 41 years of happy marriage, said that his Government would not consider making funds available for further shelters for women in need of refuge. His advice to such women was to seek solace from the church, local parents and citizens associations and other community resources.
In that same letter Ann Williams of Darlington asks:
I ask Sir Charles to take his blinkers off and attempt a consideration of what it means to be a terrified womanimprisoned within an unhappy marriage by socio-economic constraints, completely helpless and at the mercy of a physically strong and violent man.
I suggest that Sir Charles show a more realistic and humane approach to this growing problem. He should visit a shelter (five in metropolitan area). Then he would see whether he could honestly recommend that such misery could be alleviated by either church or P and C.
Another letter from J. McCall of Perth reads:
A women’s collective has requested that the Prime Minister, Mr Fraser, clear up the great confusion that exists about who is responsible for funding women’s refuges.
Many letters and telegrams have recently been sent to the Minister for Social Security, Senator Guilfoyle, and the Minister for Health, Mr Hunt, urging continuation of federal funding of women ‘s refuges in the coming Budget.
Replies have been received from Senator Guilfoyle pointing out the responsibility for funding refuges rests with the Minister for Health; and replies from Mr Hunt point the responsibility to Senator Guilfoyle.
This confusion has apparently led to no responsibility, as we understand that neither minister has put forward any definite estimates for funding, thus leaving the subject in limbo.
Since the number of bettered women and children far exceeds the capacity of present refuges, compelling them to turn away many more than they can assist, it will be seen that if funds are cut any further the position of these women will be indeed desperate.
I think it is time that we looked at a report of a survey that has been done by a student at the Western Australian Institute of Technology. Some alarming facts were revealed by a member of the Legislative Council of Western Australia, Miss Lyla Elliott, only a matter of a few weeks ago. On the front page of the Daily News under the general heading of ‘Terror of Wife Bashing’ this article reads:
Some Perth wives get ‘ horrific in juries ‘ from beatings from their husbands, a report has shown.
The study of domestic violence says that husbands kick, bite, scald, burn and break their wives bones.
Miss Lyla Elliott told the Legislative Council this week of the reports compiled by a WAIT student.
She said wife bashing was probably the most common crime of violence in the community.
But we are not made aware of it because 80 per cent of the assaults take place in private’, she said.
Sixteen per cent of women interviewed in the study were knocked unconscious during attacks, 83 per cent had bruises, 8 per cent burns and scalds, 8 per cent broken bones and 12 per cent had internal injuries.
One-third had other injuries, such as broken teeth and welts.
Most of the assaults were for no apparent reason or because of a small incident.
As I said earlier, it is the responsibility of government to acknowledge and government has to accept the responsibility that a need exists in our community for such services and that it is not fulfilling that need. The West Australian of 6 August this year contains the report of a maiden speech of a person who has done a great deal of work in Western Australia amongst people in need in the community. I refer to the back bench member for Dianella, the Reverend Keith Wilson, whose remarks on the overtaxing of night shelters, was reported thus:
Perth’s emergency night shelters are so overtaxed that dozens of women and children are turned away each week.
In many cases they are forced to return to domestic situations from which they have fled.
The lack of emergency accommodation available to women in distress was raised in the State Parliament this week by a Labor back-bencher, Mr K. J. Wilson (Dianella).
He said yesterday that about 2S0 women and children were turned away each month.
The five shelters- Nardine, the Salvation Army’s Graceville shelter, the Daughters of Charity shelter, the Mary Smith shelter and Warrawee-were bursting at the seams. Mr Wilson said that the shelters were inundated with requests at weekends which seem to be a time of crisis for many families.
The pressures on women in unhappy domestic situations were immense.
Many put off making a decision to leave because of fears about their lack of security.
The numbers turned away show the need for more accommodation of this type.
Nardine and Warrawee are the only shelters that receive funds under the community health program administered by the Public Health Department.
The Federal Government provides 90 per cent of these funds and the State 10 per cent, but there is concern that this basis of funding may change. A Public Health Department spokesman said that funding for 1977 would not be known until the Federal Budget was announced.
The Federal Budget has now been introduced and we know what the level of funding is. The report continues:
The department was continuing to provide funds pending the outcome of the Budget.
Mr Wilson said that if the Federal Government withdrew from funding there would be a moral obligation on the State to fill the vacuum.
Many people involved in the shelters were concerned that funds would be cut because of the present economic situation.
In the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, the Deputy Premier, Mr O’Neil, said that the Government could not indicate what priority or level of funding would be given to shelters till the Federal Government made a decision on the report of the Bailey task force.
The task force was set up to investigate co-ordination of health and welfare.
I think that it is a blot on the Federal Treasurer (Mr Lynch) that he has not seen fit to extend funding into these areas. There has not been any move by this Government not only to increase funding for the women’s refuges which are at present operating throughout the States but also to spend more money on providing the shelters for which women, particularly those in Western Australia, have a need. It is obvious that there are many women’s organisations which are concerned about the matter. The Women’s Electoral Lobby in Perth wrote to me on 10 August 1977 pointing out the fact that one refuge per thousand head of female population is necessary to provide adequate shelter. Yet, there is no information available to show that that ideal situation will be attained. In fact, one of the statements made by the Women’s Electoral Lobby is that 20 to 30 women with their children are turned away each day from the five existing women’s refuges in Western Australia, all of which, incidentally, are located in Perth. The Women’s Electoral Lobby goes on to say:
These women have no option but to return to their homes, to continued mal-treatment which can lead to permanent physical and mental damage, and in some cases death.
That may sound a little dramatic but in actual fact it happens. We have already had the report from the Institute of Technology which shows that it does happen, and that it can happen. It should not be allowed to happen.
The situation is not much different in other States. A report in the Sydney Morning Herald of 24 August 1977 states that the Minister for Youth and Community Services told the Legislative Assembly at that time that there had been a record 186 cases of child abuse reported in New South Wales in the previous seven weeks. There is a great need for women’s refuges. There is a great need for children’s refuges. We must not say that purely and simply because it is women who are seeking to have this facility made available to them that they are the only ones who would use it. It is a provision for their children. It is a provision for their children’s health and welfare through a time of severe stress and strain inside what could be just a domestic situation. Of course, the refuges also provide women with an opportunity to make a real choice about their future living situation. They provide women with information on social security facilities that are available to them. They also provide women with information on child care facilities, what they can expect under the State Housing Commission welfare housing project and all these things. As I said, the refuges provide women with information about child care centres. We do not have enough of those child care centres. We certainly do not have them in the areas of need.
I was fortunate enough a couple of weeks ago to have a look at the industrial child care project at an industrial complex in West Ryde. I was thrilled not only to be invited to see the project but also to be able to take advantage of the opportunity on one of my infrequent visits to New South Wales to look at the situation. But there is no funding forthcoming from this Government for the West Ryde child care project. I am curious why there is no funding from this Government. The infomation I was given at that time was that we should be seriously considering incorporating and encouraging industry to incorporate child care facilities into industrial projects. This is because that it is the most economical time for them to be erected. The project at West Ryde cost in the vicinity of $90,000. If the facility were built as a special project or as a separate project, it could cost twice that amount of money.
There is another small matter I want to touch on before I reply to the assertions made by Senator Walters in regard to unemployment. I wish to speak about the Paraplegic Quadriplegic Associations. I was quite disturbed to receive a letter dated 27 September 1977 from Mr Dorricott who is the executive director of the Paraplegic Quadriplegic Association of Western Australia. It pointed out to me something about which I was not aware, namely, that when national meetings of importance to these organisations are held, they are normally held in Canberra because of the easy access to departmental officers. Yet, there is no subsidy paid for the fares of delegates coming from remote areas such as Western Australia. Part of the letter reads:
The associations who send delegates from Western Australia face a cost of say up to $600 for each delegate, while organisations in the Eastern States face a cost of say between $ 100 to $200 per delegate, at the outside.
We believe that it is essential that organisations in this State should be able to send delegates to these meetings but it seems quite unreasonable that we should have to bear all the costs and wonder if you consider it would be reasonable for part of these costs to be subsidised in some way.
Indeed, I do agree that it should be subsidised in some way. I immediately sat down and conveyed my thoughts to the Minister in the hope that he will feel exactly the same way and will do something substantial about subsidising the fares so that the work of the Paraplegic Quadriplegic Associations which is extending all the dme can get underway and become a comprehensive feature in our community.
To say that the Budget has been brought down by one of the most conservative governments of all time would be to understate the position. I believe the Budget to be a farce. It is a very shallow, deceptive document. Expenditure cuts are made in almost every sector of the community. The tragedy of it is that most of those cuts are hidden. Mr Deputy President, I want to quote to you what the Treasurer had to say in his rather rubbery Budget Speech. He said:
Our second goal, which is dependent upon the achievement of the first, is to promote moderate and noninflationary growth in order to create jobs and reduce unemployment.
This Budget will move Australia further towards achieving those goals and, in doing so, it will build on the foundations laid by last year’s Budget.
Let us have a look at those foundations laid in last year’s Budget. We find that we have record post- War unemployment. We have an inflation rate of more than 12 per cent. We have had massive expenditure cuts in real terms to most of the needy areas, such as in respect to Aboriginals and the women’s and children services about which I have spoken already. The list is a very long one and I will not take up the remaining 22 minutes I have in which to speak to go through it. But I have some tables that might interest Senator Walters to consider later on and to bear in mind when she next speaks about unemployment. I seek leave to have these tables incorporated in Hansard.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake-Brockman)- Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
The tables read as follows-
– I thank the Senate. From those tables we can make a true comparison which is something a lot of people tend not to do when they are talking about unemployment. They tend to compare the unemployment figures for this month with last month, for example, or this month with the beginning of the year. In actual fact, if they are economists or people with any knowledge at all, they would realise that the only true way of assessing of what is really happening to the unemployment figures in Australia is to compare the same month of two different years. I should like to refer to the unemployment figures of August 1976 compared to August 1977. I remind honourable senators that in August 1976 the figure of 268,000 was already an increase of 8.06 per cent over the August figure of 1 975. But in August 1 977 the figure was 333,978, an increase of 24.62 per cent over the previous year. That is not a very nice figure to have hanging around anybody’s neck.
This Government is doing very little to sort out the unemployment problem. It has a mania about the inflation rate. It wants to reduce inflation and then worry about unemployment. I suggest that the Government would be better employed if it were to worry about unemployment and then try to sort out the inflation situation. Let us look a little more closely at the figures in the table for Western Australia. The Premier of Western Australia has been saying: We are keeping unemployment under control and we were able to come down with a surplus budget.’ The only reason, of course, that the Premier of Western Australia was able to come down with a surplus budget was due to the fact that he had increased the charges for every service during the year, sometimes by in excess of 100 per cent. He increased the charges on water, electricity and car registration. He introduced such delightful fees as recording fees so that when one goes to register one’s car one now has to pay a $4 recording fee so that someone can in actual fact put an extra $4 on the account. I turn now to the unemployment figures for Western Australia. In August 1975 the figures were not very bright. They were 16,415 but by August of 1976 they had become 20,925- an increase of 27.47 per cent. In August 1977 the number of unemployed had increased to 26,596- a further increase of 27.1 per cent. There is no joy for the Premier of Western Australia when he talks about the magnificent way that his Government has been able to contain the inflation rate in that State. I think Western Australia has a higher cost of living than any other State. The Premier cannot get much joy from the Budget of this Federal Government.
I should now like to deal with the subject of women and unemployment. In May this year, 43.4 per cent of the total female population was employed in the workforce. I have a document which is rather dated because this Government has seen fit to cut funds in necessary areas- that is in the public sector- and we find that we are not able to get up to date figures. The report to which I refer is dated 4 February 1977. It is a report of the Australian Bureau of Statistics relating to the years 1973-74. One must presume that because of the ceilings that have been applied since this Government took office and because of the cuts that have been made in the various departments it is impossible for them to come down with later statistics. But at that time the report said that almost half the married women in Australia were income earners in the 1973-74 year but that most received less than $5,000 a year. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 49 per cent of wives received earned income and, of these, 3 1 per cent received $ 1 ,000 to $3,000; 33 per cent received $3,000 to $5,000 and only 18 per cent received more than $5,000. That does not surprise me because we live in a society which has always tended to say that it does not matter how much work women do, they are not entitled to the same facilities or to the same wage rates as men. It is only in recent years that we have found that women are gradually getting equal pay for equal service.
In May 1975, 42 per cent of all married women were in the work force. In the years between 1968 and 1975 there was an increase of 12 per cent in the number of married women who were working. Perhaps the figures for this year, when they eventually become available, will show that there has not been a great increase and that in actual fact there are still about 42 per cent of married women in the work force. But we could perhaps also say that if there had not been a serious downturn in the economy and, in particular, a downturn in the manufacturing industry, that figure could have been greatly increased. Of course, these figures are amongst hidden statistics. Married women, whether their income is required in their family unit or not, are not able to receive unemployment benefits if their husbands are working. So we have this hidden area where the income of a married woman may be needed for a particular life style but she is denied the right to receive unemployment benefit because she happens to be a female. We might have a lot of different ideas about why women who are married go to work. I believe that a great number of those married women who go to work do so because of economic necessity. A lot of these women to whom I have spoken do not even want to work. It is the only means by which they can ensure that their children are being clothed, fed, housed and educated and that they have medical and dental treatment available to them when it is required. Some go to work because they need to do so. Perhaps we should examine the situation that would exist if women were not able to go to work. Perhaps our suicide rate would be higher than it is now. We are always reading reports of women who are taking a great number of pills such as Valium and Librium to keep them reasonably sane during an ordinary working day or a non-working day if they happen to be nonworking women. Perhaps we could say that if those women were unable to go to work a great number of them would be potential suicide cases.
In times of economic stress it is the married women who are first to be put off from their positions. They are the ones whom people do not want to know about. Governments, in particular, do not want to know about them. They do not want to pay them any support benefit and they certainly do not want to include them in the unemployment statistics. A number of Ministers have made irresponsible statements both in the Federal Government and in the Western Australian Government. I should like to refer to a typical example of irresponsibility. A former Minister for Education in the Western Australian Government not so long ago said that he was quite sure that women really should not have higher qualifications because they were not going to be used in the main, and therefore, were not of any benefit and were only tying up funds that could be better used for other purposes. I would presume that those other purposes would be for the male population. The impression that I gained from his speech was that he actually could not see any reason for women in our community not being content to be factory fodder or office fodder. There is very little difference between office fodder and factory fodder in our society. A great number of people reacted violently to Mr MacKinnon’s remarks. Earlier this year L. M. Macpherson from North Breach wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper. I have not bothered to check whether the writer is male or female because I believe that the sooner we stop worrying about the gender of the people the sooner we will get rid of one of our main social ills. L. M. Macpherson said:
Mr MacKinnon suggested that women studying for higher qualifications may be wasting their time . . .
The 1976 government statistics indicate that SO per cent of women in the work force are unskilled.
Evidently, Mr MacKinnon wishes to see women remain in the lowest paid, lowest status jobs. If women move out of these jobs, who is going to fill them. This is a valid concern, and I do not doubt that some people will support Mr MacKinnon’s view because they do not wish to see the better jobs (men’s jobs) filled by women. However, women must not remain the lackeys.
Mr MacKinnon’s attitude has an educationally appalling destructive potential.
Young girls must not be counselled to assume that it is unrealistic for them to aspire to higher positions. The attitude that women belong at the bottom of the employment barrel will change only if women do aspire to and do attain these positions.
We have to look too at the schemes which are introduced by governments to sometimes threaten the livelihood of married women. In particular we have to look at the most recent scheme that is under my scrutiny. I have raised the question already in this place and will continue to do so. I hope that I will get further evidence on the matter. I refer to the special youth employment training program which has been set up. I understand that the idea of the SYETP was to create- the operative word is ‘create’employment for young people. One of the provisions is that an employer can get a subsidy of some $62 or $63 a week if he creates a position for a young person who has been unemployed for six months or more. I believe that there could be quite a number of employers in our society exploiting the scheme. I must admit that I would not be at all surprised if the proposal put to me by the Clothing and Allied Trades Union in Western Australia was not found to be fact. I was told that married women are being put off their jobs and a position is therefore being created by an employer to take on a young person who has been unemployed for six months. The employer thereby qualifies for the $63 a week subsidy for the first six months. One has to raise the question as to whether it is not outside the bounds of possibility that at the end of six months the employer would put off the young person and create a further position for another young person and once again qualify for the subsidy. Senator Walters, in her speech, cited a figure of 68,000 who had not only used the special youth employment training scheme but also, as a result of the training, were now fully employed. One would have to query whether they are employed by the person or organisation which originally employed them for training purposes.
I have to wonder also whether a report that came to my attention that the Commonwealth Employment Service was in fact aiding and abetting such employers does not have some basis of fact. Because of my concern I wrote to the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations (Mr Street)- I have not yet received a reply- and to Mr Ralph Clark who is the Director of the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations in Perth. I understand that there is a letter in reply from Mr Clark but I do not have it with me. I understand that it is in my Perth office. I was alarmed at a situation where two young people attended the Commonwealth Employment Service in Perth seeking employment. They were in receipt of unemployment benefits but had not been in receipt of them for any length of time. They had an interview. They were informed that no positions were available for them but that there might be something on the board. I have to presume from that that an information board is set up or displayed at the CES in Perth. The two young people studied the job programs that were listed there. One of them decided that the position as a florist’s assistant was something that she could handle. As it provided complete training she did not see that it was necessary to have any qualifications. She went back and asked the officer to make an appointment for her. The officer said: ‘Oh no! That is not possible. You have not been unemployed for six months yet’. I wrote to Mr Clark. The final part of my letter reads:
If this is correct -
I have related this information to the Senatethen young people who want to work are being deliberately refused assistance by the Depanment in order that employers can obtain cheap labour for a restricted period.
In view of the above, I must presume that your Officers are under instruction to assist employers, and not as I understood their function to be, to assist in the placement of unemployed persons.
Because of the serious implications of the allegations I would be grateful if you would provide me with Commonwealth Employment Service policy on assistance in obtaining employment, particularly where it applies to young people.
I hope that there has not been an instruction of the nature which I have found it necessary to imply in that letter to Mr Clark. Perhaps when I get a reply from the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations and have had time to look at the reply from Mr Clark I will have something further to say.
– Perhaps in Estimates discussions, too.
– During Estimates discussions certainly. I think it might be the basis of a very good speech in this House when these Estimates come up for consideration and passing by the Senate. If we could get a costing on the special youth employment training program perhaps the Government would see the practicability of putting that subsidy of $63 a week for six months for every person who ‘creates a position for a young unemployed person’ into public spending. Perhaps if the Government did that it would create positions itself and not have to rely on the employers of private labour.
I am conscious that time is getting short, but I feel it is necessary to look at a number of other areas of the Budget proposals. I want first of all to touch on what is happening in this Government and on the messages that have been coming through loud and clear. I think it is important that we remember certain statements made by Ministers of this Government. People can only assess for themselves whether the Ministers are discredited or otherwise. In his 1976 Budget Speech Mr Lynch had this to say:
We believe that the Budget should have been directed to two principal functions- the reduction of inflation and the revival of investment, output and employment.
A little later he said:
The second major thrust of this year’s Budget should have been to stimulate private sector output and investment thereby creating conditions for a return to full employment.
Members of this Government have endeavoured to play the game of pin the blame on others. We have heard it against the Industries Assistance Commission. We have heard it against the British immigrants who have infiltrated the trade union movement. We have heard it against the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. We have heard it against a lot of people including the private sector. But nowhere has the Government been able to establish that in actual fact the Press reportings of this Budget have been favourable. Senator Walters said earlier that of course they had been and that the achievements of the private sector-led recovery about which this Government is always talking was taking place. The Treasurer in his Budget Speech said:
As we have emphasised, a re-vitalised private sector is essential to increased productivity and more jobs.
Governments can only do so much; this Government has consistently pursued the course of making way for expansion of the private sector.
It is now up to the private sector to play its part in furthering the progress we have made towards establishing, and building upon, the pre-conditions for economic recovery.
I think it is a great pity that the Government forgot to inform the private sector of the role it was supposed to play in this remarkable recovery.
I have some interesting figures which I would like also to have incorporated into Hansard. I want firstly the Senate to look at them. In June 1976 private employment fell by 4,500; in August 1976 it fell by 4,000; in September 1976 it fell by 600 and in November it fell by 1 1,400. In the year ending December 1976 over 7,000 private employment jobs were lost. In the same period 25,200 jobs were lost in the manufacturing industry in Australia. At the same time the Government is refusing to act on the recommendations of the fairly recently tabled White Paper on manufacturing. What of the private sector’s capacity to cope this year? This is a full year after the first Lynch Budget. These figures show the real effect of the Government’s policies. In January 1977 private employment fell by 1,400; in February 1977 it fell by 8,800 and in May 1977 it fell by 14,400. In fact the total private employment figure in May 1977 had fallen by a massive 45,500 over the corresponding figure for May 1976. So much for encouraging the private sector-led recovery.
The disastrous figures that I have just quoted highlight the total inappropriateness of this Government’s grab bag of policies, and that is the only term that one can apply to them. What we need now is additional public sector spending to absorb the unemployed and to stimulate private industries. We need to stimulate them, not to say that it is their total responsibility to accept that this Government is not capable of running the affairs of the nation and that it has to come back on the private employer to stimulate the economy. We had first of all the consumer-led recovery of the economy, but then it was realised that the consumers were not being given a great deal of money and schemes such as that which increased children’s allowances were introduced. What the Government neglected to tell the recipients of that increase in children’s allowances was that it was going to take the increase back by not allowing them a tax rebate for their children at the end of the year. That is not encouraging consumers to spend money because they realise that if they are not going to get a taxation rebate at the end of 12 months they will have to conserve the money that is available to them at the time it is paid. Private industry will not be encouraged to lead the recovery if there is no public spending to support it.
This Government has to consider seriously whether it will allow Australia to continue to follow the course it is on at the present time or whether it will take a firm hold on the economy and come to grips with the situation, create more employment by public spending, and so sort out some of the ills that we have in Australia. I sup- port the amendment moved by the Leader of the O pposition.
-The United Nations Security Council has two main functions under Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 of the charter. Chapter 6 deals with the peaceful settlement of disputes between parties and Chapter 7 deals with action relating to threats to the peace. Under the Chapter 7 provisions, the Security Council has extensive powers, up to and including the prosecution of a war. The United Nations charter clearly states that decisions should be taken with the affirmative votes of the five permanent members of the Council- the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia and China. However, the Security Council is autonomous in making its own rules of procedure and has developed the doctrine that it does not regard abstinence from voting as a veto. One can understand the Security Council finding this procedure convenient for its ordinary day to day affairs, but when it comes to Chapter 7 decisions involving the peace and threats to the peace, war, blockade, sanctions and international security then one would expect decisions to be taken with the concurring votes of the five permanent members. Surely such momentous decisions would demand it, particularly since 1 966 when the size of the Security Council was increased from 1 1 to 1 5 members. It is now possible for the Security Council to take momentous decisions and implement them without the concurring votes of any of the five permanent members, and I believe that to be outside the intent, spirit and letter of the United Nations charter.
It appears to me that the role of the Security Council is being distorted and subverted by increasing recourse to it over matters which are not real threats to the peace. Let us consider its performance as a mediator. Since World War II, on any one day there has been an average of 12 major wars. Troops from 80 nations have fought in 70 different countries. The number of dead and casualties has reached tens of millions, and most of the wars have taken place in Third World countries armed from the industrialised nations. There is no end in sight to this appalling record of violence. As a mediator the United Nations is a failure and as a peace keeper with extensive powers to keep the peace it is an abject failure. In supervising this chain of havoc, the Security Council has employed double standards for one nation as against another. Last April the Secretary-General expressed his concern and anxiety about the ability of the Security Council to fulfil its functions. Several Western membersthe United Kingdom, the United States, and Italy- have deplored the increasing frequency of recourse to the Security Council on issues which present little or no threat to peace while it is debarred from discussing issues which are real threats. For example, despite the fact that by its charter the United Nations is precluded from interfering in the internal affairs of any country, it has a special committee set up to crush apartheid in South Africa, which has been the policy of that Government since 1948. Also, on 27 May this year the Security Council passed a resolution to close the four Rhodesian information centres situated around the world. Being a Security Council resolution, it becomes a mandatory requirement on member nations of the United Nations, and the Australian Government has started drafting the legislation. The United Nations and successive Australian governments have been opposed to apartheid since its inception in 1948 and to the white minority government in Rhodesia since the unilateral declaration of independence by Mr Ian Smith in 1 965.
In the light of the United Nations peace keeping and mediating performance and that of the South African and Rhodesian governments and peoples over the years, it is high time that the situation was reassessed. I should like to look firstly at what has happened in South Africa. South Africa’s apartheid policy has been depicted as an unjustifiable and repugnant system, as an affront to the dignity of man and a flagrant violation of fundamental human decency. Rhodesia, with its white minority government and following its unilateral declaration of independence, has been declared by the United Nations Security Council a threat to international peace. Successive Australian governments have accepted that picture as true and have supported the application of sanctions, both economic and trade, and visa restrictions against both countries. For years we have joined with the rest of the world and the United Nations in criticising and attacking those countries and in so isolating them that we now look at them as though through the wrong end of a telescope, as it were, and cannot see what is really going on there. Successive Commonwealth governments have wanted to see apartheid replaced by a society in which all have an equal right and opportunity to participate in the political process and in the creation and enjoyment of wealth, regardless of race. That goal is the goal of the apartheid policy. It is the only policy that promises self-government to all the different nations in South Africa. It is a policy dictated by history and by the contract situation in which all those peoples find themselves.
Apartheid was a word, an election slogan introduced in 1948 by Mr Malan. It won the election and has had increasing support ever since. It now has support among all the national groups in South Africa. The main thing apartheid had going for it was that it was honest, which is unlike most other political philosophies, and the machinery for its introduction was well advanced long before 1948. It must be remembered that all the peoples in South Africa are immigrants and, for the most part, they all arrived at about the same time. However, there are two exceptions to that. The first is the coloured people, who now number about 2.5 million and live mainly around Cape Town. They say they arrived nine months after the First Fleet. The Indian population, which numbers about 800,000, lives mainly around Durban and arrived about 100 years ago. Those people were brought there by the British to man the sugar plantations in Natal because the Zulus refused to do such menial work. The original inhabitants, the Hottentots or Bushmen, have been virtually exterminated. They now number approximately 10,000 and live as itinerant hunters, wandering the Kalahari Desert. The white people lived in the Cape colony for 100 years before they ever ran into the black nations. This happened during the voortrekkers’ great trek to escape British control. It was one of the most magnificent epics in history but it differed from all the others. The other epic treks were for gold or land or some other gain. This one was a leap into the unknown, purely and simply for freedom.
– Freedom to keep slaves.
-There has never been slavery in South Africa. One can but wonder at some of their lonely nights on the high veldt with the hazards of the terrain, the weather, invisible blacks and ferocious animals, animals that must make our animals look pretty cream puff. They found the black nations well settled on their home lands, the best grazing lands, for they were herdsmen or warriors. Their wealth was cattle and children, particularly daughters who could be traded for lobola to get more cattle, more wives and then more children. They had no cash mentality let alone a cash economy. But contact bred conflict and in the last century 14 Kaffir border wars were fought and the Bantus did not win one. None of the wars were over land, they were border skirmishes largely brought on by what we would call unfair trade practices on the part of the Bantu- largely cattle stealing. But the Bantus gained great respect for these hardy white men and women who were fiercely honest and prepared to fight to the death for their rights and freedom and, Mr President, they still are. That respect endures to this day.
There have been no Kaffir wars or even incidents this century. The last wars the voortrkkers fought in South Africa were against the British. As usual, it was the discovery of gold and diamonds that brought complex problems. South Africa is like a tongue of land at the bottom of the African continent. In cross section it looks like a soup plate upside down. Around the periphery is a circle of robust parts. On top of the soup plate there is the huge JohannesburgPretoria axis. Within a couple of hundred miles of that axis live half the people in South Africa. Half the business is done there and half the production comes from there. Surrounding that axis, like a horseshoe open to the south west, he the nine Bantu nations. The ones to the north west speak their own language and English and the ones to the south east speak their own language and Afrikaans. So the Bantu nations have no common language. Language is our second most important possession. I brought home with me a copy of the Lord’s Prayer in nine different languages, including English. I seek leave to have the document incorporated in Hansard.
-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
The document read as follows-
So moet julle dan bid: Onse Vader wat in die hemele is, laat u Naam geheilig word; laat u koninkrijk kom; laat u wil geskied, soos in die heme net so ook op die aarde; gee ons vandag ons daaglikse brood; en vergeef ons ons skulde, soos ons ook ons skuldenaars vCr gewe en lei ons me in versoeking me maar verlos ons van die Bose. Want aan u behoort die koninkryk en die krag en die heerlikheid tot in ewigheid. Amen.
Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed by thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven; give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead is not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.
Ngako kulekani ni ti, Baba wetu o sezulwini, Ma li hlonitywe igama lako;
Umbosa wako ma u ze; Intando yako ma yenziwe emhlabeni njenga sezulwini;
U si pe namhla ukudhla kwetu okwaneleyo;
U si tetelele amacala etu njengokuba si basa tetelela aba namacala kiti;
U nga si ngenisi ekulingweni, kodwa u si sindise kokubi (ngokuba umboso u ngowako namandhla, nobukosi, ku se ku be bakade. Ameni.)
Thandazani ngoko nina nejenje: Bawo wethu osemazulwini, malingcwaliswe igama lakho;
Mabufike ubukumkani bakho. Makwenziwe ukuthanda kwakho nasemhlabeni, njengokuba kusenziwa emazulwini; Siphe namhla isonka sethu semihla ngemihla; Usixolele amatyala ethul, njengokuba nathi sibaxolela abo banamatyala kuthi;
Ungasingenisi ekulingweni, sihlanguie enkohlakalweni. Ngokuba bubobakhp ubukumkani, namandla nozuk kuse kuwo amaphakade. Amen.
Jwala Iona, rapelang jwalo, le re: Ntata rona ya mahodimong, lebitso la hao a le ke le kgethehe; -ho tie mimuso wa hao; thato va hao e etswe lefatsheng, jwaleka ha e etswa lehodimong: -o re fe kajeno bohobe ba rona ba tsatsi le leng le le leng; -o re tshwarele melato ya rona, jwaleka ha re tshwarela ba nang le melato ho rona; -o se ke wa re isa molekong; o mpe o re lwele ho e mobe (hobane mmuso ke wa hao, le matla, le kganya ka ho sa felend. Amen!).
Nw khongerisani si-seso: Tata wa hina 1 ‘a nge matilweni. vito re wena a ri hlawuriwe, a ku te fuma ke wena; ku randa I wena a ku endliwe misaveni sa nga hi le tilweni
U hi ha namuntlha vusa bya hina bya siku rinwana ni rinwana;
Hi rivalele milandu ya hma, tani hj loko na hina hi rivalela vanwaga la va nga ni milandu ka hina;
U nga hi yisi miringweni, kambe u hi lwela ka lo ‘ wo biha
Ke gona lo rapele lo re yana: lo re, Rra echoi eo o kwa egodiman, Leina ya gago a le itshepisiwe
Bogosi yoa gago a bo tie. Go rata ga gago a go dihwe mo lehatshin yaka kwa legodomin;
Re nee gompiyeno seyo sa rona sa letsatsi;
Me u re ichwarele melato ea rona, yaka le rona re ichwaretse baba molato le rona;
Me a u ko u se ka ua re isa mo thaelon me u re golole mo go eo o boshula (Gonne bogosi ke Y9a gago, le thata, le kgalalelo, ka bosena bokhutlo. Amen.).
Lena, xe rapela, Le re: Tataweso wa maxodimong! Leina la xaxo a le kxethwe;
Mmuso wa xaxo a tie thats ya xaxo a e dirwe mono lefasen byalo ka xe e dirwa lexodimong;
Re fe lehono boxobe bya rena bya ka mehla;
Re labalele melato ya rena byalo ka xe re labalela ba ba naxo le melato xo rena
O se re ise molekong xomme O re pholose bebeng; xobane mmuso ke wa xaxo le matla le tumiso, ka xo sa felexo. Amene
Ndi zwohe ni tshi rabela ni ambe ni ri: Khotsi- ashu wa tadulu! dzina lau li-khethwe;
Muvuso wau u de; zwine wa funa nga Zwl itwe fhango Ras vhunga Zwl tshi itwa ngei tadulu;
U ri fhe namusi vhuswa hashu ho ri linganaho;
U urti hangwele milandu yashu vhungairine ri tshi hangwela vha re na milandu kha tine;
U si ri ise milingoni; hunno U ri phuluse vhuvhini
– I can remember learning Latin as a schoolboy to learn the discipline of language but the Bantu languages are ali perfect in their construction and there are no exceptions. When the Bantus use their language they bring the words to life. But with the development of gold and diamond fields and the growth of ports and farms and other industries, the blacks started streaming from their homelands and tried to find work in the white Anglo-Afrikaans areas. They left areas that had been separate and respected as such since the earliest settlement. But this huge influx of blacks overstrained every facility in the white areas- transport,health, education, welfare, jobs, water, sewerage, everything. Furthermore, it created great civil insecurity, particularly at night- civil insecurity that was insupportable for any of all those people coming together with different customs, life styles, habits, beliefs and values. Black shanty towns became an excrescence on the outskirts of the white cities.
It would be wrong to imagine that the peoples of South Africa have not tried systems of government other than apartheid. They have tried them all- assimilation, integration, limited franchise and the destruction of the chieftain system. They have tried all forms of government but every change made everybody’s problems worse. Black nations refused to co-operate with other black nations. Indeed, they were largely belligerent to one another. The Indians would not integrate with the blacks and vise versa. There was outright hostility between the Zulus and the Indians. Nobody would integrate with the coloureds and the chieftain system was merely driven underground. The separate development of all these different peoples became obvious to them. It started with its own self-generation. It was really an extension of the policy adopted by the English when they decided to relinquish South Africa. England gave independence to Bechuanaland now Basutoland, Lesotho where the Sotho live, and Swaziland where the Swazi live. The South African apartheid policy is merely an extension of the English plan. However, the English gave these peoples independence long before they were economically viable units. The South Africans are not doing that; they are helping these people to become economically viable, and doing a good job with it.
Indeed, the surrounding countries of South Africa and Rhodesia are dependent on South Africa and Rhodesia for any standard of living they have. This includes south west Africa, Angola, Mozambique and Basutoland. The work force that comes out of Mozambique each day to work in South Africa numbers approximately 100,000. They receive 75 per cent of their pay in gold, so that Mozambique has some gold with which to run the country. South Africans buy huge amounts of electricity from Mozambique to give Mozambique some income. The South Africans run the port of Moputu for them. Indeed, South Africa is giving more aid to Mozambique than is the rest of the world combined. Similarly, the Basuto- 80,000 a daycome out of Basutoland to work in South Africa. It is the same with Lesotho and Swaziland.
In 1948, the apartheid platform of separate development merely crystallised the process. The voortrekkers, with an honesty that struck fear and fright into the rest of the world, determinedly set about the process of separate development. The rest of the world reeled back in horror at what seemed to them an unjustifiable and repunant system. The rest of the world gave the voortrekkers no credit for knowing what they were doing. They also gave the blacks no credit, the Indians no credit and the coloureds no credit. For example, did the rest of the world see a great exodus of any of these people from this ‘unjustifiable and repugnant system’? No, on the contrary, blacks began to stream into South Africa. Laws which we again would find repugnant, such as the influx laws, were passed to try to control the influx of these blacks. Detention laws that we would find repugnant, were passed- again to try to control the huge influx of blacks into South Africa. Do people think that blacks would be running into a country where they were going to be denigrated, down-graded and repressed? Certainly not. We must give the blacks some credit.
The black population in South Africa is burgeoning naturally. I am not sure of the figures but I think that when apartheid was brought in there were 5 million black Bantu in South Africa. There are now nearly 20 million. This could not be happening in a place where they were being repressed. But did we see an upsurge in civil unrest paralysing the country? No; on the contrary, South Africa prospered. Despite the sanctions, did we see South Africa fold up? We certainly did not. She is a strong and powerful nation now. Laws were passed which we would find repugant, for example the marriage law, the immorality acts, the job reservation laws and the rules of petit apartheid, where there were separate doors, separate buses, separate lifts, separate public conveniences, separate everything, all apparently demeaning and degrading. Were there any complaints, any demonstrations or any civil disruptions in South Africa? There were none at all. The English, the Indians, the coloureds and the Bantu knew that the voortrekker meant what he said and there was a uniform acceptance of all those laws without any revolt by the people.
– Have you ever heard of Sharpeville?
– It is not in South Africa.
– Sharpeville is in South Africa. It is just above Johannesburg.
– The various peoples realised they needed the laws, for example the marriage and immorality laws which forbade marriage and sex relations across the colour line. The coloureds wanted them because they did not want their problem aggravated. The Bantu wanted them because they did not want their daughters seduced, especially by the whites. The Indians wanted them because they wanted to preserve their racial integrity.
I refer to the job reservation law. Any staunch trade unionist should understand this. Swarms of black people were ready, willing and able to accept work for less pay in white areas. I mention here the wage differential that exists. Again, it has an historical basis. Over the years the South Africans have tried to make all their production as labour intensive as they can so that the blacks can get work and receive pay. The picture is determined by economic reality. If 10 men mine an ounce of gold they can share a tenth each but if a thousand men do it, they will receive less each. They are moving away from this, particularly in the professions. They are trying to increase pay to what we regard as reasonable standards. They cannot do it unless production goes along with it. The Bantu have a different attitude altogether to work. They have a different attitude to overtime and finishing a job and a different attitude to leisure and holidays. The Bantu women understand work a lot better than do the men.
Most of the petit apartheid that was introduced had historical and health origins. It was recognised by all that it was unreasonable to expect whites to queue up behind a horde of almost illiterate blacks in a post office; to use public toilets after people who had no idea how to use them; to use a lift with people whose method of greeting was to spit on each other to show respect; or to send their eight-year-old daughters to school in the same class as 15-year- old Bantu boys. Foreign visitors to South Africa were affronted at seeing this policy in action but if they had time to stop, look, listen and learn, as many visiting football teams did, they had time to understand and come away proud of what those people were doing. As time passed and these restrictive laws became redundant, they were repealed. Now that civil security has been achieved and everyone understands the system, one hardly sees a ‘Nie Blancs’ sign anywhere, even in universities or the opera.
On top of this, apartheid has been blamed for many things that had nothing to do with it. I refer, for example, to the national security laws which were designed to protect all the people from international radical trouble makers. Once again there was no resentment to these laws from all the peoples in South Africa. It would be a mistake to imagine that South Africa is a single country with a single mixed population. This ignores the measured pace of the continued and continuing development there. When Britain moved out of the region it granted independence to Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, leaving them destitute and to fend for themselves. All South Africa is doing is continuing this policy but instead of throwing its black nations to the winds it is helping them to join in the modern world. Any one of these nations can have independence tomorrow if it wants it. Some already have. Some soon will have it. Most are better off than at least 30 nations which are already members of the
United Nations. We should be proud of those blacks, whites, coloureds and Indians.
We in the outside world have been given only one side of the apartheid story. Who in the outside world knows that for the under-developed peoples it contains the four pillars of development, that is, the human, economic, administrative and political pillars. Certainly very few in Australia would know. There has been no contact between the South African Embassy in Australia and the Australian Government for over two years. Similarly, there has been no contact between our Embassy in South Africa and the South African Government for over two years. There has been no contact with Rhodesia since the unilateral declaration of independence. Human development is designed to lift the under-developed peoples out of their tribal sub.sistance existence. It teaches them respect for each other and neighbouring tribes and nations. It teaches them about modern living facilities, health and education, welfare, population control and family planning. Economic development is converting these people to a cash mentality and then to a cash economy. As I have said before the Bantu women appear to be more susceptible to this process. They are more stable workers and have been quick to realise the benefits.
Administrative development teaches them how to live as an organised society and how to work together for the betterment of their villages, kraals, towns and cities with decisions being left to the blacks. They are permitted to make their own mistakes. If they want to build bridges instead of sanitation works, they are permitted to do so. Political development is proceeding throughout. The South African Government does not force any political system on the black homelands when they request independence. They can choose their own form of government. So far they have all chosen the apartheid policy. The Transkei has been a free and independent country for some time. It has had free elections on at least three occasions. Each time the apartheid policy has been confirmed by the people. Yet the United Nations has not recognised this fledgling nation trying to get airborne in a cold hard world. Australia refuses to recognise the Transkei on the grounds that the Bantustan policy merely represents an extension of the apartheid policy. The apartheid policy has been a resounding success for the nations of South Africa. It is an evolving policy and in all likelihood will end up as a commonwealth or confederation of South Africa with no central government but co-operating, separate, independent states where no state shall lord it over any other; where no one will have their way of life culture or standard of living threatened by any other. If these things are threatened prejudice and discrimination become inevitable. The very purpose of apartheid is to remove prejudice and create harmony.
Apartheid has anticipated many of the problems of the rest of the world. It has worked out in practice a new kind of relationship on which the future harmony of humanity largely depends, namely the relationship between developed and under-developed states. The true entitlement of emergent nations to sovereignty is not power, numbers, wealth, influence, quality, contribution or achievement. It is none of these things. It is something far more simple and fundamental. It is the right of every people on earth, rich and poor, strong and weak, good and bad, to selfdetermination and a life of their own. That is what apartheid promised and that is what it is delivering. They have established there a transcultural communication between white and black that does not even exist between the churches and the blacks. The churches and missions have contributed greatly to the health, education, welfare and spiritual upbringing of these people but the churches are not highly regarded by the Bantu because the churches’ giving has been all one way. They have not allowed the Bantu people to give back to them. The Bantu people do not like owing a debt and they have so much to give us.
South Africa represents a microcosm of the whole world. It is a multi-national and multiracial society. Aparteid has been fashioned into living form by the hand of history while we have criticised it, isolated it and missed a shining example of developing international relations. Apartheid has shown us that if all the distinctive groups within unwieldly artificial nation-states like those of the emergent world are allowed their cultural autonomy then the essential building unit- the corporate community- will emerge. From these units larger and more substantial associations for political and economic cooperation are possible. A co-operative association of sovereign communities is the only way of maintaining ethnic identities and of protecting the more advanced against the weight of numbers of the less advanced and protecting the less advanced against the weight of resources and technology.
The recent cry for a new economic world order is doomed to failure because it is based on plunder and reparations from the developed world for the underdeveloped world. The old Romans had a saying that out of Africa there is always something new. This time that something new is not a new world economic order but a new order where no nation can plunder any other and where ethnic democracy is the new order and each group of people runs its own affairs. A new relationship between developed and underdeveloped nations exists in South Africa now for all to see. The Westminster system is inapplicable to that country as a whole. Indeed it is inapplicable to a multi-ethnic society. Although it has been the mother and the teacher of our parliamentary system and many other parliamentary systems throughout the world its weaknesses are now becoming evident. That is so even in its country of origin. The Westminster system is not catering for the political aspirations of that country’s ethnic minorities, such as the Welsh, the Irish and the Scots. We will see a new form of government emerge in South Africa.
Sitting suspended from 5.42 to 8 p.m.
– Before the suspension of the sitting I had discussed the situation of South Africa, its relations with the United Nations and Australia’s attitude towards South Africa. I had brought up the new concept of ethnic democracy which had arisen with the contact situation between the various nationalities that exist within the boundaries of the nation of South Africa. I now turn my attention to the situation in Rhodesia. On 27 May this year the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that the Rhodesian information centres in London, Paris, Washington and Sydney should be closed by active legislative process of the various nations in which they were situated. The Australian Government initiated that process here. Although the resolution does not have the force of international law, because it is a resolution of the Security Council it becomes a mandatory requirement of member countries of the United Nations. Our setting in motion the legislative process to close the Rhodesian Information Centre is consistent with the attitude of successive Australian governments.
The closures raise two important issues. The first is the suppression of the freedom of speech and access to information, and the second is the presence in this country of an operative of a declared illegal regime- the paid agent of that regime operating in this country. The issues are serious enough for us to consider them as urgent. The first one requires little consideration because I do not think anyone in this chamber would argue for the suppression of the freedom of speech or access to information. Concerning the second issue the operative words are ‘illegal regime’. It is to these that I wish to direct our attention.
Rhodesia has never been governed from Great Britain. The area between the Matabele and the Mashona tribes or nations was settled by white miners in the latter part of the last century. By 1896 Queen Victoria gave a private company, the British South Africa Co., a charter to govern the country and a Legislative Council was formed. Years later the British Government bought out the British South Africa Co., but Rhodesia was left to govern itself in the same circumstances as Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The Crown retained only certain reserve powers where its prerogative or the interests of the Empire were concerned. In 1922 the white Rhodesians carried a referendum stating that they did not wish to become incorporated into the Union of South Africa and at the same time they gave approval to responsible self-government in Rhodesia.
Although King George V annexed Rhodesia by Order-in-Council in July 1923, the constitution conferring responsible self-government was put into effect by letters patent in September 1923. Britain retained her reserve powers, which also applied to the federation that was formed between Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia, which is now Zambia, and Nyasaland, which is now Malawi. The federation was dissolved in 1963, and Zambia and Malawi were given full independence, but not Rhodesia. Although Britain had never conducted any of Rhodesia’s internal or external affairs except for occasionally representing her at international conferences, Britain now claimed that Rhodesia was a self-governing colony but that only Britain could represent Rhodesia in international forums and only Britain bore the ultimate responsibility for Rhodesia’s external affairs. This is an incredulous attitude when one considers that Rhodesia had never been anything but a self-governing colony. While in federation with Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland she had engaged in international trade. She had exchanged high commissioners with London and Pretoria. She had representatives in the British embassies in Washington, Tokyo, Lisbon and Bonn and had maintained a consular representative in Mozambique.
No wonder Mr Ian Smith, as soon as he became Prime Minister on an independence platform, went to London to clear up the matter. But here he was met by a brick wall in the demand for majority rule in Rhodesia. As majority rule in Rhodesia would result in the domination of the
Matabele and the whites by the more populous Mashona- a situation that could not bring peace, order or good government to Rhodesia- Mr Smith had to declare independence unilaterally from the United Kingdom, whose responsibility for its control was slight in law and slighter politically. Great Britain, no longer able to stand on her own two feet in this affair, took the case to the United Nations, and here Rhodesia was confronted by a wind of fire. A new dimension had been added to her problems. The winds of change had been whipped into a fury. The United Nations had galvanised the Third World nations into a frenzy of hatred and greed. They were demanding reparations for years of plunder by the white man, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Here with Rhodesia was the issue- an illegal white racist minority government relegating its black people to the status of second class citizens, the entrenchment of white dominance and every other emotive racial charge.
Reason was lost in the holocaust. While the rest of the world erupted into fungating excrescences of international war- on average 12 a day since the Second World War- the United Nations turned its attention from these actual wars and concentrated the force of its attention on Rhodesia. Rhodesia threatened no one. She had no civil war. She asked for no help or money from anyone. She was working towards the dissi- pation of racial prejudice and dominance by both whites and blacks, and doing it in the contact situation. We should have more respect for those people, black and white, who have had more experience with the problems over many more years than their critics. There is no great call for majority rule from within Rhodesia from blacks or whites. That call is coming from outside Rhodesia. The two black nations are so divided as to make it impossible to form them into a unified whole. The frontline chiefs are outside Rhodesia because they cannot gain support from within Rhodesia. They are themselves at loggerheads, but they play to the world gallery with their cries of racism and minority rule.
I was in Rhodesia when President Kaunda of Zambia declared war on her. Nobody, black or white missed a night’s sleep. He was merely playing to the world gallery. Trade between Rhodesia and Zambia, which is immense, continued uninterrupted. That trade is vital to Zambia. To show how Gilbertian this situation is, the copper from Zaire tranverses Zambia, Rhodesia and South Africa and is exported through Port Elizabeth. The huge Tanzam railway, which was built by the Chinese for this transport, is unserviceable because it was built without any knowledge of tropical conditions. Rhodesia is feeding her neighbours. Without her they would be even more destitute than they are already. Now those neighbours are independent they can no longer control malaria or tsetse fly, and once more these are becoming a scourge which in turn is afflicting Rhodesia.
Rhodesia is being subjected to terrorism by badly trained terrorists form outside Rhodesia. There is some kidnapping of young Rhodesians who are taken outside, trained and sent back to terrorise the country. One can just wonder what is in their minds when they start having to terrorise their own people, but they are trained, financed and armed by various socialist states and the World Council of Churches. It is some travesty that the World Council of Churches is helping heathens to torture, mutilate and kill Christians. There is no great upsurge of black nationalism within Rhodesia. If there were, why the terrorist activity? Why do the Rhodesian blacks not join the terrorists? They would make short work of the 250,000 whites who are there because there are 6Vi million black people there, but in fact the Rhodesian blacks are fighting the terrorists. There are more blacks in the Rhodesian security forces than whites and the blacks are volunteers; the whites are conscripted. Protected villages have had to be set up in the tribal areas to which the blacks can retire at night for security. The call-up and terrorism and the protected villages policy have had an adverse effect on farm production and this, coupled with trade, economic and visa sanctions, is causing Rhodesians, black and white, intolerable hardship.
But a far more devastating effect is being had on the blacks. Their ability to develop is being hamstrung. All items imported into Rhodesia are expensive. For example, a light bulb might cost $20. The white man can get one somehow but the black man cannot afford to do so, and so it is with many items. The sanctions were imposed supposedly to help the black man and the same excuse is used to justify the terrorism. Both are supposed to lift the yoke of the white minority government from the black man’s back, but there is no call from the blacks in Rhodesia to have that yoke lifted. This is because the blacks know they need the whites. There is tremendous goodwill between black and white in Rhodesia. The blacks recognise that their salvation is in education and they prize it highly. I met mothers who would even go without food so that their children could get education.
The electoral system in Rhodesia is criticised and there are charges made that 95 per cent of the people there have no say in their future. Rhodesia has a qualified franchise for all the people there and anybody who qualifies, black or white, can vote. The voting age is 2 1 years and 52 per cent of the people are under 2 1 years of age. A certain standard of education is required or the possession of a certain amount of moneywhich is not much- or the possession of a certain amount of property-which is not a lot- and one has to have lived in Rhodesia for a prescribed period. So the older tribal blacks do not qualify to vote because they are not educated, but they are represented in the Parliament through their chieftain system. There are about 250 chiefs in Rhodesia. They elect 20 chiefs to become the Council of Chiefs which takes part in all legislation affecting the black people. There are blacks elected to the Parliament and blacks appointed to the Parliament.
The internal solution of the problem of political representation to which Mr Smith has been referring will, I feel sure, wind up with the concept of ethnic democracy, which I mentioned previously, where the Matabele run their affairs, the Mashona run theirs and the whites run theirs. Probably then these three groups will form a confederation of a kind that will suit their mutual benefit. The political progress that Rhodesia is making has been and is proceeding with a measured tread. It has been hindered only by the role played by the United Nations, the United Kingdom, the United States, and other outside interference. Sanctions- economic, trade and visa- terrorism and protracted negotiations have all failed, and have proven a merciless burden, particularly for the blacks. The Peace Commission was hoodwinked by the blacks who in their own inimitable fashion gave it the evidence they thought it wanted to near. These things should all be stopped. All the Rhodesians, black and white, need is time to sort out their own problems. They should not be swamped in a tide of history whipped up by the winds of ignorance and hate. Rhodesia is like an Aladdin’s cave full of glittering minerals and a wonderful prize for foreign ambition. She forms a vital link in the military security of Southern Africa and she has a common border with South Africa. It would be difficult to imagine South Africa looking on with equanimity while this last link fell to a hostile government.
It was the United Nations that declared the Smith Government illegal and it is up to the United Nations to substantiate its claim. Similarly the word ‘racist’ should be defined by the
United Nations because I am sure the United Nations’ definition would bear no relation to the activities of the Smith Government. In order to strengthen its case against Rhodesia the United Nations has resorted to some curious artifices. For example, according to the United Nations Charter rules, under Article 27 paragraph 3 all five of the permanent members of the Security Council are required to vote and concur on measures such as these. France abstained in 1965 and in 1966 on the ground that the matter was beyond the competence of the United Nations. However, the Security Council has adopted the procedure of not regarding an abstention as a veto. By 1968 France maintained her position that the measures were outside the United Nations’ competence but voted for the resolution because of the vast depth of feeling created by the Rhodesian crisis, the impatience of the outside Africans and the fact that the Rhodesian affair had increasingly assumed the aspect of a general crisis affecting the whole world.
In April 1966 Russia abstained from voting because she felt the resolution was inadequate. In December 1966 Russia, Mali and Bulgaria abstained because they felt the resolution had no positive elements. Although this practice of not regarding an abstention of a permanent member as a veto was an established Security Council practice it had never been applied to Chapter 7 provisions of such a drastic and serious nature as these. In 1966 the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that Britain should blockade the Port of Beira to stop oil reaching Rhodesia. In some curious fashion Britain was supposed to do this without the use of force. Britain attempted it and the gesture became a joke. Shortly before the Beira incident the Security Council had been enlarged from 1 1 to 15. Since, under new voting procedures, only nine affirmative votes are needed to take decisions, according to the doctrine on abstentions the Council can adopt substantive resolutions in cases where all five of the permanent members have abstained. To me this situation is against the whole spirit of the United Nations Charter. Article 30 makes it clear that the Security Council is autonomous in deciding its own rules of procedure and practice but here we have a situation where the nonpermanent members of the Security Council have the right to take decisions concerning peace, war and world security and to formulate and put into effect policies that affect the entire community of nations. Why has the United Nations Security Council never invited Rhodesia to put its case to it? It certainly has the capacity and the competence to invite Rhodesia. Rhodesia has made several applications to appear, but the United Nations has ignored them all.
Initially Britain maintained that the issue was between her and Rhodesia- and so it is- despite the most tenuous legal and political connections between the two. But Britain got cold feet and took the matter to the United Nations in case some other nation did it first and subverted Britain’s small claim to sovereignty. In Britain’s view, Rhodesia’s unilateral declaration of independence did not make Rhodesia an independent state which she had clearly proven herself to be both before and after the unilateral declaration of independence but had reverted the country to the status of colony for which the United Kingdom was the responsible administering power. The United Nations then regarded the situation not as a dispute between two states but as a threat to world peace. Nevertheless, the Security Council of the United Nations still has the capacity to invite Rhodesia to present her side of the story- a side of the story that has never been presented to anybody anywhere.
A new element has entered the discussion again. I refer to the advent of such international trade bodies as UNCTAD-the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. In this area, the Third World countries dominate us again. As I understand the situation, these Third World nations threaten trading nations with loss of their international trade contacts if they alter their attitude to South Africa and Rhodesia. So we are being forced to maintain our position opposing these nations. If one looks at the position in another way, one sees that the sanctions are having a far worse effect on the black people in South Africa and Rhodesia than the white people. In effect, we have a group of black people in the United Nations heaping trouble on another group of black people in South Africa and Rhodesia and using trading nations like Australia to do this. This to me is a refined form of blackmail. I urge the Government to reassess its attitude to South Africa and Rhodesia and also to the functions of the United Nations Security Council.
– I intended to confine my address largely to manpower policy and its effect of the economy. But in all fairness and in view of the comments made by Senator Sheil in relation to foreign policy, I think it is significant to note that even the great helmsman himself, Malcolm Fraser, the Prime Minister, does not subscribe to the views that the honourable senator expressed.
I think that the reason for this virtual bi-partisan policy against the views that Senator Sheil has advanced lies in the realities of world peace or world politics. They are such that we cannot have the luxury of delayed reform. Senator Sheil, in his opening remarks, referred to some of the terminology that he said had its beginning in 1948. I suppose that if we go back to Victory in Japan day in Australia, the subsequent birth of the United Nations, the idea of the United Nations charter, self-determination and all these things, it is true to say that many of these ideals have not been achieved. But, of course, in the immediate post- War world, the situation existed in which non-aligned countries or the emerging countries- whatever we call them- had the choice of following what was known as the Westera powers- the democracies- or those countries largely led by the Soviet Union or, to a lesser extent, China. As unpalatable as it might have been, these countries had to be won over to different forms of government.
Senator Sheil spoke about the period from 1948 onwards. I pay tribute to the honourable senator’s sporting prowess and sporting participation. But it amazes me that it was not so long ago, whatever of the record of South Africa may have been since 1900 or before in the field of cricket, that we had the situation in which Basil D’Oliviera, a prominent cricketer of mixed racial parentage, was virtually denied the right to play cricket in South Africa. Whatever the blueprints that Senator Sheil mentioned may have been, the fact of the matter was that South Africa moved too damned slow. I suppose I could use two quotations to illustrate the position. I could use the words of Cecil Rhodes when he talked about too much to do and so little time to do it in. That is one remark that would be applicable to ‘how quickly’ South Africa and to a lesser degree Rhodesia have implemented the social changes. I suppose I could refer also to what was said by that great Welshman Aneurin Bevan when he said that delayed reform breeds revolution. I am probably thinking of the ways in which the combination of the British Prime Minister Atlee and Lord Mountbatten opened the way for independence in India and Pakistan. As a medico, Senator Sheil might say to me that the moves made in those countries have had their minuses as well as their pluses. But the people in those countries are making their own mistakes. That is the situation.
I suppose that the positions that have arisen in Zambia and Kenya, which is perhaps a classic illustration, where terrorism has occurred. This has occurred also in a few other countries. But it must always be remembered that the person whom we may define as a terrorist is a patriot to many other people. I say that because one of the most stabilising influences at the various gatherings of the Commonwealth of Nations has been the Burning Spear himself, Joseph Kenyatta. The fact is that the British knew he brought some form of stability. I think that I can illustrate this message a little further by using the sporting analogy. Senator Sheil would know as a rugby player the remarkable events that occurred recently. It was only this football season just finished in which we were able to read about the game between the World XV football team and South Africa, which South Africa won. The World XV football team was represented by white players. But on the South African team, we saw the first coloured player who was regarded as good enough to play for his country. If Senator Sheil read the sports pages of the Australian, he would have read the description of that game. It was remarkable. I think that there were a few deep punts into the territory of the World XV team. This coloured fellow made a couple of mistakes but 1 1 tries were scored against this World XV team. But it only seemed to be his two mistakes that were blown up. I suppose that the honourable senator would admit to me that Jackie Robertson, the first negro to play top baseball in America, went through those ordeals. But the important message is this: How long does Senator Sheil think it will take many South African blacks who are not interested in politics to be given an opportunity? I will not have it that it has taken from 1948 to two years ago to do this and that the progress could not have been accelerated.
– What do you think about the declaration -
-I will not be deterred, Senator. I am watching the clock. I have a lot of notes in front of me. I want to get back to the subject of manpower policy. What I am saying now would be echoed by the Prime Minister himself. He aligned himself with the remarks of a former Prime Minister and argued that this emancipation of non-white people in the British Commonwealth of Nations had to be undertaken at an increased tempo. Honourable senators can say that it is a socialist senator who is making these remarks. But let us look also at the utterances of leading Anglican and Catholic prelates. Both of those churches realised that they had to give an opportunity to black clergymen to get top ranking. They have done this. Bishop Lamont and other church leaders certainly are not Marxists. Anyone who saw the Monday Conference television program on which Bishop
Lamont appeared would agree that he was not quoting from the works of Karl Marx when he argued that this tempo of evolution had to be increased. I say, quite frankly, that whatever white South Africa had to give up or white Rhodesia may have to give up, this must be viewed against world peace. The position can be likened to a gigantic jigsaw puzzle. There is no hope in the future if we play a hard line and say to Mr Smith, the Rhodesian Prime Minister, and to the South African Prime Minister that we will put in troops as happened in Vietnam. If that were the case, we would push many very statesmanlike coloured leaders into the camp not of the Third World countries but probably into the camp dominated by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or even China. That is what the ball game is about.
I know that many Portuguese people who have come to Australia have nostalgic memories of Angola and Mozambique. But the fact of the matter is that in many causes the interests of some people have to be subordinated for the common good. If I were asked whether there will be a mass exodus from these countries, I would answer that I did not think it was necessary. I would point out that white people are able to live under the present Kenyan Government with a little bit of give and take. Of course, this demands strong leadership. Honourable senators may ask me- Senator Sheil implied it- whether the leadership quality is there. But no statements were made by Mr Smith to indicate that there were any time limits to bring about this blending in or gradual change of leadership. This seems to be the situation with which we are confronted. It may be unpalatable to some people. However, I can draw other analogies that could apply either to Eastern Europe or to Adelaide. I know that Senator Jessop probably has heard in the streets of Adelaide some of our Croation comrades arguing about the fragmentation of Yugoslavia and how it would be good for them. A man renowned for his Toryism- I say that of him in a respectful way- Senator Wright, spoke in this Senate one night representing the Foreign Minister and said that any fragmentation of Yugoslavia would jeopardise world peace.
If we tamper with and hold back the evolutionary process of one vote one value in the African Continent we will have another upheaval that will make Vietnam seem like a side show. It is a tremendous problem. This was the view of the super power leaders, irrespective of who was the United States President. This is the great difficulty about the situation. I assure Senator Sheil that nobody is scorning white South
Africans. The fact of the matter is that we cannot think in terms of the Boer War. The remarkable thing is that initially hard line people of Dutch origin thought in those terms. They, of course, disliked Englishmen but not to the same extent as they disliked coloured people. One could recite biblical quotations but we are dealing with modern day politics. Quite frankly I ask Senator Sheil and other people whether we are to say to them ‘We will back you with armed might’? I say that the answer is no. In other words, if a gradual transition is made the people can live with it. I suggest that Senator Sheil study the works of a very fine Rhodesian Prime Minister, Sir Roy Welensky and, subsequently, Mr Garfield Todd. I believe that these people could have achieved much.
One could argue about the fear of truth. When Anglican and Catholic prelates and other people involved with religious organisations are gaoled for their utterances this is no different from what happened in Hitlerite Germany. Honourable senators opposite may say that one of the great problems in a Western democracy is that it pays little more than lip service to the concepts of selfdetermination. When there was Soviet aggression in Hungary in 1956, which Dr Evatt disavowed, France and Britain were involved in the Six-day War to determine the right of Israel to exist. Of course, it had that right. But the moment this banditry started the Third World countries said: ‘We do not agree with what is happening in Budapest. We do not agree with what is happening in Suez either’. These are the sorts of events that must be faced when trying to convince the United Nations of a particular point.
Senator Sheil referred to the right of Britain rather than the United Nations to deal with the problems of Rhodesia. Of course, it is a unique situation. I give full credit to Britain for leaving India and Pakistan with a more highly skilled Public Service than Holland did when it got out of Indonesia. It does not alter the fact- I do not know what the moral of the story is-that Britain is in a unique situation. She has problems in Northern Ireland and she has them in Rhodesia where a lot of the people are more British than the British themselves. As a matter of fact if a census were taken of the main militant self-determinists- for want of a better term-amongst whites in both Rhodesia and South Africa one would find that there had been a tremendous exodous of people from Britain who were a bit upset about West Indians and other coloured people coming into Britain. A leader of the Mexican peasants in about 1900 or earlier had a slogan: ‘ It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees’.
I wonder what would have happened if other members of the British Commonwealth had not imposed sporting bans on South Africa. I am not disputing what Senator Sheil said. However I refer the Senate to the writings of Danny Craven who was, as Senator Sheil is aware, a South African rugby player and administrator. Danny Craven in the last few years- his remarks have probably been duplicated by a number of other leading Test cricketers- has admitted that there is a place for reform. Nobody is suggesting that because a man is black, white or coloured he gets selected for international competition because of sympathy. I have spoken to Basil D’Oliviera who did not get into an English cricket side just because of a political move. He was selected at the time because he had had a very successful season in English county cricket. He also had success in the Test arena. I am dealing with this on a very level plane. This is the situation with which we are faced.
I do not know- Senator Wheeldon probably is more competent to deal with this- what is the role of the British Commonwealth of Nations. I believe it has a certain function. If countries such as Britain, Australia and New Zealand express the view that they feel that South Africa has done all it can, then the British Commonwealth of Nations will not exist for as long as it might. It may be that television cameras exaggerate happenings but they could not have cooked up the incidents at Sharpeville. Honourable senators opposite know that and so do I. Methods that I might find repugnant might be used to control a crowd but when slugs are put into a crowd the game is really on.
It is a difficult situation. Those of us who have been to various overseas gatherings- I am thinking of the leaders of the Cameroons and others on their way up- will realise that such people had problems. Honourable senators opposite might say to me that some of the African Countries may revert to tribalism. That is a risk that must be taken. I can think of countries in other part of the world which are supposed to have a greater degree of civilisation but where battles are still taking place. Fundamentally, if a country is going to make mistakes then it will. I think the main point is- whether it is the Middle East or the African Continent- that whilst a number of countries have nuclear weapons, the middle group of nations has to be subordinated. I have advanced this viewpoint before. Again I revert to the comments of Senator Wright about Eastern Europe. He said that we could not afford to take sides and have a dismantling of what exists at the moment between Warsaw and the NATO powers. The same situation exists in the African area. It is a difficult problem.
What will the future hold? I have seen many areas where people have grudgingly been given concessions but the areas have gradually developed. It might be argued that the economy of the United States was such that even in the Johnson era, belatedly after riots, the colour situation eased somewhat. I think we all agree that all over the world there are acts of hooliganism and brutality. But one cannot look at such acts and say: ‘ Well, a black did this ‘. I give the Senate a particular instance. Some of Bishop Lamont ‘s people were murdered- I suppose I can use that term- in one particular incident. He did not say that he would give up the cause of peaceful penetration. We should not shun what could be called the moderate African leaders, and nor should they be called Uncle Toms. They have to achieve things in their own right and achieve them quickly. Quite apart from Africa, there are many areas where people are not going to wait indefinitely for reform. One could look at India and all the promises that were made there. I think also of the West Indian independence and of some of the dominion conferences between 1920 and 1945. In effect, people were patted on the back and told that one day they would reach the promised land. That is not on any more. This is not a question related to Africa alone. We have given people today a higher level of education. They are more articulate and they are more impatient.
I return now to the economy and the manpower policy. I want to deal with a number of issues which involve double standards. As a prime example, I refer to the Utah Development Company and its dispute with the Seamens Union of Australia over the union’s request or demand that there be a greater number of tankers manned by Australian crews. I refer to the journal Lamp which is a big American oil company staff journal. It is a very fine journal. It reports an interview with an executive of the Exxon company. There was discussion about the capacity of the United States tanker fleet to bring oil from Alaska. A senior director, Mr Garvin, said:
The answer is no. We have in this country what is known as the Jones Act, which requires that all movements of petroleum between U.S. ports must be carried in U.S. flag tankers. There aren’t enough of these Jones Act tankers to move the complete surplus from Alaska to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Therefore in the short term we have to look elsewhere. However, we have another type of U.S. tanker that was built under government construction subsidy and which receives operating subsidies.
The Utah company, which emanates from the United States, is subject to US laws regarding a monopoly on tanker traffic. All goods have to be carried on US flag tankers. The seamen’s union is simply asking for job protection. I mention in particular the United States Mercantile Marine. People can talk of ships under Panamanian and Liberian flags which have Asian crews who are working under better awards than perhaps they might work under if the ships were trading between India and some Asian country. The point I make is that wage differences between the United States and Australia would be infinitesimal. It might be argued that there may be better leave provisions under Australian awards but the hourly rates in the United States would be higher than ours. This shows the hypocrisy. This firm is adhering to the US Jones Act, yet if we were to suggest that this should happen here it would be regarded as the machinations of a left wing plot. There has been too much of these double standards.
Anybody who has read recent issues of Time and Newsweek would know that one of the first actions of President Carter was to ensure that a fairly reasonable percentage of US exports were transported in US ships. I think it is important that the publication to which I have referred should appear in Hansard. If the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Durack) peruses the publication he might acquiesce to it being incorporated in Hansard. I do not seek to have it incorporated now. I will give the Minister the opportunity to read the document and I will come back to it later in my speech. What people are inclined to call trade union featherbedding has become par for the course as far as it relates to industrial standards. I emphasise that point.
It may well be that Japan with superior industrial techniques has the edge not merely on Australia. She has the edge in regard to shipbuilding on countries like Poland which was regarded as one of the best shipbuilding countries. I think that Harland and Wolfe in Belfast is also a reasonably modern dockyard. I know that the British Government is spending a lot of money to improve it. No country has vacated the right of its shipbuilding programs. It is well time that Australia adopted a Jones Act here. Again I am referring to the US Congressman and not to the illustrious former Transport Minister of the Goverment in which Senator Cavanagh so ably served. I make the point that an injection of Australian nationalism into so many of these things is vital.
I am sure that honourable senators have read many books dealing with the history of the Australian wage system between 1930 and 1940. The remarkable thing relates to the deflation policies that were applied up to 1937. By that time, with the war clouds, there was a belated injection of capital into the metal trades of course largely in relation to defence. Whatever price we have to pay I do not think a third world war should be necessary to improve our engineering industries. The fact of the matter is that shipbuilding, even for civilian use, must be maintained. So many countries have new equipment. There is no need to regale what Senator Bishop has said so often about obsolete overhead cranes being used in many of the shipyards. They should have been torn down and replaced years ago.
I recall being with former Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson in 1971 in nations which now comprise the European Common Market. Those countries had modern lofty cranes. I asked whether we would have those cranes here on licence. I was told that it was felt that they would be too costly. Anyone who looks at high rise buildings that have been erected in the last five years would know that those cranes should have been here a lot earlier. But it did not happen. This brings me to ask whether the present policy is working. I do not think it is. I know that in the Australian Capital Territory the work force of the Monier Pipe company which is known for its diversification and its manufacture of pipes, tiles and all the other kindred building components, has diminished. This has become a general trend. I repeat that it was only in the 1937 to 1939 period when there was a reversal of policy that we got anywhere.
As I said I want to talk about Australian nationalism. Some believe we have been very slow off the mark. Dr Rex Patterson, as Minister for Northern Development, engineered, and personally handled the negotiations for, the Australian sugar agreement some years ago. We had a situation recently where Japan took an attitude different from ours. I know that the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) spoke at a conference in Malaysia very briefly to the Japanese Prime Minister. That is all we did. I was in Japan with a four man Opposition delegation. People from the Colonial Sugar Refining Co. Ltd were almost crying tears of blood because no Australian Minister was there to take up the cudgels of the Queensland sugar grower. At the same time the Soviet Union had top officials there to argue on fishing rights. I cannot help but make that comparison. I know that the Deputy Premier of
Queensland subsequently paid a visit to Japan. When you have people on the run you do not let them gather momentum and go back the other way. That is what happened on this issue. I believe that we have been far too docile. Again, probably because of the latent effects of certain European Common Market developments, there is no reason at all if we had read the play why we could not have had a reshuffle of the functions of Mr John Howard and Senator Cotton.
I take the matter a little further. Over the last five or six years I have listened to various employment and industrial relations discussions on trying to gauge manpower requirement. We were hampered on this issue during the hearings of the last Estimates committees. Mr Macphee, the Minister for Productivity, has taken over the handling of this area. Empires are formed and the job is not done completely. I have been trying to get information on behalf of the meat employees union about certain diseases that can be caught from cattle. I know that the industry itself is equally concerned about the diseases menacing our cattle herds. I thought this was a matter concerning industrial safety. I wondered whether it would be a matter for Mr Macphee or Mr Street. I was finally told that although Mr Macphee has something to do with productivity the matter does not come within his ambit. At the same time I had a letter in my possession from Mr Sinclair which was written to people in the electorate of Macarthur complaining about the meat employees union being rather selective and putting bans and limitations on the slaughter of certain cattle. There is another side to the coin. Quite a number of northern New South Wales meat workers who accepted their citizenship responsibilities and became blood donors were told by the blood transfusion service that they were not needed any more because of certain infections. I respectfully say in talking about harmony in industry that there should be a far more efficient operation to remove any distrust which may exist.
We seem to have said to the shipbuilding industry and the building industry generally that we will give certain taxation concessions and that that is it. I believe that everyone put back into work is a potential taxpayer. Obviously taxation scales can be regulated. I believe whatever the best intentions the Government may have had- I am always a charitable person to my opponents- the fact of the matter is that the policies have not worked. For that reason I think that the Government has to completely rechart its course. I speak of Australian nationalism and believe that any grants that we give to developing countries have to be in the form of goods and not money. I believe that most of the goods have to be carried on Australian ships carrying the Australian flag. I think that has to be done.
Let us look at the question of vision and at some of the things where we were more creative. I refer now to the film industry. I suppose there are always lessons to be learned. If we had only stood up to overseas interests after World War I our film industry would not only have been a dollar earner but also would have provided a big reservoir for particular people.
I do not think that even that is the fundamental problem. Honourable senators opposite argue that the capitalist system is the best system. I make the point that our society today is so difficult that we cannot have the captains of industry doing their own thing. On the one hand, Government senators opposite talk about the evils of excessive government control, but I believe that some of the biggest mistakes have been made because of unfettered capitalism. In that respect, I can do no more than refer to the current edition of the National Times for 3-8 October and the article headed ‘Gollin: The $120m Crash’. It amazes me to hear National Country Party senators talk about this sort of thing. When the national secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation, Charlie Fitzgibbon, got an agreement at Mackay for 40 sugar workers, Senator Wright felt that the wages which were set nullified the redundancy of the other 360 employees. But when financiers or entrepreneurs or whatever they are called are allowed to go beserk, and that is what happened in the case of Keith Gale, what happens? A trail of disaster is left behind people like Keith Gale. It is no use blaming the bans for that sort of thing. If one reads the history of the Gollin case, trade unions bans did not contribute to the crash. It was caused by the stupidity or the adventuring of a man who thought he could juggle with overseas steel. He had an involvement with some corrupt Koreans, and the crash was the result. So honourable senators opposite should not get up here and talk about the sins of the trade unions when the big business buccaneers are doing that sort of thing. I should point out that none of them, with the exception of Huxley, will finish up in Long Bay gaol or any other gaol, which is where they ought to be.
Government senators talk about penalties being imposed on trade unions for not keeping agreements. Many of the people like Gale should finish up in an old men’s hostel without a penny. There are many people who made this country great- stockmen, shearers and railway menwho finished work at 65 and are in ill health. If the New South Wales senators stood outside these hostels in Sydney at 8 o’clock in the morning they would often recognise somebody in his late 70s who now has nothing, but I will bet that they will never find Keith Gale there. He will be the same as the managing director of the V. C. Mining Company, to whom I always give a serve, who diddled all his employees. The Australian Mining Council would not agree with him, but he Still has his penthouse at Cottesloe Beach. We do not want that sort of society.
I wish to conclude on another point. We are on the verge of a law and order election, and Government senators say that if it is good enough to be a law it has to be obeyed. I wish to refer to the Hansard of the Senate Estimates Committee proceedings of 13 September dealing with the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations. I am pleased that the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Durack) is here because he emerged from that hearing with credit. The matter to which I refer concerns James Richardson Pty Ltd, who had an airport concession in virtually every State in the Commonwealth. In relation to trade union membership, the important thing is that some employees were members of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association but with the rapid staff turnover a lot of employees were non-unionists. I am not passing judgment on the union because in the building, mining or railway industries it is regarded as legitimate to say to an employee after he receives his first or second pay: ‘You have had two pays; union membership.’ I see nothing wrong with that as part of a bill of rights because the same person receives compensation coverage and inherits a wage system which has been negotiated. But that is not on in those industries. In regard to the officials of the shop employees union, I will not quote names because there has been internal conflict in the union. I might be accused of showing favouritism, and Senator Cavanagh is watching me like a hawk. However, the fact of the matter is that if that union had applied bans it would have been said that it was denying free trade.
But what do we find with James Richardson? For 12 months we fought to get the truth, and Senator Durack, Senator Bishop and I were like a senatorial Diogenes trying to get at the truth. On one occasion Senator Durack said that he thought there was an estimated underpayment of wages of $25,000 and for his courage he and I received a letter from a solicitor- Senator Durack knows this is true- implying that we were reflecting on the firm. I do not know whether Senator Durack or I was the villain. But when the real story came out on 13 September we found that the underpayment amounted to $39,000. 1 interpose here to say that I was dealing only with Sydney, but somebody told me that the firm had said it was just bad luck because its record would stand up in any other State. Its record did not stand up because in the final letter that I received it was pointed out that there were mistakes in a number of areas. For argument’s sake, the Brisbane Arbitration Inspectorate conducted an investigation of the company’s Brisbane airport operations in November and December, and recovered $1,958. Although not as important, it was found that the amount involved in Perth was $470. The only place where the firm was in the clear was at Tullamarine. In that situation there was a history of three years of lukewarm trade unionism. Nobody tried to har.rass the employer, yet that is the sort of thing he did. The real sting in this story is that despite all this exposure, and I know that another tenderer has now taken over, after underpayments of $44,000 in New South Wales and sundry breaches elsewhere I thought that the firm would be fined. However, I have been told that the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations ( Mr Street ) is still looking at the matter.
Some Government senators have castigated Mr Halfpenny and others, but how would they reply if he asked them about these double standards? I say simply that these are situations where the law is not just. I exempt Senator Durack from my comments, but I believe that Mr Street should set an example with this firm. It took 12 months to get all this information, and I do not know how many man hours were used by the Commonwealth Arbitration Inspectorate, but if the Government is going to deal with business operations it should have told this firm earlier that if it wanted to avoid a fine the problem should be fixed within 90 days. That did not happen. I believe that if we are to have equal standards of justice firms like this should be exposed. The other moral to this story is that if we are to have docile trade unions- I do not use that term but the implication in some editorials is that things should be that way- I would point out that the meek do not always inherit the earth. In this case they certainly did not, and I believe that there should be something better. This is not an old problem. On one occasion when Senator Cotton was the relevant Minister he gave some people a nudge and they obeyed. Subsequently when Mr Charles Jones was the Minister for Transport they were again stirred up, but they were bora cheats and they thought they could get away with it.
In concluding my speech, I ask that a number of documents be incorporated in Hansard. Firstly, I seek leave to have incorporated in Hansard the extract from the Lamp to which I referred.
-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
The document read as follows-
Exxon’s chairman discusses rising energy costs, industry profits, Alaska oil, the energy-environment trade-off, divestiture vs. diversification and the worsening world energy situation.
These are some of the questions that government policymakers are considering.
Question: The U.S. imposes tough regulations on U.S. flag ships. But how about Liberian and other foreign flags?
Garvin: All Exxon-owned tankers around the world are built to high standards. Wherever they’re built, and wherever they’re operated, they meet or exeed any U.S. specifications that have been set by law. Exxon crews receive similar training, whether they’re Italian, Spanish or American. Officers’ licensing requirements are equivalent to U.S. license requirements. I’m speaking of our owned tanker fleet, which covers about 60 percent of our tonnage. The rest are chartered or leased.
Question: Are those Exxon-owned ships registered in the U.S. or elsewhere?
Garvin: They’re registered in Liberia, Panama, the U.S. and many European countries. Exxon-owned vessels are registered under 15 different flags.
Question: Is that for cost and tax benefit?
Garvin: The Tax Reduction Act of 1975 has virtually eliminated any tax advantage. However, tankers cost more than twice as much to build in the U.S. than in Japan or Europe, and the wages and other operating costs are much lower on a foreign flag. Any oil company that tried to operate with an entirely U.S.-built, U.S.-operated fleet would have to raise its prices and couldn’t possibly compete with the rest of the world.
Question: Well, what is the law if an Exxon tanker registered in Liberia were to spill oil along the American coast? Could the U.S. government enforce damages against you?
Garvin: Exxon, as the owner, is responsible, no matter where the vessel is registered. For example, if the accident involved an oil spill in New York Harbor, we’d have to clean it up and pay for any damage. Liberian registration would make no difference in court.
Question: In case of an accident with a ship you lease, who bears the liability, the owner or Exxon?
Garvin: Responsibility is still with the owner of the ship. Nevertheless, we set very high standards for the ships we charter. In addition, there are cooperative agreements among tanker owners and oil companies to pay for cleanup costs and pollution damage.
Question: Turning to the subject of Alaska, you have indicated that the West Coast won t be able to absorb all the oil production from the North Slope when it begins this year. Are there enough tankers available to transport it elsewhere in the U.S.?
Garvin: The answer is no. We have in this country what is known as the Jones Act, which requires that all movements of petroleum between U.S. ports must be carried in U.S. flag tankers. There aren’t enough of those Jones Act tankers to move the complete surplus from Alaska to the U.S. Gulf Coast- which is what will have to be done with the short term surplus. Now there’s another type of U.S. tanker that was built under government construction subsidy, and which also receives operating subsidies. It operates in foreign trade. If there could be a relaxation to bring those ships back into U.S. service, we could come fairly close to covering the gap. At Exxon, we plan to use some of our own fleet to carry Alaskan oil, and we have chartered about half of our requirements out of the Jones Act fleet.
Question: How much of that crude oil will Exxon be able to absorb on the West Coast?
Garvin: We’re going to have about 250,000 barrels a day from Alaska after a year to 18 months. We can use about 90,000 of that on the West Coast, at our Benecia refinery in California. We expect to sell some to other West Coast refineries, and the balance will go to our Gulf Coast refineries, replacing some of our imports of light Arab crude.
-I also seek leave to have incorporated in Hansard an extract from page 444 of the proceedings of Estimates Committee F on 13 September, together with a memorandum form Mr Beveridge submitted to the Estimates Committee giving the final chapter of the story.
-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
The document read as follows-
-I want to refer in detail to the case of James Richardson who had the airport concession and it has taken us 12 months to get adjustment of under payment of wages. In the absence of that Report, is there some officer here who can field some of the questions on this matter?
Mr Tregillis; I anticipated that some questions might be asked on this matter and I hope to be able to satisfy you.
– I am in the hands of the Chairman. Will I hold my questions back until we get on Conciliation and Arbitration or do we define them as Administration on the early part of the game?
CHAIRMAN- The general thing is that traditionally, questions at large can be asked under the Salaries and Payments part of the Appropriation. I leave it to you, Senator. If your questions are appropriately at large you can ask them, if they are more appropriately under Conciliation and Arbitration, keep them until then.
-I have a letter from the Minister on 5 August and overall I notice it states such things as ‘certain payments to persons have been made’ and then it says ‘a substantial sum has been lodged with the collector of public monies’. Can we be more specific and indicate the amount of money that has been paid out and the residue that is with the Collector of Public Monies? How do we check people; how do we go on in that situation?
Mr Tregillis;The advice I have on this is that the Commonwealth Arbitration Inspectorate has completed its investigation of the observance by James Richardson of the duty free international airports stores award in relation to persons employed by the company at Kingsford-Smith international Airport and in relation to persons employed by the company at two shops it operates in Sydney. Taking first of all the persons employed at Kingsford-Smith Airport: Except for one employee whom the company contends was not employed under the award, the company has complied with the Inspectorate’s invitation to make good all under payments and that amounts to some $39,6 1 4.
-Senator Durack and I had a letter for a solicitor who claimed that $25,000 was an exaggeration. Are you saying that it is $39,000?
JAMES RICHARDSON PTY LTD MR BEVERIDGE
I understand that Mr Tregillis has asked for a note concerning investigations made by the Arbitration Inspectorate into the above Company’s operations in States other than New South Wales. Apparently a question on this matter was asked by Senator Mulvihill during consideration by the Senate Estimates Committee of the departmental estimates.
In addition to its operations in New South Wales, the Company has a duty free shop at Perth International Airport and a shop in the City of Perth. It also has a duty free shop at Tullamarine Airport and a shop in the City of Melbourne. Until December 1975, it operated a duty free shop at Brisbane International Airport.
The Company’s operations in Penh were investigated in January 1977 by the Perth Inspectorate which recovered a total of $470. 10 from the Company.
An investigation of the Company’s observance of the Awards operative prior to 3 1 March 1977 at its Tullamarine Airport operations has been completed. The investigation disclosed that the Company had complied with all of the provisions of the Awards. The investigation has been extended to encompass the new Award which was handed down on 3 1 March 1977. On completion of this investigation the Melbourne Inspectorate intends to carry out an inspection at the shop operated in Collins Street, Melbourne.
The Brisbane Inspectorate conducted an investigation of the Company’s Brisbane Airport operation in November/December 1975 and recovered $1,958.20 on behalf of persons who had been employed by the Company at the Airport prior to December 1975 when the Company ceased operating at the Airport.
Principal Executive Officer 1 6 September 1977 Arbitration Inspectorate
-I believe that we have to be far more effective in manpower controls and that the fragmentation between the Department of Productivity and the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations is unsatisfactory. At a time when we are talking about penal clauses, I believe that we ought to look at that situation. It has a relationship to the comments made by Senator Sheil about whether a docile, meek African population would get emancipation any quicker under white governments in Africa without militant displays. On the other side of the coin, I apply that to trade unions who are not engaged in strike activity, and I instance the case of the shop assistants’ union and how effective the law can be in protecting them on award observances. Beyond that, I can say only that we have reached a very crucial stage.
There are always these cries for wage restraint. I have never forgotten the time when, early in the life of the Whitlam Government, we sought here powers for price and income restraint. Regrettably, the front bench of the then Opposition, for cheap political advantage, advocated a No vote. Such powers might otherwise have been achieved but they were not. I know there were reservations in the trade union movement. But whatever difficulties we had were compounded. Whatever honourable senators opposite say about our not looking ahead, we were aware that there were world wide economic trends that were going to prove disastrous. They are still with us. I hope the advice I have given will be accepted. If we are to ensure that the law means something, whether it be in regard to trade union breaches or whether it be in regard to human rights and the United Nations, we should follow an evenhanded course.
– I am not surprised that Senator Mulvihill was keen to talk for some 1 5 minutes or so about the South African and Rhodesian situations, though perhaps he did not intend to do so in the first place. But I can understand that as he sat there and listened to Senator Sheil he felt he should make reference to what had been said. I only want to say that I believe that Senator Sheil, in his statement in this place tonight, has given us a reasonable, responsible and accurate history of the circumstances in South Africa and Rhodesia. He has inferred quite correctly that probably the greatest service that could be carried out in many countries in the Third World in Africa as well as to South Africa and Rhodesia, would be to recognise that there is a move towards real and responsible reform. I believe that Senator Mulvihill indicated that he too agreed that there was a measure of reform, because he quoted the words that too slow a reform breeds revolution. Of course this is so. But I also make the point that it is important to recognise that reform, if it is to be peaceful and if it is to be permanent, has to be of an evolutionary character.
– Do you support Senator Shell’s fascist utterances?
– What I am saying is that we would probably be doing a greater service to the countries in Africa if we recognised their integration with the South African-Rhodesian circumstance and if we recognised that only as a unit can they ultimately survive and prosper. The holocaust that may well otherwise occur in which scores of thousands of white and black Africans may die could serve nobody’s purpose. This is the circumstance to which Senator Sheil was referring. What he said was a balanced and quiet review of the history of those countries.
Mr President, I do not want to continue further along those lines, because in supporting the Budget Papers here tonight and in opposing the amendment I want to confine my remarks to what I hope will be a constructive assessment of this Budget, an assessment which has as its premise the realisation that to be successful- and this is a piece of machinery, if you like, which can be extremely relevant to the recovery of this country, a recovery affecting all the people in this country- it has to have behind it the will of the people. This is my first matter of concern. Since this debate opened several weeks ago, right from the opening Opposition speech of Senator Wriedt, the basic contribution of the Opposition has been to distort and to confuse. The point I make is that there is one certain way of causing this Budget or any budget or any piece of legislation to fail and that is to confuse people continually and to distort issues; in other words, not to do as Australians are wont to do- to give it a go. I suggest that the way in which this document, this mechanism, should be looked at from the Australian point of view is as something that has within it the capacity to bring a real measure of survival, affluence and growth to this society and to this economy. Therefore I deplore the attitude which is found not only in the Opposition but also to some measure in the media and to some measure in a very small minority, but a radical and vociferous minority, in trade unions who seem to be absolutely dedicated to distorting and destroying the Budget’s capacity to serve the purpose that I believe it certainly can serve and will serve in this community.
The will of Australians is something which perhaps has been more typical of the Australian character than any other single thing. Australians, since they came to this country, have been confronted by all sorts of problems relative to topography, relative to climate, relative to distance, markets and so on. They have sought to overcome those problems by implementing a will and a determination. I am sure that given a chance and a measure of encouragement to use this particular Budget to overcome the problems that have been building up and confronting them for some four or five years now, they would use that will and determination. I believe that perhaps of all the contributions of the socialist years to this country, the most serious and damaging was the damage done to the will and the character of many Australians. Under the guise of some sort of socialist super-mother or whatever, they lost their determination in some real measure to come to grips with problems and basically to solve them for themselves. They lost the realisation that government is the servant and not the master of the people. They have somehow come to believe that a government alone can solve all their problems.
– Not this Government.
-Well, Senator, your Government could certainly create them. I can recall Senator Button and various other members of the Opposition from time to time constantly suggesting or inferring that we were in the 19th century and that there was a worker-boss confrontation referable to that century. Of course that is a damaging concept and an untrue concept. I am saying here tonight that all Australians are beholden to make sure that they recognise that we have grown in the area of industrial relations, that we have grown vastly in the area of mechanisation in the last 100 to 150 years and that we have reached a sophisticated level at which we can, must and will solve the problems that confront us.
There is no doubt that no government of any political colour and certainly not one of a left or pinkish colour can legislate for some sort of Utopia. We have had evidence of that over the past three or four years. The sooner we recognise that, the sooner we determine that this Budget has the capacity to solve most of our problems and the sooner we get behind it, the sooner we will be successful in meeting and overcoming those problems. In spite of the Opposition, the past 2 1 or 22 months and this Budget have, I believe, given reason to generate the sort of will I feel Australians have lost temporarily. We saw evidence of that when it was suggested by the Commonwealth and all State governments some few months ago that we should, in the course of solving our problems, try to implement a voluntary price-wage freeze. That was accepted by all governments and it was immediately accepted with enthusiasm by the great mass of Australians. Suddenly that latent determination in Australians to solve their own problems was given a real fillip. They felt they had an opportunity to come to grips with the problems and to solve them. Regrettably, the leader of the trade union movement refused even to accept the suggestion in principle. Just as quickly the three Labor governments around Australia withdrew their support and the price-wage freeze, although in some measures successful, was certainly not as successful as it gave every indication of being. Australians lost that measure of enthusiasm and determination that ultimately will be essential if we are going to reach the sort of potential that we have in this country.
There is reason to generate that willpower in Australians again. I think of only two or three matters that should lead to that generation. I refer to the fact that the rate of inflation in this country is slowing down significantly. In less than 15 months it has fallen by 33Vs per cent. That is certainly a significant fall. The federalist policy, which the Opposition from time to time seems to enjoy scoffing at, unfortunately for the Opposition gives evidence of being highly successful. Around Australia today the States are bringing down balanced Budgets. They are able to cut taxation. They are able to meet the various demands in important areas. In the Victorian Budget no less than a 12.3 per cent increase in expenditure on education was made possible at the same time as that Government was able to abolish estate duty, as it has been abolished in Queensland and as the Premier of Western Australia has undertaken to do within the life of his present Government.
I turn to another matter that is relative to the recovery of this economy. I use the word expansion because there are many people, economists, members of the Opposition and journalists in general who say that the way out of the problems that confront Australia is the adoption of an expansionary policy. That seems to infer merely the pumping of masses of money into the economy. It seems to infer an injection of funds basically into the public sector. There is another sort of expansion, another sort of expansionary exercise, with which we must grapple. I believe this Budget does grapple with it. It is an expansion that is relative to confidence. There is no economy on earth that will grow to whatever potential it has unless there can be generated within it a real, proper and enthusiastic measure of expansion and confidence. The matter of confidence in the Australian scene is surely relevant to the capacity and determination of the Government to control its debt and to reduce its deficit, a deficit which grew in three socialist years to enormous proportions. That deficit has been brought under control and reduced most significantly. It is absolutely essential that that should be the case because there is no more inflationary circumstance than a continuing and increasing deficit. It is referable to continuing and increasing unemployment; it is referable to instability in an economy. Regrettably, Australia has become an unreliable country in terms of prices and in terms of capacity to deliver the goods. Likewise, these things are relative to that confidence which we have to generate.
Those who ignore the importance of controlling a deficit can only aid those whose business it is to destroy the evolutionary, free, democratic Australian process. I am glad to say that those people in this country are few but they are vociferous and they are in important places. The great mass of Australian unionists, I believe, are slowly recognising that their chances are relative to the control of that small force that seeks to upset the evolutionary process that is the Australian way. There has been and still is a real measure of infiltration. The only and perhaps the best way to control infiltration of this nature is through education. I am not going to speak at length on education in statistical terms in this Budget debate. Others have done this and I am sure that others will do it in future. It is a subject that even statistically is quite attractive to talk about in the context of this Budget. I am going to talk about education just for a moment to suggest that it has to be relative to the end product if it is going to provide the sort of braking force that is necessary in a democratic society. We must recognise in education not merely a yardstick which means how many million dollars was spent or what facilities were provided. Of course, they are important but they are not the only or even perhaps even the basic yardstick. The basic yardstick of education in a free society surely must be its ability to produce at the end of the tunnel people who are prepared, willing, able and keen to amass details and facts and, having done that, to analyse them. It is only then by that analytical process that we really have the capacity to survive and to develop as a free democratic society.
We have to recognise, defend and promote those things that are basic to the society which we have evolved in Australia, the basic cornerstones of a free democracy. They are relative to the security and dignity of the family unit; they are relative to equality of opportunity; they are relative to an acceptance of the profit motive within the law as being something that satisfies human nature more closely than anything else yet devised. They are relative also to a recognition that freedom is a meaningless circumstance unless it is freedom within a measure of restraint, within a measure of discipline, a discipline which is the discipline of the majority. Whilst we recognise in a free society the tremendous importance of pure theories, whether they be economic, social or whatever, we must recognise also the dangers of becoming pawns to ivory towered conceptions, the dangers of assuming that we can solve our problems with a totally laboratory type outlook and that the answers are all in the text books because we are talking about human beings. The answers are not all in the text books. The sooner we recognise this and direct legislation in a direction which recognises that, the sooner we are going to be successful in reaching the potential that we have in this country.
I believe that the Budget places accent on the Government in its capacity as the servant of the people and not the master of the people. It tends to develop initiative. It tends to bring back reward for initiative. It tends to bring back a measure of reward for thrift. Insofar as it does those things it is basic to the continuing development and survival of a free society. In that context, I digress for just a moment to mention that although there has been significant reform in this Budget, it is my hope that one area of taxation will be attacked by the Government in the near future- perhaps in the next Budget if not before that. I refer to the area of estate duty, which I mentioned quite recently when I referred to some States having seen fit and being able to abolish it.
I want again to place it on record that this tax is an area of great importance for taxation reform not only because it is an expensive tax, not only because in the federal field it does not produce a significant amount of money, not only because it tends to destroy economic units and to dismember economic units and not only because it tends to drive away from all nature of industries, particularly basic industries, generations of knowledge and expertise but also because it is a bad tax which has to be removed as it tends to cause a significant amount of liquidity to occur in the country which should be devoted to a longterm developmental investment circumstance- a circumstance that will produce jobs and a circumstance that will be relative to productivity.
– You are getting too trendy. It has been going for years,
-I know that Senator Button loves to listen to himself. His time will come. Having said that I turn to the situation in Australia from another point of view. I look to Australia as being literally and metaphorically speaking a land of vast horizons. Australia has an enormous resources potential. I believe that it is absolutely essential that we should develop those resources to their maximum for two reasons- firstly, for the affluence of every Australian as an individual and, secondly, for the affluence of Australia itself as a country in order that it can and will, as indeed it must, make a tremendous contribution to the developing world and to the world in general around it. This
Budget encourages the use and development of the immense and varied resources of this country. I say again that, in the light of the necessity to do these things, Australians should beware of the radical, even if relatively small, element in the trade union leadership that has succeeded over the years in virtually exporting jobs for this country, exporting development capital and hastening the introduction of sophisticated machinery and equipment which, of its very nature, slows down the re-employment process and which has threatened markets, both established and establishing. That is a circumstance that no Australian, no matter what his capacity, can afford to have around him. The market situation alone has seen the loss of a significant wheat market in Chile- worth between $6m and $10m. In the market situation we have seen a dangerous position occur referable to Indonesia. In the Middle East today there has been developed a most exciting market in relation to the livestock industry which again is being threatened from time to time. Of course, there is also the threat over the export of uranium. I repeat that all the people who live in this country cannot afford to deny an opporutnity to develop and use all those assets to the full.
– Regardless of the consequences?
– Not regardless of the conse- quences; because of them. I return very briefly to e objects of the Budget which is under discussion tonight. The Budget seeks to promote and maintain the underlying trend in lowering inflation. It seeks to promote a moderate and non-inflationary rate of growth. It lowers taxation and increases the reward for initiative and consequently is relevant to productivity. It seeks to conserve and develop our national energy resources. It also seeks to apply the maximum care to those areas where there is the maximum need.
I shall resort for a moment to the use of a few statistics which I believe are relevant to the significance of this Budget. I have already mentioned in general the need to control and lower the deficit. That, as I have mentioned, is relevant to the establishment once again of confidence. Unless we do that there is no way in which we will be able to overcome the unemployment situation with any measure of permanence. The only real solution to the unemployment situation in this country is to be found not in superficial short time exercises but in legislating to create an economy in our society which is determined to get on with the job of production so that industry and commerce literally seek to employ people. That is where permanence is to be found. That and only that is where the solution to the unemployment problem is to be found.
The deficit has been reduced by well over $500m annually since this Government came to office less than two years ago. That has happened in spite of most dramatic changes in the way of indexation, reform and cuts in the taxation field. I repeat that there has been a reduction in the Budget deficit of more than $500m annually. I believe that that has been a significant contribution to the re-establishment of a measure of confidence in our economy. In the 1976-77 financial year the consumer price index rose by 10.2 per cent compared with the situation in the previous 12 months when there was a rise of 1 5.4 per cent.
That, of course, is a dramatic change and I do not need to expand on it, but I will make reference to the CPI from a number of points of view. It is my view that the CPI would serve a much greater purpose if it were not to be established at three-monthly periods. I believe that permanence, stability and confidence must be relative to a longer period than three months. Secondly, I believe that the CPI places far too much emphasis on relatively few products that tend to diverge in price quite dramatically and have a totally unrealistic effect on the real cost situation in this country. Thirdly, I believe that it fails to take cognisance of the fact that demand itself changes in character. Consequently the purchasing power of people is not relative purely and simply to a statistic because demand itself is a changing fabric. I believe that we have to recognise that and that the sooner we do so the better.
The strategy of this Budget has been exposed on a number of occasions. It has two basic facets- to restrain public expenditure and to revitalise the private sector. All around the world in all the developed countries, that strategy is recognised and acclaimed as the correct strategy. It is the strategy of this Budget. It can fail only if the people themselves allow it to fail. I believe that is a significant circumstance which is made a danger by the attitude of Senator Wriedt and most of those who have followed him in this debate, who seem to take the view referable to this Budget that the only constructive or responsible thing to do is to distort it and to create mistrust, deception and doubt. Those are the very circumstances and I would say the only circumstances that can destroy its capacity to deliver this country into a period in which its real potential for its citizens and for its place in the world will be achieved.
I do not intend to go into detail through the various areas of this Budget, but there are a number of statistics of which it is worth reminding the Senate. In the area of social security I did make a note that Senator Coleman accused this Government of being one of the most conservative governments of all time. We have just increased social security and social service payments by 13 per cent. Social security and social service expenditure involves 56 per cent of the total personal income tax in this country and 27 per cent of the total revenue. Yet Senator Coleman says that we are the most conservative government. That is an extraordinary definition of conservatism. On education we have spent $2.37 billion. In health expenditure we have in fact already cut out a great measure of waste and I believe that ultimately the community will recognise it. Health expenditure alone is $2.8 billion. The defence allocation is $2.4 billion. In overseas aid there has been an increase of 12 per cent or $426m. I believe it is correct that that sort of increase should be so, but it is hardly the action of a conservative government. The fact that we are increasing overseas aid highlights the responsibility of the Budget and the long term attitude of this Government itself. Unless there is a continuing and increasing measure of overseas aid, unless there is a significant economic and social development of the undeveloped world then, of course, the ultimate future of the developed world is at stake. That is a program that has to be applauded and it is certainly not related to the traditional concept of conservatism.
In transport and communication the Government has once again, two budgets in a row, not increased postal or telephonic charges. I seem to recall that postal charges were increased from something like 7c to 18c in three years of the socialist regime. For the second time we have not increased indirect taxation. There has been no increase in taxes on beer, tobacco, cigarettes and spirits for the second time since the last LiberalCountry Party Government in 1972. There has been no increase in air navigation charges. There has been no reintroduction of television and radio licence charges. In fact, practically every suggestion or prediction of disaster has proved to be utterly and absolutely wrong.
I turn very briefly to rural industry. Our Budget has been attacked by various sources for its effect on rural industry. The most significant thing that can be contributed to rural industry is a continuing and successful attack on inflation. The costs of traditional rural industry in Australia are of immense importance. That industry alone, of all industries in Australia, is dependent from between 65 per cent and 90 per cent on overseas markets. In world trade there is no special consideration for Australian costs. Consequently, the first and most significant attack on behalf of the rural community in this country must continue to be the attack on inflation itself. Other elements of this Budget are significant from a rural point of view. I name only a few. I recall $53m for re-establishment and rural industry adjustment. I recall $3 1.4m for the wool industry research and promotion- an increase in one year in excess of $ 10m. I recall $ 1 5m for the campaign to eradicate tuberculosis and brucellosis in the cattle herd. I recall some $40m to retain the superphosphate bounty and a further $l2m for the nitrogenous fertiliser bounty. The national rural bank is practically here. People may well say: ‘Well, it has taken long enough’. But it is an extremely difficult institution to establish, and it warrants the greatest of care and responsibility in producing something that is to be of real value to the whole of the rural industries.
It was in the very first Budget that this Government made such extraordinarily wide contributions to rural industry. People seem to want to forget about them, especially people on the opposite side of this chamber perhaps and well they may. In the very first few months the first advance for wheat was increased by 20 per cent. The base average price for wool was increased from 250c to 284c, and it was increased not only for 1976-77 but also for 1977-78.I seem to recall some consternation one year about what the price of wool would be and it being decided in the middle of May what the price of wool would be in August. So in fact the Government has contributed a great deal to those basic industries of wheat and wool. It introduced income equalisation deposits. It introduced the investment allowance not only to rural industry but also significantly to the whole range of industry and commerce. So the Government has contributed significantly to the rural sector. Why would it not?
– You have not mentioned the beef industry.
– The beef industry has received considerable attention in the very recent past. As Senator Georges would know, there is no simple and quick solution to an industry which finds itself quite suddenly and unpredictably without the greatest measure of its market. Senator Georges knows that there is no simple, quick solution to that problem. Even carcass cl assification itself is a long term solution and, in terms of months or even 12 months, it is only the beginning.
I go on to refer to the payment to the States in this Budget. I am not going into that in any great detail except to remind the Senate that the States have received an increase of practically 1 7 per cent over the last year’s payments and local government has received in excess of 1 8 per cent. The total that will be paid to the States is the massive sum of $10 billion. Is it any wonder that the States find themselves in an attractive and relatively affluent situation? In the area of taxation, as I said before- I am not going into this in any detail- we have not only introduced indexation fully within one year but we have also made the most significant cuts and reforms in the taxation history of this country. These are reforms that are going to ensure that people are rewarded for extra effort; reforms that are going to develop a real measure of initiative, a real increase in productivity, a real opportunity to develop this country as indeed it should and must be developed. In Australia there are 225,000 people, including many pensioners, who now pay no tax at all and 90 per cent of Australian taxpayers pay no more than a maximum of 32c in the dollar. It is worth remembering that a person receiving up to $16,000 a yearin fact pays 24c in the dollar. The coal export duty has been reduced by another $ 1 a tonne on prime quality coal and 50c a tonne on second grade coal or lower grade coal. This duty is to be totally abolished in 12 months’ time. In the crude oil area we have had to do what no government likes doing. We have had to cause an increase in the price of crude oil in order that we may meet the quite dangerous circumstances in relation to energy that confront this country and not only this country but also the entire world. We have introduced a system of increasing the price of crude oil which consequently will increase the price of petrol by some 10c or11ca gallon. It might be worth saying that in retrospect I recall my Leader in the House of Representatives some three or four years ago suggesting that it may well be sensible, in order to keep the rigs working and keep on developing and exploring, to increase the price of crude oil by 40 per cent or the price of petrol by 2c a gallon, but that was not good enough then. Today it is accepted that this as minimum should be our contribution and indeed it is. If honourable senators go around the countryside crying about 10c or 1 lc- indeed there are many who will- remember, as I seem to recall, that in three years of socialist administration something like 15c as added to the price of a gallon of petrol for no other reason than to increase revenue.
I suggest that this Budget gives ground for cautious optimism. I suggest that it builds sensibly on what was started in 1 976-77. It grapples with the deficit. It grapples with the energy problem realistically. It grapples effectively with tax and with initiative. These matters are the prerequisites of success. They are basic to this Budget. They are basic to the success of this country. Because the Opposition is somewhat dramatically opposed to our contribution in the tax field I recall to the minds of honourable senators that in the three years of socialism the tax grab increased by 89 per cent.
I believe that the Budget Papers are worthy of support from all sides in the community and I make the point again that their success is dependent not only on the legislation itself but also on the determination of Australians not to keep on knocking it, not to keep on confusing matters and on the determination of Australians to get on with the job and to make work a mechanism that has the ingredients within it to produce an affluence for all Australians and for Australia itself. I support the Budget Papers and I wholeheartedly oppose the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Wriedt).
-The Senate is debating the Budget Papers for 1977-78. 1 rise to support the amendment that has been moved by my Leader, Senator Wriedt. The thrust of what Senator Scott has just been saying, insofar as there was a discernible thrust, was something to the effect that the Budget would succeed if people kept saying that it was going to succeed. I suggest to the Senate that this rather pathetic plea by Senator Scott, who has just resumed his seat, comes a little too late. The Budget, which was announced a few weeks ago, is already a failure. The Budget has been judged to be a failure not only by the informed members of the Opposition but also by virtually every economic writer in Australia. It has been judged to be a failure by business, by the rural sector, by the manufacturing sector and virtually every other sector of industry that one would care to mention. So there is no point to the pathetic plea of Senator Scott that we should start saying that the Budget will be a success, that we should start manifesting some neo.Neitzschean triumph of the will complex in order to make it a success. It is a failure.
I rise tonight not to establish that the Budget is a failure but rather to draw the attention of the
Senate and of the public to some of the more notable omissions and inadequacies in the Budget that has been brought down in this session of Parliament. In the Budget Speech the Treasurer (Mr Lynch) said:
This Budget sets the nation first; it recognises that there must be a fair sharing of the burdens and responsibilities, and a fair sharing of rewards.
I suggest that never was a statement so inappropriately phrased, never was a statement so inaccurate and misleading as that statement made by the Treasurer in his Budget Speech. This Budget sets the nation first’, he said. I suggest that it is quite clear that the Budget does not set the nation anywhere very important at all. What the Budget sets first is the Government and the Government’s supporters own preoccupations, own prejudices with regard to public expenditure and private enterprise. What the Budget sets first clearly is the need to reduce the deficit- the familiar pre-occupation which has dominated all the Government’s thinking since it took power in November 1975. The Treasurer also claimed that he recognises, that the Government recognises or somebody recognises that there must be a fair sharing of the burdens and responsibilities and a fair sharing of the rewards. Well, let us look at what sort of sharing there is of the burden that has been brought on to this nation by this Budget.
The main burden, the worst burden, the scandalous burden under which the country is suffering is the burden of unemployment, but is it evenly shared throughout the community? Quite clearly it is not. If honourable senators opposite look at the overall statistics on unemployment they will find a figure approaching something like 7 per cent. If they look at the areas where unemployment is concentrated they will find a very uneven distribution of unemployment. For example, if they look at rural unemployment they will find the figure is very much higher than 7 per cent. They will find the figure approaches something like 15 per cent. If they break down that figure and look at rural youth unemployment they will find the figure is something like 1 8 per cent. If they look at the percentage of rural girls unemployed they will find it is something over 20 per cent, and so it goes on. In the cities they will find that in respect of migrant girls the unemployment is something like 16 per cent or 17 per cent. On the other hand, if we could get figures on unemployment amongst, say, doctors, lawyers, company directors or other groups which may be better represented by the Government than by the Opposition, we could find virtually no unemployment. It is absolutely ludicrous to claim that the burdens of the Budget are shared equally.
Similarly it is absurd to claim that the rewards, such as they are, are shared throughout the community. Clearly, there are rewards in the Budget for companies. There are rewards like the capital investment tax and the lifting of the coal levy which is a wonderful reward to companies like the Utah Development Company. But where are the rewards for the small businessmen? Where are the rewards for the person who is selfemployed on a small scale? Where are the rewards for the low skilled or unskilled workers who have worked so long in areas like manufacturing which is now suffering so badly? There are no rewards for them; there are only burdens.
I found the way in which the Budget Speech was set out to be quite ironical. After the Treasurer claimed to have solved virtually all the problems of Australia by reducing the deficit, he then set out what was called a record of achievement. I would like to draw the attention of the Senate to some of the more notable aspects of the record of this Government whilst in office. The first I have mentioned already; that is unemployment. I find it absolutely scandalous that supporters of the Government can rise in the Senate chamber and talk with pride and optimism about what a wonderful job the Government has done at a time when we have the worst unemployment we have had in this country since the Depression. Of course, in some areas, as I have pointed out already, the unemployment is as great as it was in some areas during the Depression. Despite this appalling fact and this absolutely convincing manifestation of the economic incompetence of this Government, we still find Government supporters rising to their feet and claiming proudly that there has been a significant achievement in the area of economic management in this country.
The position is bad not only in respect to unemployment. If we look at the areas of economic activity which until recently had contributed significantly to Australia’s prosperity, we find that they too have suffered drastically and fared very badly during the period of this Government and will, of course, suffer worse as a result of the Budget. For example, I refer to manufacturing industry. The manufacturing industry sector is a sector with which one would expect a free enterprise government to be concerned. One would expect a government which claimed to represent business and the commercial sector to have some ideas about this area. But instead, we find manufacturing industry in a state of complete collapse. Over 100,000 jobs in manufacturing industries have been lost in the last 12 months alone. Of course, those jobs have gone elsewhere. They have gone out of Australia. There has been no constructive strategy whereby manufacturing in Australia has been made more viable, where jobs have been retained or where, to put it in the terms the Government is most interested in, profits have been maintained.
Similarly, there has been a collapse of the rural sector. I was interested to hear Senator Scott speak with great optimism about the establishment of the Rural Bank. It would appear that that particular initiative has come very late in the day for many sectors of rural industries. It would seem that all around the world markets for our rural products are closing up. The Government is absolutely powerless to do anything about this. Similarly, its attempts to go out, find and create new markets for the products of the rural sector have failed completely. The emergence of groups such as the Cattlemen’s Union with its extremely vociferous criticism of the rural strategies of the Government is evidence in itself of the total failure of the Government to do anything at all to prevent or to slow down the collapse of the rural sector.
There is also the very well documented and current failure of the Australian Government to protect the value of the Australian dollar. It is quite amazing that a government based on the philosophy of the free enterprise system has been so inept at managing industry in any sector throughout Australia. The Government has failed completely and there is nothing in the Budget to indicate any positive strategies for restructuring the Australian economy or any positive strategies for creating viable national activities. Certainly, some strategies have succeeded in some ways. It has always been an avowed objective of the Fraser Government to increase profits. Indeed, profits have been increased in some areas. The Treasurer states in the Budget Speech that company profits have increased by 23.5 per cent. I guess that he should know. But despite the fact that company profits have been increasedsome companies have recorded a very marked increase in their profit levels- there has been no improvement in the employment situation.
We were told by Government spokesmen when the Government was first elected that it was necessary to improve profits so that unemployment would decrease. We were told that with the increase in profits would come more jobs, more opportunities and so on. But what has happened? Company profits have soared- up by 23.5 per cent overall according to the Treasurerand unemployment has become worse. So that particular strategy has been a complete failure for the nation, although I suppose that it was a success for the shareholders and directors of those companies whose profits have increased.
Another strategy of the Government in which it has succeeded in the short term is the reduction of wages. The Treasurer stated, again in his Budget Speech, that wage restraint is crucial. I ask: Crucial to what? Perhaps it is crucial to increases in profits. Wage restraint has been achieved in Australia. There has been an erosion of wage indexation. There has been a drop in real wages and in the real consumption power of wages. Yet what has happened? Productivity has not increased. How can it? The logic of the Government escapes me when it claims that by reducing real wages, that by reducing the amount of money that the wage earner has to spend, somehow the economy will improve, somehow consumption will increase and that demand will lead to increased productivity.
Again, whilst the Government has succeeded in restraining wages, it has done nothing about improving productivity. So, it is clear to see that the preoccupation of the Government with the reduction of the deficit is still pre-eminent. It is really the only overall strategy that the Government has developed. I suppose in a sense it has reduced the deficit, although there seems to be varying interpretations about exactly what the deficit stands at today. It has reduced the deficit on paper at least. It has not reduced unemployment. It has not increased productivity. In fact, the Budget is not a plan for the better economic management of the country from anyone’s point of view. It is a Budget -
– It is not a plan at all.
– It is not a plan at all, as my colleague, Senator McAuliffe, says. The Budget is merely a document reflecting the biases and prejudices of this Government and its supporters rather than any real concern for what is happening in Australia today. There are so many omissions, failures, inadequacies and misleading statements in the Budget that I certainly do not have time in this brief intervention in the Budget debate to go through them all. But I would draw the attention of the Senate to some of them in order to illustrate just what sort of a Budget with which we are faced. I will take the example of legal aid. The Treasurer announced a $ 19.6m allocation for legal aid and claimed that that would maintain legal aid services at their present levels. Today in the Canberra Times there is a report that already, just a few weeks after the Budget has been brought down, legal aid offices are running out of money. I quote briefly from the report in the Canberra Times:
Legal-aid bodies throughout Australia have been told to strictly apply means-test guidelines until monthly expenditure fits into budget and overspending for the first two months of this financial year is picked up.
In each of August and September, the bodies committed about 10 per cent more than the Sim a month allocated to legal aid in the August Budget.
The report goes on to quote what the director of the Australian Legal Aid Office, Mr J. P. Harkins, had to say. He said:
Already, not two months after the Budget has been brought down, the deception in the claim of the Treasurer that legal aid services would be maintained is revealed. Members of the Opposition said at the time of the debate on the setting up of the Australian Legal Aid Commission that the success of any legal aid program in Australia would depend on a government’s willingness to put sufficient financial resources into it. Clearly this Government has not been prepared to do that. Already the amount of money allocated to legal aid is running out. Now there is a direction to impose the guidelines strictly. I remind those honourable senators who are not familiar with the guidelines for legal aid that they are very strigent guidelines indeed. To qualify for legal aid under the guidelines a person may have only $40 a week left after expenditure on rent and a few other essential items. Under the guidelines only people living in real poverty have access to legal aid. What about all the people who are just above that $40 a week limit? They have no possible chance of engaging private legal assistance if they need it, and they will now miss out on legal aid altogether. We heard quite a few remarks from the previous speaker in this debate, Senator Scott, about the importance of freedom, equality of opportunity and things of that kind. I suggest to the Senate that one of the basic equalities that characterises a truly democratic system is equality of access to the law and equality under the law. The failure of the Fraser Government to provide adequate funds for legal aid makes a mockery of the claim of equality before the law and equality under the law in the present circumstances.
Similarly, in the area of education funding there has been an abrogation of federal responsibility at every level. The burden for the major funding of education- that is with respect to the funding of school education, pre-school education and child care education- has been put back on the States. With regard to tertiary education, of course, there has been virtually a nogrowth situation. Not only that, but the promises of the Minister for Education (Senator Carrick) with regard to a rolling triennium and the 2 per cent real growth in this sector have been broken. I do not need to refer again to the criticisms from the various commissions and various vicechancellors as evidence that that commitment has been broken, that planning has been destroyed and that, of course, access to higher education and, indeed, access to quality primary and secondary education will be significantly reduced as a result of the Budget.
If we look at other areas of special need we find that in every case the Government is abrogating its responsibility as a national government, as a federal government. I refer to the example of the funding of women’s refuges. This matter has been raised by Opposition senators on many occasions in this chamber but unfortunately we have raised it to no avail. Women’s refuges throughout Australia are still without the commitment of a federal properly funded program for their support. What has happened is that there has been a 25 per cent drop in the Commonwealth’s contribution to capital costs of existing funded refuges and a 1 5 per cent drop in the Commonwealth’s contribution to operating costs. There is no guarantee of funding. Funding for refuges are just indicated by the Government to be a part of the funding to States under the community health program. The Government states that it considers the funding of refuges to be a matter of the highest importance but it has stopped short of direct funding and has left it to the people who run the refuges to turn around and start to negotiate their future with State governments. This is a particularly callous and indefensible action on the part of the Government since the Government is very well aware of the difficulties involved in running refuges. The Government is very well aware of how much work the co-ordinators and convenors of refuges have already done in order to establish their financial needs. But now they are told to rephrase their case, to do all that work again to see whether they can get something out of the State governments. This Government hopes that they will get something out of the State governments. The failure of the Government to set up a national refuge program is a very serious failure indeed.
When we look at the area of children’s services we find that this year’s allocation of $73.3m is the same amount as last year but, of course, in real terms it is a reduction. The allocation for this financial year has been described as an increase of $6.2m over last year’s actual expenditure of $6.7 lm. But, of course, that $6.2m is already committed to projects which were undertaken last year and cannot be interpreted as a real increase in any way. The limitations on funds for capital grants in the area of children’s services means that there will virtually be no new community based child care projects. So, despite the huge areas of need, there will be no money to meet any new projects. I draw the Senate ‘s attention to the extent of need in the area of child care. I refer to a publication of the Australian Bureau of Statistics of 8 November 1977 which gives these figures: 222,000 children under 12 years of age not attending school were the responsibility of persons who worked away from home.
That is more than a quarter of a million Australian children need some form of child care services. The publication continues:
Of these 42 per cent were looked after at home by the responsible persons’ spouse or some other person; 34 per cent were being cared for in other persons’ homes; and 16 per cent attended kindergartens, pre-schools, child care centres, etc.
Those figures indicate clearly that there is a very vast need for children’s services- not only for the children of working parents but also for children in many circumstances- which is not being met and which will not be met from the allocation in this Budget. If we look at the situation of the supporting mothers benefit- I use that term advisedly because the Government refused to extend the benefit to supporting fathers despite the overwhelming evidence of the difficult circumstances in which many single fathers find themselves- we find that there has been no increase in the allowance per child for the supporting mother. The allowance per child is still $7.50 per week, which is what is was in 1975. Similarly, the $6 per week mother’s allowance has remained unchanged since 1973. The family allowance of which the Government purports to be so proud has not been indexed at all. There has been no increase in the family allowancethat is the allowance which was substituted for the previous child endowment payments.
In the area of job training very little has been included in the Budget. The allocation for the Trade Union Training Authority has suffered a cut. The sum of $2,145,000 was spent on the Authority in 1976-77 and only $1,733,000 has been allocated for it in 1977-78. This, of course, is an important new area for providing assistance to workers and to people involved in the trade union movement. Yet its allocation has now suffered a severe cut. Similarly, the allocation for the apprenticeship training scheme has been reduced by $1.6m. There has been only a very modest increase in the allocation for the National Employment and Training scheme. Certainly the figure allocated is nowhere near adequate to provide opportunities for training and retraining people who have been sacked, people who have become unemployed because of the recession or people who leave school without adequate vocational skills.
At this point of the debate I should like to turn to the electorate that I represent, the Australian Capital Territory. I think that if we look at what has happened in the Australian Capital Territory since the election of the Fraser Government we can see very clearly how inept the Government is at economic management, how prejudiced it is when it encounters the public sector and how obtruse the Government remains about the real relationship between the public and the private sectors. The Australian Capital Territory has almost turned into a ghost town as a result of the actions of the Government.
– Are you haunting it?
-No. I think that Senator Withers is haunting it, perhaps with his leader and the Treasurer (Mr Lynch). The unemployment figures are a disgrace. Nearly 4,000 people are registered as being unemployed.
– How many homes are for sale?
-Senator McAuliffe draws my attention to the number of homes that are on the market for sale. As honourable senators will recall, a couple of years ago it was almost impossible to buy or to rent a house in the Australian Capital Territory because of the expansion and the growth of the Territory and the inflow of persons into it. The situation now is totally the reverse. People are leaving the Australian Capital Territory as fast as they can. People who have work opportunities elsewhere are leaving and hundreds of homes are now lying empty.
I mention the registered unemployed figures. We know that those figures represent a mere fraction of the true situation. For example there is extensive unemployment amongst married women who are not registered as unemployed but who are anxious to seek jobs. I refer to an article in the Age of 1 5 August 1977 by Lyndsay Connors. She describes a situation where 1,000 women applied for 80 jobs recently advertised by the Public Service Board. The jobs were ancillary staff positions in schools. I think the fact that 1,000 women turned up to seek 80 jobs demonstrates something of the extent of unemployment amongst married women in the Australian Capital Territory. This unemployment is not reflected in the Commonwealth Employment Service statistics.
One of the causes of unemployment has been the Government’s relentless pursuit to reduce the size of the Public Service. The Government still seems to be of the opinion that by arbitrarily reducing the number of persons in Commonwealth employment it is doing something for the economy. The number of public servants employed has fallen by 12,500 in the last 12 months. Not all of this reduction has been in Canberra but a large proportion of it is concentrated here. We were informed in the Budget Speech that another 3,000 jobs in the Public Service are to go. There is no economic sense in this policy. There is no indication at all that there has been any economic benefit from this ad hoc across the board reduction of jobs. Certainly we can see that an increase in unemployment has paralleled this reduction.
– It does not matter about the deficit, does it?
– I think Senator Missen has only recently come into the chamber. I made some comments on the deficit earlier. The increase in unemployment and the reduction of employment opportunities in the public sector have had a devastating effect on the private sector. There is no better example of this than what has happened in the building industry. The building industry in the Australian Capital Territory although largely a private enterprise concern was very closely related to government and to government projects.
If we look at what has happened in the government housing area which was one of the mainstays of the building and construction industry here we find that the situation is disastrous. This year only 200 new residential units will be commenced. This is the lowest number ever in the history of the Territory. I will give figures for three financial years in order to demonstrate what a drastic reduction there has been in the home building sector of the building and construction industry. In 1976-77, 862 units were completed. In 1977-78 only 550 will be completed. In 1978-79 only 200 units will be completed. Honourable senators ought to be able to understand the implications of this situation for other areas of construction. I refer for example to the effect on the intake of apprentices and the effect of the wholesale and retail firms that deal in building materials. The whole situation has collapsed. It is true- the Government may care to argue- that housing requirements have been reduced in the last couple of years. Housing requirements have been reduced. Because of the Government’s policies of creating unemployment in the Territory, of destroying the building industry and of reducing the size of the Public Service, people are leaving the Territory if they have any opportunity to do so. School leavers and graduates from tertiary institutions are leaving the Territory if they can find work elsewhere. Indeed there is a reduction in the demand for houses.
There are other reasons that there is a reduced demand for housing. One, of course, is that the cost of housing has increased. This situation has created a number of anomalies. As honourable senators will be aware, rents on government housing are now higher in the Australian Capital Territory than ever before. In some cases they are higher than commercial rents. This means that families in economic hardship have the choice of either paying very high rents for the rest of their lives on houses they will never own or seeking to buy the houses they live in. With interest rates so high and the mortgage repayment rates required by the Department of the Capital Territory under the Minister’s policy so high many families find themselves caught between two stools. They cannot afford to continue to pay rents at high rates for the rest of their lives and they cannot afford to buy the houses. These families, if they have the opportunity, are leaving the Territory.
As well as the onslaught on the two main employers in the Australian Capital Territory, the building and construction industry and the Public Service, there is a notable absence of provision of essential services for the Australian Capital Territory in the Budget. I would like to give an example of what is not happening for the very large migrant groups in the Territory. The Australian Capital Territory has a very large migrant population. Of the people living in the Territory a total of 46,034 are migrants, that is, persons not born in Australia. Of that 46,000 more than 28,000 are not of British birth, that is, they are not English speaking by birth. One can easily imagine that the extent of demand for migrant services is very great. The unfortunate thing is that no services have been provided. No interpreter translator service is provided in the Territory. The 24 hour a day telephone interpreter service which has been established in other capital cities has not been extended to the Territory. Despite the fact that I and other persons in the community who are concerned about this matter have made repeated representations to the Minister for the Capital Territory (Mr Staley) and the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (Mr MacKellar), there is no allocation in the Budget to provide any special services for migrants.
Another area of growing concern in the Australian Capital Territory is drug addiction, particularly amongst the young. I believe that the increase in drug addiction is causally related to the very high unemployment rate amongst the young. There is no properly funded or organised drug treatment or rehabilitation centre in the Territory. Voluntary organisations do various things within the bounds of their very limited resources, but there is no proper rehabilitation service. Again I made representations on this matter to the Minister for the Capital Territory and the Minister for Health, Mr Hunt, before the Budget, but there appears to have been no allocation for an essential service of this kind. The overall situation in the Australian Capital Territory is one of decay. Whereas a couple of years ago the national capital was a thriving, growing and expanding centre providing more and more services to the rest of the nation, a city with many job opportunities for children growing up here, a city with opportunities for people in business and for the whole range of private enterprise, it is now a place with opportunities for virtually no one. That drastic change of events has come about as a result of the deliberate policies of the Fraser Government.
I would like to draw my remarks to a conclusion now and say that the Budget brought down by the Treasurer, Mr Lynch, some weeks ago is already a failure. It is a failure for the nation as a whole. It does nothing to tackle the drastic problems of unemployment. It provides no solutions as to the restructuring of our economy. It is certainly a failure as far as my Territory is concerned. If the strategies in this Budget are continued- I repeat what I said at the outset of my remarks on the Australian Capital Territorythe Territory instead of being the pride of the nation will become a ghost town, simply a commuter town for public servants. That, in my view, would be a great tragedy.
– It was very interesting to listen to Senator Ryan. I was thinking that she really sounded like a female version of Senator Walsh except that the extension into the areas of hyperbole was even a little further than Senator Walsh would venture at times. It is quite clear that Senator Ryan picked up many issues which she deems to be important without getting onto the real theme of the Budget which is aimed at the very casual things which have brought about the circumstances which she seeks to redress. Perhaps I could examine one or two things which the Budget is doing economically in this country at the moment. Senator Ryan claimed that the Budget is a failure, and yet we have observed that it has continued the same strategy which has successfully brought inflation down from 18 per cent in Labor’s last year of office to somewhere around 9 per cent or 10 per cent at the moment. Unemployment was at the level of 360,000 in December 1975 and today it is of the order of 324,000. As for rising unemployment, there is indeed no evidence of that. In fact, in the two years since this Government came to power 120,000 jobs have been created in the private sector.
– No, no.
– How many have been lost?
– It is pretty clear that the Opposition can feel the wounds of the success of the Fraser Government’s policies when it reacts in such a way that it becomes totally unreasonable and unable to see the truth. In fact, Opposition senators would know if they had read this month’s edition of Rydge’s that businessmen see great success for business in the year ahead as a result of the Government’s courageous policies in reducing inflation and getting costs in this country under control in such a way that we are able again to compete with overseas nations. The only way in which we are going to get people back to work is by creating jobs, not by paying unemployment benefits. Costs to business have to be brought down and taxes on business have to be brought down so that it can again start employing people.
Let us look at some of the areas of concern in the community at the moment. I should like to return to my familiar theme on small business. That area is one which, during the Labor Government’s period of office, suffered extensively at the hands of the Hayden Budget in 1 975 and the Cairns and Crean Budgets before that. The imposition of very heavy taxation during that period led to bankruptcies of great proportions in the small business area.
– They are greater now.
Senator Walters- Mr President, I raise a point of order. Senator Georges is interjecting out of his place.
- Senator Georges, you are out of order.
-Over the last few years small business has been afflicted by one major cause of its financial troubles; that is, the effect of inflation. What has happened effectively is that, because of inflation, businessmen have found it more and more difficult to keep the same volume of goods on their shelves. They have found it more and more difficult to update their plants into the modern era and consequently their efficiency has fallen. In the last year or so there has been a remarkable resurgence in the position of small business brought about, of course, by the major changes in the Budget of 1976. That Budget introduced the 60 per cent retention allowance in respect of Division 7 of the Income Tax Assessment Act. The 40 per cent investment allowance was also introduced in that financial year. That has made a significant difference and has led to a major resurgence of investment in this country in the last financial year. By the way, that resurgence was of the order of 9 per cent in real terms in the last financial year.
The most important change that has occurred in the tax area in the last year is the trading stock valuation adjustment, which in fact has brought tremendous benefit to small companies in the community. As I said, it has provided the opportunity for businessmen to restock their shelves because they have been able to conserve more capital for their businesses out of their own earnings. Previously, due to inflation and the rampant taxes imposed by the previous Government, taxation on those sorts of profits was being channelled into the resources of the Commonwealth and business was not able to keep capital and build upon itself. In the last financial year there has been a tremendous change in that area. In fact, I have had contact in the last week or so with accountants and business people in Adelaide who have been amazed at the generosity of the Fraser Government in respect of the trading stock valuation adjustment. It has given them significant tax savings which they did not anticipate until they actually got down to compiling their taxation returns for this financial year. We have also seen the results with larger companies which have received the same sorts of benefits.
Senator Ryan made the point that profits is in some way a dirty word. In fact, during its period in office Labor made sure that that was so. Profits fell from something like 15 per cent of gross national product to something like 10 per cent or 1 1 per cent in 1974-75. In real terms profits were negative when those sorts of adjustments were taken into account. What business, small or large, is going to invest in new products and techniques and employ more people unless it can see a return at the end of the year? Obviously no business will do that, and that was one of the fundamental reasons for the creation of 360,000 unemployed in this country by the Labor Government.
– Nonsense! There were not that many under Labor. It is under your Government.
-Senator McLaren provoked me greatly on the last occasion on which I spoke on this matter. I do not intend to be provoked again by him. On the question of unemployment, it is pretty obvious that members of the Labor Opposition enjoy dancing on the graves of the unemployed. In fact, they take every opportunity to create a lack of confidence in the community in order to put more people on to the dole queues. Statements have emanated from the shadow Treasurer, Mr Hayden, concerning the exchange rate, and that is typical of the Labor Party’s approach. But there is only one way in which we are going to solve the unemployment problem and that is by making sure that jobs are created by existing businesses. The Fraser Government is determined to do that and the things it has done in respect of taxation reform and other measures are aimed in that direction. Senator Ryan said that we concerned ourselves too much with the deficit and not enough with putting people back to work. She failed to recognise that the dollar which increases the deficit has to be found somewhere within the community. It has to be raised either by taxation or by way of borrowing from the community. If it is borrowed from the community it has to be paid for by way of interest rates, and in doing that competition is created against the other people in the community who are competing for funds and interest rates are driven up even higher.
Does Senator McLaren want interest rates in the community to be higher? He does not answer that. Perhaps Senator Ryan does, but that is the logic of the sort of statements that emanate from Opposition senators. They want higher interest rates in the community. They want to make it harder for people to buy houses. They want to make it harder for people to buy consumer goods. That is the logical end of their philosophy, of their statements concerning the expansion of the deficit. That is the only solution they have to offer. I am sorry, that is not quite accurate. In fact there are many different solutions that members of the Opposition have put forward. Some have come from the Perth conference of the Australian Labor Party, some from the two shadow Treasurers who face us, and some from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr E. G. Whitlam). One can never work out where they come from.
Political Prisoners in Thailand
– Order! It being 10.30 p.m., in conformity with the Sessional Order relating to the adjournment of the Senate I put the question:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
- Mr President, I do not intend to delay the Senate for any length of time tonight but I think it is important in this particular week to remind the people in this chamber and in the rest of Australia of an event that is to happen on 7 October, namely, the trial of some 18 people in Thailand. A great deal of information has been provided to members of Parliament and I am quite sure that we are all aware of the SOTUFD-the Sixth October Thai United Front For Democracy- campaign in Victoria that was started some time ago in an endeavour to bring to the attention both of members of parliament and of parliament themselves that an injustice is being done to a number of people. I think it important enough for me to read a Press release from the Friends of the Thai People in Australia which puts the case of Orisa Irawonwut who was captured during the takeover- the coup- in Thailand on 6 October 1976. It reads:
FRIENDS OF THE THAI PEOPLE IN AUSTRALIA 23 Smith Street, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065, Australia Press Release Dear friends who believe injustice and human rights.
We, FRIENDS OF THE THAI PEOPLE IN AUSTRALIA, received letters from Orisa ‘s friends who asked us to begin an international campaign to save Orisa ‘s life.
In the Klongpraim Central Prison in Thailand a political prisoner ORISA IRAWONWUT is dying from injuries received during the military coup that brought to power a military dictatorship in Thailand on 6 October, 19/6. Orisa has consistently been denied medical care and after eight months of this suffering, he cannot feed himself. He has to be fed through plastic tubes passed down his nose by his fellow prisoners who have been taking care of him.
Orisa Irawonwut President of the United Front of Vocational Students for the People, was wounded on 6 October, 1976 while in charge of the head of the security officers of a National Student Centre in Thailand (NSCT) led demonstration. This demonstration was against the return of former dictator Thanom. Orisa was sent by the police to Siriraj Hospital for temporary medical care; he went home and was arrested. He was denied bail and taken to a temporary detention centre. His wound had not healed.
He was next taken to LARDYAO Prison and then to a temporary detention centre at the Police Academy. During all this time he had been denied medical attention. He was next sent to Klongpraim Central Prison which has a good medical clinic but was still denied medical attention. His parents have repeatedly asked the prison authorities for permission to arrange medical care for him from outside the prison but they were denied these requests.
Orisa’s condition is deteriorating rapidly. His chin which had been infected is now decomposing. Even if he was to receive the best medical attention now he is unlikely to be able to talk or eat without assistance Denied medical care he will die in the next few weeks.
We, Friends of the Thai People in Australia, as the coordinator for the Save Orisa’s Life Campaign, demand that:
Orisa be released on bail to receive medical care according to his and his family’s choice’.
We are putting forward this demand because the authorities of the regime has shown their inhumane nature by deliberately prohibiting medical care to Orisa. They have shown that they want to torture him to death, and there is no way their brutality can be changed.
So the only way to save his life is to make sure that he must be given medical care according to his choice.
It is not pleasant to have to read a document like that to the Australian Senate because in Australia we are comparatively free from dictatorship, although some of my friends who live in other States may disagree with me entirely. But I think we also have to express concern at a time like this as there have been talks very recently between Ministers from Thailand and the Australian Government, presumably about foreign aid.
A communication I have informs me that the Interior Minister of Thailand was quietly flown to Australia by the Royal Australian Air Force on 19 September. He came to Australia because as Interior Minister he has responsibility for the project for accelerated rural development. The main purpose of his visit presumably was to ask for aid from the Australian Government. The project was initiated by the United States about 1960. It was meant to be a psychological warfare project against the liberation movement in Thailand. It was to operate only in sensitive areas but at that time only six provinces were involved. Presently more than half the country is defined as being in the sensitive area category. This means the complete failure of the project now that the US Government has indicated its tendency to have the project phased out. At the same time we understand that it would like to have the Australian Government fill its role. Two months ago it was reported in Thailand that the Australian Government had also provided $US25m to this project to operate in Surat Thani province. It is anticipated that the Australian Government will join more in this oppressive action against the Thai people.
There are grave problems inherent in the accusations contained in these statements. There are also grave problems inherent in the reply of Mr G. K. Price, the Acting First Assistant Secretary of the South East Asia and Papua New Guinea Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs to a telegram addressed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Peacock) on 21 June. The telegram expressed concern about the trials of student leaders in Thailand and the question of medical treatment for Orisa Irawonwut. The reply states:
The Australian Government is, of course, deeply concerned at infringements of human rights wherever they may occur, and believes that in general as a matter of principle, political prisoners ought to be brought to a fair trial with as little delay as possible. The Government’s attitude on this has been expressed publicly on a number of occasions. At the same time, the Government must be mindful of the need to avoid acting in such a way as to lay itself open to interference in the internal affairs of another country.
The Australian Embassy in Bangkok reported on 29 June, on the basis of information provided by Mr Peter McMullin, President of the Association of Young Lawyers of Victoria, there was a good chance that Mr Orisa would receive satisfactory medical treatment in the near future. At a hearing on 23 June 1977, bail was approved in principle and it appeared that only formalities remained to secure his release. As well the Director-General of the Department of Corrections, who was previously ignorant of Mr Orisa’s plight, has apparently taken an active interest in his welfare since 28 June 1977.
As I said, there are 18 people coming to trial in a closed court on Friday of this week. Presumably the trial will continue for some time. I know that Senator Missen intends to speak on this matter and that he has much more up-to-date information than I have. But there are 18 students who have been subjected to all forms of torture in a prison in a country which is reported to be asking Australia for aid. I question now whether in actual fact we have the right to say or whether we can accept the responsibility for saying that we will provide aid to a country which obviously has no concern and no care for human rights.
The SOTUFD of Victoria has sent communications to every member of Parliament. They ask purely and simply that as we are members of parliament and as we are concerned with the welfare and the well being of people who do not have the availability of proper trials, we protest to the Prime Minister of Thailand or to the King of Thailand. I hope that following the adjournment debate tonight a number of people in this chamber and in the other place will join with me in forwarding to both of those people and to Mr Kurt Waldheim, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, a telegram of protest, imploring the United Nations to ensure that people who are entitled to human rights at all times at least have these shown in the form of a proper trial on Friday of this week.
– I join with Senator Coleman in discussing this matter tonight. Perhaps I will deal more specifically with the situation where people are going on trial within a few days time and where the processes are not those that we understand in any way in this country as being fit processes for dealing with persons. They do not accord with human rights as we understand them. In recent times I have had the opportunity of having discussions with a number of people who are in exile from Thailand and who are concerned at the situation which developed. Among those people is Dr Puey Ungphakorn, a very eminent man who was an adviser to the last democratic government and who was the rector of Thammasat University when the revolution took place and when the dictatorship took effect in Thailand last year. I believe it must be appreciated that the rule of law as we understand it and the idea that people are dealt with by the normal courts which deal with criminal matters does not apply in Thailand. Honourable senators will see this when they realise that this trial is being conducted in a military court and not in an ordinary criminal court. The effect of that is, of course, that persons are not entitled to have any legal representation whatsoever in the court. It is not an open court in the normal sense of the word. The trial is being conducted on the third floor of a building and persons will not be able to observe what is taking place. The actual order of the National Administrative Reforms Council which now runs the country reads in part:
In other words, after the event martial law is prescribed. These charges would have been ward in the ordinary criminal court but for the state which the country is now in. As a result of that, these people go on trial without representation. Fortunately, a number of people will be endeavouring to observe the trials as best they can. Among them is Mr Peter McMullin, a fine young lawyer from Victoria who is president of the young lawyers association of Victoria. He will be proceeding, as he has done on other occasions, to Thailand to witness this series of trials. I have been in touch with the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Peacock) about this matter. I hope that we will give to Mr McMullin through our Embassy in Thailand every facility to assist him to observe this trial and, to the extent we can, to ensure that such trials will be conducted at least as reasonably openly as possible in the very awkward circumstances in which these people without representation find themselves.
The fact that these sorts of things have been going on has been made clear by many organisations which have protested to the Thai Government. They are described in a book which has been produced by the International Campaign for the Release of Political Prisoners in Thailand. Among them was the complaint of Amnesty International. Our parliamentary group has not had the opportunity to meet and discuss this matter, and the urgency of the situation therefore makes it the reason why members of the Amnesty organisation in the Senate bring this matter forward tonight. As early as April this year Amnesty made an appeal to the Prime Minister of Thailand and expressed concern at the continued detention without trial of political prisoners. In its appeal to the Thai Prime Minister Amnesty International asked for an immediate amnesty for all untried political prisoners, knowing that six months had passed since the coup of 6 October 1976, following which thousands of people were arrested. Amnesty International also asked that all those whom the government intended to bring to trial should be released on bail pending trial. Amnesty’s information indicated that about 8,000 people were arrested in Bangkok and the provinces following the October coup. A substantial number have been released but more than 1,500 people still remain in prison. None of them have been brought to trial. Now at last some are being brought to trial on a variety of charges.
The same type of complaint has been made by other organisations including the Amnesty organisation of the United States of America which has called upon the President of the United States and requested that he should end aid to the military junta in Thailand; prevent any military or economic aid going from the United States to the Thai Government. I think these are reasonable requests when one takes into account that a country that was practising democracy for some years finds itself in the position where democracy is overthrown with no possibility of having it restored in the near future. I think it would be useful if I mention the fact that the United States House of Representatives Committee on International Relations has been meeting. It met on 30 June under the chairmanship of Mr Donald M. Fraser, who is well known to honourable senators as a leading spokesman for human rights. That Committee considered the human rights situation in Thailand and its effect on the policies of the United States Government. Mr Robert Oakley, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, gave evidence. From the account which I have it is very clear that he was prepared to excuse and apologise for the behaviour of the Thai Government. Dr Puey Ungphakorn also gave evidence on this occasion. The clash between them, as described in this commentary, was, I think, very interesting. The commentary states:
Dr Puey’s and Secretary Oakley’s testimony differed in regard to probable upcoming trials of persons arrested after the October coup. Oakley had said that ‘ In response to an expression of concern by our Embassy in Bangkok, the Thai Government has assured us that normal Thai legal procedures will be followed for those brought to trial,’ approximately 74 detainees.
That, of course, has not happened. It is not the normal system at all. It is military justice. The commentary continues:
Summary justice . . . will not be employed,’ reported the State Department official. Dr Puey warned that even the best people in your Embassy could be deceived by the Bangkok government, however. ‘When the military court tries them, these 74 accused will not be allowed any legal representation; nor, if they are sentenced, is there any opportunity of appeal. ‘the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva revealed on June 28 that the arrest and trial procedures of the Thai political prisoners does amount to summary justice, and asked that a West German lawyer familiar with civilian Thai law attend the future trials as an observer.
At the present time there are only 18 people on trial, not the 74 originally accused. I do not know what will happen to some of the others. The commentary continues:
Dr Puey claimed, however, that there are an estimated 2,000 people ‘still detained all over the kingdom, including many Buddists monks, some of them having been summarily executed by their gaolers’. In an appendix to his statement there was a written affidavit describing ‘Thai tiger cages ‘ at a detention center run by Special Branch Division 6 Police on
Setrsiri Road, Dusit District, Bangkok. According to this affidavit there are 142 prisoners, 60 of them women, held in solitary confinement in cells l.S meters long, one meter wide and just over one meter high. The prisoners cannot lie down fully outstretched nor stand upright; they are allowed out of their cells once a month for a two-hour period.
It is very clear that not only are prisoners being tried in Thailand under very bad circumstances which give no opportunity for a proper defence, but also the prisoners themselves who are kept confined are suffering considerably. I think we, as members of a community such as this, should be concerned, particularly when we are asked to give aid to the Government and the people of Thailand. It is one thing to give aid which provides economic assistance and helps people, irrespective of politics or of government. From my discussions with one of the leading Thai refugees in Australia, Dr Apichai Puntasen, it is clear to those who are here that the accelerated rural development program is not all that it may seem and that it has a psychological warfare basis. I think we must be very careful in this country when we give aid. I think we have already given considerable aid in this way. We must be very concerned that we do not give aid in circumstances where it could be used for the suppression and oppression of the people of a country by a military dictatorship. I therefore join with Senator Coleman in saying that I believe that these factors should be very seriously considered by the people of Australia and that we should raise our voices where we can to try to ensure that the people in that country have the proper right of trial even if we cannot do very much about their democracy at the present time. For those reasons I join with Senator Coleman in bringing this matter to the notice of the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.50 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 4 October 1977, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1977/19771004_senate_30_s74/>.