House of Representatives
17 October 1957

22nd Parliament · 2nd Session

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Join McLeay) took the chair at 10.30 a.m.,. and read prayers.

page 1461




– I wish to address a question to the Minister for Defence Production in view of his- answer to the question about the St. Mary’s ammunition filling factory, asked yesterday by the honorable member for Werriwa. I preface the question by stating that, last June, the Minister made his statement about the additional cost of £3,146,000. Yesterday, he stated that, at the end of. December last, he knew that the cost would be substantially increased. I now want to ask the Minister this specific question: Did he know before 30th June, 1956, that, although the architects were endeavouring to keep the costs down to the estimate of £23,200,000, the contractors had stated quite clearly to the Department of Defence Production and Government authorities that they estimated that the cost would be increased by approximately £3,000,000?

Minister for Supply · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– It is very easy to answer the question. First of all, I was not Minister for Defence Production in June, 1956. In any case, I have already told the House that my first knowledge of the increase of the cost above £23,200,000 came at the end of December last year.

Dr Evatt:

– I asked about the estimated cost, not the actual cost.


– Or the estimated cost. My first knowledge of the fact that the architects had said that the cost of the project would be more than £23,200,000 came at the end of December last.

Dr Evatt:

– I asked the Minister specifically about the contractors.


– I have no knowledge at all of what the contractors may have said. Our information is derived from the architects, who are acting for us. They advised us at the end of last year that the cost would be increased. The contractors had certainly never advised me one way or the other, because we do not deal with the contractors; we deal with the architects.

page 1461




– Can the

Minister for Primary Industry say why the shortage of steel fence posts, which are essential to many primary industries, has become more acute in the last few months? Is anything being done to overcome the shortage?

Minister for Primary Industry · LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– For some time now, the Department of Primary Industry has been consulting the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited to see whether the manufacture of steel fence posts can be increased. We have been informed that the existing factories are operating at full capacity. The company is increasing its capacity, but the additional plant will not be completed until early next year. Therefore, it does not think that any relief can be- given until then. I should point out to the honorable gentleman that there has been an abnormal demand for steel posts, probably due, first, to the fact that dry conditions this year have enabled primary producers to put in posts throughout the year; and secondly, to the flooding that occurred last year in various parts of South Australia and in other States. We are looking at this matter from day to day to see what can be done. The export position is being watched, and I assure the honorable gentleman that only one-tenth of 1 per cent, of Australianmade steel posts is exported. In addition, the import of steel posts is treated in a generous fashion by the Department of Trade. Here I mention that the big difficulty is that imported posts cost much more than locally’ produced posts.

page 1461




– Will the Prime Minister explain the reason for the delay of two years which occurred in the Cabinet reaching a decision to build a new munitions filling factory at St. Mary’s, in view of his repeated assertion that the arguments in favour of such a project were overwhelming?

Prime Minister · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

– I dealt with this mattin the first statement I made to the House. I have nothing to add.

page 1461




– Has the Prime Minister noticed recent reports that, at Harwell, <in England, great advances have been made in the production of energy from a controlled fusion reaction? Has an Australian been prominently concerned in these experiments, which are of the very highest significance? Will the right honorable gentleman consider making a statement on this matter in the near future for the information of honorable members?


– I will be glad to discuss this ‘ matter with my colleague, the appro:priate Minister, in order to find out how much can be said. I will be very happy to make any statement that can be made on this matter.

page 1462




– I desire to ask the Minister for Supply a question. Will the honorable gentleman inform the House when a decision will be reached on tenders for the sale of handling equipment?


– This matter is within the jurisdiction of my colleague in another place, the Minister for Shipping and Transport. I will convey the honorable gentleman’s question to him, and no doubt the honorable member will receive a reply in due course.

page 1462




– Will the Minister for Primary Industry make arrangements for early and adequate supplies of seed wheat for the corning season for those districts which have suffered a complete failure of the wheat crop this year?


– As the honorable gentleman is aware, the Australian Wheat Board is responsible for the distribution of wheat throughout Australia. In answer to a question on Tuesday, I mentioned that already the Australian Wheat Board has taken action to ensure that both New South Wales and Queensland have adequate wheat supplies in order to meet consumption in those States. At this moment I cannot see any reason why I should intervene and do anything contrary to that already done by the Australian Wheat Board. Nonetheless, I give the honorable gentleman an assurance that the position is under daily consideration. ‘

Mr Failes:

– I referred to seed wheat.

page 1462




– Is the Prime Minister aware of the decision of the State Savings Bank of Victoria to lend up to £4,000 to home-seekers on the basis of the borrower finding one-third of the cost of the home, the interest charge being 6 per cent, and repayments being approximately £7 a week? Does the Prime Minister know that since the bank made this announcement, hundreds of personal and telephone inquiries have resulted? Will the Prime Minister concede that this rush of applicants reveals a grave housing shortage? Is he aware that it is estimated that there are in Australia 250,000 people who require homes, the majority of whom are young couples who are compelled to live in converted garages, in caravans, and under other undesirable conditions? In view of the alarming housing position, and the extreme difficulties that the average wage-earner would face in taking advantage of this offer by the bank, will the Prime Minister investigate this matter to ascertain whether the Government could introduce legislation to reduce the interest and repayment rates with a view to meeting the needs of the average .wage-earner?


– Without accepting the statements put before the House by the honorable member, I can assure him that the problem of housing receives the close and daily consideration of this Government, through the appropriate Minister. We think we have a very good record in the provision of finance and other assistance in the housing field. The rest of the honorable member’s question contained argumentative matter with which, I feel, I should not deal.

page 1462




– I ask the Minister for Territories whether it is a fact that land in the vicinity of the Goroka air strip, in New Guinea, is to be offered for sale by tender in the near future. Is it also a fact that the Administration requires the successful tenderers to spend £3,000 on development during the first nine months of occupation? If this is so, does not this policy favour the moneyed man who already has successful financial interests in the Territory?

Minister for Territories · CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– Matters relating to the details of land administration in the Territory are, of course, handled by the Lands Department in the Territory. I have no personal knowledge of these details and, normally, such information would not come into my hands. It is customary, however, when land is advertised for application in the Territory, for improvement conditions to be stated as a part of the terms of the lease. 1 assume that if this land is in the vicinity of the Goroka air strip it would be advertised for either business or residential purposes, and I do not .think that a condition which required the placing on the land of a structure of a value of £3,000 within the stated period is a very onerous one.

page 1463




– My question is directed to the Minister for Trade. Is it a fact that the trade treaty with Japan was entered into on the understanding that Japan would at least maintain her high imports of Australian wool, and that she would purchase more Australian wheat? Is it also a fact that, according to the Japanese Ministry of Trade, that country expects to cut its wool imports by 30 per cent., and that because of this warning, wool prices have dropped a further 2i per cent.? Further, is it a fact that, due to drought conditions, there will be little export of Australian wheat? Is it correct that Australia will get no benefit from this treaty, in respect of our primary industries, to offset the grave harm that will be done to our manufacturing industries as a result of it?

Minister for Trade · MURRAY, VICTORIA · CP

– In the first place, there will be no grave harm done to our manufacturing industries as a result of the treaty. In the second place, it was not part of the treaty, or of our understanding, that Japan would sustain at a certain level imports of Australian wool, any more than Australia ever would engage to sustain a certain level of imports from any other country.

Mr Webb:

– Was not the agreement supposed to assist primary industry?


– Order! The honorable member for Stirling will be quiet.


– The position is, of course, that no country can predict what its future balance of payments situation will be. The arrangement with Japan, in respect of purchases of Australian wool under the treaty, is that, of the total exchange made available by the Japanese Government for the purchase of wool, at least 90 per cent. will be available for the purchase of Australian wool. That is the firm arrangement. It is an arrangement of immense value to Australia, and is recognized as such by all except those hopelessly prejudiced or those who are seeking to gain some political advantage at the cost of inciting bad feeling between these two neighbour countries.

page 1463




– My question is directed to the Minister for Trade and relates to the Export Payments Insurance Corporation. Some time ago, the Minister indicated that a commissioner had been appointed to the new corporation, and it is understood that some administrative arrangements have been brought to an advanced stage. Can the Minister indicate when and where the corporation will, commence its operations?


– The corporation is already in business, and I think its address is Market-street, Sydney. I will confirm that information for the benefit of the honorable member. The corporation has been writing business, in the terms contemplated by the statute, for the last couple of months. On my present information, it has already issued more than £1,000,000 of cover.

page 1463




– I ask the Minister for Supply whether he will confirm or deny reports that among the many examples of waste and extravagance at the St. Mary’s filling factory is one concerning the construction of a railway station. Is it a fact that a railway station, constructed at great expense, was ultimately found to be too narrow to permit the passage of trains? Did this fortunate and timely discovery result in the reconstruction of the station, at great additional cost to the Australian taxpayer? If these reports are well founded, will the Minister advise the House who was responsible for this colossal blunder and what was the cost of the reconstruction?


– I invite the honorable member to put that question on the noticepaper and he will receive a reply.

While I am on my feet may I supplement the answer I gave to the Leader of the Opposition? I have had the opportunity of refreshing my memory on the matter he raised. At an interdepartmental committee, meeting on 18th October, 1956, the representative of the contractor then and there stated to officers of the Government that he believed the project would be completed on time and for the original estimate. Neither I nor the officers of the department ever received from the contractor or anybody else any advice to the contrary until December of that year.

page 1464




– My question is supplementary to that asked by the honorable member for Lawson. It is in respect of seed wheat, not feed wheat. I ask the Minister for Primary Industry whether he will take action to see that adequate supplies of seed wheat will be made available in those districts which are suffering from the severe drought at the present time, and which probably will not produce any wheat at all for next season’s sowing.


– I regret that when I answered the previous question I did not answer it insofar as seed wheat was concerned. On receipt of the resolution of the Australian Wheat Board, the matter was considered by me and the department and immediately a query was raised as to what action was to be taken in connexion with seed wheat. Unfortunately, the resolution did not make that point clear. Therefore, we have asked the chairman of the board to make a decision on this matter as soon as possible and to inform us of that decision. I assure the honorable member that this matter is being looked at, and as soon as I get an answer I will let him and the honorable member for Lawson know what it contains.

page 1464




– I ask the Prime Minister: Does the fact that the Russians have successfully launched a 180-lb. satellite, which has remained in orbit around the earth for two weeks, indicate that the Soviet has gone immeasurably ahead of the Western world in developing a solid fuel for the projection of rockets? If this is not so, would it be correct to state that to launch a 180-lb. satellite with liquid fuel, the Russians would have had to use a 100- ton rocket? Will the right honorable gentleman have the results of Australian and other investigations collated in order to present a full statement to the House on the alarming possibilities consequent on the Russian technical development?


– I am no more qualified to answer these highly technical questions, than, I dare say, my friend was yesterday. Therefore, I shall have them looked at by the experts.

page 1464




– My question is to the Minister for Labour and National Service as Minister acting for the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. Can the right honorable gentleman say what progress has been made with the introduction of the European rabbit flea as a means of spreading myxomatosis? Has the Minister actually seen those fleas? Are they propagating rapidly throughout Australia? Do they resemble, in their habits, the ordinary flea with which some of us became so familiar during our years of war service, or are they more selective and more predictable in their targets, and happier in their results?


– I am happy, in one sense, to be able to tell the honorable gentleman that I have not seen, nor come into any personal contact with, the European flea; but, knowing the importance attached to it by our scientists and people engaged in the primary industries who are looking for some effective conveyor of myxomatosis to rabbits in areas where other conductors cannot effectively introduce the disease, I have secured some information from the C.S.I.R.O. about the progress we are making with this particular “ animal “. The European rabbit flea apparently is a rather difficult but not unpredictable creature, from the scientist’s point of view. It is yet to be ascertained whether it will have harmful effects upon animals other than the rabbit, including Australian native species, and experiments are being conducted into this aspect of the matter. Sufficient’ quantities of the fleas-

Mr Ward:

– How big are these “ animals “?


– I should have thought that the honorable gentleman might be one fully familiar with the “ animal “ and its effects. Sufficient quantities of the fleas will have to be accumulated to effect a successful introduction. This work is being carried out in Canberra under what, I am assured, are strict quarantine conditions. There have been occasions, in the last few days, when I have not been so certain as I should like to be that the quarantine is being completely enforced, judging by some events in this chamber. The fleas are being collected in England by an officer of the C.S.LR.O. and, on arrival, they are introduced to captive rabbits in the laboratory. Arrangements have been made for a continued supply of the fleas and attempts, not entirely successful I gather, are being made to breed them in the laboratory. This process, I am informed, is extremely difficult, and attempts by European scientists to breed the fleas under artificial conditions have so far met with failure. Our own scientists seem to be a little more successful. The fleas in Canberra have followed an expected trend, and are now grouping on the ears of the rabbits, and it can be confidently expected that eggs will be produced in the very near future. i DEPARTMENT OF SUPPLY.


– I hope that the question that I now direct to the Minister for Supply will produce a flea in somebody’s ear. My question refers to vacancies for employment in the design establishment of the Department of Supply. I have in my hand a letter from the department which was received by a person outside after he had applied for a vacancy which had been advertised. The letter reads -

In connection with your recent interview for the position of Fitter’s Assistant at this Establishment, I have to advise that the position has now been filled and that your application was not successful.

That letter is dated 3rd October, 1957. I also have here a cutting from the “ Essendon Gazette “.


– Order! If the honorable member’s question is based on a newspaper report it is out of order.


– The cutting is of an advertisement inserted by the Department of Supply which conflicts with the letter that the department sent out. I merely want to put the Minister in possession of the facts so that we can get the answer. The “ Essendon Gazette “ of 10th October carried an advertisement for the design establishment of the Department of Supply, stating “ Vacancies exist for recognized tradesmen . .. . also fitters assistants “. First, will the Minister have an investigation carried out to see that all the original applicants for the positions received a fair chance of getting a job? Secondly, will he find out why the Commonwealth Employment Service is not used for the recruitment of men to these positions?


– I, like my “colleagues, take the view that, where it is appropriate, one should investigate matters of employment carefully and sympathetically to see that no disappointment or injustice is suffered by an applicant. I do not know the circumstances of the case mentioned by the honorable member, but I will have it investigated and give the honorable member an explanation.

page 1465




– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry a question. Because of the glut of low-grade potatoes on the Sydney market, the price has dropped to a level where the cost of shipping is more than the price received by growers. This, in turn, has reduced the price of choice, red soil, Tasmanian Brownell potatoes to a low level. Would it be possible to encourage the use of second-grade potatoes for stock feed, particularly in drought areas?


– I had not considered the use of second-grade potatoes for stock feed. It is obviously a very interesting suggestion, as are so many of the suggestions made by the honorable gentleman. I will put the matter to the committee that is dealing with this problem of dry conditions and the need to provide drought feed, and if I get a favorable answer I will let the honorable member know.

page 1465




– Can the Prime Minister say when this Parliament may expect the return of the Minister for External Affairs, so that honorable members may have the advantage of any information that he can supply, together with a review of the contentious and very serious implications of present world affairs?


– The present expected date of the Minister’s return is the first week of November.

page 1466




– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Has the right honorable gentleman seen a report that the Soviet Leader, Mr. Khrushchev, has. written warning letters to Labour parties in several important countries? Has the Leader of the Opposition advised the Prime Minister that he has received one of these warning letters? If not, is it possible that the delay may be occasioned by the letter being sent through the friendly offices of the Soviet Ambassador in Outer Mongolia?


– I have not received any such communication, but perhaps I do not qualify.

page 1466




– Can the Minister for Primary Industry say to what extent capless wool packs are now being used in Australia? Have investigations shown that this kind of wool pack is suitable for general use?


– Investigations have been made as to the possible use of capless wool packs, but I regret to state that there is a difference of opinion between the growers and the transport interests on the one hand, and the brokers on the other, as to whether the use of such packs would be desirable. I was informed - that about £400,000 a year could be saved if caps were not put on the wool bales. I was also informed by both the growers and the transport interests that the use of capless packs would lead to more effective movement of the packs themselves. However, the brokers have stated that they do not favour’ the practice, because it would react to the detriment of the producers themselves. I think it is better to let this matter take its own course. If the capless packs are introduced gradually, and can be shown to be to the benefit of producers, then I think we shall find that, irrespective of what the brokers think, they will come to be used more and more.

page 1466




– I ask the Minister for Defence Production: Is it a fact that on the 9th August the honorable member for East Sydney addressed a meeting at the St.

Mary’s filling factory, which occupied one and three-quarter hours? What was the purpose of the honorable member’s meeting? Was it to cement employer-employee relationships? I also ask whether the cost of the speech delivered by the honorable member approximated £1,100. Does the Minister agree that even conceding the dulcet tones that characterize the speeches of the honorable member, £1,100 - £10 a minute, or ls. 8d. a word - is rather expensive loquacity?


– The honorable member understates the position. The honorable member for East Sydney did go to St. Mary’s on 8th or 9th August last to participate in a stop-work meeting which lasted from 7.30 a.m. until 9 a.m., as a result of which I think 1,248 workers - not all of the workers at St. Mary’s of course - who went there and listened to him lost wages totalling some thousands of pounds, and 3,348 man-hours of work were lost on Australia’s greatest defence project. The cost to the job was even more than the cost in wages lost; it is difficult to estimate that cost, but there have been estimates from £2,700 upwards in direct cost to the job as a result of the visit of this gentleman which caused the cessation of work. Foremen, drivers and many other men had to be paid - men who did not participate in the strike at all. It was unlawful, unjustified and stupid, and could only have been participated in by a gentleman like the honorable member for East Sydney.

page 1466




– I ask the Minister for Defence: Has he read a report of the proceedings of the annual conference of health inspectors in New South Wales in which Major-General Dougherty expressed concern about the lack of adequate roads required for civil defence? In view of the substantial unexpended balance of funds for strategic roads, will he take immediate steps to proceed with this important phase of defence work, and thus employ our needy unemployed?

Minister for Defence · WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– I have not seen the report referred to by the honorable gentleman. I shall obtain a copy and peruse it to see if anything that he suggests is necessary or could properly be done.

page 1467




– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry whether negotiations are proceeding with a view to submitting an amended stabilization scheme to dried vine fruits growers. Can the Minister give an indication of market prospects for dried vine fruits in the United Kingdom?


– If I may deal with the second question first, it is thought by the Marketing Division of my department that the prospects for the sale of dried vine fruits overseas this year are exceedingly good because of crop failures in the United States of America and elsewhere. So we hope that there will be a ready market, at least for sultanas, internationally. As to the first question, about a stabilization plan, as the honorable member knows, the initiative in these matters comes from the Australian Dried Vine Fruits Association. That association thought that it would be wise to have the matter thoroughly thrashed out with its constituent organizations and among the growers themselves before it made up its mind as to what further action should be taken. It is implied in what the association has stated that, for the time being, it will not make additional representations to the Government.

page 1467




– Does the Minister for the Navy know that the doctor at Jervis Bay is one of the tenants who are required to vacate cottages at Jervis Bay to enable the return of the Naval College to that area? Does the Minister know that the doctor is expected to vacate his cottage at the end of the coming week? Will this leave the civilian community remaining there without the services of a medical practitioner? Can the Minister say when a medical officer from the Navy will be taking over the area and whether the officer will be able to provide medical services for civilians, who include children at- the two schools in the two settlements? Will the Minister do what he can to ensure that this community, which is completely isolated, is provided with a medical practitioner service?

Postmaster-General · DAWSON, QUEENSLAND · CP

– My knowledge of the question raised by the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory is that, some time ago, the doctor to whom he referred applied for an extension of - his tenancy to 30th November. He had been instructed to vacate by, I think, 30th September. Such applications are a matter for discussion between the Department of the Navy and the Department of the Interior. The latter department is, of course, charged with the task of preparing the area for return to the Navy at the beginning of next year. The attitude of the Department of the Navy has been that any such matters must be determined by the Department of the Interior, because that department knows whether extensions would in any way impede it in the carrying out of its duties. In this particular case I know that an extension was granted to 31st October, and I feel sure, from my knowledge of my colleague’s administration, that if he were reasonably satisfied that proper efforts were being made to obtain reasonable accommodation he would be prepared to consider sympathetically the granting of a further extension. That is a matter that I shall discuss with my colleague, who is not present at the moment. The intention of the Department of the Navy is to establish a sick bay, attended constantly by a nursing sister and nurses, at the college itself, and that, for a start at any rate, the medical services will be provided from the air station at Nowra. It is considered that these arrangements will be adequate to deal with all cases that may occur.

page 1467




– I direct the attention of the Postmaster-General to the fact that some time ago in this House I suggested that the words “Post Office” should be preceded by the name of the post office at the entrance to all post offices, official and non-official, throughout Australia, for the convenience of travellers and other persons who do business with the post offices. At that time the Minister was somewhat impressed with the suggestion. Has he made any investigation of the matter, and has he any further information on the subject?


– I remember that the honorable member for Mallee made this suggestion to me some considerable time ago. I discussed it with the Postal Department. It is, I think, a very good suggestion. The name is now placed prominently on any new post office that is erected, and when any old post office is being renovated and it is possible to carry out the honorable member’s suggestion, this is being done’ progressively.

page 1468




– I ask the Minister for Defence Production whether it is a fact that 5,000 square yards of concrete floors were laid at the St. Mary’s project without supervision, and that the mixture was found to have been faulty, causing the concrete to crack and break into small fragments and preventing the laying of the floor tiles. Is it a fact that this area of floor had to be torn up and re-laid? Is it also a fact that 5,000 square yards of strawboard roofing material sagged when the waterproof material supplied by Ormonoid Roofing and Asphalts Limited, of Waterloo, was poured? Is it a fact that this roofing material was sub-standard and had to be torn down and replaced at enormous expense?


– No.

page 1468




– Can the Minister for Air advise me whether it is the general practice to discharge automatically any member of the Royal Australian Air Force with hypnotic ability, under the regulation providing for the discharge of a member whose services are no longer required? Would not such a procedure be open to question if the serviceman so discharged had declared his interest in hypnosis as a hobby on his personal documents when enlisting?

Minister for Air · EVANS, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– It is not the practice of the Royal Australian Air Force to require that an airman practising hypnotic manifestations should be automatically discharged. Fortunately, it has never been found necessary in the Air Force to establish any settled practice in regard to such matters, because hypnotic practices are not ordinarily indulged in by. airmen. I am aware of the case to which the honorable member refers. I have looked into the circumstances in which an airman was discharged, and I am personally satisfied that the decision was correctly made. I will be happy, however, to discuss the matter further with the member if he wishes me to do so, and if he has any additional facts to place before me or any representations to make.

page 1468



– Section 70 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904-1956 requires the President of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, once in each year, to furnish to the Minister for Labour and National Service, for presentation to the Parliament, a report on the conciliation and arbitration provisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. The President’s first annual report has now been received by me,, and I accordingly present it to the House. Copies can foe obtained, from the Clerk.

I lay on the table the following paper: -

Conciliation and Arbitration Act - Conciliation and Arbitration Commission - First Annual Report, for year ended 13th August, 1957.

page 1468


Mr SPEAKER (Hon John McLeay:

– I have received a letter from the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) proposing that a definite matter of urgent public importance be submitted to the House for discussion,, namely -

The urgent need of action being taken by the Government, the Broadcasting Control Board and all television licensees to secure that Australian actors, artists, writers and musicians should be guaranteed engagements and contracts on television performances as will ensure an Australian content, tone and atmosphere in this important medium of education, entertainment and broad Australian culture.

I call upon those members who approve of the proposed discussion to rise in their places. (More than the number of members required by the Standing Orders having risen in their places) -


’.- The proposal of this subject for discussion as a matter of urgent public importance is completely sincere and genuine. In the limited time at my disposal, I shall present to the House a case which, in my view, cannot he refuted, and which calls for action. This matter concerns the broadcasting industry. The methods adopted in the broadcasting of television programmes have left out of consideration entirely the question of the Australian as an employee, and of the viewer and listener as an Australian. When the matter was first raised, during the consideration by this House of the Broadcasting and Television Bill 1956, the Australian Labour party declared, through the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), the necessity to require a specified quota of Australian material to be used. We suggested that 55 per cent, of the material used in all programmes should be Australian material, in order that Australian actors and other performers, script writers, and others dependent on them for employment should be assured of a reasonable livelihood. We depend upon Australians employed in this new medium of mass communication to present the Australian viewpoint and the Australian way of life. We pressed for a specified quota of Australian material, because we did not believe -that private enterprise and commercialism, of their own volition, would -use sufficient Australian material, since they were looking for profits and not to the -propaganda value of the presentation of the Australian viewpoint.

Although the Opposition’s proposals were defeated in the Parliament, we received assurances from the responsible Ministers that the position would be watched carefully. We now tell the House that it has not been watched carefully enough, and that the Government has failed, time and again, to honour the promises that were made. I should like the Postmaster-General (Mr. Davidson) to know that I think that he is trying to do his best. On the personal basis, I believe that to be true. However, because of the complex machinery of the bureaucracy behind him, we are not getting any results. Therefore, this has become a political question inasmuch as it relates to the situation against which the Opposition warned during the consideration of the Broadcasting and Television Bill 1956. It is a national question, because, on it, depends the sort of television that we. shall ultimately have. Therefore, the country should not be . held to ransom by licensees, whose licences we control, merely because we have not the guts to tell them that they must use Australian programmes.

I had the honour and .privilege to move amendments on behalf of the Opposition during the consideration of the Broadcasting and Television Bill 1956. In a general reply to observations that I had made before that bill was introduced, the Minister said -

I am in full sympathy with the need to ensure that TV programmes are adequately Australian in character, and I know that this view is shared by the Board.

In that instance, the board referred to was the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. The Minister continued -

The matter is regarded as one of considerable importance, and if in the future any action is considered necessary to protect the interests of Australian artists, you can rest assured that such action will be taken.

This morning, we call on the Government to take the action that the Minister promised, and we will prove, in the debate that will ensue, (hat considerable importance is attached to the fact that every promise made by the Minister has not been fulfilled. This is not necessarily his own fault. In addition, the requirements that are stipulated in the Broadcasting and Television Act have not been fulfilled. Therefore, the Minister must answer the case that the Opposition is putting.

As the Minister responsible to the ‘Government for the administration of broadcasting and television services, he must stand by his assurance that action would be taken, because, as I will explain later, television programmes have become simply programmes of cheap material obtained .from overseas. Some attempt has been made, notably by station TCN, to preserve a reasonable Australian content. However, most television licensees ace looking for revenue. They complain that they are losing money, that sponsors are scarce, and that television receiving sets are not being sold as freely as they had hoped. But that is not our worry. The television licensees came crawling to the Government, and succeeded in persuading it to give them licences, which, in the aggregate, had a total asset value of between £500,000 and £750,000. They assured the general public and the Australian Broadcasting ‘Control Board, at its inquiries into the granting of licences, that they did not expect to make profits, and that they would build up their programmes slowly, because television was a medium in which development had to be taken slowly. Although they knew all the problems, they are now trying to bilk the Australian listeners out of a fair enjoyment of ‘the expression of Australian sentiment and culture, simply because they have fallen for the cheap and nasty “ quickie “ that conies in a can, mostly from the United States of America.

It is astonishing to hear some Australians who should know better asserting that nobody is going to foist bad Australian programmes on them. My answer -is that cheap and bad foreign programmes are being foisted on them, and, to judge by the absence of protests, they seem to like it. There will be no such’ thing as a bad’ Australian programme, because the demand and preferences of the Australian public will see that Australian artists live up to what we know they can do, and also the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, the Minister, and the Government will not be very tolerant of Australian productions that are not of high standard.

This matter involves the employment of Australians, but there- is another aspect of it that will touch the heart of the Government much more closely than the employment of artists and technical experts in a profession for which they are trained. Assets worth, I think, £3,500,000 - I do not wish to overstate the case - are tied up in television studios, which have been placed at a great disadvantage by this flood of cheap and nasty “ quickie “ rubbish from overseas. I have said that I do not wish to overstate the case, and 1 do not, because I want a serious answer from the Government. Australian television production studios are using about only one-tenth of’ their capacity, and, as a result, many actors, technicians, and script writers are merely standing by waiting for work.

When shall we lose our unfortunate feeling that Australian productions, particularly those in the art forms, are inferior? To-day, world audiences are enjoying two Australian plays that are among the finest ever written. One of them has revived the British theatre, which was in the doldrums and was very happy to get “ Summer of the Seventeenth Doll”. The Elizabethan Theatre Trust in Sydney, to come nearer home, was very proud indeed to. present a new Australian play, “ The Shifting Heart “. These things are evidence that Australians can deliver the goods, and that Australian productions need only financial backing to assure their success. Yet, faint-hearted Australians - mostly on the Government benches - say that they will not have cheap Australian programmes foisted on them. Australian programmes are nothing to be ashamed of.

However, I return to the Minister’s assurance that he would watch the position Carefully. The Opposition told him that it did not trust the television licensees, because they would look only to making profits as quickly as possible. What is the good of a protective section in an act if penalties are not prescribed for breaches pf it? I call on the Minister to-day to do what the Opposition asked him to do when the Broadcasting and Television Bill 1956 was being considered by the Parliament, and to require that a satisfactory quota of Australian material shall be used in television programmes in order that Australian artists, actors, script writers, and technicians may figure in the field of television as they have a right to do. The sort of thing that has happened in television in Australia could not have happened anywhere else in the world. In no other country would local talent and material be excluded from television programmes.

Does the House know that not one Australian drama has been televised since television was introduced into this country7 We have had newscasts, trots, horse races and interviews of the great, the near-great and celebrities who appear in the daily news, but not one play, even of a length of ten minutes, a quarter of an hour or half an hour, has been shown. The only answer to this state of affairs is the introduction, of a quota. The Government shrank from introducing a quota because it thought that would be an interference with private enterprise. Private enterprise is sponsored by the Government and, indeed, it issues television licences. With the experience that we have had, both as a government and as an Opposition, we thought the Government would impose a quota. The British people, have a splendid record for the production of entertainment, not only of the highest character, but also of comedy and the music hall type. It is all reasonably good entertainment, all entertainment in the genre character, and it has provided employment for actors and actresses, scriptwriters and playwrights in England. It was realized that this medium was mechanical and a million-dollar job and that the employment of artists should be protected. Accordingly, a quota of 80 per cent, was imposed. The United States of America imposed a quota of 100 per cent. Only American productions are shown on television screens there, and the rubbish, when it has been used, is exported to mug countries such as Australia, which is on the end of the line. Some programmes are years old. We ask again that a quota be imposed in Australia or, at least, that some effort be made to ensure that employment is not lost to Australian artists in the way that it has been. This is a valid case. »The Scandinavian Government also has imposed a quota, and many other countries have followed that course. The Postmaster-General knows that that is so and I need not reiterate the facts for him.

This new medium is of tremendous importance. It is as new in the entertainment field as Sputnik is in the satellite world,, and it is as revolutionary. Yet the Government has decided that Australians should not have any voice in it. That decision is completely preposterous and must not be conditioned by what television licensees think about it. If a quota is not introduced, I have a warrant from the party which I represent to say that we will closely examine the position, from the point of view both of quota and the issue of licences. That is not a threat but a solid attempt to do something for the Australian community. The problem goes deeper indeed than employment, which is important. It goes deeper than politics, which must be involved because the Government issues the licences. It goes to the very heart and soul of Australian culture. If we are not courageous enough to act through the tender, faltering steps of television and assist Australian talent, instead of making sarcastic rejoinders about the sort of programmes that should be shown, we are not much of a nation and have no integrity and no courage.

Having stressed the exclusion of Australian talent from television programmes, let us see what is substituted for the Australian programmes that cannot find a place on the television screens. Some little time ago, a group of listeners decided to analyse the types of programmes shown on television - the sort of programme they would see and the sort of material that would be shown to their children. They spent four days on this task. I shall give the House the result of their efforts. This group of citizens, whose names are available, found that the items I shall list, which came from America and other countries, were shown on Australian, television screens. With the notable exception that I mentioned, channel 7, which has made an attempt to do something for the Australian producer and actor, the television stations work on the slogan, “ Give them blood baths, TV is for blood, bud “ ! That is one of the slogans. A team of protesting actors came to Canberra. It is to the eternal disgrace of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), as an Australian) and the Postmaster-General, that they refused to receive a deputation from these actors. After that refusal, they had a long interview with the Leader of the Opposition. Surely, it is not within our province as parliamentarians to reject deputations that seek to interview us.

Because my time is limited, let me illustrate what is being shown instead of Australian plays, which would provide employment for Australian actors and actresses. The survey revealed that ABN, the national station, showed nine stabbings, three stranglings, one attempted murder, one wounding, one suicide, three murders discussed and one murder demonstrated. Not one of those programmes was made in Australia. ATN, the commercial channel 7, showed six bashings, one maiming, eight brawls, one blinding, . one armed robbery, eleven murders, two woundings, two killings, eighteen corpses and a scene where a child described how she found the body. TCN, channel 9, showed two bashings, three brawls, four murders, one maiming, one armed robbery, one assault, two stranglings one wounding, two attempts to murder a child, one dope fiend showing his dope needle marks, and four murders discussed.

I appeal to the Postmaster-General, who promised to do something about the Australian content in television, to honour his promise. We know, from the union concerned, from the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and from the force of public opinion, that Australians will not put up with the programmes that I have mentioned. The Postmaster-General has no alibi to enable him to say why Australian talent should not be used on television. He has had an opportunity to do what he wanted to do in his own wisdom,, but a quota has not been imposed. It is right up to him now to impose a quota, to so advise his leader and to so persuade his party. What we ask is only fair trade practice, but that has been -denied. When the Broadcasting and Television Bill was before the House, we issued a warning that no provision was made for Australian content in television. No work has been provided for employees in the theatrical industry and no Australian plays are offered through this mass medium of propaganda and entertainment. The broad cultural level of Australia is not dealt with at all. The Australian actor, looking for a job, has to pit his skill against Rin Tin Tin or something equally absurd. I appeal to the Postmaster-General to impose quotas and do something for the Australian actor, actress and technician.


– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.

PostmasterGeneral and Minister for the Navy · Dawson · CP

– Let me say at the outset that I am glad of the opportunity which the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) has presented to me to discuss this important question. I am also glad that, to a large extent, he has submitted the matter in a reasonable way. He remarked on the fact that he had only limited time to deal with quite a wide subject. That also applies to me. I shall attempt to be brief and to answer only the main points that he has made. If 1 miss some of the points he has dealt with, then those who follow me on this side of the House will deal with them.

The honorable member for Parkes has charged me particularly with having failed to carry out an obligation and an undertaking that every effort would be made to use as much Australian talent as possible in the development of television programmes throughout Australia. I say that there has been no refusal to carry out the undertaking which was given by me on behalf of the Government. He said that I had no alibi for not using Australian talent. I reply that an alibi is not required because Australian talent is being used and will be used in increasing proportions. I make the point early that the best way in which Australian talent can be used on an increasing scale is- for all the elements involved in this difficult matter, including Actors Equity, to get together and by intelligent co-operation, instead of the use of threats, to create a state of affairs in which every one associated with this matter can derive the greatest benefit from it. Let me remind the House briefly that the Government’s policy on television and the use of Australian talent was expressed in the Broadcasting and Television Bill. New section 88 (I), provides -

The Commission and licensees shall, as far as possible, use the services of Australians in the production and presentation of broadcasting and television programmes.

That is the statement of Government policy. In some instances, that has been interpreted to mean that only those who belong to, say, Actors Equity or are musicians and so on shall be taken into account in determining what constitutes the ‘ Australian content of television programmes. I have never stated, and I have never accepted, any such thesis. The position is that this Government’s policy is to present television programmes which will properly portray the Australian way of life and which will include such items as drama, variety, children’s sessions, sport, news, talks and interviews, women’s programmes and the like. Australians will be used in all of those programmes, and they will present, not only to Australian viewers but also to those who visit our shores, a proper idea of the Australian way of life. That is the undertaking that has been given. That is the object at which we are aiming and which, when finally achieved, will result in a very high percentage of Australians, including actors, actresses, musicians, script writers, and so on, being employed in, and benefiting from, television.

It has been said that the Government and I have failed to honour an undertaking that we would watch the development of television and ensure that our policy was carried out. I want to point out briefly to honorable members that this undertaking has been carried out mainly by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, which is the appointed instrument of the Government to give effect to this policy. At the same time, of course, the Australian Broadcasting Commission has its own authority, and also is applying the general policy so far as its programmes are concerned. Shortly, I intend to indicate the actual programmes that have been put on by the commercial television stations and by the Austraiian Broadcasting Commission, and I shall show that a very high percentage of Australians has been employed!

The board -has been keeping .a constant watch on programme content, and <has reported regularly -to me in .this connexion. It lias a system of monitors who ‘Constantly watch all the programmes to ensure that they are >of , proper .standard, .and that the greatest use is made of Australian material. Also, -the <board has had several -conferences with representatives of ‘Commercial television -stations, -the .most .recent being held a .couple of -weeks ago. J must :say ,in (fairness, that ‘the board has -had .very -ready co-operation from the commercial licensees, whether (honorable, members opposite like to acknowledge it or not, and I am satisfied that these licensees -desire, just as .strongly as we do, to .build up .a .strong television industry which will rely mainly ion Australian programmes for its excellence.

Let us pause for a moment to consider some of the ‘important facts which have a bearing on the development of this “industry and the attainment of a high Australian content. -Let us remember that television in Australia is an entirely new venture. After alL only one of the .six stations at present operating has celebrated its first birthday, the first birthday in a life which will extend -far beyond our normal span of life. So, television can truthfully “be said to “be in its “infancy. The .present television licensees - and I am now speaking particularly df the commercial licensees - are the pioneers of this new medium df amusement and entertainment. They have expended, as the ‘honorable member -for Parkes has said, almost £4,000,000 in .the early stages of the development of the u> dustry. They are facing considerable losses each .year. That was expected to be so at the start, but we must appreciate that they are facing these losses on behalf of the whole of the community, because the stations that will be established later will benefit from the experience of the earlier ones and the expanded market which they will create. Station TCN, for instance, lost £250,000 in the first year of its operations.

In order to succeed, these pioneers must be able -to .present attractive programmes which will interest a large number of viewers. .In doing that, of course, their own advertising will .be developed, -so that they will .go from strength to strength and enable us to improve -further ‘the whole of the service. At the same time, these licensees are -required by Government .policy to increase the Australian content -of their programmes. They face :the position that .there is in .Australia mo established film production industry, producing films suitable for television, on which they can draw. They axe starting from scratch, so ‘far -as ‘obtaining films is concerned. They also face the position that -there ‘are no trained television technicians, -script “writers, directors .and peop’le of ‘that kind. All of this organization has to ‘be -developed, and these <are the .pioneers who are ‘doing that. I should point out that radio -experience does not necessarily constitute ‘a qualification for television capacity.

Yet, despite .these initial difficulties, which are very meal, in .the month -of August the commercial stations were .able to .provide programmes .containing .56 per cent, of Australian content

Mr Ward:

– They -were not.


– I say ‘they were. This percentage is not regarded as the ultimate aim by the board, myself, the Government, or the licensees, but in view` of all the circumstances, ‘I say that it is a ‘creditable performance. While it:is:net accepted as being finally satisfactory, ‘nevertheless .it is ;a performance whcih, ion “.the basis .of only one year’s :eff ort, certainly (does -not demand the imposition of conditions ‘which, as 1 said -in my second-reading speech, very probably would -result in holding back the future development >df -television.

In order to get this problem on -a proper basis, ‘let us remember that there are interests, .other than .the -licensees, .which have to be taken into -account. For instance, there is the Australian Film Producers Association, which .has <had two interviews with the .board. The members of that association .have very great problems, :to which I referred .a few moments ago, ‘that they must ‘overcome before they .are able -to cope .adequately with .the .production of films .and foe able ito .provide .films at a cost which will -make their .use .an economic proposition for the licensees. They have told us .that, first of all, they want the imposition of .quotas -for -Australian content in programmes. They .have .said, .however, that -quotas .alone will -be .of no value .to them -without the addition .of tariff .protection .and -the .assistance ;of subsidies .for then productions, the establishment of a finance corporation to finance them and to enable them to proceed with film production; and the blocking in Australia of the income of overseas producers, so that it may be turned back into the industry.

These are the problems that this section of the industry is facing, and they are problems that I have referred to my colleague, who will be speaking shortly on this matter. I mention them in passing in order to show that here is an important part of this industry, whose operations are essential to the development of a high content of Australian talent by the licensees, admitting that at present it is not in a position to meet these requirements. Can it be contended that, because of this, the licencees must be forced to have no reliance whatever on the import of films? Such a position would be disastrous to the ultimate success of the industry, because its ultimate success depends on attracting a large body of viewers who are satisfied with the quality of the programmes.

Reference to the viewers reminds me that they also represent a very important element in the development of the industry, because they purchase television sets, pay licencefees, and so on. They want good programmes. The reviews that have been taken to date show that they have Very catholic tastes. They do not want rubbish of any kind, whether from Australia or overseas. Therefore, to force on them a low grade type of programme of Australian production would be just as disastrous as to force on them any other low-grade production.

I turn now to the other group, the artists, musicians and playwrights, all of whom are equally entitled to share in the profitable development of television in Australia. But they also are required to play their part, and this is the point that I want to make for the benefit of the honorable member for Parkes, because he may have some influence with these people and be able to direct them along wiser lines than they are following at present. They cannot expect these benefits to be handed to them on a platter, such as is suggested in the resolution which states that Australian actors, actresses, artists and musicians should be guaranteed engagements and contracts. Engagements and contracts are there for them if they like to co-operate with those other sections of the industry which are trying, under difficulties, to establish it as rapidly and as efficiently as possible. I say that, by reasonable co-operation, the actors and musicians represented by Actors Equity of Australia can have the opportunity that they seek. It is there waiting for them to take it, but it cannot be acquired by threats and by direct action, which do more harm than good to the whole of the concept. In order to demonstrate what I have said concerning the opportunities available for the employment of Australian talent I should like to read some of the latest reports from the Australian Broadcasting Commission. However, since time will not allow me to do so, I advise the House that I have been informed by television stations TCN, ATN and HSV that they are already employing large numbers of members of Actors Equity and other artists who are available. From time to time they have made efforts to build up the presentation of Australian plays, but, with the exception of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, they report that they have received no cooperation whatsoever from Actors Equity. They say, further, . that if Actors Equity likes to get down to a basis of friendly and constructive co-operation with the licensees, it will find that without resorting to demonstrations or strikes it can build up its rate of employment very considerably. All commercial licensees have assured me that they desire to employ Australian artists and use Australian productions. I have that in black and white, and I accept their statement. They are just as much Australian as we are.

These people who are criticizing what is being done, are withholding a lot of information about the actual volume of employment. They should get down to a reasonable and sensible understanding of the other elements in this industry and take the opportunities that are available to them for employment. Because of its great importance, I propose to make such information available later by way of a statement.

Leader of the Opposition · Barton

– The point of view of the Postmaster-General (Mr. Davidson) is reminiscent of the attitude taken towards Australian artists 50 years ago when they took part in theatrical productions. They had little encouragement, and there was a considerable struggle for Australian actors, writers, and artists to get recognition. One would have thought that that attitude had disappeared. But no! This Government is so hostile to the Australian sentiment that it banned from the air - call it an anthem or song, it matters nothing - “Advance Australia Fair “, which was the theme song of Australia’s war effort. That shows how hostile to Australian sentiment the Government is.

Mr Ward:

– What about calling for a bit of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker?


– Order! The honorable member for East Sydney need not remind the Chair about keeping order.


– In the Seventh Annual Report of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board for the year ended 30th June, 1955, the board gave undertakings as to what would be done in the matter of employing Australian artists and musicians. It said -

Television should provide great opportunities for Australian artists and we agree with the Royal Commission on Television that “ There is an undoubted obligation on the operators of television stations to ensure that the best use is made of Australian talent “. We are satisfied by the evidence which was given to us on this subject- that is before the licences were issued - that licensees will discharge this obligation and we therefore do not propose to recommend that any specific condition should be incorporated in licences for television stations.

Then the board said that imported film material had to be controlled.

Of course, the Postmaster-General avoids the real issue. The decision of Parliament was taken, and I will read it. It is contained in section 88 (1.) of the act. That section provides -

The Commission and licensees shall, as far as possible, use the services of Australians in the production and presentation of broadcasting and television programmes.

But they are not doing that. The limitation there, according to the act, is simply the possibility of the licensees doing this; it does not say as far as it is economically possible to do so. It says they are to employ Aus.tralians in the production of television programmes. That is the relevant portion of it. Are they doing that?

Mr Cope:

– Channel 9 does not employ any Australians, to my knowledge,

Mr Ward:

– Ministers are deliberately talking in front of the microphone.


– It is certainly difficult to speak against the conversation on the other side of the table.


– Order! The honorable member for East Sydney is making more interruption than anybody else.

Mr Ward:

– I am doing nothing of the kind.


– I want order all round.


– Although the act provides protection for Australian artists, the PostmasterGeneral is not enforcing it. The Australian content of programmes, which the Minister says is increasing, includes matters which have no relation to what is of actual value from an Australian point of view - such as weather reports and news. The news does not relate to Australia only, but also to all the world. Does a news broadcast have an Australian content because an Australian reads it? The real point is that Australians must be used in the production of programmes. That means that Australian actors, musicians and writers have to be employed to the maximum possible extent. The act says “ as far as possible “, but that is being completely broken by the Postmaster-General and the Government to-day, and also by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. The board has been most shameful in its neglect of its duties. It passes responsibility away from itself. What does the act mean? It means that this must be done, whether the Government intended it or not. It is an obligation to employ Australian artists.

I cannot understand why opportunity is not taken, positively, by the Ministry to see that this broad duty is discharged. What is the good of the Minister complaining about a particular organization such as Actors Equity because it protests? He says, in effect, that if Actors Equity behaves itself and like a good little union does everything that it is asked to do and adopts a timid, tame-cat attitude, . somebody will be graciously pleased to give its members further opportunity to be included in programmes. It is the old story. The Minister’s attitude is really one of resting too much- faith- in- the authorities. As far as the Postmaster-General himself is concerned, he is simply here as the spokesman for those authorities. He has made statements on the matter and’ says there is no easy way in this. Of course, there is no easy, way. It has to be worked: out; There ate matters in. which- he- must have assistance. A. play- for television may be written or produced not only by an Australian author, but from tame to- time the work of an overseas author or playwright may. be presented. That is reasonable enough, but the act provides that preference must be given to Australians. It is not limited to 50: per- cent, or 55 per cent, of Australian works or artists; the principle must be applied all along. I ask, on behalf of the Opposition that the statute be carried out and that the Broadcasting Control Board be not allowed to dodge- its responsibility as it is doing..

I turn- to the licensees of televisionstations. I cannot understand why they are not eager to put these- great Australian actors on the- programmes.

Mr Haylen:

– But who owns the- tele, vision stations?


– They are owned, in substance, by the newspapers. The honorable member for Parkes has referred to outstanding successes by Australian artists, and that is common knowledge. I thought the fight for’ the- recognition and employment of Australian artists was over, but it seems that we have to- fight for Australian interests in this, and- in every field. Yet, the Government calls itself Australian. The: issue is that the act should, be enforced and that parliamentary, policy should not be treated with utter contempt. The policy is contained in the act, but the Government does not carry it out:. That is the- view of the Opposition.

Minister for Trade · Murray · CP

: - The. Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) has been quite explicit in stating what he describes as the policy of the Opposition in this matter.

Dr Evatt:

– The policy of the act.


– It is an interpretation of the act which the right honorable gentleman- chooses to use and chooses to declare’ to be the- policy of the Opposition. Hi’s argument is simply that irrespective of any other consideration’ Australian artists must be used. There is- to- be no- limitation other than1 the- limitation of availability. Availability is to- be the only criterion.

Dr Evatt:

– Possibility. That is* what it says, in the act..

Mi. McEWEN?- “Possibility!.” So the right honorable gentleman interprets, it in. the way he has’ done: Is this policy of the Opposition to be confined to television? Are Australians- in the artistic world capable of working only in television? Are we to look at only the paintings made by Australians? Are we to be permitted to read only books written by Australians? When we go to the movies are we to be permitted to see only pictures made in Australia by Australians? Is that the. policy of the Opposition.?

Mr Haylen:

-. - You- know that that is a rotten argument.


– I know that it is a logical argument.

Mr Haylen:

– It is. un-Australian: You ought to be ashamed of. it. You can sell wheat to> the Japs, can- you not?


– Order!. The House will1 come to- order.

Mr Haylen:

– We only want a fair share.


– Order! The honorable member for Parkes has already spoken in this debate.

Mr Haylen:

– I was provoked, sir. This, is a serious matter..


– This is a debate which has been produced,, not in the interests of the viewers, but in the interests of those. Australians who,, it is claimed,, could present television programmes. Is there to- be no consideration whatever of the Australian viewer?’ Surely that is the prime consideration. The general sentiment of the Government’s policy and the legislation itself, on- reasonable- interpretation, is to see that, there is not an. exclusion of Australian talent, that there is, to the extent that Aus, tralian, talent is attractive to the- Australianviewer, employment of Australian talent. No other field of. Australian industry, enterprise, or culture is the subject of such an. incredible policy as that propounded by the Leader of the Opposition, that there should be- made available to Australian television viewers only those- things that are produced’ in Australia, to the exclusion of all other television programmes produced elsewhere. That is a completely indefensible policy. It is a completely contradictory policy on the part of the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), who only a few hours ago was arguing that the Australian public is being unwarrantedly denied access to such books as “ The Catcher in the Rye_”. He was the spokesman in this House last night against censorship. He is the most vocal man in the Parliament against control of what is to be available- to the Australian reading public. But this morning, in different guise - in the guise of an actor, if I may put it so - he.- is showing us to what a> transformation he has apparently been subjected. This morning he is advocating that there should be imposed the most absolute: form of censorship that I have ever heard propounded in this- place.

So the debate is to be recognized for what it is, Mr. Deputy Speaker - a stunt! It is an act in itself, designed to gain some political advantage for a political party that seems to be incapable ever of propounding anything other than things calculated to give it political advantage, no matter how trivial the instruments used may be.

The policy of this Government is to be discovered better by examining the results of its eight years of office. Australian industry and industrial enterprise have never experienced such a period of expansion as they have in the years of office of the present Government. Whatever aspect of Australian activity one may take as a measuring stick for this,. I venture to say beyond fear of just contradiction that there has been no other period of eight .years in the history of this nation in which Australian enterprise and skill have been so well catered for as during this Government’s term of office. That will continue to happen in regard to this new enterprise, television. The policy of the Government in respect of television is to permit not an accumulation of imported, film but just so much imported film as appears to be desired by the Australian viewer.

Mr Ward:

– The viewer has no choice.

Mr Haylen:

– Of course he has not. What choice has the viewer?


– The viewer, for- the reasons stated by the Postmaster-General (Mr. Davidson) a few minutes ago; admittedly has not very much choice of films, because there is scarcely any Australian film industry for this specialized purpose. However, like other industries, it will grow, and, to the extent that an Australian film industry can be shown to be really capable of carrying on, the traditional protective devices will be available to if and regard will be paid; - I give that assurance - to any representations for tariff protection of a practicable kind. Let me remind the House, however, that at the present time to exclude television films from being imported would not be to deny films to the television transmitting stations because, of course, there has been an accumulation through the years of great numbers of older films of the kind that have- been mentioned in this debate - films such as those dealing with Rin Tin Tin, the performing dog. It is clear that even if there were no current import of films for television, there are plenty of films available in the archives for the television industry.

Mr Haylen:

– At 30 “ bob “ a can!


– I know nothing of that. I say that you achieve nothing by imposing an embargo.

Mr.. DEPUTY SPEAKER__ Order! The honorable member for Parkes has spoken in the debate: and I ask him to keep quiet now.


– I have some sympathy for the honorable member for Parkes, Mr. Deputy Speaker. He is trying, by interjection, to recover some of the ground that he and his leader have so demonstrably lost in this pitiful exhibition they have turned on. There is really nothing that I require to add to what has been said by my colleague, the Postmaster-General. He has stated, the policy of the Government, and has given us the facts and figures, not in broadcast allegations, but as a result of actual experience. He said that in August television programmes had a 56 per cent. Australian content - A pretty good percentage in an industry which is not yet a year old, and which, I suppose, at that time was not nine months old. I venture to say that no other industry in the history of Australia has been able to claim within twelve months of its establishment that it was supplying 56 per cent, of Australian consumption. So I say that no case has been made out by the Opposition on this issue.


.- The information provided to the House by the Opposition has certainly vindicated the point of view we have submitted. Our only purpose in this debate is the express objective of stopping the unhealthy and un-Australian trend that has developed in the television industry over the last few months. As a matter of fact, the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) has, to take the most charitable view, engaged in nights of fancy. For example, he said that the primary consideration should be the Australian viewer. That is what the Opposition is concerned about. We contend that the Government is not looking after the interests of the viewer as it would be doing if it implemented the provisions of the act. Subsection (1.) of section 88 of the act reads -

The Commission and licensees shall, as far as possible, use the services of Australians in the production and presentation of broadcasting and television programmes.

But the latest report of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board for the year ended 30th June, 1957, does not sound too happy about the present position. The Postmaster-General (Mr. Davidson) threw out his chest and, with pride in his voice, told us that 56 per cent, of the programme material in August was Australian. The board states that the programmes represented by that percentage include children’s sessions, variety and talent sessions, news sessions, sport sessions, quizzes and panel sessions, women’s sessions, religious sessions, talks and interviews, and demonstrations. Taken at random, these programmes could include the trots, or the last quarter of the football in Melbourne. The panel shows and quizzes cost the television stations nothing.

The ninth annual report of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board contains this very significant statement, which the PostmasterGeneral apparently has not read -

The remainder of the programmes - a very, substantial portion indeed - are being provided on films from overseas sources . . . Many are excellent productions which provide much appreciated entertainment for Australian viewers, but others are of a type which, while in general complying with the Board’s standards, do not appear to the Board to represent the type of programme which would be desirable as a permanent feature of the Australian television services.

In other words, the Australian Broadcasting Control Board is not very happy about the present trend of television services in Australia. The Minister himself seems’ to be extremely pleased with the trend. He stated that Australian drama was being used on television, and .it is quite possible that n’e has been misinformed by interested people, because there has not been one Australian drama televised on commercial television since the inception of television twelve months ago.

The Minister stated that the board had received co-operation from licensees. That does not seem to be on all fours with the statement made by the board that it is not satisfied with a lot of imported programmes. The Minister said that the viewers want good programmes. Of course, they do, and I suggest that the Minister should have a word or two with the viewers. I have had interviews with quite a lot of viewers in my electorate, and all and sundry say that, whilst there is quite a number of good programmes on television, the imported film content of television programmes is far too high. I hope the Minister will not conclude that television viewers are perfectly satisfied with the programmes. The hiatus in the sale of television receivers has been brought about, first, by the fact that the cost is too high, and secondly, by the predominantly poor overseas programmes which are being televised. I suggest that if television stations were prepared to put on decent Australian programmes, they would find that the sales of television sets would rise.

The Opposition’s objection to the present small content of Australian programmes is not for political purposes. We, on this side of the House, are concerned about an unhealthy development, and we say unequivocally that the Government must not allow television screens to become a medium for the dissemination of imported culture and imported ideas. That is what is happening to-day. There must be ample opportunity for the presentation of Australian culture and the Australian way of life. The Minister this morning painted a gloomy picture of the future when he said that we could not expect any improvement on the present situation. Australia will be inundated with importations from overseas. The Opposition pointed this out when the bill was being considered in 1956. At that time,, the Opposition said that there were already ‘ in ( Australia a large number of television films, which had been brought into this country for the purpose of flooding the market as soon as television was inaugurated. That has happened. ‘ Television stations intend to apply the same policy in the future, and it is clear that the Minister intends to allow the television stations to have an open . go.

What are the prospects for the future? America this year is producing 120,000,000 dollars worth of television films. Last year, 100,000,000 dollars worth were produced, and similar quantities have been produced in previous years. Many of those films have been dumped in this country at a fraction of their original cost. They were very profitable transactions years ago, and the owners of the films in America are quite prepared to send them out here for a mere fraction of their original cost, because if they do not get that money they will get nothing at all. This Government, up to a month or two ago at least, was able to prevent an extension of that policy by having a ceiling limit on the amount of films which could be imported - £60,000 worth - but to-day the sky is the limit. Television stations can import as much as they like, and I have no doubt at all, seeing that the original intention of the people who entered television was to make a profit, that they will buy on the cheapest market and sell on the dearest market. The cheapest market, as far as they are concerned, is the overseas market, and they have now received the green light from the Minister. I do not know whether the Minister is too naive or whether he is trying to put it over the Opposition, but the fact remains that last year he said -

In its report to my predecessor on these hearings, the Broadcasting Control Board pointed out that there was an obligation on the operators of television stations to ensure that the best use was made of Australian talent, and that licensees were ready and willing to discharge this obligation.

Surely in the light of what has happened over the last twelve months the Minister still does not believe that the licensees are ready and willing to discharge the obligation that rests on them. The fact is that Australian drama and culture are not find-> ing any place on television at all.

When it was recently suggested that a television station should employ six ballet girls at a nominal cost in order to produce an Australian show, the station said that a much cheaper film on ballet could be obtained, from overseas. What hope is there for Australian talent when this attitude is adopted by the television stations, and they are backed by the Minister? When the Government refused to insert the quota clause twelve or eighteen months ago, I hoped that the Minister would do the right thing, in accordance with the provisions of the act, and see that, as far as he possibly could, there would be a fair percentage of Australian material in television programmes. But. such has not proved to be the case. Knowing the Minister to be very sincere, I would have expected him to stand up to. the moguls of the television industry, but he has not.


.- The Opposition, in making a noise about this matter,, exhibits its usual reckless disregard for facts. Opposition members have been presenting a case based on information supplied by other organizations. It would have been to the advantage of the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) if he had checked the information given to him in his brief, and had given honorable members of this House a factual outline of the case, as I now propose to do. The honorable member for Parkes used the phrase “ blood baths “. This purist, this great exponent of culture, once wrote a play entitled “Blood on the Bottle”, or “ Blood on the Wattle “, so these phrases come readily to his lips.

Let us consider the facts in relation to the Australian content of television programmes, taking the Australian Broadcasting Commission first of all, and the way it has worked over the past twelve months. The commission has produced 26 live plays of half-hour or one-hour duration, in which a total of 150 professional actors or actresses were engaged. Three of these plays were specially written for television by resident authors. Like “ Blood on the Bottle “, their authorship is Australian. In the field of light entertainment, there were 883 engagements of Australian artists by the A.B.C. in its television programmes. How does that compare with the Tivoli as an outlet for the talent of members of Actors Equity? In the field of serious music, the A.B.C. has engaged 120 artists in Australia over a period of twelve months and has produced an opera on television, the only one that has been so produced in this country. In the children’s session the A.B.C. has used 149 live programmes catering especially for children* and in this regard 824 engagements were made. As far as the A.B.C. is concerned, in Sydney over a period of nearly twelve months the Australian consent has been 48 per cent., and in Melbourne 39 per cent.

Further, during August, of the people “appearing in live programmes from the national stations, 86.9 per cent, in Sydney and 89 per cent, in Melbourne were paid artists.

If we turn to the commercial stations and look at what they have to offer in this regard we find that on station TCN, 43.5 per cent, of all programmes are of live origin or concern happenings in Australia. That station says quite definitely that few live programmes for Australian artists of any quality and at a reasonable price have been offered to it. Indeed, it can give the list of programmes that was offered to it which it put on, but having no audience appeal attracted no sponsor. The stations complain that they have had no cooperation from Actors Equity in this matter, and I ask the honorable member for Parkes if he has any influence with Actors Equity, to induce its members to co-operate with those people who are anxious and who have demonstrated their desire to use Australian content in their television programmes, instead of coming along with this fatuous nonsense we have heard to-day. If anybody has a good live show or a good Australian film, and if it can command an audience .and a sponsor it will be given first priority by TCN and other commercial stations.

We go on then to station ATN. Although this station has been established for two years and has been transmitting for ten months, .apart from conferences with the court for the purpose of making awards it has not had any approach or offer of assistance or co-operation from Actors Equity. Where does Actors Equity expect to get if it will not co-operate or make offers of assistance? Neither before nor after its decision to strike in protest against the Government’s intention to make currency available for the importation of programmes has it approached the station or sought to ascertain what was proposed. The stations have not received the slightest assistance from /Actors Equity and, generally .speaking, have received little co-operation from the artists themselves. For some time past musical shows have been planned and scheduled for presentation before the end of the year, but the greatest difficulty has been experienced in getting good talent at reasonable fees. The fees that have been asked have ranged from £25 to £50 for a single half-hour performance. Is this .the sort of co-operation that is going to .ensure the employment of Australian artists on a television programme?

We now turn to station HSV. It has been regularly and consistently increasing the Australian content in its television programmes, but again not .a great deal of support or co-operation has been received from Actors Equity. That station says quite definitely that opportunities are being extended as production experience grows and the .knowledge and technique improves. The organization recently acquired station .HSV7 and will transmit from the end of this month a completely .new Australian series employing leading Australian actors; and the station has agreed to underwrite this locally produced series without .any revenue support, .as it has done on many occasions. What greater guarantee can one have of the faith and desire of a station to employ Australians when it is prepared at its own expense to start a programme, without any financial support in any way whatsoever, for the encouragement of these Australian artists?

Looking at the facts, it is clear that the Opposition has been led by the nose by Actors Equity, and I urge honorable members opposite to look a little deeper at the intentions or desires of Actors Equity, because it has received the greatest encouragement from the broadcasting and television stations. Immeasurably more -money comes to the artists and musicians of Australia from broadcasting and television than from any other medium. They have to sell themselves to the public, and instead of carrying on with their stupid demonstrations and furnishing stupid briefs to the honorable member for Parkes, they should clean up their own house. Why should honorable members opposite take their brief from men who are seeking to destroy the Australian way of life? We know of the considerable Communist influence under which Actors ,Equity works. Hal Lashwood, president of the organization, is well known for the part he has played in Communistsponsored peace campaigns and cultural activities.

Mr Haylen:

– I ask that the honorable member be made to withdraw that complete and despicable lie. Mr. Hal Lashwood is not associated with the Communist party.


– Order! The honorable member for Parkes will withdraw that assertion, because it is entirely unparliamentary.

Mr Haylen:

– I would like you to know-


– Order! The honorable member will withdraw.

Mr Haylen:

– Certainly; I hasten to agree with you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Do you not think it is most unfair that the president of an honorable union should be libelled by this miserable rat who lives-


– Order! The honorable member will withdraw that assertion about the honorable member for Capricornia.

Mr Haylen:

– I am sorry.


– So much for the president of Actors Equity. The secretary of Actors Equity, Hal Alexander, was the Communist party candidate for Grayndler in the 1955 election campaign. So, we have Hal Lashwood with his close connexion with Communist-inspired peace campaigns, cultural activities and Communist-sponsored youth carnival for peace and friendship, and Hal Alexander, the Communist partycandi date who stood for Grayndler in the 1955 elections. These people, who are known opponents of the Australian way of life, are the men for whom the honorable member for Parkes became the spokesman to-day in their efforts to destroy and capture the Australian TV programmes in this country.

Several honorable members rising in their places,

Motion (by Mr. Davidson) put -

That the business of the day be called on.

The House divided. (Mr. Deputy Speaker- Mr. C. F. Adermann.)

AYES: 52

NOES: 34

Majority 18

In division:



Question so resolved in the affirmative:

page 1481



In Committee of Supply: Consideration resumed from 16th October (vide page 1456).

Department of Customs and Excise

Proposed Vote, £4,060,000

Department of Trade

Proposed Vote, £1,733,000

Department of Primary Industry

Proposed Vote, £1,584,000. (Ordered to be considered together.)


.- I wish to resume the debate where we left off last night on the Department of Customs and Excise insofar as it relates to the administration of the censorship. The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) entertained us to an amusing speech in characteristic style. I suppose that many of us, and the listening public, should be grateful to him for some of the interesting titles that he gave us. No doubt, there will be quite an amount of examination of those references. But he spoilt what would otherwise have been, from my point of view, a good case by descending into party controversy and attacking the Government. I should have thought that on a matter such as literary censorship we could have abandoned political divisions, for the time being at least, and tried to examine this whole question deliberatively and with some degree of adjudication.

The truth is, surely, that all governments have been culpable in this matter, over the years. If one wanted to be political, it is a legitimate objection to state that the Labour party was in office for eight years, between 1941 and 1949, and its administration of literary censorship left a great deal to be desired. But, I ask, is the Government, to-day, really happy about the way in which the censorship is being operated? Despite the speech last night of my friend, the Minister for Air (Mr. Osborne), who was previously a distinguished Minister for Customs, I doubt whether it is. For myself, I shall say at once that I believe in the necessity for some degree of censorship. One has only to look at some of the frankly pornographic publications, usually written by American authors and displayed in some of the most reputable book-shops in Paris, to appreciate the wisdom of preventing this calculated, deliberate, filth from falling into the hands of eager schoolboys, excitable adolescents, and highly emotional or relatively uneducated people.

Opposition members interjecting,


– I suppose that if one wanted to be uncharitable, one could include in this compendium some honorable members opposite.

In Australia, we have gone to extremes. Books that circulate freely in England have long been banned here. Other honorable members have given the committee examples of such books. I would remind them of one or two others. Since the war, for example, a classic by the writer Apuleius, “ The Golden Ass “, was detained by the Department of Customs and Excise for quite a prolonged period. In this connexion, surely there is some appropriateness in that title. The same fate overtook a novel which I think was very dull indeed, called “ Love Me Sailor “, which appeared after the war, and which I first saw in a Methodist book shop in Adelaide, where it remained until it excited the departmental mind. We have now had the latest incident involving the novel, “ Catcher in the Rye “, which, I understand, has been circulating in Australia for six years, and has been for a long time on the shelves of our own National Library. These books, of course, to the great joy of their authors and publishers, become best sellers overnight when the interdict is lifted.

As I said a moment ago, I am not opposed in principle to censorship. I believe that some form of it is necessary. My point is that there is, surely, ample evidence now on which to question the present practices of our customs officers, of the Literature Censorship Board, and of the appeal censor himself. Inevitably one asks: Are people of sufficient talent, of adequate breadth of mind, of refinement, and of learning employed by the department on literary censorship work? What are the qualifications of customs officers for this work? Is there sufficient liaison between the customs officers and the Literature Censorship Board? Have members of the board the true personal qualities necessary to discharge a task demanding a rich maturity of mind and uncommonly good judgment? Finally, is the Government offering adequate recompense to the board of censors? I see in the Estimates an amount, described, truly enough, as honoraria, of £1,125 for distribution among these people.

My submission this morning is that the whole subject of literary censorship should be re-examined by the Government. I do not wish to attack the censors personally nor customs officials. Customs officers, in my experience, are diligent, reasonable, courteous and most helpful men, but surely we all agree that censorship requires very special qualities which are not possessed by the great majority of people. Accordingly, I put three proposals to the Government. I suggest, first, that the task of book censorship should be taken away from customs officers and placed in the hands of a small committee or board, composed of men and women - and I emphasize “ women “, because I think their views would be extremely valuable in this respect - of wide knowledge and broad sympathies, possessing a true erudition, and also - and this is most important - with a practical experience of the world. Such a body would need to be available at short notice, preferably at immediate notice, to pronounce on books, magazines, and pictures that appear questionable to examining customs officers at the port of entry. The present Literature Censorship Board could, of course, be used for this purpose, but it should be required to give its decisions expeditiously and without the delays to which we have grown so accustomed.

My second suggestion is that from this re-constituted board’s decision an appeal should lie to the appeal censor, who would be obliged to give his decision within a period not exceeding two months. Thirdly, if we are to operate a book censorship system intelligently, we must- be willing to induce those responsible for this function to devote sufficient time and serious consideration to their work. If we expect this of them, we must be prepared to offer farhigher emoluments than appear in these Estimates. .

As it is, these recurrent controversies, with which we have become boringly familiar since the war, are making Australia look like a high-hatted, tightly.corsetted, lorgnette-gazing dowager, such as used to frequent South Kensington in London before the war, in the eyes of all serious-minded, thinking men and women throughout the world.


.- My remarks will be directed to the Department of Trade. Recently, the Government of Western Australia applied for a permit to export 1,000,000 tons of iron ore from Koolyonobbing. It was told by the department that the known deposits of iron ore would approach exhaustion within 30 to 35 years. The Premier of Western Australia pointed out that even if this estimate was anywhere near being correct, the export of 1,000,000 tons would reduce that estimated period by only five weeks. In other words, the 35 years would be reduced to 34 years, ten months and three weeks. The Premier also pointed out that by exporting this 1,000,000 tons of iron ore, for which he could get £6 or £7 a ton, he could make a profit of £1,450,000, which he needed to expand the charcoal iron industry at Wundowie, and to establish a new plant at Bunbury. At present, iron ore is being brought from Yampi Sound and sold to the Broken Hill Proprietary Company at ls. 6d. a ton. When the agreement was first made with the company by the McLarty Liberal Government of Western Australia, it provided for a price of 6d. a ton, but the company voluntarily increased this price to ls. 6d., realizing that it was getting far too good a deal. It is clear that the McLarty Government let Western Australia down when it sold that iron ore at such a cheap price, particularly when it is found that it can be sold at present for £6 or £7 a ton.

There are deposits of iron ore at Yampi Sound and Koolyonobbing amounting to 200,000,000 tons, and there are other known deposits as well. I direct attention to that fact in order to emphasize the grave inconsistency of the policy of the Department of Trade. While the department regards the export of iron ore as constituting a danger to the national interest, it allows such valuable minerals and metals as manganese, coking coal, scrap iron and scrap steel to be exported to other countries.

Mr Timson:

– This decision was made by the Department of National Development.


– The point is that the application was made to, and a reply received from, the Minister for Trade, or his secretary, so that the matter involves his department as well. He is particularly concerned with the export of scrap steel, which I am emphasizing. I made reference to the other matters merely to emphasize the inconsistency of departmental policies. The Minister claims that fresh supplies of scrap iron and steel become available every day. That is so, but it is important to note that the raw material from which these iron and steel articles were originally manufactured was iron ore, and that the scrap is much easier to process into steel products than is iron ore. While it may appear that there is a surplus of scrap steel for immediate use in Western Australia, the position can change very rapidly. The depletion of scrap steel stocks in that State was intensified in the immediate post-war years to such an extent that negotiations were entered into to obtain this material from South Australia, when there was less than -three months’ :supply of this important material available.

Secondary heavy industries in Western Australia are negligible when compared with the large structural steel and engineering establishments in the eastern States. Consequently, Western Australia must rely for its supplies on the mining industry and government departments, and only 12 per cent, of the total weight of castings that come from the mines is recoverable as scrap. It can be seen, therefore, that very limited supplies can be expected from that source. Scrap dealers say there is a large surplus of scrap in Western Australia. Had it not been for the unfortunate closing down of the Wiluna and Hig Bell mines, users of scrap in Western Australia would have been in a very difficult position. At the moment, certainly, ‘supplies of scrap are available from the State railways, but this is only a temporary situation, due to the breaking up of old locomotives and wagons that have been replaced. As honorable members know, the life of a locomotive is between 20 and 30 years.

Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.


– Prior to the sitting being suspended, I .had drawn attention to the inconsistency of the Government in refusing a licence to the Western Australian Government for the export -of 1,000,000 tons of iron ore whilst at the same time permitting the excessive export of scrap steel from that State. As I pointed out, scrap steel contains iron ore .and is much easier to process into steel products than is iron ore, I pointed out also that there was a .grave shortage of .scrap steel after the last war. Indeed, the shortage was .so great that we were in -danger of having to import scrap steel from South Australia. In addition, .as soon as .the source from which scrap steel is now obtained is finished, we will probably have another grave shortage. I do not say that an embargo should be placed on all scrap steel leaving the State, but I urge the Government not to grant licences to dealers to export this scrap. In competition with legitimate buyers, dealers have forced up the price, and consequently scrap steel has become more expensive to the foundries. I shall give an example. When Big Bell and the Wiluna mines closed down, Hadfields (W.A.) 1934 Limited, an engineering establishment in Western Australia, .tried to purchase all the scrap on those two properties for ore for their foundry as Bassendean, but dealers exporting to other countries outbid that company, as they have done from time to time. Consequently, the price was forced up. These dealers are reaping big profits from the export of scrap.

I wrote to the Minister on this matter on 4th June last. I shall not quote the letter because what I have said in the course of my few remarks here is what I said in the letter. In his reply, the Minister advised me that the export of scrap was referred to a committee and that the interests of the local users were closely examined. He pointed out, also, that there was no shortage at the moment. That may .be so, but we are concerned with the future and with the fact that licensed dealers are forcing up the price of scrap. I again emphasize that we in Western Australia want to know why the Commonwealth permits the export of scrap iron and steel, which is much easier to process into steel products, whilst at the same time it refuses a licence to the State government to export iron ore, on the grounds that it is necessary to preserve the nation’s resources. If the Government is anxious to safeguard Australia’s steel production, why should the export policy for iron ore be different from that for scrap steel, particularly as we have been able to show that the deposits of iron ore in Western Australia are ample?

I wish to refer now to the Department of Primary Industry and to deal with fisheries development. I take this opportunity to voice my disgust, and the disgust of many Western Australians, at the attitude of the Government in its decision to .base the trawler, which is being purchased for the fishing investigation project, on the eastern side of the Great Australian Bight. This trawler will be financed from the Fisheries Development Trust Account. That account, of course, was established with the proceeds of the sale of the Australian Whaling Commission at Carnarvon in Western Australia to the Nor’ West Whaling Company. It is expected, according to the fisheries newsletter, that the project will be extended and that four or five trawlers will be purchased in the future. This is ;another instance of the State which I represent, with other honorable members on both sides of the chamber, being let down. I do not see .any sound reason why this trawler should not have been based at Albany. The finance for it came from the sale of the Commonwealth whaling station in Western Australia, and at least a good portion of the proceeds of the sale should have ‘been spent on fisheries development in Western Australia.

Mr Haworth:

– Does the honorable member want all of the proceeds?


– I did not say all of it.

Mr Haworth:

– That is adopting rather a parochial attitude.


– The honorable member can answer my points later, but I say that we were entitled to at least some portion of the proceeds. I do not say all of the money, but some portion of it. After all, the Western Australian Government pioneered commercial trawling in the Bight at a heavy cost, and is due for some Commonwealth assistance. There is a fish processing works at Albany, which is capable of rapid expansion, and up-to-date facilities are available there for processing and packaging fish. The view of fishing interests in Western Australia is that the more .powerful influences of the eastern States are robbing Western Australia of a chance to help itself. It is to be hoped that Albany’s claims will receive more consideration, so that some benefit will be derived by Western Australia from .the .fishing investigation project.

I have mentioned that the Fisheries Development Trust Account was financed from the sale of the Commonwealth whaling station at Carnarvon. Honorable members will remember that an offer to purchase that station was made by the Western Australian Government. Finally, the decision was that the station should be sold to the

Nor’ West Whaling Company at a .giveaway price. The merger of the two whaling projects has meant that the profit of the Nor’ West Whaling Company has doubled. The profit was given recently as £274,266. Had the bid of the Western Australian Government for the whaling station been successful, the additional profit that has gone to the Nor’ West Whaling Company would have been ploughed back into Western Australia, particularly the north-western portion of the State, to the advantage of the people.

Mr Chaney:

– Why is the honorable member so sure of that?


– Because we had an assurance from the Premier, and surely we can take his word. One of the first steps .suggested was to build a good road between Carnarvon and ‘Northampton. The present road is in a had state because of the heavy traffic that goes over it and because sufficient funds are not available to build a good road. Other matters which could have received attention are jetties and the like. That is an added reason, in my opinion, why more attention should have been given to the interests of Western Australia in the fishing investigation project.

I shall refer now to the first annual report on the Fisheries Development Trust Account. Dealing with trawling, the report said -

Approval has been given for expenditure >up to £260,000 to cover the cost of procuring a trawler to test ‘the commercial potentialities of trawling in -the Great Australian Bight.

It is anticipated that the successful .development of this fishery will have an immediate effect on the supply of Australian-produced fish .for the fresh fish market ….

The interests of Western Australia should have been considered in that matter. Dealing with prawns, the report said -

Following requests from State authorities for a survey of the prawn resources off the east coast of Australia, approval has been given for the expenditure of £30,000 on a survey designed to find new prawning beds off the coast of northern New South Wales and Queensland.

The Western Australian Government is carrying out similar work and has asked for financial assistance. Surely, such assistance could have been given while the interests of the fishing industries in the other States were being considered!

Then we come to tuna fishing, and the report .states that it is known that there are considerable numbers of tuna in Australian waters. I am astounded by the attitude of the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney), and other honorable members opposite, to this matter. Are they not interested in trying to get financial assistance for Western Australia?


– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.


.- I wish to discuss the subject of censorship. When one says “ censorship “, people’s hackles naturally rise. They do not like the idea of censorship because it is against their idea of freedom. But we have to remember always that there is a stage at which freedom can become licence. If we look at the matter from another point of view and ask, “ Do we want blasphemous, obscene and indecent literature? “, the answer immediately is, “No”.


– Can the honorable member define any of those three things?


– There is the common law definition of obscenity, and if the honorable member cares to go to the relevant books he will find it there.


– Would the honorable member give us the authority, so that we may be able to find the definition?


– Order! Speakers should be allowed to state their own case.


– I propose to make my own speech. The authority is to be found in the books. There has been power, under the Customs Act, to deal with obscene, blasphemous and indecent literature ever since 1901, when the act was first brought in. It is a part of the police power of the Commonwealth. When an honorable member says, “ Leave this matter to the police power of the States “, let it not be forgotten that there is also a police power of the Commonwealth, which the people of the Commonwealth expect to be exercised. If a government were to remove that provision from the Customs Act, I do not believe that it would remain in office after the next general election. There would be such consternation that it could not survive.

Certain books have been referred to in the course of this debate, including one called “ Redheap “, which was banned in May, 1930. A great song was raised by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr.

Haylen) about that banning. It was spoken of as a shocking thing on the part of the Customs Department and the Minister for Customs of the day. Who was the Minister in those days? It was the period of the Scullin Government, and unless my knowledge of history misleads me, the Scullin Government was a Labour government, and the Minister for Customs, I understand, was Mr. Frank Forde, a Minister of considerable experience. It was, therefore, the view of the then Minister for Customs that “ Redheap “ should be banned.

The honorable member for Parkes and his leader, the right honorable member for Barton (Dr. Evatt), endeavoured to manoeuvre the debate last night so that the present Government would be shown to be solely responsible for the way in which the Customs Department administers the regulations, and an attack was made on the regulations themselves. I point out that those regulations provide not only for an appeal, but also for an appeal upon that appeal. In 1930, when Mr. Forde was the Minister for Customs, there were no such regulations. The matter was entirely one for the discretion of the Minister. The regulations were introduced in 1937 by the then Minister for Customs, the late Sir Thomas White, during the regime of a Liberal government, the idea being that there should be appeals; not merely one appeal, but appeal upon appeal, under the regulations. We heard the right honorable member for Barton say, last night, that he denounced the system, and that the Minister for Air (Mr. Osborne) j who was at the table at the time, stood up for it only because he was himself once Minister for Customs’, otherwise, he would despise it. Of course, the right honorable member was merely indulging in one of his frolics with regard to freedom. “ I am Sir Oracle, And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark ! “ That is the right honorable member for Barton. If any one else happens to bark, and says to him, “You should not be the leader “, out he goes! That is the right honorable member’s idea of freedom.

The right honorable gentleman said that he would require the department to place the books, not before a civil servant or a professor, but before a court. I point out that a court can deal only with matters arising from a dispute between subject and subject, or between government and subject There is no power, under the Commonwealth Constitution, for a judicial tribunal to decide whether or not a book should be banned at the instance of the Customs Department. That is to say, the Customs Department cannot do that. All that it can do is to ask an administrative body or tribunal to decide these matters, and that is the very thing for which provision is made under the existing regulations: That there should be an appeal to one administrative tribunal, and then a further appeal afterwards. The very procedure that has been denounced by the right honorable member for Barton is the only procedure by which this matter can be administered.

Let us see how this lover of freedom, this denouncer, behaved when he, himself, was in power. As 1 have already said, these regulations were brought in in 1937. The right honorable member for Barton was the law officer of the Crown from 1941 to 1949. Did he denounce these regulations and say that they were to be despised? No! He allowed them to stand. He allowed books to be banned under them and did not utter so much as a murmur of objection. Therefore, as I say, his present denunciation is just a frolic on his part. There is no sincerity in it.

This is a matter on which, of course, people’s minds are greatly divided. No two people will agree at any given moment on whether a particular book is decent or indecent, obscene or otherwise. It is a matter on which opinions waver considerably; but there is a general instinctive feeling in the community that some things are decent and others not decent, and although the standard may vary from time to time, t that feeling continues to exist and must be accepted and acted upon. It is for this reason that this statute is in its present form, and has remained in that form for so long. Perhaps 1 can illustrate what 1 mean by referring to the remarks of the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Downer). The honorable member referred to a book called “ Love Me Sailor “, and he said he thought it was a dull book. I am given to understand, however, that it had a somewhat more seductive title when it was translated into French. It was then known as “ Prenexmol Matelot “. The honorable member for Angas thought the book was dull, but it was the subject of a criminal prosecution in the Supreme Court of Victoria, before a jury, and it may well be said that on a matter of this kind a jury is the best judge. The jury found that the book was an obscene libel. In order to establish an obscene libel, it must be shown not only that a book is indecent, but also that it is likely to cause morality to be corrupted. That common jury found this dull book to be an obscene libel. That example indicates to honorable members just how possible it is for minds to differ on this matter. It shows that a common jury, a court of ordinary men in the street, may regard some of these matters as indecent and how men’s minds may differ on these subjects. That being so, I would say that whoever comes to decide - whether it is a small committee, or a board such as the honorable member for Angas asks for, composed of men and women of broad sympathies, possessing erudition and with a broad knowledge of the world, or whoever it is - there will he some people who, all the time will say, “ You have done the wrong thing “ either in allowing something through or in disallowing it. Nobody will get any praise who sits in judgment on these matters.

But the point is that someone must sit in judgment. Has anything been shown against the constitution of the Literature Censorship Board that at present exists or against the ability of the appeals censor to form a capable judgment - so far as judgment can be capable in this matter? I know that the honorable member for EdenMonaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) would say that no one should judge these matters, the books must all flood in. That is where I join controversy with the honorable member, if that is his view. But on the basis on which I am putting it, I submit that the present Minister has shown, in connexion with the lifting of the recent banning, that he has the matter well in hand. If it is not the present practice of the department to refer books banned by officers immediately to the Literature Censorship Board I submit to the Minister that that should be the practice; that an appeal should come about, ipso facto by the very fact of banning. Furthermore, if the Literature Censorship Board bans a book, it should go, ipso facto, to further appeal before the appeals censor. Only by a constant regard being had to the matter of whether a book, being banned, should- continue to be banned1 can- we come to a- correct judgment on- what is a very’ difficult matter indeed.

I feel that something1 should be: said with regard to the customs officer,.. A customs, officer is. a civil servant, and,, as- I have’, known civil servants, they are men of responsibility. I do not think, that the honorable, member fori Parkes was in any way fair to-, the. department and its- officers when he. referred! to. this, banning as: being a- banning by an office boy. He did himself a great deal of harm in- his. speech by referencesof that- sort. What I put to the Minister isthat there- should be- a constant overseeing of banned books; and- 1’ would go so far as to- say that with- regard to the long list which at present exists, the time has arrived when it should be reviewed’. Some of the’ books were published’ many- years ago and’ public opinion, or public standards, as to what should be banned fo-day may be very different from- what’ they were 30 years ago. Therefore, the time has arrived when there should be: not only this constant overseeing by the tribunal’s of any books which officers ban: - but also a general review of the list of banned’ books.


.- I wish to refer to a. matter which comes under the control of the Department of Trade and the Department of Primary Industry. No thought is being given and. no practical, action is being, taken by those two departments, to promote the proper development and population of Australia’s open spaces; Proper interest in the expansion of Australian primary industries, and in developing our export industries by extending settlement on the land is most, important indeed,, but. ways of increasing primary production have been sadly neglected by the. present Government.. I shall substantiate that statement, by drawing upon the latest information which was furnished to me by the Statistician in a. letter dated 13th September last. It shows, among other things, 1949 the population- of Australia was 7,900,000, and in that year there were 247,100 rural holdings in* Australia. In 1956,. the latest year for which figures areavailable, the population had- increased to 9,400,000,. an increase of l’,500;000: However, by that times our rural holdings: had’ increased to- 247,800s, an increase of only 700: holdings- in- Australia in- seven years. That is- a very- serious state of affairs’ indeed,

Mr Hamilton:

– Are those figures taken from the census?


– These, figures were supplied, to me. by the Bureau of Census and Statistics in a. letter dated. 1.3th September, last. The point I want to make is a. very, important one. Since the last war, 8,044. returned soldiers have been, settled on the land. It is reasonable- to assume that there would be that number of additional holdings, or even a greater number, taken up,, because many civilians also must have gone on the land during that period. But the fact is that although 8,044 returned soldiers have been settled on- the land, there were only 700 more rural holdings than wereoccupied in 1949.

That is a very serious state of affairs. If this Government were doing its job it should be promoting closer settlement in Australia. Since 1949, a vast number of immigrants has been brought into Australia. Many of these newcomers should be settled upon the land, but that has not been the practice. The number of males employed’ upon the land, full time, in 1949, was. approximately 352,800. In 1956 the number was 351,600, a decrease of 1,200. Those: figures include: owners, lessees, share farmers, and- relatives of owners, lessees orshare, farmers not receiving wages, or salaries. Every male engaged on the: land, to-day is included in those- figures. In> trieperiod from 1949 to 195:6 the number of persons employed’ on- pastoral and primary, production holdings, throughout Australiadecreased by 1,200. In< % country like ours which has such wide open spaces andi which requires the Government’s help in rapid’ development, it is indeed a very sorry state of affairs when there is such a substantial decrease of> the number of people employed on the land at a time when our population has increased by 1,500;000 in a few years. As I have said, the immigrants arriving inthis country are being absorbed in the cities; and many of them are unemployed instead of being engaged in increasing primary production-, as they should be.

In the Budget speech the Treasurer (Sir Arthur Fadden) said that less money was spent on farm- equipment in 1956-57 than in the previous: year. That fact is, in itself, a» indication that- fanning activities in this country ‘axe being- allowed te languish, because if we were progressing- as-‘ we’ should’ be- in that- respect we- would be spendingmore on1 farm equipment and1 development, t have here a pamphlet by a Mr. W. S. Kelly, O.B.E., a man of very great prominence in the pastoral’ world, and a member of the Consultative Committee- on Import Policy, in’ which- he points out, among other things -

Pre-war we exported 70,000 tons of Iamb out of a total production of 114,000 tons. Last year we’ exported only 37’,000: tons out of a. total production of 114,000 tons.

The point, there is that, the export of. this commodity has. fallen very substantially - indeed, by about half- in the period between the pre-war years and now, although our production has increased slightly. I say- that that is another indication that our. primary industry is being allowed to languish. When the Labour party was in office it set about establishing a number of agreements for guaranteedprices over a period of years, for our primacy products., Among them- was the meat agreement with the United Kingdom which is, still in operation. I understand that there is a. very substantial meat equalization payment coming to. the Australian exporters. I. believe it is. about £2,000,000. The point that I want to. make- now is that, the actual producers of the product will not receive payments from this fund: The only persons who will receive any payments from it are the exporters. I think that the prime purpose of having a long-range agreement- to assist, the primary producers should- be that the benefits of it- in this case £2,000,000 - will be distributed to the producers of the product and not to the exporting interests. I say that the Government has abandoned, to a very large degree, the policy laid down by the Labour pary in respect of guaranteed’ prices over a long term.

Mr Hamilton:

– What guarantees did the Labour government give?


– The Labour party’s policy was1 for guaranteed prices for all primary products. The Labour government was the first to- introduce such’ a policy. Now we have a government which includes a section- of the Australian Country party, which claims to* represent the country people-, but really misrepresents them. When members of the Australian- Country party get here- they are more interested’- in obtainingportfolios than< in pressing- the interests of the- primary- producers-‘ whom they claim1 te represent. They are letting’ the primary producers down.

The figures- 1 have given speak for themselves. They emanate from the Commonwealth Statistician, and they speak volumes on what has been done and what has not been done to assist the primary producers. In contrast- to- what is’ being’ done by this Government to assist the- primary producers, F inform the committee that, in Britain, according to the- “ Quarterly Review of Agricultural Economics “, of July, ll957, there have been recent changes in United Kingdom, farm price and marketing, policy. The review states. - . a. new system, of livestock guarantees was agreed upon for the 19S7-S8 season. For cattle, and sheep, seasonal scales of weekly guaranteed prices- with higher prices, for winterfed than for Grass-red animals, have been established- . . . Deficiency payments are now made weekly, the rate being the amount by which the guaranteed price foc the* week exceeds the. average of the last, four weeks’ actual- market prices- and. the estimates, for. the following four weeks- . . . This new method is expected’ to ensure that, over the year; the- average’ return to- the producers-

I emphasize, the word “ producers:”- will-, come close to the basic guarantee.

The1 guarantee is paid off quality and other factors, and seasonal1 conditions’ are in this’ way recognized. The point is that there is; in. England a scheme which provides for paying the subsidy, direct to the primary producers,, who are receiving, the benefit of that scheme,, whereas, under the Government’s system of guaranteed prices for export meat the benefit is going to the exporter and. not to- the actual producer. I believe that the meat producers should organize to see that the marketing of meat is on. similar- lines to that of wheat, so that they will get the full value for their product-

Last year, we had before us the matter of; the- distribution of about £750-,000 in respect of the United Kingdom meat agreement. That was distributed, as future amounts will be distributed:, to the exporters,, the middle- men, and not to- the: primary producer,. The: Government can. assist rural industry by giving greater financial assistance to the. people engaged in it. To-day, these- people are finding great difficulty in obtaining advances from the regular financial institutions. A large number’ of the 400 buyers operating in the Australian wool market to-day, buying wool for export, are rinding it very difficult to operate because they are not able to obtain adequate financial accommodation from the financial institutions. As a result, the purchasing of Australian wool is getting into the hands of small minority of four or five buying interests which are buying for various parts of the world and are establishing themselves as a monopoly. They are able to force down the prices of this product. I believe that 90 per cent, of these buyers represent foreign interests. So it is very important that the Government should do something in that regard.

I have here a copy of an article written by the financial editor of the “Sydney Morning Herald “, in which that gentleman states -

Yet it was a reminder that a large part of Australia’s trading future will be in awakening Asia.

The Government is doing nothing about developing markets for our primary products in that area. We have heard from various sources that China, for instance, is exploiting the markets of the East and other parts with its manufactured products. China and many other countries to-day are becoming potential purchasers of Australian products. We should go after those markets to our very utmost.

There has been a reduction of primary production in many of the countries of the Soviet bloc while they concentrate their energies on the development of secondary industry. There are markets in these countries now, we are informed, for wheat, meat, dairy products, steel, aluminium, building materials, machine tools and many other things. Australia could provide many of those commodities. I have not heard of the Government’s making any substantial move to try to promote markets for Australia in these areas. I say that if the Department of Trade and the Department of Primary Industry were doing their job in developing our rural industries a greater measure of prosperity and success would be brought to those industries, and our overseas balances must be improved.


– Order! The honorable gentleman’s time has expired.


.- The honorable member for Darling (Mr. Clark) began his speech by complaining about the small number of people who have gone onto the land in the last eight or nine years. I should like to ask him to direct his remarks to the Government of New South Wales, because most of the matters about which he spoke are the responsibility of that government. It is of no use, when a State government falls down on its job, to say, as the honorable member said, “ Let us forget about the State government, and see whether the Commonwealth Government can do something about it”. Honorable members on this side of the House believe in the federal system, under which the sovereign States must accept their responsibilities in these matters. Without going into too much detail, I shall cite some examples of the failure of the New South Wales Government to discharge the responsibility that rests on it.

The honorable member says that the people of New South Wales should be encouraged to go on the land. The New South Wales Government has discouraged them, first by greatly increasing rail freights and fares to country areas, and secondly, by failing to provide water storage facilities with reasonable expedition and at reasonable cost - and I particularly have in mind the Glenbawn dam in the Hunter River area. A scheme to supply water to the central coast of New South Wales was mooted ten years ago, but it has not yet reached the drawing boards. I give those examples to show the responsibilities that the States have in these matters about which the honorable member for Darling has complained.

The honorable member for Stirling (Mr. Webb) said that he wished to register his disgust at the placing of the Commonwealth trawling vessel on the eastern side of the Great Australian Bight. I should like to say to the honorable member for Stirling that if the vessel had been placed on the western side, or at Albany, as he suggested, no doubt the people of South Australia would wish to register their disgust. I agree with the well-known Australian who, some three weeks ago, said that if ever there was a time in Australia’s history for us to get away from parochial thinking, and to think on the national plane, now is the time. I suggest to the honorable member for Stirling that quite a number of things must be taken into consideration in deciding the most suitable base for the trawler. It is necessary to consider not only the geographical situation, but also the matter of markets. The location of markets would be a most important consideration, and to my way of thinking was probably one of the deciding factors which influenced the decision to base this trawler on the eastern side of the bight. I only cite that as an example, but I plead with the honorable member to think nationally on that matter, as on all matters before this House.

I want to say something about the Department of Trade. In the last few years, the Department of Trade has had a most difficult job in its administration of import licensing. Those of us who sit on this side of the House, who believe in true, liberal government do not like at any time to increase controls upon organizations or individuals in Australia. It obviously became necessary several years ago for certain import restrictions to be imposed, and I am very glad to say that, as conditions have permitted, the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) and the department have relaxed those controls. I wish to pay my tribute, not only to the Minister, but also to his officers, for the manner in which they have administered the restrictions and the understanding way in which they have acted. Their work was not easy, and it is easy to see that anomalies could arise. In paying that tribute, I mention the honorable member for Darling Downs (Mr. Swartz), who has had a great deal of responsibility in this matter.

I wish to mention the Tariff Board, and in doing so I am not pointing the finger of criticism at any person in the department, or any member of the Tariff Board itself. I refer to some of the delays that have occurred in getting decisions from the board. I shall give one illustration in the hope that investigations may be made with the object of preventing a recurrence of such a happening. I refer to the inquiry that the Tariff Board made into the importation of passionfruit juice and pulp into Australia. The original inquiry was held some two years ago, and in due course the Tariff Board made its report to the Government, and the Government, in its wisdom, referred the report back to the Tariff Board, enlarging its terms of reference. I have no criticism to offer about that action. The Tariff Board, acting on the enlarged terms of reference, held its sittings - I speak from memory - at the beginning of the second half of 1956. At that time, I made representations to the Minister and the board, on behalf of the growers, asking that the report be made available prior to the harvesting of the summer crop, because the findings of the board would affect the industry and the preparations it would be making with regard to the crop. I know that the chairman of the board was most understanding. I know that the Minister realized the position and was also understanding, but the fact remains that, so far, the report has not yet been presented to this House, and the next summer crop will soon be harvested. I suggest that the evidence that was taken at that time - say, in October, 1956 - will not be applicable to the present situation. In other words, some of the assistance that the industry was asking for under the terms of the inquiry will not now be required because circumstances have changed. If the report of the board is to be of benefit to the industry - I am not saying which side of the industry, the growers or the processors - it will be necessary to make the report available to those interested much quicker than in the past.

In conclusion, I wish to mention something under the heading of our trade commissioner service. I think it is necessary for us to increase our trade with those countries to the near north of Australia, those within the British Commonwealth of Nations, and those which are joined with us by such treaties as Seato. As I understand it, one of the difficulties of increasing our trade is the irregularity of shipping services to quite a number of the ports in the areas I have mentioned. It is comparatively easy to obtain a cargo from Australia for certain ports, but it is most difficult to get a return loading. Therefore, it is necessary, I believe, for our trade commissioner service to investigate further the possibilities of reciprocal trade with certain of these countries. I mention, for example, timber. There is a great deal of goodquality timber coming to Australia from such countries as North Borneo and Malaya. I think it would be true to say that a great many people in the timber industry in Australia believe that it is necessary for Australia to import her Oregon requirements and other timbers for joinery work from dollar sources, but I have been informed that quite a lot of the timber from South-East Asian countries would be suitable for that purpose. It would be a much shorter haul, and dollars would not be involved to anything like the same extent. I just give that as an . expression of my belief in the necessity for reciprocal trade between Australia and the countries I have mentioned.


– I desire to criticize one aspect of the work of the Literature Censorship Board. A deputation from .booksellers waited on me some time ago in my own city and complained about the time that elapses between the arrival of imported books or literature and the time they are returned to the importer from the censorship authorities. I inform the Minister of one specific case. He knows that lists are compiled of books imported from all countries. The book to which I refer was listed among those imported from India. A purchaser or an interested party went to the owner of the business and requested that this book be imported for him from India. This was eventually arranged and the book arrived in Australia in one particular month. The ordinary procedure was then followed. At the end of the month correspondence passed between the Department of Customs and Excise and the bookseller as to when he could expect to have the book returned to him. There was no reply until another month passed, which meant this book had been held <up by the department or by the censorship authority for two months. I then made a request to the department for information, and a couple of weeks later the book was returned to the owner and he was permitted to sell it. He then brought the book to me ito show me its condition when it was returned from the Literature Censorship Board. The book cost the -purchaser approximately 60s., but I want to tell the Minister ‘that when the book was returned it was not worth 5’6d. It was in a deplorable condition.

My two complaints - and I think the Minister will be just enough to give .these matters consideration - are these: .First, -the time that elapses between the arrival of literature in Australia after being ordered - and .business is .keen to-day in Australia, the same as it is anywhere else - and the date on which it is returned to the importer; and secondly, the deplorable condition, in which books are returned to the bookseller. Those two important points should be investigated immediately.

I do not know whether the Literature Censorship Board meets periodically, or whether some one person has authority, immediately a book is submitted for censorship to direct that it be perused immediately and returned to the bookseller or the importer as soon as possible. It is even more important, particularly with a costly book, that every precaution be taken to see that it is not damaged during that time. I believe that the Literature Censorship Board is actually doing a grand job. I have no complaint other than in respect of the matters I have mentioned. They are two important factors which should be taken up by the department immediately. I appeal to the Minister to take particular note of my complaint because I think what I have said is sufficient to indicate there is some desirability and some need to have a look at the particular instance I have mentioned to ensure that remedial action is taken immediately.


.- J wish to speak on the Estimates for the Department of Primary Industry and to deal with the point raised by the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Clark). I was astonished at the statement he made. He is supposed to represent a .rural .seat, but as his electorate is dominated by the City of Broken Hill, his ignorance about the point he raised is understandable. He dealt with the number of rural holdings, and quoted figures in respect of the period from 1949 to 1956. He said that in spite of the enormous increase in population, the number of rural holdings had increased by only some hundreds. He implied that there has been accretion of land in the hands of the few. I cannot believe he does not know the truth, because I am quite certain he would like to give the truth rather than mislead.

The Bureau of Census and Statistics, for its purposes, regards an area in excess of one acre as a rural holding. But in the true sense of .the word one acre is not a holding. However, in the hig cities, particularly Sydney .and Melbourne, -thousands of rural holdings of that area in the suburbs have been .absorbed in the expansion of those cities, and that is why the number of rural holdings has decreased. In fact, tremendous sub-division has taken place in rural areas throughout Australia. But the honorable gentleman, because of his socialistic training, wishes to imply that more and more land is falling into the hands of fewer and fewer people. That is not true.

Again he claimed that under this Government the number of workers in rural production has fallen. Of course it has, because .there has been a revolution in primary industries. . -But he would not know it, because his outlook is dominated by ‘Broken Hill. There has ‘been such a revolution m the last seven years. The rural industries have been mechanized as a result of the policy of this Government. If one wants to ascertain Labour policy on rural production, one need only read the White Paper on full employment of 1945. The whole -emphasis of the Labour party’s policy was on secondary industries, irrespective of the imbalance that its policy would have brought about. The only reference the policy made to the primary industries was a casual allusion to war service land settlement. These are serious matters because the life of the nation depends on the policies which guide our balanced expansion.

I cannot believe that the honorable gentleman is so ignorant as he exposed himself to be. He charged the Government with failure to encourage land settlement. Surely, he knows that land settlement is primarily a State responsibility. The Government of New South Wales has failed dismally to implement any agricultural policy. The policy of the Government seems to ‘be directed towards making it harder for .the people Who are engaged in rural production. If we want .to have more rural production we must have more and more subdivisions and more and more people settled on the land. That can be done easily by the State governments. It is not the concern of the Federal Government

The honorable member for Darling talked about our policy in .relation to the selling of products. I remember .that when this Government took over from the Labour government it inherited the terrible tragedy of the butter producers. One of .the first acts of the Parliament after the Menzies Government took office was to restore the proper relationship between the selling price of butter and the cost .of production. As a result, the butter industry has benefited by about .£130,000,000 in subsidy in the last seven years.

The honorable member also mentioned farming conditions in the United Kingdom. They are completely different from conditions -in our own primary industry. There, a system of subsidies is relied upon because the United ‘Kingdom has had to import a great quantity of food in time of war. Consequently, the United Kingdom Government has deliberately encouraged the production of foodstuffs, even at the expense of the .exchequer. That is .a policy which is governed by environment. We should not foster a policy whereby primary production jests on subsidies. The policy of the Government is .to get away from subsidies .and allow production to improve as a result of the methods of primary industry. But the Government has done an enormous amount for Australia since it has been in office. The mechanization of primary industry was accomplished by a deliberately planned fiscal policy. Thirty per cent, of all foreign loans raised by the Government have been .spent on agricultural machinery. That is why primary industry is .now mechanized. It has been the result <of a designed policy. People have also been encouraged to put capita] into primary production by the Governments policy of permitting depreciation allowances, for income tax purposes, on capital equipment. The success of that policy has been proved by the enormous increases that <have taken place in production in primary industry. Any party that attacks -the Government on the ground that it is ‘laggard’ly in its interest in primary producers is not talking facts.

What has been accomplished in New South Wales has been -accomplished despite the Labour government. .As the honorable member for Robertson lias said, -the Labour government’s policy has .apparently been deliberately designed to make it harder for the man on the land to produce. The State government has increased the price of .rural electricity and .has taken other action which .bears heavily against the man on the land.

The industry which has been much affected is the timber industry. It is becoming extremely hard to sell timber. Timber was originally carried by sea but the policy of the railways eliminated that means of transport. By offering cheaper freights, at the cost of the national exchequer, the railways killed the sea trade of the northern rivers in timber. As soon as the sea trade ceased, the railways put their freights up. There is also a problem in moving timber from Tumut to Canberra. It has to go by road and road tax has to be paid on it. Everything is designed to mitigate against primary producers. After all, the timber industry is a part of primary production.

Then the honorable member for Darling talked about wool selling. He said that under this Government the purchase of wool was falling into the hands of fewer buyers, and that therefore prices were being forced down. That is nonsense. Does the honorable member not know that brokers are paid commission on the value of their sales? Does he think that they would try to bring prices down and so get a lower commission? This allegation illustrates the foggy Labour thinking that goes on the whole time. The wool sales are conducted entirely by free auction and any possibility of lot splitting is very carefully watched by the brokers and producers. The price of wool is not affected. Is not the fact that brokers are paid commission according to the value of their sales sufficient to ensure that the sales are made at the highest possible price? This is in the interests of the primary producers and of the national welfare.

The next matter referred to by the honorable member for Darling was the meat agreement. The benefits of that agreement are spread throughout the industry and the agreement has had a most important effect on the production of beef. It has given security of markets for the next 15 years. On the question of marketing, it is interesting to recall that every member of the Labour party opposed the Japanese trade treaty. Is not that a marketing treaty? Yet the honorable member for Darling said that we were not interested in improved marketing! Under the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) the whole of our marketing technique has undergone a revolution and I suppose that it is now as advanced as techniques anywhere else in the world. In view of the Labour party’s attitude to the Japanese trade treaty, it should not accuse the Government of lack of interest in marketing. Surely that treaty was designed to secure wider markets for primary industry. Yet the honorable member for Darling, who is supposed to represent a rural seat, has attacked the Australian Country party for neglecting the farmer! It does not make sense. I think the Government’s record as far as primary producers are concerned is a very enviable one, and there is still new drive being applied to make the record even better in the future.


.- Like the honorable members for Darling (Mr. Clark), Robertson (Mr. Dean) and Hume (Mr. Anderson), I wish to direct my remarks to the Department of Primary Industry. I do not wish to commence with any detailed attacks on State governments or previous speakers. I shall deal merely with one point raised by the honorable member for Hume who criticized the honorable member for Darling who had previously spoken on this subject. I usually speak before the honorable member for Hume and he Usually has the opportunity to make personal remarks about me, I appreciate his highly combative character. I give him all ‘Credit for it. He is one of those people who believe in a fight even if there is no particular point in indulging it it. On this occasion I will not take up my fifteen minutes by referring to his remarks other than the point which he made about the honorable member for Darling.

If one is to deduce anything as to the character of State governments from the number of rural holdings in their States, I think it might be significant to point out that between the financial year 1938-39, the last full pre-war year, and 1955-56, the last year for which any figures are published by the Commonwealth Statistician in the “ Commonwealth Year Book “, the number of rural holdings increased in New South Wales and Queensland, the only States which throughout that time had Labour governments, and the number decreased in Victoria and South Australia, the only two States which throughout that time either had Liberal governments or had Liberal majorities controlling legislation in their upper houses. In Tasmania, and Western Australia which, respectively, have had all

Labour governments and mostly Labour governments, the number of rural holdings has remained stationary. The honorable member can find that information in the “ Commonwealth Year-Book” for 1957 at page 881, I give that reference because I see that the honorable member for Canning (Mr. Hamilton) will seek to follow me and he, similarly to the honorable member for Hume, very much likes a fight. I have not referred to the area of rural holdings, for it would be a singularly unprofitable pursuit to compare average holdings in Queensland, which is primarily a pastoral State, with average holdings in Tasmania which is primarily a horticultural one. It is the garden State.

The matters that I wish to refer to in dealing with the Department of Primary Industry are matters that concern the Commonwealth. They are matters in which the States cannot be blamed, and in which the various honorable members who have spoken in this debate cannot be blamed. To illustrate my remarks, I shall refer to the poultry industry since it suffers from all the disabilities suffered by any other primary industry and enjoys none of the government assistance received by nearly every other one. We have not yet been given the report of the Australian Egg Board for 1956-57. The report for the previous financial year was tabled on 31st October, 1956, and we have been given pretty nearly all the primary industry reports for 1956-57 except that of the Australian Egg Board. Secondly, we have not been given the Bureau of Agricultural Economics’ publication, “ The Egg Situation “, which, as honorable members will recall, came out in July, 1955, and July, 195*6, but did not appear in July, 1957.

The egg industry singularly illustrates all the difficulties which surround marketing in Australia. There are difficulties in marketing all the products of which we produce a surplus except when the overseas price is higher than the home price or where the Australian or United Kingdom Government subsidize our export losses. Under the Constitution, the Commonwealth has complete control over the marketing of exports. It controls the amount of exports of any commodity and the destination of the exports of any commodity. ,The Commonwealth, similarly, is in the, best position to gather and disseminate information on marketing conditions abroad as when- the former Minister urged the egg industry to increase its exports for 1952-53. Next the Commonwealth alone is in the position to do anything about remedying the situation with regard to internal marketing. It is useless to criticize the States for the internal marketing situation, since Section 92’ of the Constitution denies them power, as it denies us power. But the Commonwealth alone has the power to seek an amendment of the Constitution which would enable internal marketing to be carried on by the Commonwealth or by the States, or by the States with delegated powers from the Commonwealth. It is only by seeking such amendments, as was done by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) when he was Attorney-General in 1937, and by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) when he was Attorney-General in 1946, that we can correct the chaotic internal marketing conditions which exist in Australia.

The egg industry is peculiarly susceptible to the abuse and exploitation which flow from section 92. This is particularly so in Victorian, which is a very compact, highly developed State, where the producing areas are close to the borders of other States. These conditions have encouraged the growth of two bodies of exploiters, defying all marketing schemes sought by all their fellows in the industry. The first of them is Carter Bros., whose property is situated near Werribee. They are the largest and most efficient egg producers in Australia, and they send all their products across the border, thus exploiting section 92. In this way they make no contribution towards paying for the export losses which are inevitable in this and any other seasonal industry. The second of these exploiters in Victoria is the firm of Barrow Bros, in Victoria, which has set up some of its employees as directors of a subsidiary company called the Tocumwal Trading Company Proprietary Limited. As its name implies, it is situated on the New South Wales side of the Murray River. Victorian producers are encouraged to sell their eggs to this company, which then sells the eggs back into Victoria, again avoiding all the equalization charges and pool levies which every other person in the industry who is any distance from a border has to pay in order that the Australian people may have a continuous supply of fresh eggs.

As I have mentioned, the Commonwealth alone has power to regulate the .export market, and the Commonwealth alone can seek an amendment to the Constitution which is necessary if there is to be any decent, orderly internal marketing.

In many forms of primary industry subsidies are necessary, and, in fact, one was paid by the Commonwealth to the egg industry on the eve of the 1954 elections. Despite an answer that was given to me by the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. McMahon) when I asked a question supplementary to one which the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) had asked the Minister, it is impossible for the States without our consent, to grant any aid to or bounty on the production or export of goods. lt is possible for the Commonwealth alone to pay them.

Mr McMahon:

– Have another look at section 91, which provides that a marketing subsidy can be paid.


– It is significant that none has ever been paid.

Mr McMahon:

– The States can do it if they want to.


– I leave it to the good sense of the laymen in this committee to see for themselves what sections 90 and 91 mean.

Mr McMahon:

– The best advice I can get is that marketing control is provided for.


– I asked the honorable gentleman, as I recollect, a few weeks ago if he would assist the passage through both Houses of this Parliament of something that would certainly put the position completely beyond dispute - a resolution of both Houses authorizing the payment of such subsidies by State governments to producers within their borders. You know, Mr. Temporary Chairman, the general plan of the Constitution on the question of subsidies and excise duties. Those two matters, which concern production within Australia, should be on a Commonwealth basis, not on a compartmented basis between the various States. If the Minister is right, nothing is more certain than that there would be a challenge in the High Court of the validity of any State legislation that was passed, by Attorneys-General of States that did not like to have other States pay ing subsidies and so granting an advantage to some of Australia’s primary producers and not to others.

I have mentioned the three matters in which the Commonwealth is predominantly or solely responsible, and in which the States cannot be blamed. There are some other matters in which, I would suggest, the Commonwealth is in the best position to give assistance. One concerns financial assistance of the character of loans. In the United States of America a financing agency, the Farmers’ Home Administration, has been set up by the union government,, the- Government at Washington. The practice that has been followed by the United States Government in assisting industries such as the egg industry has been recommended as a procedure to be followed by the Australian Government, in a report on the commercial poultry industry in the United States which was published on 30th September Of this year. It will be remembered that the Minister for Primary Industry told me on 12th September that the report had been published and widely circulated, but in fact it was on 30th September that a news item appeared to the effect that the report was available, and honorable members received it on the 30th. It is now appearing for the first time in trade journals of the industry.

Mr McMahon:

– The honorable member knows that that is wrong. I told him that there was a distinction between the two documents, and there is no use piling burden on burden. The honorable member knows that the other document was published. He admitted it himself. All the information, with the exception of the report of the Australian Agricultural Council, is in that document, or is in the two documents. So the honorable member knows that it was published long ago.


– Order! The Minister must allow the honorable member to make his speech.


– The facts are clear in the minds of honorable members, I believe. It is true that a roneoed version was published, or was given to eight persons whom the Minister mentioned, and to technical experts of an unspecified number. It was confidential. But a printed version is now available. Do not let us be side-tracked.

I appreciate the Minister’s assistance in this matter. He has given the most informative and .civil reply that I have .received from him since, in the Estimates debate ‘a year ago, <I traversed his answers .to questions in the House, showing .that in every case he had said .that the subject-matter of the question was a matter for another Minister or .a State .government. Since .that time I have never received a civil reply from him, although he has given most fulsome replies to questions by honorable members on the Government side. The recommendation to which I have referred appears on page 22 of the published report.

The ‘Commonwealth should help to educate the ‘public and the producers on the problems of the industry. The public should be shown, as -it is not shown by the metropolitan daily newspapers, such as the Sydney “Daily Telegraph”, which is always on the -side of the exploiters, that this is a seasonal industry and that fresh eggs can ‘be obtained only at ‘certain times of the year in the same way as fresh fruit ran be obtained only at certain times o’f the year. The -difference between this industry ‘and other seasonal industries is that eggs cannot be stored !for more than ten or twelve weeks, if they are to remain fresh, whereas most other seasonal products, such as butter and cheese or dried fruits, can be stored for years, if necessary. The public should be advised of the benefits of organized marketing. It should be shown that only the exploiter, the big producer and big retailer, benefits from section 92 and that orderly marketing is necessary if huge fluctuations are not to occur in both the supply and the price of fresh eggs. The .surplus must be disposed of on the export markets, where inevitably losses are suffered, and all producers and consumers should share those losses.

Those engaged in the industry should be assisted with advice. The Commonwealth is in the best position to give advice and, to a certain extent, it is doing so. Those in the industry should be told how they can increase productivity and decrease costs by improving the layout of farms, the feeding of birds and the collecting of eggs.


The honorable member’s time has expired.


– I wish to discuss items 85 to 10.7 :for the Department /of Trade. Those litems -relate to the Tariff Board and the “Commercial Intelligence .Service. Towards the end of -.the nineteenth century, most trade expansionist .movements believed in the old adage that trade followed the flag. In this part of the twentieth century, the position has been reversed for the communistic, imperialistic expansionists and the belief now is that the flag follows the trade. In -this .respect I should like to draw the attention of honorable members to the existing lack of liaison between representatives of the Department of External Affairs and the Department of Trade in overseas posts. This -problem has already caused considerable embarrassment to the Government and is likely to cause more embarrassment in the future. In addition, it is a .continual source -of danger to our international relationship.

Whether -the reversal of the old adage is true or not, the fact remains that nearly all -Communist countries are using trade as a -major weapon in *he cold war, particularly in Asia. Trade is used as a “bait to -catch the bigger fish that they wish to fry and consume a’t leisure. Recently, we have had variations of the old nursery rhymes as a result of “ Sputnik “. For instance, we have had “ Little Bo-Bleep has lost its . Peep “, and other rhymes of a similar nature. But nobody has suggested, “ ‘ Will you come into my trade parlour ‘, said the red-backed spider to the fly “. Yet that probably -sums up the position of many df the trade relationships that exist in countries close to us. No sensible survey of any trade .relationships or agreements .with -Communist countries can ignore the advice of expert after expert - that is, that such trade agreements are fundamentally political and only incidentally economic.

How does that affect the appointment of our trade commissioners to overseas posts? Recently, the Department of Trade and Commerce was split into two. I do not say this with any direct reference to the department but, like the lowest forms of life, the one cell, when it splits, multiplies rapidly - and -that happened in both the Department of Trade and the Department of Primary Industry. That increase may or may not have been necessary, and it is not something that I wish to discuss. No doubt, ;the Cabinet sub-committee which is investigating the Public Service will look into it. On the other hand, the increase in the appointments to overseas posts has also been fairly rapid. That again may be necessary; I am not criticizing it. However, it brings into very sharp relief the necessity for the review of the method of operation of overseas posts. As I understand it, appointees are independent of the Public Service Board. I shall leave that for the day. Secondly, they are responsible to and report directly to the Minister, and, thirdly, they work almost entirely independently of their colleagues who are representatives of the Department of External Affairs in the particular country. Since the war, the line of demarcation between external affairs and trade has become more and more blurred as a result of the development of trade on a political rather than an economic basis. The question arises whether we should continue our overseas representatives in those two departments as completely separate entities or whether we should try to get, at least, a very much closer liaison so that the reports on trade questions should be received here at head-quarters concurrently with comments by the diplomatic representatives.

In some ways, some of the postings are difficult to understand. I mention as an instance Hong Kong and Tokyo. In Hong Kong, which is a most important trade market and which is also one of the two most important listening posts in the Far East, we have a trade commissioner, an assistant trade commissioner, and, I think, a third secretary or junior officer of the Department of External Affairs. On the other hand, in Tokyo, where the volume of trade is very much larger, we have an ambassador and the ambassadorial staff, but only a commercial counsellor and an assistant trade commissioner. Why that should be so, I do not know. Personally, from the circumstances that exist in Hong Kong, I think it would be much better in some ways to reverse the position so that we would have high external affairs repre. sentation and a much lower trade representation, when we remember that trade with red China is, as I said, fundamentally politically based.

Eighteen months ago, the trade commissioner at Hong Kong was sent by the Government on a visit to Peking, partly as a result of which, newspapers have reported, we are now to have a trade delegation from red China. According to reports,, in the “ Far East Asian Economic Review “, which is published in Hong Kong, Opposition members, during their recent visit to red China, did much to further the visit of that trade delegation to Australia. I cannot understand the logic of the Opposition’s argument that the trade agreement with Japan is bad and a great danger to Australian industry, but that increased trade with red China is everything to be desired. Everybody knows that the Chinese would undersell the Japanese, probably in the normal course of trade, but certainly in textiles. If they could not undersell the Japanese from the economic point of view, then they would use their political power, because this is all done through the importexport department. They would under-sell the Japanese any day of the week that they wanted to do so. Therefore, what logic there is in the arguments which members of the Opposition have been placing before the Parliament and the people of Australia with regard to trade with Japan and trade with red China, I just do not know. I am not aware of the position regarding the trade delegation, and whether it is actually coming here. I understand that it has not been invited officially, but if it is coming, one cannot entirely ignore it, although some people may be very embarrassed if they are asked to look after it.

When we consider the question of increased trade with red China, the prospects are not very bright. We have to remember that, in the first place, between 75 per cent, and 80 per cent, of the present trade of red China is tied to Moscow in order to pay for industrial goods that the Chinese have already received, and for a very large amount of war-like goods which certainly do not contribute to peaceful coexistence with those countries. Secondly, there is the desire to gain political face, and in this respect I wish to remind honorable members that a part of Mao Tse-tung’s programme, which was taken to Moscow by Chou En-lai in 1953, read as follows: -

Diplomatic offensive: The United States must be isolated by all means possible. Britain must be placated by being convinced there is no possibility of settling the major issues between East and West and that the Communist and Capitalist countries can live in peace. Opportunities for trade will have a great influence on the British mind.

In other words, those who are advocating increased trade in this respect have to remember that one of the main items of foreign policy, and one of the considerations underlying the trade policy of red China, is the need to drive a wedge between the United States and Britain, in the first place, and between the United States and other countries, in the second place. I know that when I first directed attention to that policy I was not very popular in certain quarters, but it .has since been adopted as a fact and as the official policy.

Finally, I think we have to recognize that trade dealings with red China would be used as a step towards demanding recognition of the existing government and weakening the anti-Communist front in South-East Asia. Therefore, I emphasize again that the appointment of a trade commissioner to Hong Kong should be looked at in the light that our representative in Hong Kong should, first, be an expert in international relations, and secondly, have a knowledge of trade, instead of the position that applies at the present time. On this subject, I wonder whether the trade commissioner in Rangoon has been asked about, or has reported on, what has happened as a result of the trade treaty between Burma and red China, under which, for 20 per cent, cash and 80 per cent, barter, Burma agreed to sell fairly large quantities of rice to red China. -It is well known - it has been reported in Far Eastern newspapers - that Burma has received in exchange many goods which are fairly highly priced - I think that that is probably a classic understatement - and also many goods which she does not actually want, or does not want in the quantities in which they have been delivered. Then, to add insult to injury, her own rice has been exchanged for Ceylon rubber at less than the ruling market rate. In other words, the rice which has been sold or bartered to red China is used to undersell Burma in her own markets, as a result of which the whole Burmese economy has been considerably dislocated.

Has the trade commissioner in Tokyo been asked about the result of the trade agreement between Japan and red China, whereby the Japanese were told that China required a large number of Japanese goods, particularly the products of secondary industries? Again, although the bait has been ‘ dangled, very little has materialized.

All these facts must be taken into consideration by anybody who advocates that we should increase our trade with red China. I notice that the . honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) is in the chamber. As we know, he is very keen on such an increase of trade, and I think he has been one of the chief critics of the trade agreement with Japan. It would be very interesting to know how honorable members opposite square their arguments on these two points. I have referred to these incidents, and cited the facts, to indicate to honorable members very conclusively the necessity for the closest possible liaison between our representatives of the Department of External Affairs in overseas posts, and our trade commissioners or assistant trade commissioners. Such liaison does not exist at the present time, and I believe that its absence constitutes a very great danger.

In conclusion, I point out that there is no embargo on the export of goods to Hong Kong at the present time. Hong Kong has removed the China differential, in accordance with British policy, and therefore there is no actual bar, so far as the differential list is concerned, to prevent Australian goods from going into red China. We could apply an embargo, but I understand that that has not been done. I think it Would be far better if we were to be honest in declaring our policy rather than to resort to a subterfuge of this nature which will not endear us to our friends and will only gladden the hearts of our opponents. If our policy is that we do not agree with the abolition of the China differential, we should place an embargo on the type of goods, covered by the list, going to Hong Kong.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Adermann).Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.


.- The honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) has been dealing with the subject of trade with red China. Like the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), I think that we should trade with red China, and with Japan as well. In fact, we on this side of the chamber think that Australia should trade with everybody. We believe that there is some truth in the saying that if trade does not cross frontiers, armies will. If the honorable member for Chisholm refers to “ Hansard “, he will probably find that, in my speech on the

Japanese trade agreement, I dealt with all the matters to which he has referred, that I covered them adequately and even, perhaps, in accordance with the high standard he sets.

I want to refer to censorship, a subject which has been raised here in an incidental kind of way. It is a very difficult subject, as honorable members on both sides of the House will agree. The honorable members for Balaclava (Mr. Joske) and Angas (Mr. Downer) both spoke of the matter in a general way, and in much the same manner as honorable members from this side have discussed it. I am a little astonished by the attitude of honorable members opposite, an attitude that they sometimes take in connexion with matters of this kind, in assuming that they personally are under attack. The Minister for Air (Mr. Osborne) may rest assured that I do not want to lay at his distinguished door responsibility for everything that has happened during the 57 years of censorship. The responsibility lies with this Parliament.

I have been through the “ Hansard “ indexes for the last few years and have found that this subject has not come up for general discussion for some years, and has, been mentioned only in an incidental way on relatively few occasions. That is a bad thing. Nobody denies the very great importance of the principles underlying it. I think it was the honorable member for Balaclava who said that the whole notion of censorship was against our ideas of freedom. The problem that faces us, therefore, when we stand up to speak in this debate, is that we in fact know very little about the subject of Australian censorship. That is the first point I make. It is the very anonymity of the matter which put it in a poor light, so far as I am concerned and also, I think, so far as most honorable members are concerned. This anonymity is quite a serious thing. The important thing is not that the names of the books are not published. There are approximately 1,100 books on the list. Last night the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) asked whether the Minister could give the names of the members of the Literature Censorship Board and those of the appeal censors. The Ministers said that he could not recall them all and it would not be reasonable to expect him to do so. But when a subjectmatter of this kind comes up for debate, the people who are charged with the responsibility of deciding what every one of us from the Chief Justice of the High Court to the humblest petitioner of this Parliament shall be allowed to read, should be required to bring the reasons for their decisions before us for examination. To that extent I agree with honorable members on the Government side.

It is very important that all of us should consider the subject of censorship from that angle. Is there any party political element in censorship? We do not know. There is nothing new in censorship. It has been one of the great problems of civilized society. The various States have passed measures relating to obscenity. The Objectionable Publications Act of Tasmania provides for the setting up of a board, to be known as the Publications Board of Review; the functions of which are -

To examine and review publications with the object of preventing the distribution in this State of objectionable publications or of any parts thereof.

That board has to decide whether publications are objectionable. In Queensland, the Objectionable Literature Act provides for the establishment of a literature board of review. That act provides, in Section 10 - (1.) The board may by its order prohibit the dis tribution in Queensland of any literature for that that literature or some part thereof is, in the opinion of. the board objectionable.

  1. (a) an order of the board prohibiting the distribution in Queensland of any literature - (i.) Shall apply with respect to all copies of that literature including, in appropriate cases, all copies of every addition, part. number, or series thereof.

The New South Wales Obscene and Indecent Publications Act defines all kinds of things which are to be prevented from being distributed. So, in Australia we have a system to prevent the distribution of literature of various sorts. We have assigned to the Customs Department, for some obscure reason - perhaps we could relate it to the constitutional setup - the task of deciding what kind of literature we shall read. All Australians are bothered about the anonymous, rather ambiguous and capricious nature of the censorship that prevails. Examples have been quoted of expensive editions being allowed entry whereas cheaper editions of the same works have been prohibited. Anybody who does any reading at all will probably find in editions of Shakespeare, “ The Arabian Nights “’, “Pepys’ Diary”, “The London Journal”, and even parts of the Bible itself, passages which would- probably fall within the ambit of the acts that have been passed by State parliaments. We should face- this matter with a great deal of concern and bring the scrutiny of these- things’ into the light of day1. I believe that the people responsible for censorship should’ have to table in Parliament a report of their activities so that it might be examined and debated here.

After all, the censorship of literature and the decision of what shall’ be distributed in the community is not a matter of literary criticism; it involves a different kind of judgment altogether. I believe that, on the whole, we start from the wrong end in dealing with this matter. The general attitude is that we must prevent certain: kinds of publications coming, in whereas: we should rather be primarily concerned to ensure freedom of publication. The onlyway in. which that can be done is through discussion in this Parliament.. Therefore, the Literature Censorship Board, the appeal censors or the Customs: Department must be placed in a position where its judgment can be open to debate in Parliament. I cannot see the rationale of preventing’ the distribution of even the names of certain publications.

This is a contentious subject, but I do not think that honorable members could do much better than to read the work of John Milton entitled “ Areopagitica “, written 300 years ago. Although he makes an eloquent and fluent appeal for the licensing of writings, if we examine his works we will find that even Milton fell from the Olympian heights of true tolerance when considering religious literature. In this work he wrote -

I deny not, but that it is of greatest concernment in the. Church and Commonwealth, to have a vigilant eye how books demean themselves as well as men;: and. thereafter to confine, imprison, and do sharpest justice on them as malefactors. For books, are. not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progency they are; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living, intellect that bred them. I know they are as lively and as vigourously, productive, as those fabulous dragons’ teeth; and being sown up and down, may chance to- spring up armed, men. And yet,, on: the other, hand-, unless wariness be used, as good almost kill a man as kill a good book.

Every honorable member, ought to give serious- consideration to. this problem. A. final note sounded by Milton in dealing with this matter reminds us. that when we set ourselves up as censors we are sitting in judgment on people who are fundamentally equal with ourselves and who are as capable of exercising the same kind of judgment that we seek to pass on their works. Perhaps, the eloquent words of Milton express this far better than I can. He wrote -

Lords and Commons- of England, consider what Nation it is whereof ye are, and whereof ye are the governors: A Nation not slow and dull, but of a quick, ingeneous and piercing spirit, acute to invent, subtle and sinewy to discourse, not beneath the reach of any point, the highest that human capacity can soar to.

An English judge, in discussing censorship in a famous case, had this to say -

If literature is to be controlled, having regard to the lowest common denominator in the land, then there is no literature at all..

I say again that censorship should be subject to the fullest examination in public debate, and that the decisions of censors on behalf of the people of this country should be open to the closest and most careful scrutiny.

Minister for Air · Evans · LP

– Before the committee closes the debate on the matter of censorship, there are a few matters on which I should like to reply. In Milton’s, day the government was not faced with problems with which modern governments have to deal. To-day, there is a great flood of commercialized Vice, of no literary value whatsoever. The problem is to know how to control production of volumes of that class of printed material about which there is a general concensus of adult opinion that it is valueless and harmful. A Labour government, in spite of the words of the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) last night, would not dare and would not be permitted to abandon control over the flood of this sort of material which would appear in quantity if it were not for some discrimination by customs officers, who, at the same time, are very conscious of the need to preserve the freedom of the public to read works of literary value. As I have already said; there is a large volume of works of no literary value at all, about which people- generally agree that their appeal is only to the- innocent, or immature children, or people with the minds of children, whom it is necessary for the community to take some action to protect.

Some honorable members who have taken part in this debate have spoken airily of the need for this censorship to be exercised only by an approved committee, or a court. Those honorable members do not stop to think of the enormous volume of imported material that has to be examined by customs officers. Now, the Customs officers who are assigned to this duty are selected either on their records and from among the staff of the Department of Customs and Excise, or, on some occasions, . are enlisted from outside the department. They are people of education.

Mr Whitlam:

– Why do you not deal with literature in the same way as you do with films?


– Films are much fewer in number than are books. That is why it is possible for a board to examine the films imported by Australia, whereas it is not possible to establish a high level board charged with the duty of reviewing every printed article that comes here. The best example of the class of literature of which I am speaking is the horror comic. It is not enough to say that the Federal Government should retreat from the censorship field and leave the police power of the States to prevent this kind of printed matter from circulating, because the State police power will be evoked only in cases in which somebody complains about the distribution of that sort of article. That is like closing the stable door after the horse has got in.

Due to our island situation we in Australia are in a different position from the United States or the United Kingdom, where most of the objectionable material is produced indigenously. The police powers of the States are able to deal fairly adequately with objectionable material locally produced, but the Department of Customs and Excise still has the duty of exercising some scrutiny over the great quantity of imported material. The Leader of the Opposition argued last night that there was an inherent absurdity in the division of authority in this matter between the Commonwealth and the States. That is not so. It is no different from a dozen other examples that one could take, where, in this federation, the exercise of a particular power is divided between the Federal Government, in relation to one aspect, and a State government in relation to another. The honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant) suggested that it was strange that the Department of Customs and Excise should be charged with this duty. It is not strange at all. The Department of Customs and Excise is the authority that supervises imported goods, and the Commonwealth Government’s power of censorship of literature is absolutely restricted to censorship of imported printed matter. It is perfectly natural that the department should continue, in this day. to exercise the duty that was placed on it by statute in 1901.

My own position is perfectly clear. People have a right to read. Adults have a right ot select what they should read. The process of learning to select what one will read and to exercise discrimination is part of the process of growing up, and the adolescent has to learn to exercise the power of discrimination. It is perfectly true that any system of censorship must be carried out with a liberality that does not impair that sort of thing. But, I repeat, the problem is, while not interfering with the proper rights of individuals to choose the literature they will read, and of the right of adolescents to have available material on which they can learn to exercise a sense of discretion, at the same time to protect the young and innocent against the harmful effects and the worthless commercial appeal of horror, fear and the basic forms of pornography. Therein lies the problem. If the Australian public examined this matter it would not for one moment tolerate the opening of the doors of Australian commerce to anybody who likes to bring into this country for purely commercial purposes anything of the nature of the publications of which I am speaking. That is why I think I can say with justice that the Leader of the Opposition was quite irresponsible last night in putting forward the view that, in effect, the Commonwealth should retreat from this matter entirely. I do not believe that any responsible Labour party would ever accept that as part of its policy.

I was asked last night to say who were the members of the Literature Censorship Board, and I had to say that I regretted that I could not remember at the time. I am able now to tell the committee who they are. The chairman of the board is Mr. K. Binns, former Commonwealth Parliamentary Librarian, a man of knowledge and long literary experience, with a trusted record as a true public servant of the Australian people. The members of the board are Professor E. R. Bryan, Professor of English at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, and Professor D. P. Scales, Professor of Modern Languages at the Canberra University College. The appeals censor is Dr. L. H. Allen, emeritus lecturer in English and Latin at Canberra University College. He is very well known to many members of this House. He succeeded the late Sir Robert Garran as appeal censor. Members of the committee will not be surprised to know that Sir Robert Garran, even in his latest years, continued to exercise a judgment on these matters that was in the finest humanistic tradition. I recall one occasion during my period of responsibility in these matters when there was a divergence of opinion among the members of the board on one of those difficult cases on which people do have conflicting views. Sir Robert Garran’s view, as appeal censor, was exercised in favour of the admittance of the disputed book.

What I want to emphasize is this: That those cases in which books are referred to the Literature Censorship Board are the cases in which some question has been raised as to the validity of their exclusion by the wide sieve of the customs examination. The method of ensuring that the wide sieve of the customs examination does not exclude things of literary value is dependent on protests by a person interested. The fact that protests such as that over the exclusion of “ The Catcher in the Rye “ are made is not evidence of the stupidity of the system. It is evidence that the system is working, and that an article of value is re-examined by the appropriate authority and, generally, is re-admitted.

I cannot pursue this matter any further in committee. I myself agree with the honorable member for Wills that some purpose could be served by having a wider examination of this matter at present. The Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Henty) is well aware of that himself, as is obvious from a press statement that his department issued on 3rd October last, which read -

The Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Henty) conferred to-day with the Literature Censorship Board andthe Appeal Censor and discussed with them aspects of an overall review of the existing long standing procedures on Literature Censorship.

Senator Henty also asked the Board for suggestions as to the best means of overhauling the present list of banned books with a view to recommending to him whether any of these books should now be released.

So honorable members can see many of the things that they themselves have been suggesting are at present being carried out.


.- I think we have to get the record straight-

Motion (by Sir Philip McBride) agreed to -

That the question be now put.

Proposed votes agreed to.

Progress reported.

page 1503


Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 6); Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Amendment (No. 2); Customs Tariff (Papua and New Guinea Preference)

Amendment (No. 1)

In Committee of Ways and Means:

Minister for Air · Evans · LP

– I move - [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 6).]

That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1956, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff Proposals, be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals, and that on and after the eighteenth day of October, One thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven, at nine o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Australian Capital Territory, Duties of Customs be collected in pursuance of the Customs Tariff 1933-1956 as so amended. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. That, without prejudice to the generality of paragraph 1 of these Proposals, the Governor-General may, from time to time, by Proclamation declare that, from a time and date specified in the Proclamation, the Intermediate Tariff shall apply to such goods specified in the Proclamation as arethe produce or manufacture of any British or foreign country specified in the Proclamation. 1. That on and after the time and date specified in a Proclamation issued in accordance with the last preceding paragraph, the Intermediate Tariff shall apply to such goods specified in the Proclamation as are the produce or manufacture of a British or foreign country specified in that Proclamation. 2. That any Proclamation issued in accordance with paragraph 2 of these Proposals may, from time to time, be revoked or varied by a further Proclamation, and upon the revocation or variation of the Proclamation, the Intermediate Tariff shall cease to apply to the goods specified in the Proclamation so revoked, or, as the case may be, the application of the Intermediate Tariff to the goods specified in the Proclamation so varied, shall be varied accordingly. 3. That in these Proposals, unless the contrary intention appears - " Customs Tariff Proposals " mean the Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the following dates, namely : - 22nd May, 1957; and 3rd September, 1957; " Proclamation " mean a Proclamation by the Governor-General, or theperson for the time being administering the government of the Commonwealth, acting with the advice of the Federal Executive Council, and published in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette; " the Intermediate Tariff " mean the rates of duty set out in the Schedule to these Proposals, in the column headed " Intermediate Tariff ", in respect of goods in relation to which the expression is used. [Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Amendment (No. 2).] That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) 1933-1954, as proposed to be :amended by Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the twenty-second day of May, One thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven, be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals, and that on and after the eighteenth day of October, One thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven, at nine o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Australian Capital Territory, Duties of Customs be collected in pursuance of the Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) 1933-1954 as so amended. [Customs Tariff (Papua and New Guinea Preference) Amendment (No. 1).] That -the -Schedule -to -the -Customs Tariff (Papua -and New -Guinea Preference) -1936-1936 -be-amended .as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals, and that on and after the eighteenth day of October, One thousand nine hundred 'and fifty-seven, 'at nine o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Australian Capital Territory, Duties of Customs be collected in pursuance of the Customs Tariff (Papua and New 'Guinea Preference) 1936-1956 as so amended. The three Tariff 'Proposals I have just introduced cover amendments to the Customs Tariff 1933-1956; the Customs Tariff (Papua and New Guinea Preference) 1936-1956; and the Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) 1933-1954. The proposed amendments will take effect as from 9 a.m. to-morrow morning. A " Summary of Alterations ", which is now being circulated to honorable members, sets out in concise and convenient form the new rates of duty as compared with those now in operation. The proposed amendments in the main are based on recommendations made by the Tariff Board following public inquiries to determine the -assistance -required for the protection of the respective Australian industries. The tariff protection provided by the new amendments covers various metal-working grinding machines, a range of chemicals mainly of the insecticidal and weed-killing types, slide fastener tape and cycle saddles. An alteration to the wording of the item dealing With pneumatic rubber tyres is also proposed to remove any doubts which may be thought to exist concerning the tariff classification of tubeless tyres. One of the i more important amendments is -the proposal to impose protective duties on certain insecticidal and weed-killing type chemicals. This action was not taken earlier when the Tariff Board's report was tabled in the Parliament in May this year. Assurances have been received by the Government from the local manufacturers that they will not take advantage of protective duties to increase prices and the Government considers that the Tariff Board's recommendations can now be implemented without detriment to our export industries. Another important amendment is also proposed in respect of the duties applying to imported natural and synthetic rubber and rubber latex. This action has been decided upon by the Government after considering a report by the Tariff Board dealing with the measure of assistance that should be accorded to the Papua and New Guinea rubber industry. Although as from to-morrow the present duty on rubber from all countries other than the Territory of Papua and New Guinea will be increased from 2d. per lb. under the Customs Tariff to 4d. per lb., concurrent action is being taken to remove the 10 per cent, ad valorem primage -duty presently operating. This will actually result in a reduction of the import duty payable. . The primage of .10 per .cent, on present prices considerably exceeds the amount of increased duty now imposed, so that a general reduction of duty payable on imported rubber will be effected by these proposals. The tariff amendments also include provision for the by-law admission ! of natural and synthetic rubber and -rubber latex at a concessional .rate of duty of 2d. per lb. ' in approved .-circumstances. It is the 'Government's intention that the by-law provisions should apply only after arrangements have been made by Australian manufacturers of rubber goods to purchase the rubber crop from the Territory of Papua and New Guinea at a satisfactory price, which is to be the world price appropriate to the particular grade of rubber purchased when the world price for No. 1 R.S.S. grade rubber is 30d. or more per lb. Should the world price for No. 1 R.S.S. grade rubber drop below 30d. per lb. the Government will expect Australian manufacturers of rubber goods to pay to Territory growers the world price appropriate to the particular grade of rubber purchased, plus id. per lb. for each penny by which the world price for No. 1 R.S.S. grade is less than 30d. per lb., with a maximum excess payment of 3d. per lb. - that is, if the world price for No. 1 R.S.S. grade rubber drops to 18d. or less per lb. It may be convenient here to refer to Customs Tariff (Papua and New Guinea Preference) Proposals No. 1 dealing also with rubber and rubber latex. Specific provision is being made in this proposal for payment of a duty of 2d. per lb. in respect of rubber and rubber latex the produce of the Territory. This is a necessary amendment to ensure that Territory rubber will continue to be admitted into Australia at the same rate of duty as at present. In its report on rubber, the Tariff Board recommended a substantial reduction in the rates of duty, but recognized that, in view of the revenue implications, it might not be possible for the Government to implement its recommendations in full immediately. The board envisaged that the reductions recommended might, therefore, need to be implemented by stages. The Government's present proposals are the furthest it feels able to go at this time. These proposals represent a significant cost saving for local industry at a manageable cost to revenue. At the same time, the duty reductions will represent significant concessions to major suppliers of natural rubber to the Australian market. The Federation of Malaya, supplying some 90 per cent. of total natural rubber imports, will be the major beneficiary. Moreover, rubber accounts for almost 85 per cent. of our total imports from Malaya. The Tariff Board report concerning rubber, along with other yet untabled reports covered by the Tariff proposals, will be tabled later this evening. I invite the attention of honorable members to the provisions in Customs Tariff Proposals No. 6 reducing the British preferential margin on certain machine tools to 7½ per cent. This action is complementary to that taken in the tariff proposals of May last, when the preference margins on a wide variety of producer goods was similarly reduced consequent on the signing of the United Kingdom-Australia Trade Agreement early this year. Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Proposals No. 2 is complementary to Customs Tariff Proposals No. 6. The present item providing for free admission of agricultural insecticides the produce or manufacture of New Zealand has been redrafted to ensure that those insecticidal chemicals for which tariff protection is now proposed under Customs Tariff Proposals No. 6 will not be admitted into Australia duty-free. Honorable members will be given an opportunity to debate the proposals at a later date. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 1509 {:#debate-29} ### TARIFF BOARD Reports on Items. {: #debate-29-s0 .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr OSBORNE:
LP -- I lay on the table reports of the Tariff Board on the following subjects: - >Cycle and tricycle saddles. > >Diesel fuel pump test benches and metal working machines and appliances. {:#subdebate-29-0} #### Rubber Rubber tyres and tubes. Slide fastener tape. Unground ball and roller bearings. Ordered to be printed. {: .page-start } page 1509 {:#debate-30} ### ESTIMATES 1957-58 In Committee of Supply: Consideration resumed (vide page 1503). {:#subdebate-30-0} #### Department of Social Services {:#subdebate-30-1} #### Proposed Vote, £3,014,000 {:#subdebate-30-2} #### Department of Shipping and Transport {:#subdebate-30-3} #### Proposed Vote, £1,168,000 {:#subdebate-30-4} #### Department of Territories {:#subdebate-30-5} #### Proposed Vote, £273,000 {:#subdebate-30-6} #### Department of Immigration Proposed Vote, £1,958,000. (Ordered to be considered together.) {: #subdebate-30-6-s0 .speaker-KGC} ##### Mr HAMILTON:
Canning **.- Mr. Chairman,** I am very interested in the vote for the Department of Social Services, because I notice that the estimate for this year for salaries for permanent, temporary, and casual employees, and for general administrative expenses, is £185,000. This expenditure is necessary to distribute hospital and sickness benefits to the people. If it is proposed to spend that much money on administration, then the health of the people is of paramount importance. I am very interested in the health of the nation, as are my colleagues in this Parliament. Some of the statements that have been made to-day about rural production more or less implied that the primary industries have in some way or other connived to starve the people of necessary foodstuffs, and I think those statements should be corrected. The honorable member for Darling **(Mr. Clark)** to-day criticized the primary producers, saying that, in 1939, Australia exported 70,000 tons of lamb out of a total production of 114,000 tons. {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr Haylen: -- I rise to order. Is it competent for the honorable member for Canning to refer to a previous debate when he is specifically dealing with the votes under these departments? Is the honorable member entitled to reply to a previous debate at this stage? {: #subdebate-30-6-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I was making some notes, and was just beginning to prick up my ears and come to the conclusion that the honorable member for Canning is entirely out of order in discussing that subject. 1 so rule. {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr Haylen: -- The honorable member for Canning should sit down. Look what happened to me! {: .speaker-KGC} ##### Mr Hamilton: -- 1 am speaking to the point of order. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! I have ruled on it. The honorable member cannot discuss exports and imports or anything in that line. {: .speaker-KGC} ##### Mr Hamilton: -- Would it not be proper under the heading of social services, as I have pointed out that we propose to spend so much money in providing for the health of the people, to discuss the matter of the food they eat, because I was- {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! I ask the honorable member to relate his discussion to an item in the proposed vote for the department. {: .speaker-KGC} ##### Mr HAMILTON: -- I pointed out that I am very interested, for instance, in child nutrition. For social services this year we shall pay many millions from the National Welfare Fund and portion of that sum will be in respect of salaries. I submit that when honorable members say that they are not getting enough food to eat, or imply that by figures they quote, those mistakes should be rectified. I was only mentioning, when I was interrupted by the honorable member for Parkes, that we heard that of a production of 114,000 tons of meat only 70,000 tons were exported. If the same honorable gentleman would look- - {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! I have ruled the honorable member cannot discuss that subject. {: #subdebate-30-6-s2 .speaker-KZX} ##### Mr GEORGE LAWSON:
Brisbane -- I should like to address my remarks to the proposed vote for the Department of Shipping and Transport, and in doing so 1 shall confine myself to the Government's decision to dispose of the Commonwealth Handling Equipment Pool. That subject has been discussed in the Parliament on quite a number of occasions. A question about it was asked this morning by one honorable member on this side of the House, and, in addition, a debate took place on the subject two or three weeks ago. In discussing this matter I enter my emphatic protest against the Government's decision. Quite a number of protests have been lodged, I understand, and I might say too that the employees who were engaged on that project, employees of the Commonwealth, have been for a long time very disturbed about the Government's decision to dispose of this valuable project. I well remember that **Mr. Basten,** who was brought to Australia to investigate the shipping question and report to this Government on the facilities at our shipping ports, commented very favorably on the work which this pool was doing in the economic interest of Australia. Anybody who has had anything to do with this particular pool must admit that, as far as the ports are concerned, particularly those of Queensland, it has performed a very valuable job. The shipping companies employ the pool to do most of their work around the wharfs. It has effected the quick turn-round of ships thus saving many thousands of pounds for the shipowners. In addition, the Brisbane branch of the pool has agencies along the coast of Queensland from Brisbane to as far north as Cairns. There again the pool has done a very fine job, so much so that the harbour boards in Townsville, Rockhampton, Mackay and Cairns, have made use of it to help keep their ports clear. Apart from those people, many private industrial concerns have also engaged the pool, and every one of them has protested very strongly against the Government's decision to dispose of the pool. Speaking again from the Queensland point of view, I am informed that every member from Queensland, with the exception of two, has replied to the employees who wrote asking for their opinion on the disposal of the pool, to the effect that they oppose its disposal and would protest strongly to the Government. I hope that now an opportunity has presented itself, those honorable members will carry out their promise to the employees concerned. In this matter I think I can speak for every other Labour member in this chamber. We replied pointing out that we realized the value of the pool, not only to the shipping companies and the harbour boards, but also to many hundreds of other private industries. The pool has been employing a comparatively large body of loyal employees. Otherwise it would not be in the position in which it is to-day. The fear of dismissal has been hanging over the heads of employees now for the last four or five years. It is four or five years since the Government first mentioned that it intended to dispose of the pool. Evidently, the Government was not able to do that because it could not get any organization to take the pool over on the specified conditions. Therefore, as I have said, the employees have been carrying on under these conditions for the past four or five years and they have carried out their work faithfully and loyally to this Government. The Government should never forget that. In about June of this year the Government again decided that it would dispose of the pool. It placed advertisements in the press calling for tenders for the purchase of this project. The employees, who know the workings of the pool and the way in which it operates on behalf of the public in Queensland and other States, realized the value of this project not only to employers in Queensland, but also to themselves as employees. They decided to form a cooperative company and to tender for the purchase of this wonderful project. Immediately they decided to do that they were able to collect from amongst themselves sufficient money to pay the deposit on the tender price of the project. As a matter of fact, the amount that was required in accordance with the Government's specification was over-subscribed. The employees have now tendered for the purchase of the pool. After all, they would not have done that with their own money if they had not known how valuable the pool has been, is, and will continue to be to the people who use its equipment. However, they have guaranteed, in accordance with the requirements of the Government, that if their tender is successful they will be in a position to provide the balance of the money which the Government has determined as the value of the equipment. Actually, this equipment was not purchased by the Government out of any particular funds allocated for that purpose. The pool was set up during the war by the Chifley Labour Government in order to assist the quick ' turn-round of ships and to do other work which, as I have said, it has done. The pool was made up of handling equipment left behind by the American authorities. It had been delivered to Australia by the American Government in order to assist the American authorities' here during the war. As a result of the lend-lease agreement between the United States Government and the Australian Government, the equipment was taken over because, I understand, the Australian Government was on the right side of the lendlease ledger. As I have said, no money was appropriated for the purpose of setting up this pool. Therefore, the pool did not cost the Government very much, if anything at all. As I have said, the employees have been very loyal to the Government. It is now three months since the Government decided to call tenders for the purchase of this project. Those employees are still carrying on just as though nothing had happened - just, as though their positions were not in jeopardy at all. They are carrying on in the hope that their tender will be successful. I do not know whether the Government has received one,, two or a dozen ten.ders for this project but, no matter how many have been received, the Government should give the employees who have registered this company preference over other tenderers provided that all things are anything like equal. The employees have done a- wonderful job. If the pool is sold to someone else we do not know whether the new proprietor will carry on in the same way as the pool has been carried on since: it was first brought into being. I am satisfied that if that is not done the shipping companies and all others concerned will lose a very valuable project. {: .speaker-KIF} ##### Mr Hulme: -- The cannery at. Northgate will be affected. {: .speaker-KZX} ##### Mr GEORGE LAWSON: -- As the honorable member for Petrie **(Mr. Hulme)** pointed out, the- cannery at Northgate makes extensive use of- the pool', and many other outside industries have: also used it. All speak very highly of what if has done. I appeal to the Government, now that it has definitely decided to dispose of the pool, to give to the employees who have been so loyal for many years,, an opportunity to continue it. The TEMPORARY **CHAIRMAN (Mr.** Freeth);^ - Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-30-6-s3 .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr HASLUCK:
Minister for Territories · Curtin, · LP -- We are debating,, at. the moment, the estimates for a group of four departments - the Department of Social Services, the Department of Shipping and Transport, the Department of Territories, and the Department of Immigration. I want to refer briefly to the estimate for, the Department of Territories. I would like to point out that this proposed vote of a comparatively small sum for the Department of Territories is not the main item in the Estimates for the territories. In Part 3 of the Estimates, at page 144 and on following pages of the printed parliamentary papers, appears the item of approximately £30,000,000 for the terri, tories; whereas, at the moment we have before us an item, of £263,000 for the Department of Territories. Although it is a matter entirely for your discretion, **Mr. Temporary Chairman,** I respectfully suggest to you that at this stage we should not attempt to have a debate on the whole gamut of activities in the territories administered by the Commonwealth, but- that we should reserve that debate for Part, 3 of the Estimates and confine ourselves narrowly at this point to a debate on the Department of Territories, located in Canberra, and the comparatively restricted activities carried on by that department.. I feel sure that this procedure will be more satisfactory to honorable members, because it will enable them to have a single debate on Part 3, whereas when attempting to deal with the Department of Territories in the present grouping they will, be taking part in a debate which covers, three other departments as well. {: .speaker-JVU} ##### Mr Nelson: -- Will we have a debate on the other aspects, of the Department of Territories later? {: .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr HASLUCK: -Yes,. there will be a. debate on Part 3 of the. Estimates. Con>fining my remarks to the section of the Department of Territories covered: by the item before the- Chair,. I should like to make one point briefly. I do so because there has been a certain amount of cheap and easy talk to the general effect that the territories are run from Canberra, and that there should be more decentralization of control. Accompanying that cheap and easy talk, there has been a kind of disposition to blame the public servants in Canberra for anything that goes wrong, while withholding from them the credit for anything that goes right. In order to put matters in a proper perspective I should like to direct the attention of the House to two sets of figures. One set relates to the financial provision that is made for the territories. In the departmental vote that we are now considering, we have a total provision of £273,000. In. the other votes that are applied to expenditure in the territories themselves, that is, in the Northern Territory, in Papua and New Guinea, in Nauru, in Norfolk Island, in Cocos Island, we have a total of about £20,000,000. This is actually spent in the territories and applied to purposes in the territories. The work on which this money is spent is carried out in the territories themselves. To make a comparison on one useful index, the salaries actually paid to the public servants who do this work, we find that salaries and allowances for the Department of Territories staff in Canberra and Sydney amount to £226,500 a year, whereas salaries and allowances for the officers who carry out territorial work in the Northern Territory amount *to* £2,164,000, and in Papua and New Guinea to over £3,000*000. Those figures are significant. {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr Thompson: -- In Part 3 of the Estimates there is shown a total of £11,000,000, not £20,000,000. {: .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr HASLUCK: -- No, I think the honorable member is wrong, with all respect. The total for Part 3 is given as £30,000,000, and we must subtract from that approximately £11,000,000 for the Australian Capital Territory. The remainder is the money applied to purposes in the Northern Territory, Papua and New Guinea, Norfolk Island, Cocos Island and so on. To continue with the point I was trying to make, those figures regarding the financial provision have alongside them figures showing the disposition of staffs actually employed in territorial work. In the Department of Territories in Canberra we have a staff of 213 officers. In the Northern Territory itself the staff .totals 738, and in Papua and New Guinea 2,700. [Quorum formed.] I was making the point that the major proportion of the staffs employed in territorial administration is employed in the territories themselves. That is the result of a consistent and deliberate policy of decentralization in administration. I can illustrate this by giving figures showing the changes in the strength of the staffs during my own administration. The staff of the Department of Territories in Canberra has grown, between May, 1951 and June, 1957, from 169 to 213; in the Northern Territory, from 451 to 738; and in Papua and New Guinea, from 1,400 to 2,700. Translating those figures into percentages, we find that the Canberra staff increased in that period by 26 per cent., the Northern Territory staff by 63 per cent., and the Papua and New Guinea staff by 93 per cent. The committee can see clearly the way in which we are concentrating our efforts in, and directing our expansion into, the territories themselves and not head-quarters. Because I have mentioned some rather large increases in the numbers of public servants employed in the territories, some honorable members and the outside public may revive the old cry about the growth of the Public Service. 1 should point out in passing that this increase in staff has followed a remarkable increase in activity in the territories. Population has increased greatly, developmental activity has expanded, production and industrial activity have increased in all the territories, not twofold, but in some items as much as five-fold, and in many items three-fold. It is because of that great expansion in activity -in the territories themselves that it has been necessary to increase the numbers of public servants. Moreover, when we started off with what was admittedly a neglected area of the Australian sphere of responsibility, and attempted to live up to our responsibilities with regard to those territories, we had to make these increases. My main purpose in this debate, however, is to point to our deliberate policy of decentralization of effort, to show that this decentralization is taking place and that the work we are trying to do in territorial administration is concentrated in the territories themselves and not at head-quarters in Canberra. Having said that, I should like to indicate briefly what the Department of Territories actually does. The portfolio of Territories differs somewhat from other portfolios in the Commonwealth structure of government. The usual structure consists only of a Minister and a department. In the case of Territories there is a Minister and a department, and alongside the department are self-contained territorial administrations. In the case of Papua and New Guinea and of the Northern Territory, the territorial administrations have themselves a structure closely resembling that of the governmental organization in any of the Australian States, although at this stage, of course, on a rather smaller scale. A Minister for Territories stands in rather an unusual position, inasmuch as he has both a Department of Territories and two rather large territorial administrations preparing and submitting matter to him. In that structure of administration, the Department of Territories located in Canberra, with a branch office in Sydney, carries out the customary functions of a department in providing services for its Minister, in acting as a .secretariat for its Minister, in preparing recommendations and submissions of various kinds and assisting its Minister in the performance of his duty. In addition, it carries out certain services for the territories, such as the procurement of supplies, arrangement for the shipping of those supplies, the recruitment of staff and a multitude of matters of that kind. It also acts as a channel of communication so that submissions and recommendations prepared in the territories are channelled through the Department of Territories in Canberra towards the Minister's table. Finally, the department performs a number of special functions in relation to the British Phosphate Commissioners, the Christmas Island Phosphate Commission, the Australian School of Pacific Administration, the South Pacific Commission, our international obligations to the Trusteeship Council and other matters of that kind. Overall, the department attempts to carry out a job of assembling and co-ordinating information which has a common application to all the territories. From time to time, as the occasion arises, officers of the Department of Territories have been used at my direction to carry out what might be called inspectorial or expert functions in the territories. It has happened that a territorial administration, not having the particular kind of expertness that is required on its own staff, has gratefully accepted the temporary aid of senior officers sent from the Department of Territories to help them through a particular difficulty. It has happened that, "if some particular matter comes under notice that seems to require, in the ordinary course of administration, examination and report, a senior officer of the Department of Territories has been called upon to make that examination and report. Before I conclude, I should like to pay a tribute to the self-effacing way in which the officers of the department have applied themselves over long hours and with a great deal of capacity to assisting the territorial administrations to meet their special difficulties and to carry out their responsibilities. I fear that the officers at headquarters, like all head-quarters officers, have sometimes received undue criticism simply because they happen to be at head-quarters. The same sort of thing happened during the war. The front-line soldier thought that every one at the base was probably a fool, and the brigade commander probably thought that he would have won far more battles had it not been for some one at Melbourne who was impeding the operation of this genius. The same sort of thing happens in public administration. Having had the opportunity to observe these matters with what I hope is a certain amount of detachment, and having some knowledge of what happens both in the territories and in Canberra, I should say that the officers of the Department of Territories in Canberra deserve far more credit than they customarily receive for the work that they do on behalf of and in the interests of the territories. It is a selfeffacing work which never comes1 to the front, but it is work which is constantly done with considerable capacity. I know that, like senior public servants in other departments, the administrations of the territories and the people of the territories owe a lot to the senior score or so of officers in Canberra who have made-"'this their special field, who have made this their constant care and who, year in and year out, have applied themselves with singleminded devotion to trying to do the best job they can to assist the territorial administrations to make further progress and to do their own work better. {: #subdebate-30-6-s4 .speaker-JVU} ##### Mr NELSON:
Northern Territory -- As the Minister for Territories **(Mr. Hasluck)** wishes, I shall confine my remarks to the estimates for the Department of Territories and shall take part in the broader debate when Part 3 comes before the committee for consideration. Last year we had a general debate without any restriction, but I think that this procedure will work quite well and will probably allow a much wider discussion on the affairs of the territories. I am sure that that will be so with the Northern Territory. At the outset, I join issue with the Minister on his assertion concerning the workings of the department in Canberra as it affects the Northern Territory. Remote control has the effect of slowing down the administration of the Northern Territory. I have no reflection to make on the departmental officers in Canberra. I know that, to the best of their ability, they do what they can to perform the functions for which they were engaged in speeding up or smoothing the administration of the Northern Territory. However, the system creates delay in the smooth, efficient and speedy administration of the Territory. A few instances which illustrate this point have been referred to me. I have been told that the Public Service - not necessarily the Department of Territories - slows down matters concerning the Northern Territory. 1 instance the appointment of officers. The lands section of the Northern Territory Administration has considerable difficulty in getting surveyors. The appointments are made by the Public Service Board, but months elapse between the time applications are received and the time appointments are approved. In many instances, the surveyors have become tired of waiting and have taken other employment. Surveyors are key men in the Northern Territory because, until block surveys, mining surveys or lease surveys are made, the whole process of settlement and development is held up. That applies also to the construction of roads, which is delayed until adequate staff surveyors are provided. I do not think that I would be wrong in saying that the work of the Northern Territory is years in arrears because of the lack of appointments to these vital positions. It is a fact - and I think it is well known to the Minister - that this year it is hoped to throw open some pastoral land. This will be the first pastoral land thrown open in the Northern Territory for four or five years. One would think that there would be plenty of land available for settlement in the Northern Territory, but if a person tries to obtain a block for either agricultural or pastoral purposes he is told that no land is being thrown open for settlement. Much of it cannot be made available for settlement because surveys and other preliminaries have not been carried out, {: .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr R W HOLT:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- Is this land thrown open for settlement by Australians? {: .speaker-JVU} ##### Mr NELSON: -- Ballots are held. We hope that four or five lots will be made available this year. It is obvious that remote control from Canberra slows down land settlement in the Territory. There are other matters, of course, which also have a delaying effect. For instance, departmental heads in the Territory prepare estimates and works programmes which are sent to the Department of Territories in Canberra. They then go to the Cabinet, and so on. In many instances, the original programmes, as drawn up by the officers in the Territory, are drastically altered. I believe that that position would be overcome if the Northern Territory Legislative Council were permitted to draw up and approve, within financial limits set by the Treasurer, programmes of works. Matters connected with appointment and salaries, are, of course, of considerable importance to administrative officers in the Territory. In this respect, I think that greater control should reside in the Territory itself. The conditions under which civil servants work is a current matter of concern. In the past, when suitable permanent officers were not available, a considerable degree of reliance was placed on the recruitment and employment of temporary officers to do the work of administration. In the main, those officers have done excellent work in the various services. I understand that now, however, directions have gone out to the effect that many temporary civil servants in the Territory are to be replaced by permanent officers from other parts of Australia. I take it that Canberra will provide a considerable proportion of the officers to fill positions that have been occupied for many years by temporary officers. This matter is of the utmost concern to many temporary civil servants in Darwin and Alice Springs. I have received from **Mr. W.** Wheatley, the secretary of the Federated Clerks Union in Darwin, a letter dated 4th October, referring to a meeting held in Darwin last month. It reads, in part - >Members expressed concern at the Uncertainty and insecurity of their positions. At present there is no sense of security for temporary officers and this is causing much concern to the union in respect that many members, especially those who are married with' families and those renting government homes, have with them the continual worry of not knowing from one month to another whether they may possibly be put off. This is causing the health of many of our members to deteriorate. Many of them are around the fifties, many of them returned soldiers from both world wars and they have the feeling of no security for either themselves or their families. These officers have been recruited since the end of World War II. to fill positions in the Administration, and, as I have said, for the most part they have done so with distinction to both themselves and the Administration. Having done the spade work on the resettlement of that part of Australia after the devastation of war, and having put up with primitive conditions, they are to be replaced by permanent officers who have not had previous experience of service in the Territory. I think that the Minister should look into this matter with a view, at least, to having these officers assured of permanent employment elsewhere, if they cannot be given permanence in the civil service. Some of these officers have been told that they had the opportunity to qualify for permanent appointment under the Public Service Act, but I think that honorable members readily will appreciate that many of them are getting on in years and are in no position to recommence their schooling. Others have not had the necessary basic education to enable them to qualify for permanent appointment. At least, they have not had a great deal of theoretical education, but they have had considerable practical experience. In my opinion, they have demonstrated conclusively, by the manner in which they have performed their duties, that they are at least the equal of any permanent civil servants who might replace them. I think that the test in these matters should be whether the officers concerned are competent to do the job that is required of them. In many instances, these officers have built homes, in Darwin, while others occupy government homes. It will be a definite hardship if they are suddenly thrown on the scrap heap and replaced by other officers. As honorable members no doubt appreciate, conditions in Darwin and Alice Springs are different from those in most other parts of Australia. Opportunities for employment in those places are strictly limited'. I suggest that it would be a greathardship for a person who had been employed for. many years in a clerical position, in? the Northern Territory Administration suddenly to have to undertake mining, or pick and shovel work on the roads. His previous work would, have rendered him entirely unsuited for occupations of that kind. If the Minister cannot remove the uncertainty which hangs over these officers by having, them appointed permanently under the Public Service Act, I suggest that the difficulty could be surmounted by establishing a Northern Territory Public Service, such as that which existed some years ago. In the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, there is a completely autonomous Public Service, and I think that a similar organization should be established in the Northern Territory. I know that, in theory, the present position permits of interchange of officers between the various departments. It is said that that system serves to keep the officers up to date, but that is not always so, because it is sometimes found that when civil servants in the Northern Territory apply for positions in, say, the Australian Capital Territory, they are unsuccessful because of their classification. Departmental heads in the Australian Capital Territory are reluctant to disturb the order of seniority in their own departments to make room for civil servants who have been employed in the Northern Territory. Some of these officers, because of hardship or sickness, have been advised to leave the Northern Territory and they have tried to find positions in their own classifications in the southern States. They have been offered positions at a lower classification because none of similar classification are open to them. {: #subdebate-30-6-s5 .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-30-6-s6 .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr KILLEN:
Moreton .r-I wish to address myself to the proposed vote for the Department of Immigration. Since 1947, approximately 1,200,000 people have been brought to Australia as immigrants. That, is one of the great facts that is now embedded in Australian, history. It is no small undertaking for a' young, country with a population, of 8,000;000- or 9;Q00,000 to plan for the mass movement and accommodation of an additional 1,200,000 people. For a comparable example, one has to turn to the history of the United States of America. That country, over a period of 60 or 70 years, managed to increase its population by way of immigration, at the rate of approximately 3 per cent, per annum. To me, it is almost inconceivable that 1,200,000 people could be brought to this country without a display of great organizing ability, patience and understanding on the part of those responsible here. That is one reason why this afternoon I pay humble tribute, to the officers of the Department of Immigration and to the various Ministers who have held, the portfolio of Immigration. The scheme was first conceived in outline and inaugurated by the honorable member for Melbourne **(Mr. Calwell)** and the success with which it began has been carried on because an- approach similar to. his has been maintained by his. successors and the same- capacity for understanding', the needs of immigrants to Australia has been exercised. *I* am not attempting; to bestow any unctious praise on the Ministers concerned,, because- 1- believe it to be inherently true that all of them have done a remarkable job for Australia. I hope that all Australians,, irrespective of their party political persuasion will recognize that fact and pay their tribute to the work that these men have done. Of course, the officers of the department have played a major part in the scheme. My experience of them has been to find a great devotion to their job and a great sense of understanding. Many of the people who have been brought to Australia have had a very sad and distressing background. One has only to think of the great number who have come from iron curtain countries, whose families have been disrupted and many of their brothers and relatives killed in the prosecution of political ambition. The officers of the Department of Immigration comand my unstinted admiration. At all times, I have known them to be extremely courteous and helpful. I pay tribute also to the members of the Commonwealth Immigration Planning Council and the Commonwealth Immigration Advisory Council, bodies which are chaired, respectively, by two well-liked anddistinguished members of this Parliament, the honorable member for Petrie **(Mr. Hulme)** and the honorable member for Forrest **(Mr. Freeth).** They devote a lot of their time to this good cause. Many of us on occasions have been somewhat lacking in recognizing the work they do in a most unselfish fashion. They help many people, and beyond that, they make a sound contribution to the. continuation of the immigration programme in Australia. Some people in this country adopt a somewhat timid approach to immigration. They have an idea, that it is. the root cause of every evil in Australia. - inflation, industrial disturbances, and even drought, if one set out to make an accurate analysis of the genesis of the great industrial and material strength, of the United States of America one would go back to the point when that country, for two or three generations, maintained a policy of mass immigration,, thus ensuring that many millions of people came to its shores. That was the starting point of its great strength and capacity. For my part, I see no reason to be timid about bringing people to this country. We need many more of them. L should, like to make a suggestion ta the Minister for Immigration **(Mr. Townley)** that a minor amendment to the Citizenship and Nationality Act be made. I propose to adumbrate a case well known to the department which illustrates the need for the: amendment I have in mind. In 1947, a. Brisbane man, himself a naturalized White Russian, made arrangements to bring to Australia three young children from China who. were: of White Russian origin. Under the terms of protocol - the honorable member for Melbourne was Minister for Immigration at the, times - this gentleman was granted a visa to bring these children to Australia, on the understanding that the Queensland Government approved of an> adoption order. The children arrived in Australia, the adoption order was duly completed and this man became, in law, the adopted father of them. Now, a curious situation has developed... One of the children, for whom this man is. still responsible, has been identified by the Queensland authorities as a citizen of Queensland. It may be incorrect to use a. term such as a citizen of the State, but I employ it merely to illustrate my point. This young, woman is now 23 or 24 years of age and is qualified to vote in Queensland, but she is not qualified to vote in a Commonwealth election. This was discovered when she was duly enrolled on the Queensland electoral roll and also on the Commonwealth electoral roll, and one of the divisional returning officers subsequently challenged her right to be on the Commonwealth roll. The matter was heard in one of the Queensland lower courts, and as a result her name was removed from the Queensland electoral roll. This case reveals a rather interesting conflict between Commonwealth and State electoral laws because, as I understand the Commonwealth Electoral Act, a person is entitled to vote in a Commonwealth election provided he or she is eligible to vote for the more populous legislature of the State in which he or she resides. In any event, this woman was struck from the roll. It seems to me an extraordinary circumstance, a fantastic conflict, that she can enjoy a right in a State and yet not enjoy a similar and comparable right in the Commonwealth. This conflict is unknown to the United Kingdom authorities now. It was one of the reasons why the following section was inserted in the Adoption Act in 1950- >Where an adoption order is made in respect of an infant who is not a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, then, if the adopter, or in the case of a joint adoption the male adopter, is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, the infant shall be a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies as from the date of the order. In other words, from the date of the order an infant born abroad and adopted by a British subject acquires British nationality. I want to suggest seriously to the Minister that we have before us a conflict which, although I suppose it is small in the overall scheme of things, is significant. The Minister is a kindly man, an understanding man, and I appeal to him to consider urgently the ramifications of this conflict. If I may give another illustration of it - although this may be going to the extreme - I point out that it would be possible for a person residing in a State to institute and complete adoption proceedings for the adoption of a person who was not eligible to be, and, for that matter, not welcomed by the Commonwealth as a citizen. Where is the end to it? Surely it is not too much to ask that this further manifestation of a conflict between State and Commonwealth law be ironed out by a sensible, rational and realistic approach to the issue. Honorable members may say that there is a very simple solution to the case that I have mentioned. They may say, " Let the young woman apply for naturalization". Of course, that is perfectly simple. But the man who adopted this young woman as an infant is a man of great pertinacity and obstinacy and at the same time a man of great character. He takes the view that when he completed the adoption proceedings, when he brought those kiddies to Queensland, and the Queensland authorities recognized them as being Under his control and guidance, the children acquired citizen rights. That is his attitude of mind, and 1 believe that it is perfectly understandable. Although some people may disagree with his point of view I do not believe that any one could say justly that he is not entitled to it. I appeal to the Minister and his department to give earnest and serious consideration to amending the Australian act in the same way as the British Adoption Act was amended in 1950, so that when a person living in Australia adopts a kiddie from outside Australia, and the adoption order is completed, the child will assume the same status, rights and responsibilities as any Australian citizen. {: #subdebate-30-6-s7 .speaker-KID} ##### Mr LUCHETTI:
Macquarie .- Division 116 of the Estimates deals with what is the nerve centre of the whole administration of the Northern Territory. It is also fundamental to the question of the future of the Territory. The honorable member for the Northern Territory **(Mr. Nelson)** in the course of his thoughtful remarks addressed himself to the need for local autonomy, for the right of the people in the Territory to pursue the course of government that they believe to be best suited to the Territory. We are indebted to the Minister for his remarks, despite the fact that at the beginning he restricted to some extent the normal course of a debate on the Northern Territory. I support most enthusiastically the case made by the honorable member for the Northern Territory, for I believe, as has been expressed before, that no government, good or bad, is better than local selfgovernment. Some time ago it was reported in the press that the Minister had expressed the view that the Northern Territory should be made a new State at the earliest opportunity. If the Northern Territory is eventually to become a new State the first steps towards that end should be taken now. I am not here to espouse the cause of new states in the Northern Territory or in any other part of Australia, for I believe that many constitutional problems would have to be resolved before such states could come into existence. The sending by the Northern Territory of its quota of senators to this place, and all the other problems inherent in the establishment of a new State in the Northern Territory, are so much in the future and so visionary that I think they can be dismissed at once. In the course of his remarks this afternoon the Minister set out to prove that what is happening here in Canberra is unimportant, first, because a greater sum of money is being spent in the Northern Territory than in Canberra and, secondly, because the number of people engaged in government in Canberra is small whilst the number so engaged in the Northern Territory is great. I do not think that that proves the Minister's case at all. The important aspect of this matter is that in Canberra we have the people who direct policy in the Northern Territory. Canberra is the nerve centre of Northern Territory thinking and Northern Territory attitudes. The honorable member for the Northern Territory, in dealing with this matter, pointed out very clearly what happens in regard to delay in making appointments to the staffs of the various government departments in the north. Reference has to be made to Canberra by the officials in the Northern Territory, from the Administrator down, before any decision can be reached on the appointment of the most humble person to the staff of a department there. That is not a very desirable state of affairs, and the evil of delay and procrastination is one of the matters that ought to be resolved and overcome. The Northern Territory will never be great, will never expand, will never develop, and we will not be able to build up in that vast area of half a million square miles a consciousness, an attitude, an awareness, and a responsibility, if direction is to come forever from Canberra. I put it to honorable members that direction from Canberra is stultifying the development of the north, and I most enthusiastically support the proposal made by the honorable member for the Northern Territory that the old practice of having a Northern Territory Public Service be tried once again. I believe that there is very much to commend this proposal, and very little to be said against it. In the first place, if there were a Northern Territory administration and a Northern Territory Public Service people who feel dedicated to render service to the Northern Territory would be eager to go to the Territory because they would know that they were going to an area where they desired to serve. What is the position at present? Many public servants from southern and eastern States, and from the west, too, go to the Northern Territory as a matter of course and serve a period of time there in order to qualify for promotion to some other field of government activity. I am not saying a word against the excellent public servants who are in the Territory at present, the great majority of whom I admire. I wish to pay a tribute to them and acknowledge thenservice to the Territory and to Australia generally. But I think it is wrong that we should have people going to the Northern Territory as mere time-servers in order to qualify for promotion to better Public Service positions in the southern and eastern States. I think that the public servants in the Northern Territory should be merged into a Northern Territory Public Service. One of the evils of administration is the fact that we have a Director of Works and an Administrator. I am not quite certain of the practice at the present time, but' some time ago the Director of Works, with respect to Northern Territory activities, had authority to spend much greater sums of money than had the Administrator. I should like to see some firm system of local self-government established. How can this be done? In the first place, I believe that the Legislative Council should be made more than a mere front for democracy in the north. It should become real and effective. It should be given opportunities to translate into legislative effect the desires and the aspirations of the people of that area, lt is pleasing to note that Darwin has a city council. That is wholesome, progressive government, which will be applauded by every thoughtful person in this country, and I congratulate the Mayor of Darwin and the members of the town council for the manner in which they have accepted their responsibilities, and are discharging their duties, in that great city, the front door to Australia. Why is it that votes for this department in previous years have not been spent? It is not because of the clash between those on the spot and those here in Canberra; between those with local authority and those exercising remote control? The Estimates that we are considering at the present time reveal very clearly that --quite a 'considerable amount of money which will be -voted this year 'is merely a re-vote from ' last 'year. 'I believe 'that that is brought about by this clash of -authority. If the Treasury could break new .ground and give the Minister for Territories ;(Mr. Hasluck) « Budget for his Territories and permit 'him, with the democraticallyorganized government of the north, to determine ;just 'how that vote should be spent, I 'think it would -be a much more -effective way of dealing with the affairs of -the Territory than to allow some officer in the Treasury, however competent he may be, to determine matters such as this. They 'can be determined to 'the best advantage only by (those who -live in the area, who understand and -appreciate its problems, and can <be 'guided -by the person who -is 'responsible to the Parliament, namely, the Minister. It 'is for -this Parliament to decide whether a better system is *to* be instituted. The challenge of the Northern Territory will not be successfully taken >up as long as we are content, year by year, at Budget time to vote on expenditure that -has already been decided upon by some one who is not on the spot. I doubt very much whether the '.officer who makes such decisions is advised or guided by the Minister as to how the money should be spent. I suggest to the committee that the vote for the Territory should be commensurate with the national income and the productivity of the north. Those who have considered the development of the north cannot :be unmindful of the fact that the mining industries yield something like £4,000:000 and -the pastoral industry something like £2,000,000 a year. The north in its own way raises something like £900,000 -in revenue. These matters should be considered as a whole. A Budget should be drawn up and presented to the Minister and his elected representatives in the north. The honorable member for the Northern Territory should be clothed with full voting rights in this Parliament. It is idle to talk about giving a vast tract of land like the Northern Territory, with fewer people than Goulburn, Bathurst, or Lithgow, the status of a State while the honorable member for the Northern Territory has no right to vote on most of the matters that come before Une Parliament. There are problems, but they can be resolved provided we face them fairly and squarely. {: type="a" start="m"} 0. /BRIMBLECOMBE !(Maranoa)?[5.413. - I propose to .confine my remarks to the Northern Territory. A* the outset, I want to pay a tribute to '.those people /holding responsible positions tin the Northern Territory for the wonderful enthsuiasam they display and the wonderful job they are doing "under adverse conditions. When fi was in the Territory recently - and it was not my first trip; !I "have been there several times - *I* saw that a certain amount o'f frustration existed with respect to the administration of the north. The lag in making administrative decisions, which have to come from Canberra, is very frustrating, indeed. The honorable member for the Northern Territory **(Mr Nelson)** has adverted to 'the delay by 4he Survey Department in making ]land available -for intending settlers. I had a 'similar experience in my own 'electorate in 'the far west, and I know -that the difficulties in <this 'regard aire greater in the Northern Territory. In the north, I met young fellows with practical agricultural experience, who wanted to know why they could not get some decision on their application for a lease for agricultural purposes. They were -keen to do the work, .and they wanted to know the reason for the delay in 'granting leases to them. I do not know the reason. 'Perhaps the Minister for Territories ;(Mr. Hasluck.) will be able ito explain that. I believe that all these problems connected with the north stem from the remote control here in Canberra. I am not condemning the people in the department. I believe *hat they do a good -job, as far as they are able under the policy of the Government, but lt is something the Minister should look -at in order to ascertain whether there is some better method whereby decisions could be made more expeditiously so that the Territory can be developed in the 'way it should be developed. If we are to hold Australia, Parliament must take more interest in this wonderful Territory of more than 500,000 square miles. The time is not far distant when something will have to be done about giving the Territory the status of a State and providing it with .self-government. It is becoming one of the wealthiest mining areas in the Commonwealth, .and the anticipated revenue from that area is one good reason why :the people on the spot should be able to make their own decisions an the interests of the residents and in conformity with existing local conditions. That cannot be done effectively by remote control from Canberra. At present more and more people are touring the Northern Territory, including more visitors from overseas and important people with business interests. They seek advice regarding the Territory from various departments, administrators and supervisors,, and they expect, and receive, quite willingly certain entertainment. That is something which has to be done, by some of the .people holding responsible positions there. We were entertained as a parliamentary delegation at one place, and when I asked one person " Who is paying for this? ", he said, " Don't raise .that question ". 1 want it to be understood that these people are not complaining, but I want to know what allowance they are receiving. Do they meet the cost out of their own pocket, or is it a charge against the Government? It is a delicate matter, and they would not talk about it; but I feel we must see that these people do not have to meet such .expense out of their own pocket. I raised the question with one particular official as to who met the .expense of entertaining the GovernorGeneral and the Duke of Edinburgh and other distinguished people who went there last year, and he said, " That was paid for ". That is all he would tell me. I should like the Minister to answer that question. If their expense allowance for entertainment has not been increased in recent years, I think it should be increased very considerably. These people in the north perform an important function and entertaining in the north is very expensive indeed. I hope to speak again on the Territory estimates and probably will be -more critical then as .far .as the Administration is concerned, but, at this stage, in support of .the honorable member for the Northern Territory **(Mr. Nelson)** I simply .wanted to raise the question of remote control from Canberra and the delay in making decisions as far as agricultural and pastoral leases and surveys are concerned. He has put a very good case. In supporting the .remarks of the honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. Luchetti),** I believe that the honorable member for the "Northern Territory is representing not only public servants, but also a great number df taxpayers, and I believe he should be given full voting status in this Parliament. He represents a huge territory, and he has a huge responsibility. All he can do is put the case; he has not any say in the expenditure of the taxpayers' money that goes back into the development of the Northern Territory. I again ask the Minister to review the remuneration of officials in the north for entertaining and conducting parliamentary delegations which visit the Northern Territory. {: #subdebate-30-6-s8 .speaker-JPE} ##### Mr BIRD:
Batman -- I desire to speak to the estimates for the -Department of Shipping and Transport, to ask the Government again when it intends to endorse a national roads plan. This subject has been discussed for a great number of years, and if talking both here and abroad - by abroad I mean in every 'State Government, municipal council and almost every newspaper in the Commonwealth - could do anything, this problem would have been solved many years ago. There is no need for me to dilate upon the need for some drastic change in the method of financing our roads system. I think everybody agrees that the present system has outlived its usefulness. In the period of Australia's expansion and development it served a very useful purpose, but whilst it would have been good enough for the horse and buggy age, in this ultra motor age it certainly does not meet requirements. Therefore the need for a national plan to-day is more .urgent than ever before. There ds steady and widespread deterioration of the (roads. Wherever one goes one sees roads -that are too narrow. Some of them are crumbling at the shoulders and in a lot of .cases where there should be oneway traffic, we 'find that the responsible authorities have not got sufficient funds .to carry out the job. This frustrating inability to do anything about the problem will only mean disaster in the not far distant future. I think honorable members will also concur with the view .that good roads .are essential to our -security and economic -development. Money invested in good roads is an investment that we cannot afford to neglect .because it certainly will return dividends. I point out that road traffic has doubled in Australia since 1949 and 'has imposed a -strain -upon our roads -system that can -no longer be met by a policy of repairing and filling in a pothole here or there, or by just filling up the edges. Something more tangible than that is necessary. At the present time the roads systems, in the main, are in the hands of the various State governments, but those systems to-day need replanning on a scale far beyond the States' resources. The problem calls for a nationally financed programme; and by that I mean the Commonwealth must come to the party. There has been too much political sidestepping in relation to this allimportant matter. I realize that under the Constitution the Commonwealth has no power to deal with roads. I can quite understand the position that applied in 1 900, in the era of the horse and buggy and dray and that sort of thing when a motor car was a matter of great curiosity. Roads at that time did not constitute a problem of national dimensions. To-day, the States, which have been given the power and the authority to control the roads system, find they have no power to raise finance for road construction by the imposition of customs and excise duties. That power is not vested in the States. Therefore, they cannot raise this money to be hypothecated for road construction or reconstruction. The Commonwealth has this power. As a result of the Commonwealth Aid Roads Act, which has been in existence for over 30 years, the Commonwealth raises money by means of a tax upon petrol, and a certain percentage of the money is handed over to the States. For many years, I have contended that this Government and previous governments - I make no exceptions - have not carried out the intentions with which the act was passed in 1926. Perusal of the " Hansard " report of the debate on that measure leads one to the inescapable conclusion that only enough money was raised then to give to the various States £2,000,000 for roads. The Commonwealth decided that it would give the States £2,000,000 and that it would fix the tax on petrol at the amount per gallon required to raise that money. Nevertheless, the States now receive only two-thirds of the petrol tax revenue. I was very disappointed to hear the Treasurer **(Sir Arthur Fadden)** say in his Budget speech that this year the Commonwealth would retain £17,000,000 which, in my opinion, should be given to the States for road purposes. Whilst everybody agrees that there is a road problem, apparently they do not agree on the solution to the problem. Many much-ballyhooed meetings have been held. Various authorities meet at regular intervals at a very high level for the purpose of putting forward positive plans for a national road programme. We have been told for years that the solution to the problem is just around the corner. I thought, when the Australian Transport Advisory Council got to work some years ago and informed all and sundry that the first item on its agenda was the solution of the roads problem, that something would be done. The council has had numerous meetings. After each meeting those who are interested, as I am, read the reports of the proceedings. It then appears that the council has dodged the question and put it on the agenda for the next meeting. On each occasion one thinks that at the next meeting they will bring forward a positive solution to the problem. But the most notable contribution that the Australian Transport Advisory Council has ever made is the production of numerous reports and statements which have clearly defined the roads problem and set forth the amount of money required. But that is as far as they have ever gone. The Australian Transport Advisory Council consists of six federal Ministers and the six State Transport Ministers. It is presided over by the Minister for Shipping and Transport **(Senator Paltridge).** So it can be seen that everybody on the council is a very influential man in his own right. I would have thought that, as all of them were agreed that there was a road problem, they would have put before their respective Parliaments, including the Federal Parliament, some positive plan for implementation in the near future. But the council has only produced reports ad nauseam. It has issued reports after every meeting and no one can disagree with them because all that they say is that money has to be spent in large quantities to solve the problem. I agree wholeheartedly with the latest report. I cannot find a comma in it with which I disagree. It states that a minimum of £1,600,000,000 must be spent during the next ten years if a reasonable and practical programme of road construction and maintenance in all States is to be established. That amount is large but it only works out at £160,000,000 a year. It has been estimated that from all sources, federal, state and municipal, about £110,000,000 a year is being spent, so that another £50,000,000 a year has to be found. When we examine the conclusions of these meetings, we find that there is no prospect of any worthwhile national roads plan being hatched by the Australian Transport Advisory Council. Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m. {: .speaker-JPE} ##### Mr BIRD: -- Before the suspension of the sitting, I pointed out that the Australian Transport Advisory Council had, to all intents and purposes, failed to give a lead in solving the roads problem, which is daily becoming more acute throughout the Commonwealth. Some months ago, a Cabinet subcommittee was appointed to suggest ways of improving transport in Australia. I do not know whether the appointment of that committee has any connexion with the pronouncement made by the Treasurer **(Sir Arthur Fadden),** in his Budget speech, that the Commonwealth Aid Roads Act would be reviewed in 1959. Perhaps the Government intends to take advantage of the recommendations of the sub-committee in formulating a new policy. I hope that the sub-committee will not prove to be as ineffective as. were a number of other Cabinet sub-committees, which, from time to time, were appointed mainly for the purpose of delaying decisions on matters. I hope that, on the contrary, this subcommittee will speedily make recommendations to the Government that will help to solve our transport problems as early as possible. It is undoubtedly vain and futile for me to express the hope that, before 1959 - which is almost another two years away - the Government will see fit to amend the act. In the meantime, we are witnessing an unedifying spectacle of the crumbling of the roads throughout the country. Apparently, the Government considers that a review of the act is necessary, and I hope that it will, Without delay, confer with the State governments about the drafting of an amending measure that will provide for a new plan. It should not wait until 1959 to start on this task. If it did, we should not see any results from the amending measure until at least 1960. Australia's roads are in a parlous condition, and action should be taken immediately to improve them. Until something is done, the States will have to make do with the £34,000,000 a year that they are receiving from the Commonwealth out of the proceeds of the petrol tax, from which this Government withholds £17,000,000 annually. If the Government is not prepared to give to the States the full proceeds of the petrol tax, it should make an interim award, if I may use that expression, and at least increase the grants to the States. The Government apparently recognizes this need in principle, because it proposes to implement a tax on diesel fuel. It has stated that this tax is being imposed because of the problems associated with the construction and maintenance of roads. It is estimated that the tax on diesel fuel will return to the Government £2,000,000, and it has announced that it will grant to the States an additional £3,000,000 for road works. In other words, the Government recognizes that the States must have more money if they are to tackle this allimportant problem effectively. In addition to making the extra grant, the Government should make an immediate and positive approach to the States to ensure an effective solution of our road problems. I suggest that it should leave the Australian Transport Advisory Council out of the picture altogether, because that has proved to be a moribund and ineffective body, which has failed miserably to deal with road problems. The Government should announce immediately that it recognizes that our road problems are immense, and must be tackled as early as possible, and it should ask the States to confer with it in order to reach a compromise about the ultimate solution to the problem. A completely new national programme, possibly providing for the transfer of responsibility for some main highways from the States to the Commonwealth, would provide the only sure foundation for a better system of roads. If the Commonwealth would accept responsibility for main roads between States, leaving the States with the responsibility for the construction and maintenance of other roads, the States would be relieved of a great deal of a tremendous financial burden, which, at the present time, they are quite unable to sustain. This would be a fair and legitimate solution. I suggest that, under any new national plan of this kind, the entire proceeds of the petrol tax should be paid to the States, and that other means of raising money for expenditure by the States, also, should be found. I know that, when any protagonist of a new legislative measure designed to solve our road problems suggests a new national road plan, he is always asked where the money is to come from. {: #subdebate-30-6-s9 .speaker-JLR} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Mr Adermann:
FISHER, QUEENSLAND Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-30-6-s10 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN:
Bruce .- For a considerable time, many published comments about the number of British immigrants coming to Australia have been appearing. Most of these comments have been to the effect that more British immigrants should come to this country. We should take as many British immigrants as the country can possibly absorb, and the Government should accept as many as are offering. There are obvious reasons why the number of British immigrants coming to Australia is limited. One very obvious reason is that the Government has decided, as a matter of policy, that an assistedpassage immigrant from Britain must have accommodation in Australia assured. Many people consider that this restriction should be removed. However, its removal would greatly accentuate the problems of national development, because tremendous difficulties stand in the way of the assimilation and absorption of British immigrants who have no accommodation to go to on their arrival in Australia. Two alternative methods could be adopted. One would be to increase the amount of hostel accommodation. Let me say, as unequivocally as possible, that I do not favour increasing hostel accommodation, because a hostel, by its very nature, represents temporary accommodation only. It is highly undesirable that the amount of temporary accommodation in use should be increased, more especially when it is intended that it should be occupied by newcomers to Australia who, generally, have very few friends here, and whose means are extremely limited. Hostels should be regarded merely as places for the temporary accommodation of people who are anxious to come to Australia, and who are so much needed here that the Government can afford to disregard the undesirability of hostels, and provide a limited amount of hostel accommodation for such people. I would point out, **Mr. Chairman,** that the. construction of additional hostel accommodation would absorb finance, building materials, personal labour, and other factors that could be better used in other sectors of the economy. These things would be channelled into the construction of temporary accommodation that would ultimately have to be pulled down. If it were not eventually demolished, the problem would only be aggravated. The other alternative, **Mr. Chairman,** is to induce Australian families to provide more accommodation for British immigrants. But there are two limiting factors. In the first place, Australians, who enjoy high living standards, are mostly reluctant to share their accommodation. A family with two or three children, living in a three-bedroom home, is naturally reluctant, as a general rule, to take some one into the home to share it with them. I think that, conversely, a family in England, with several children, living in a comfortable house there, would be most reluctant to journey 12,000 miles to Australia to share accommodation here with another family. These are real limiting factors that have an important influence on the number of British immigrants coming to Australia. The Australian people as a whole, and especially those who say that too few immigrants are coming here from England, must resolve definitely to sink, as far as they can, their natural disinclination to share accommodation, if we are to induce more British people to migrate to this country. The people in England who are anxious to come to Australia must be made aware that when they reach here as nominated immigrants it will be necessary for them to share accommodation, I had the experience of working as a selection officer in England for the Department of Immigration.. The officers of the department in England are very enthusiastic and tremendously keen on their job. Indeed, there could be no finer bunch of Australian men than those employed as selection officers overseas. The departmental officers in England have, in the main, two functions to perform. The first is the selection of the immigrants and classifying them into various categories according to the accommodation that is available. They must also be clearly told what is going to confront them when they arrive in Australia. The other function is that of publicizing Australia. During ray term of office in England, I found that about half the departmental employees were engaged on each of these tasks. In carrying out the duty of publicizing Australia, the selection officers, usually travelling in pairs, undertake a tour of selected provincial towns. The inhabitants of those places are informed of their coming arrival, and when they do arrive they contact the local press representatives and try to give them some colourful story which will induce people to come and see them. It is true that many people in England want to come to Australia, but many of them do not realize the problems that will confront them when they arrive here. When they come before our selection officers these problems are explained to them. It is not a simple matter to take one's family from England and transport, them to Australia, and it is most necessary that our officers in England fully explain to them the problems involved before they sever their em.ployment and housing connexions. Of course, after these explanations the number of people who are keen to come here is reduced. With regard to the remainder, who may be accepted as being keen to come here, i t is incumbent on the Government, I believe, to retain is present policy of offering assisted passages, to them' only if accommodation is available for them in Australia, provided either by a potential employer or by friends or relatives. I do not believe that the hostels system should be extended to any great degree. When the stocks of Australia slumped, as a desirable land to which to emigrate, it was caused largely by a number of English migrants who had been in hostels' in Australia, became dissatisfied and returned to England. Upon their return they spread a great number of tales, largely fabricated and certainly exaggerated, about Australian conditions, thus preventing a great number of English people from volunteering to come to Australia as immigrants. That was a direct result of the hostels system, and any extension of that system beyond its present limits is, I think, highly undesirable. The factors that I have outlined, the natural reluctance of the Australian people with their high standard of living, and of the British people with their standard of living, to share accommodation, do not apply to Europeans, and so it is only natural that vast numbers of Europeans wish to come here. I think it is most necessary to say that 99 per cent, of our immigrants from Europe are thoroughly fine people, and any attempt to derogate from them is malicious propaganda. European immigrants have done a tremendous job. It is not necessary to go through the whole range of functions that they have performed, or the various fields in which they have made tremendous contributions, such as the motor car industry, the iron industry and the various primary industries. I believe that they should be encouraged to come to Australia. Many of them have left behind in Italy, Greece, Germany, Holland, Austria or other countries parents, wives or children, and it would be disastrous if Australia adopted a policy that made it difficult for them to be linked with their families again. There are a couple of other matters to which I wished to refer while dealing with the subject of immigration. I wish first to express dissatisfaction regarding the method of dealing with seamen who desert their ships in Australia with the intention of residing, here permanently. I understand that an agreement exists between the Commonwealth Government and the shipping companies, providing that any seaman who deserts his ship in Australia will, after apprehension, be returned to the country of his origin. This has, on many occasions, caused tremendous hardship. It may be regarded as highly undesirable for a seaman to desert his ship, but, nevertheless, many seamen who have arrived in Australia in this way have obtained jobs and, in many cases, have married here, and to adhere strictly to the letter of the agreement and make them return to their country of origin before coming back here as immigrants not only shows an unreal approach to the problem, but in many cases is quite cruel. I wish also to refer to the Immigration Act itself, and to suggest to the Minister that it is time the act was revised. Many aspects of it are quite out of date. It has been patched up from time to time, and I feel that it is time an entirely new immigration act was introduced into this chamber and debated by honorable members, so that the law relating to immigration could be made more clear to the community as a whole. I believe that a review of the act has already been instituted by the Minister and by the permanent head of his department. I must, say that Australia has been extraordinarily fortunate in its Ministers for Immigration. The first, of course, was the honorable member for Melbourne **(Mr. Calwell),** followed by the present Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. Harold Holt)** and the present incumbent, who has kept up that extraordinarily high standard of warm humanity that is so necessary in the administration of a department such as this. But I feel that, although the ultimate responsibility must obviously rest on the political head of the department, the Minister, it would be unfitting, on this exceptional occasion, not to say a special word about the permanent head of the department, who, to my knowledge, has occupied that position since it was first created. He has done a magnificent job, and every person who has come in contact with him has paid him the greatest respect and the highest tributes. Included in the group of Estimates that we are now discussing are the Estimates for another department about which I wish to say a word or two. I refer to the Department of Territories. It was my great pleasure during the last parliamentary recess to accompany two other honorable members to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Upon arriving there we were greeted by every one, public servants and private individuals, with great warmth and sincerity. In the course of our peregrinations around the territory we came in contact with a great number of public servants. Although I do not want to spend my time in adulation of the Public Service, I must say that I have never seen such devotion to duty as that shown by the members of the Department of Native Affairs particularly, and the public servants there generally. Being of the legal profession, I was naturally particularly interested in the department of the Secretary for Law. I found that the growth of that department was quite amazing. At first I thought that this growth may have been too great, but, after speaking to three of the officers there whom I had the great good fortune to have known many years before, I realized that the job that they were doing was really first-class. There are, however, certain deficiencies that obviously must become apparent in such a fast-growing territory. The first matter I wish to mention in this regard is the very great need within the territory for an appeal court. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-30-6-s11 .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON:
Port Adelaide -- I wish to speak for a few minutes on the subject of immigration. I shall not devote much time to it, because I have only fifteen minutes in which to speak, and in that time I should like to deal with three or four subjects. I must say, however, that most of the people in Australia during the last year or two have come to the conclusion that our proportion of British immigrants should be higher. I believe the general feeling is that we should get more British immigrants to come to Australia. However, when we see the conditions under which many British immigrants have to exist when they arrive in Australia, it is our duty to direct attention to those conditions in this place. The conditions under which they live are detrimental to their health and are not conducive to their assimilation in this community. I have personal knowledge of a hostel in my electorate which is known as the Finsbury hostel. It was built when the honorable member for Melbourne **(Mr. Calwell)** was Minister for Immigration in the Labour government. All sorts of reject materials were used in its construction because of the shortages that existed at the time. Old timber and other material of very poor quality was used. The hostel was initially built to house displaced persons from Europe who were thankful to have even a place of that standard for living quarters. I recognized then that, because of the shortage of material for homes, we had to conserve the material that was available for our own Australian people. The hostel buildings originally consisted of a long structure with a tar-paved floor. It was two rooms wide and about ten or twelve rooms long, and the doors opened to each side. The rooms were very small. Later, when the buildings were converted for occupation by British immigrants, they were improved. New iron roofs were fitted and the walls were improved, but the fittings and conveniences were not altered at all. Many British immigrants -who had left decent homes in England have to live in that sub-standard hostel. The Minister for Immigration **(Mr. Townley)** has informed me that a committee had advised against the provision of sitting rooms at hostels. That is causing much dissatisfaction among British immigrants. I shall give honorable members details of the conditions under which one family is living. The members of the family are the mother and father, a girl seventeen years of age and two boys aged twelve years and about six or seven years respectively. That family was allotted three rooms, each of which was about 9 feet by 12 feet. The father and mother had one room, the daughter had another bedroom and the two boys shared the third bedroom. There was no sitting room, and they had nowhere to sit after their meals. The dining room which is used by all the residents of the hostel is a very fine room, and the officers who serve the meal are giving a very good service, but immediately the meal is finished the residents have to go to their rooms. On Saturday afternoons, the residents of the hostel have to stay in their bedrooms or go outside. Under those conditions, the people who are living in the hostel are very dissatisfied. The family to which I have referred wants a sitting room. When the daughter returns from work, her parents cannot very well tell her to sit in her bedroom. If friends visit them, they have nowhere to entertain their visitors. In England that family had a six-roomed house with a bathroom and a small garden. At their invitation, I visited them at the hostel. I found that the room that had been occupied by the daughter had been divided with a curtain, and that one of the boys slept on one side and the girl on the other. The parents had single beds for themselves and for the younger son in a second room, and they had retained the other room as a small sitting room. The older boy was sitting at the table doing his homework, and the other boy was reading. The parents said that if they had not tried to make up a small sitting room by cramping their sleeping space, they would have had nowhere to entertain friends who had visited them the previous night. They said that there was no common sitting room or lounge, but some distance away there was a recreation room. The wife told me that they had bought two blocks of land on terms and hoped to build a house, but they had become so discouraged that they had considered returning to England. They were influenced by conditions under which they had to live. Adjoining their three rooms there was another room the same size as the bedrooms. It had been empty all the time they were in the hostel. When they put a few boxes into the room, the management made them remove the boxes. For obvious reasons many British immigrants are returning to the United Kingdom because they have to live in similar conditions. They did not expect to be asked to take such accommodation. I listened with interest to the statements that were made by the member for Bruce **(Mr. Snedden)** about hostel conditions. Adverse reports that are being sent back to England and statements that are appearing in the press invariably arise from the shortage of good accommodation. If we want British immigrants to be happy in Australia we must be sure that they have reasonable living conditions. The immigrant to whom I have referred said that he had a friend who was living in much worse circumstances. I saw his friend. He had two children, girls, aged about ten and five years. That family had two small rooms. They had bought some furniture, including a wardrobe, to put into one room. Their view was that they should all sleep in one room so that the other room would be available as a sitting room. The mother, father and the two girls were cramped into a room 12 feet by 9 feet. They were not complaining but were hoping that they would be able to get something better. We should ask ourselves whether that is a decent way to live. A health officer would be amazed to see four people sleeping in a room 12 feet by 9 feet in which were a double bed and two single beds. The mother and father were huddled into the double bed, a single bed was against the foot of it and the other single bed only 6 inches away. They admitted that the girls should sleep in the other room,, but they felt that the second room was better used as a sitting room for the girls. I make the plea to-night for something to te done. It is all very -well for a committee to advise that sitting rooms are unnecessary. The attitude that, if people are made too comfortable at these hostels Chey will not try to find another place to live, may apply in some cases. However, generally speaking, something more should "be done for these people, particularly for families such as the one I mentioned. Spare rooms could easily be made available in such cases. If the hostel were crowded, I could understand the family being given only two rooms. If a hospital is crowded, one could agree that the authorities should put beds in corridors. Similarly, if a hostel is overcrowded, then the residents must suffer some inconvenience. But if one of the four dining rooms in a hostel is closed because all the rooms are not occupied, people should not be compelled to live under the conditions I have mentioned. I do not think that these people .are being treated fairly. Most of the immigrants in the hostel to Which I referred were British; a few were from Holland and other European countries. I ask that this matter be investigated and that these people be given some encouragement to stay. When I was told that the couple I mentioned intended to return to England, I asked them to keep their chins up and to stick it out until they could get somewhere .else to live. -I -did not encourage them to complain or to go back to England; I told them of the struggles that others have had and how they have overcome their .difficulties. II we want to keep these people here, let us do a little bit more for them than we are doing now. My experience of the Department of Immigration is similar to that of the honorable member for Bruce. Perhaps the Minister for Immigration **(Mr. Townley)** will say that I have not been to him with these matters. I do not bother the Minister. I learned long ago that it is not much help going to the Minister, because he will only get a report from the man I should have seen in the first place. I very rarely go to any of the Ministers, but I get a wonderful deal from their officers. I think the Ministers appreciate that the best way to approach these questions is to go to the man directly concerned and see if he can fix up the trouble. I have always had excellent treatment from the heads of the departments. If I put anything before them that warrants investigation, they are prepared to investigate it and to meet any case of 'hardship that I can establish. I am thankful to say that many people for whom I have made representations have appreciated not only what has been done for them by the department but also my own efforts on their behalf. As the honorable member for Bruce said- = {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-30-6-s12 .speaker-KDO} ##### Mr ERWIN:
Ballarat .- I wish to speak on a subject which concerns the Department of Shipping and Transport. The announcement in the Budget speech that the Commonwealth would arrange with the State .governments concerned for the construction of a standard-gauge line from Wodonga to Melbourne is the first major step towards solving our break-of-gauge tangle, and will give considerable assistance to the commercial .and manufacturing economies of Australia. I would be remiss if *I* did not congratulate the Government and, in particular, the Minister for Shipping and Transport **(Senator Paltridge)** for his untiring efforts in bringing this scheme to fruition. I have known the Minister for a number of years. I served with him in the Royal Australian Air Force, and I know something of his fine qualities. At all times, he made himself readily available to the Government Members Rail Standardization Committee, of which I was a member. During research into the break-of-gauge tangle, I found a newspaper report, dated August, 1907. The report referred to a bogie-changing apparatus, a new invention, which was being tried out at Albury. Some of the comments in the report are most interesting, because, although this problem has been considered by many governments during the last 50 years, only this year is something being done. This Government has seen fit to begin the unravelling of this peat national problem. The report of a speech made by **Mr. Waddell,** who was Colonial Treasurer at the time, read - >When the two railway systems of New South Wales and Victoria first began to draw near each other the question of the break of gauge was discussed, and when the two .lines were connected every thoughtful man realized the serious difficulty arising. As time passed on and traffic increased the difficulty kept growing.. Another event which, had caused it to. be more closely realized was- the advent of federation. Apparently, there was a drought at that time. We could' think very seriously about the effects of- a drought now; The report continued' - >Yet another cause for the increase of the traffic was furnished by the1 drought. For- months past millions- of. sheep had been kept alive with fodder, imported by rail- from- Victoria, and South Australia, and having regard to the enormous bulk of freight to be dealt with, anyone- could see thegreat advantage that would result from the success of such- a method of minimizing the labour' of handling as that- which, they, had just witnessed.. This: apparatus, unfortunately, was: not a complete success. As we look back on previous proposals, made by many committees;. I feel We can. agree that they were all far too ambitious and far too costly for this great nation of only 10;000,000 people. The present proposal is. to deal first with, one section - the provision of a standardgauge line- in Victoria which, will give a through run from Sydney to Melbourne. Two other projects will then remain, to complete the standard-gauge trunk system. They are Broken HilL-Port Pirie-Adelaide and Kalgoorlie - Perth - Fremantle. The Wodonga-Melbourne link, scheduled to start as soon as negotiations with the States concerned are brought to finality - I believe they are almost completed now - involves a substantial outlay. Its completed cost should be approximately £10,000,000, At present, the standard 4-ft 8J-in. gauge line from Sydney to Albury continues over the: Murray river to Wodonga. From here toMangalore, a distance of roughly 120 miles, there is a single 5-ft. 3-in. gauge track. The plan is to lay an additional 4-ft. 8i-in. line roughly parallel with the existing broad, gauge track over this section. Ultimately, of course, it is proposed to convert the whole of the Victorian 5-ft. 3-in. system to the standard gauge. From Mangalore to Melbourne,, a distance of roughly 70 miles, the 5-ft. 3-in. track is at present duplicated. The plan is to narrow one of these lines to the standard gauge, leaving, the other 5-ft. 3-in. gauge line- for the time being to- take local Victorian traffic. Central train control signalling will probably be- installed upon it in order to increase its carrying capacity. The Victorian railway authorities have suggested- a solution of the problem of approach through the Melbourne suburbs. From Broadmeadows,, about 10 miles from Melbourne, the line will, bend eastwards, using one of the existing goods tracks into Tottenham. From there, it will follow the main- line and goods- spur into Dynon-road yard, which, lies between Melbourne and Footscray. From Dynon-road; a short extension will bring- passenger traffic into Spencer-street station,, probably to a platform on the opposite side to that at present used' by the Spirit of Progress. The economic advantages- will be very considerable: The. line' should make a substantial profit upon its cost: and, therefore, should: greatly improve the financial position of both the Victorian and. New South Wales railway systems. What is more important, it will, provide cheap and speedy transport, for goods between the two capitals and this should: make no. small contribution to the reduction of real costs throughout industry in those States. The modern goods terminal at Dynonroad will enable a high standard of service to- be offered. This, in conjunction with modern handling methods, will produceefficient rail operation. Once again I congratulate the Government and, when parochial^ State attitudes' can be put aside, we shall all be looking forward to the commencement of the' construction of the remaining two main railway links. Honorable members will recall that a Cabinet- committee has been formed to investigate the problem of transport. I know that it has done a great amount of work already and I sincerely hope that in the very near future it will submit a grand national roads plan. I am certain we are all looking forward to such a plan, just as I am confident that the Minister for Shipping; and Transport **(Senator Paltridge)** will leave no stone unturned in his efforts to have evolved speedily a national roads system for the Commonwealth. {: #subdebate-30-6-s13 .speaker-K58} ##### Mr O'CONNOR:
Dalley .- I propose to discuss the Department of Shipping and Transport and to direct my remarks, in, particular,, to this Government's policy in. connexion with shipbuilding. First, 1 must express my complete, dissatisfaction at the amount of money the Government proposes to make available by way of subsidy to the shipbuilding industry. We find from: a perusal of the Estimates that the allocation for merchant ship construction is £1,855,000, and although this represents an increase of £421,000 over the amount allocated last year, it is by no means sufficient to meet the change that has taken place in conditions in this industry, especially in New South Wales. The Government may be satisfied with its shipbuilding policy, but I can only express grave alarm at it. To my mind, the shipbuilding industry has deteriorated in recent years. It was the Chifley Government which made the first approach to the problem of developing the industry. It was the first government to accept the responsibility of determining what amount of subsidy should be paid, and fixed it at 25 per cent. Following requests for an increase in the subsidy, this Government shirked the acceptance of any responsibility in the matter and placed it on the shoulders of the Tariff Board. Fortunately, after hearing evidence, the Tariff Board saw fit to increase the subsidy to 33i per cent. I am by no means satisfied with this Government's attitude towards the industry. It is a vital industry; it is a national industry. Australia is a mercantile nation. We have 13,000 miles of coastline. We depend upon the sea, and shall do so for many years to come for our communication with overseas countries. I submit that the dilatory attitude this Government has adopted towards shipbuilding is by no means a credit to it. I point out here that it is a matter of history that whether a nation becomes a mercantile power does not depend exclusively upon either economics or population. It is recorded in history that many a nation with a much poorer economy and a lower population than Australia has by its determination and vision, become a power in the mercantile world. It is because of the Government's lack of vision, and its failure to appreciate the importance of this problem that the shipbuilding industry is languishing in Australia. Different nations throughout the world nave different approaches to this problem. Indeed, many of them do not hesitate to adopt every means at their disposal to protect their shipbuilding industry, and perhaps it will be of interest to the committee if I give a brief outline of the methods adopted by other countries and the steps they take to protect their mercantile marine industry. Compared with them, this Government shows up very poorly indeed. This outline of the methods adopted throughout the world to assist the shipbuilding industry is contained in the report of the inquiry held into this matter by the Tariff Board. We find that the assistance takes various forms. The countries which subsidize shipbuilding include the United States of America, France, Italy, and India. Those which subsidize shipping operations include the United States, Canada, Italy and Japan. Norway, Sweden, Denmark,, the Argentine and the United Kingdom grant taxation concessions; the United States gives a trade-in allowance on old vessels; Japan, Canada and the United States reserve coastal trade for national vessels; and the United States affords tariff' protection in respect of ship repairs. I remind honorable members that, as far back as 1908, when the United States began to emerge as a world power, it did not hesitate to use whatever means were at its disposal to protect its mercantile interests and to develop the shipbuilding industry, in marked contrast to the vacillating approach of this Government. I regret to say that the Australian shipbuilding programme is not so impressive as supporters of the Government try to make out. At the moment, the Australian Shipbuilding Board has a construction programme involving twenty-five ships, of which fourteen have been completed and three are almost complete. The remaining eight are either about to be commenced or have had expenditure in connexion with their construction approved. Of those eight ships, six are being constructed in South Australia, one in Queensland, and one at the State dockyard at Newcastle. The port of Sydney has facilities that make it one of the major shipbuilding ports of Australia, but, due to the failure of the Australian Shipbuilding Board to place orders for ship construction in Sydney, there is increasing unemployment in the industry. In support of that contention. I read this telegram which I received yesterday from the shop committee at Mort's Dock, Sydney - >Copy telegram Minister for Shipping to-day. Urge your intervention. Twenty-three Mort's Dock boilermakers and ironworkers dismissed while industry declines. Urge immediate start on " Delungra " conversion to halt this and further threatened dismissals. I took that telegram to the Minister for Shipping and Transport **(Senator Paltridge)** yesterday, and he was good enough to give me a reply which, unfortunately, does nothing to alleviate the situation. I am most disappointed with it. It reads - >Australian National Line has reconsidered future use of " Delungra " in light of cost of conversion to diesel operation and likely trade available for vessel As a result it has been decided that economics of proposal do not justify the costly conversion of the ship and it has therefore been decided not to proceed with the work. This means that unless the Minister changes his mind, the men who have been dismissed from Mort's Dock must face the prospect of looking for work elsewhere. I have here a report which appeared in one of the Sydney newspapers a few weeks ago. Oddly enough, it is the report of an interview with **Mr. Simpson,** who is chairman of directors of Mort's Dock and Engineering Company Limited, Sydney. He is reported to have said that lack of government aid had lost Australian shipbuilders contracts for the construction of eighteen ships which are now being built overseas, and that his company's shipbuilding yards had been vacant since December, 1954. He went on to say that the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** had failed to give the shipping industry the encouragement that he promised to give it in the course of his last policy speech. That statement is confirmation of my contention that this Government has failed miserably in its approach to this industry. After all, this is an industry of national importance, and it deserves a greater degree of aid and encouragement than has been forthcoming. 1 suppose that it is impossible to assess the real value of the industry to Australia. When we see the Government pouring millions of pounds into defence projects of the kind that we have been discussing in this place in recent weeks, and we find that it is spending only about £1,800,000 by way of annual subsidy to keep this most necessary industry going, we are compelled to ask whether the Government has any real appreciation of the defence needs of the country. It will be a sorry day for Australia if the shipbuilding industry is allowed to go to the wall. We do not Want to see the conditions that prevailed in the industry between 1930 and 1939. The responsibility in this matter rests squarely on the shoulders of the Government. I believe that unless it takes more vigorous and imaginative action to keep the shipbuilding industry going, it will be recreant to its duty. {: #subdebate-30-6-s14 .speaker-JMF} ##### Mr ASTON:
Phillip .- First, I want to follow in the train of the honorable member for Bruce **(Mr. Snedden)** and congratulate the Department of Immigration on its humane attitude towards the provision of comforts and amenities for immigrants, and on its courtesy in considering matters that have been brought to its notice. I think that all the citizens of Australia owe a debt of gratitude to the department in this respect. I also express my sincere appreciation of the humanitarian action of the department in bringing to this country 10,000 Hungarians, after the recent trouble in Hungary. I am sure that those people appreciate the speed with which this Government acted, and I think that the people of Australia heartily endorse the Government's action. Despite increased pressure from the Opposition, and certain sources outside the Parliament, the Government has continued its immigration policy, and has not significantly reduced the intake of immigrants. This is a policy of national importance. It means a great deal to our development, because perhaps no country of the world has a greater need of population than has Australia. During the last ten years, we have brought here 1,200,000 immigrants from 32 countries, including the United Kingdom. I believe that the great majority of these people have proved themselves worthy citizens of their adopted country. They have contributed in many ways *to our* advancement, not only because they are helping us to increase our population, but also because of their contribution to industry, both rural and industrial. They have brought technical skills and have been able to give us the benefit of the culture of countries which have enjoyed civilization for many hundreds of years. Because immigration is of national importance, I believe that it should not for one moment be made subject to political expediency. It should be above party politics, because it concerns the very future of this country. I remind honorable members opposite, who so often quote the words of their former leader, the late **Mr. Ben** Chifley, that in 1949, in his policy speech, he had this to say in relation to immigration - >Immigration means security. Even more than that, it means full development of untapped resources. It means greater production of goods and .services. It means a better, happier more prosperous life for every Australian. The great immigration drive, launched by the present Labour government in 1945 and carried out with remarkable success will be continued vigorously until Australia has the population she needs to achieve development of all her resources and guarantee her security. 1 am sure that all honorable members agree with that statement. It typifies the example set by the previous Leader of the Labour party, one of true nationalism. That brings me to the point of asking why the attitude of the Labour party has changed. Why has it, at every opportunity, heaped criticism on our great immigration programme? Has it forsaken the ideal of Australia's future for political expediency? Many times we have heard discredit heaped upon this immigration policy, but the allegations have been correctly refuted. Honorable members opposite have suggested that new Australians have committed crimes. Last year when the Estimates were under discussion the honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Haylen)** ridiculed the new Australian immigrants and said that they had committed a greater number of crimes than old Australians had committed. That allegation was shot to ribbons by a committee which was set up under the chairmanship of **Mr. Justice** Dovey. Included among its members were distinguished representatives or the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia and the president of the Australian Council of Trades Unions, **Mr. Monk.** That committee completely vindicated the honour of new Australians and after hearing evidence produced -the finding that the crime rate among new Australians was much lower than that among old Australians. Members of the Opposition have indulged in smear tactics concerning the selection of immigrants by officers overseas. These allegations have been untrue and disgraceful because, up to the present time, the Government has accepted, as far as possible, the principles that were laid -down by the previous government - the Labour government - in the selection of immigrants. I believe that members of the Labour party have done this as a matter of party political expediency. They are afraid that these newcomers to Australia will not support them politically. That is a matter of choice for them, as it is for our own Australian people. We pride ourselves on being able to make a free choice in Australia, and upon our individualism. These people have come from countries which have been subject to a great deal of political -pressure and oppression and they hate anything connected with communism. They are just as suspicious of democratic socialism with its nationalization policy. Some critics of the Government claim that it has not brought sufficient British immigrants to this country. I agree with the sentiments expressed by the honorable member for Port Adelaide **(Mr. Thompson)** who said, to-night, that every Australian expected that we should have as great a number of British immigrants as possible. We have done everything possible to attract the maximum number of British immigrants. In spite of the criticism that we have not done sufficient in this connexion, the facts and figures show the opposite to be the case. This year, the planned gross intake of immigrants from all sources is 115,000. This comprises 63,000 assisted immigrants and an estimated 52,000 permanent arrivals who will pay their own fares. The majority of the assisted-passage immigrants will come from the United Kingdom. The target intake of this group is 30,000, which is 25 per cent, more than last year. Within the framework of the broad, continuing policy of balanced immigration, we have, over the years, maintained the British component of our intake at the highest practical level. We have provided a greater number of assisted passages for British immigrants than for those from any other country. We have made a higher contribution towards the fares of assisted British immigrants than in respect of assisted immigrants from any other country. We have imposed no limitation on the number of British, full fare-paying immigrants who come to Australia. In the matter of nominations, we have provided hostel accommodation for British family units in order to keep them together. We have reserved all available berths on commercial lines of shipping on the United Kingdom-Australia run and have obtained additional charter vessels in a highly competitive field to provide the maximum of shipping accommodation for British immigrants. It is interesting to note that we have launched the "Bring Out a Briton" campaign, and it is pleasing to see that the great majority of Australian people are supporting that campaign. Applications received by the Chief Migration Officer in London in the first five months of 1957 were approximately 55 per cent, higher than in the same period last year. The campaign has been highly effective and the scheme has stimulated interest among potential British immigrants as well as among potential Australian nominators. It invites Australians to help to reveal jobs and accommodation vacancies for British immigrants. Whilst it cannot be expected that this campaign will yield instantaneous and spectacular successes, we are assured that the Australian people will respond to the appeal to bring out as many British people as possible. More than 160 committees have been formed throughout Australia, mainly in country centres, since this campaign was launched and so far 434 persons in 120 family groups have come to Australia from the United Kingdom under this scheme. What is more important, however, is that one direct result of the interest created by the scheme has been an increase of 56.8 per cent, in the number of personal nominations submitted in Australia during the first nine months of this year, compared with the number of nominations submitted in the corresponding period last year. Personal nominations until the end of September totalled 23,404, compared with 14,927 in the corresponding period of 1956. Yet, we hear criticism in spite of this great increase in the number of British immigrants coming to Australia. Our record of British immigration contrasts more than favorably with the experience of our greatest rival for immigrants, Canada. The net intake of British immigrants into that country has been less than 20 per cent, of her overall immigration programme in the last seven years. Side by side with this special effort to encourage maximum British immigration, the Government has pursued an enlightened policy of working to ensure the smooth assimilation into the community of the 643,'000 non-British immigrants who have joined us in the post-war years. These people have made, and are continuing to make, a valuable contribution to the welfare of Australia. We welcome them as partners in our enterprise of joint development. The ultimate aim of our assimilation policy is that all who are eligible shall become naturalized Australian citizens as soon as possible. The new European settlers are warming to this task with alacrity. They like our way of living and they want our citizenship. The number of applications for naturalization increased by 25 per cent, last year, compared with applications made during the previous year. By last June, 110,000 persons had been naturalized since 1945. This satisfactory result is due pardy to the enthusiasm of the immigrants themselves for the way of life they have found in their adopted country. It is due, partly, also to the enlightened policy of the department and the generous co-operation of many local-government organizations. In- my electorate, two councils have set up committees to support the " Bring Out a Briton " campaign. The Australian practice of holding simple yet most impressive naturalization ceremonies has so caught the imagination of other countries that New Zealand is sending representatives of its immigration departments to Australia to observe how our naturalization ceremonies are conducted. The Government, by looking after the welfare and education of immigrants, and by the encouragement of the effective work of the Good Neighbour Council, to which I pay special tribute, has devised a highly effective assimilation programme, which has reacted in the best interests of the immigrants to this country. We need immigrants in Australia. We have offered them the privilege of coming to this country, and we hope and trust that those who follow them will be many more in number, and we know that they will emulate the good example of those who have come before them. This nation has gained considerably in strength through immigration, not only in labour to develop our economic strength, but in having good people who are becoming excellent Australian citizens and are contributing greatly to our cultural background. Through immigration, we are developing a nation of distinctive character, which combines the high ideals of our own British heritage with the best qualities of the other democratic countries from which we draw our new settlers. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-30-6-s15 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN:
Bonython .- I am sure that responsible Australian people will seriously deprecate the speech by the honorable member for Phillip **(Mr. Aston)** to which we have just listened. Almost every word that he said was said with the idea of playing the game of politics on this question that is supposed to b'e of a nonparty character, on which the Parliament has an almost unanimous view and expects to have some mutual co-operation. But there are honorable members opposite who never lose an opportunity of trying to cast some sort of reflection on the attitude of members of the Opposition. The honorable member for Phillip and many others fail to remember that the Australian Labour party represents over 2,000,000 of the people of this country, and that it is capable of expressing a responsible view upon this matter and upon all other matters that it discusses. Therefore, I object, in the most serious manner possible, to the outrageous statements that are made concerning the Labour movement and its attitude to immigration. We take that attitude because we want decency, and conditions that are at least proper for the comfort of these people. Is our attitude to be regarded as something that is foreign to the ideals of this country, merely because we want British people here in greater numbers than the numbers in which they have been coming iti the past? Is it wrong to advocate principles of that description? Yet honorable gentlemen opposite call into question the ideas of honorable members on this side and their advocacy of these conditions. The honorable member for Port Adelaide **(Mr. Thompson)** made a revelation to-night of conditions that are horrifying to imagine in relation to the reception that we give to newcomers to this country. I join with him in a protest against the fact that many of the people who seek to share the fortunes of this country find conditions so uninviting during their initial reception here. I hope that something better will be done for those people who are required to accept tem porary accommodation before getting their greater chance to enjoy the home-life that this country can make possible for them. I hope that the words of my friend from Port Adelaide will be taken seriously by the Government and by those persons who administer these affairs, so that better arrangements may be made. It was not really my intention originally to speak upon this subject, but I was prompted to do so by the most outrageous statements made by Government supporters in relation to the Opposition's attitude to this question, and I shall continue to protest in this chamber, as long as I am capable of doing so, against the kind of charges that Government supporters never seem to tire of making against members of the Labour movement. Our service to this nation as a political entity, and the great achievements of governments that we have formed, provide a full and ample explanation of where our loyalties lie and of the effectiveness of our principles in government. I wish to express appreciation of the administration of the Department of Social Services in South Australia, for what I consider to be the excellent work that it has done, particularly in the last ten years, during which there has been a decided reform in the methods adopted by the department. Originally, in the 1930's, there prevailed a feeling of fear, that people were really justified in having, upon approaching the examinations that were required. But since then there has been a much more considerate attitude on the part of the administration in attending to applicants for social services. That is all to the good and is to be Warmly commended. But much more remains to be done to aid these people, who have the right to expect from us every consideration that we can possibly give them. In the discharge of our responsibilities in these matters, I suggest that we should study the convenience of applicants, particularly in regard to the examination of their claims. Instead of requiring them to come to a central position in a city, we should decentralize the administration in such a way as to provide for a more immediate consideration of claims. For instance, in my electorate there is a very important centre which was originally the chief electoral centre for the division of Wakefield, but is now in the division of Bonython. It is a community of considerable extent and importance. I refer to Gawler, which is approximately 28 to 30 miles from Adelaide. People in Gawler who apply for pensions are required to attend in Adelaide to have their claims examined and to go before a magistrate. 1 think that is altogether wrong. There should be an Officer of the department at Gawler capable of. giving the assistance and service so essential to pensioners. Similar provision should be made in. other places like Gawler throughout the whole Commonwealth, so that aged folk as well as invalids can be helped in relation to their claims for pension. I hope that the Minister will be prepared to have an inquiry made into the prospect of giving assistance to that very laudable organization known as " Meals on Wheels ", which is staffed by voluntary workers and does a most wonderful work in providing meals for the aged and infirm. I hope the Minister will realize that by bringing comfort and assistance to the aged and the invalids that organization has added greatly to 'the well-being pf those people. Such a service, as it provides should be a true- part of -the Commonwealth social service provisions. I pay' a great tribute to Miss Taylor and those who are associated with her .in this grand- work for aged people. So, 1 ask the Minister to have his department examine this great work and to afford all the help and encouragement possible to " Meals on Wheels " in order to enable the organization to extend its wonderful service to aged people. I hope that what I have had to say will make honorable gentlemen realize that there are still many things for us to do in improving' the conditions of our aged people as well as the conditions of the new people coming into the country under the immigration scheme. We should earnestly consider such matters and not seek to play the game of politics with them in the way- that it is played at present by many members on the Government side. We should do our best to serve the people and have a more worthy Objective than seems to have been the motive behind the speeches made in. this debate by honorable gentlemen opposite. {: #subdebate-30-6-s16 .speaker-0095J} ##### Mr HOWSON:
Fawkner .- Whilst I do not agree:. With the honorable member for Bonython **(Mr. Makin)** on the subject of immigration, I most certainly do agree with many of his statements regarding social services. I know of the good work that is done in my own electorate by the organization known as " Meals on Wheels ", and 1 am glad that this Government has been able to make grants to the various State and municipal authorities in order to enable an extension of this work. I hope that the existing grants will be increased, but I hope even more that State governments and municipal authorities will greatly extend the service in their own .fields; because, although- we can take action from here, the responsibility for providing the impetus for this great service rests with the local authorities. I support the remarks made by the honorable member for Bonython about this very laudable service, and I congratulate the Government on the way that it has helped the service during the past year. I should also like to direct the attention of the committee to the estimate for the Department of Social Services, particularly to the vote for the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service, which last year expended about £-568,000 and whose estimated expenditure this year is £626,000. I am glad to see that more money is being made available to this service this year. 1 only wish that the vote could have been even larger, because there is no doubt that the service is producing a wonderful effect and doing work of great importance throughout the country. I should like to deal in greater detail with some of the work which has been accomplished during the last twelve months by the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service. I must congratulate the Minister for Social Services **(Mr. Roberton)** on the production of this extremely helpful leaflet, "The Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service", published in April this year, .in which we can find a good deal of valuable information about the work being done. The work of rehabilitation is, I think, one - of the good fruits of war, and it is a lesson learned from war. It is not often that we get good things from wars, but I think that the rehabilitation service is certainly on the credit side. After World War I. the Repatriation Department started work on the rehabilitation of wounded and disabled men of that war.. As a. result of the department's efforts, and of work by other countries, a great deal was learnt about the way in which people disabled in war could be rehabilitated and encouraged to take an active part in the life and work of the community, despite their physical handicaps. I was particularly interested in this kind of service, and in what could be done by it, as a result df what 1. saw in England in the 1920's and 1930's. In thai country there is. a factory .run by the British Legion which has specialized in, rehabilitating disabled men and providing jobs for them. The factory sets put to provide work for disabled people, ! and no person not disabled in war may be employed there. Altogether 400 people find employment in that factory, all of them disabled exservicemen of one war or another. The factory was able to show that it was possible to employ people, whatever then: disabilities, whether they had lost two legs, two arms, had been blinded, or suffered from any other disability as a result of World War I., The factory provides training in the special skills necessary for work there, immediately after World War II., the repatriation authorities in Australia established similar schemes for rehabilitating men injured or disabled in that world war. {: .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R FRASER:
ALP -- It was a scheme personally introduced by **Mr. Chifley.** {: .speaker-0095J} ##### Mr HOWSON: -- I am very glad to know that it was introduced by the party to which the honorable gentleman opposite belongs. What I am trying to show is that while such schemes specialize in Rehabilitating people - disabled in war, this Government, - particularly in the last few years, has extended that kind df service tremendously in order to provide for people disabled in time of peace. I think that the whole credit for that extension is due to the present Minister for Social -Services. While a civilian rehabilitation. scheme was started in a small way after the war, the main development and progress - the mushrooming that has taken place in the scheme - has been accomplished under this Government What I think is particularly important is that many people in this community should be made aware now of what can be done by this rehabilitation service. People- who are disabled by accident, or. incapacitated by disease can, through training, acquire new skills. In that way they can become useful citizens and also increase the productivity of the nation to a tremen dous degree - playing their own part in raising the standards of living of the community generally. The work of die department is set. out in greater detail in this booklet which has, I hope, had a wide circulation. It is important that as many members of the community as possible'' should realize what valuable work is being done. The work of the service is divided info' five sections. The first is, of- course, the medical side, which takes over when the patient leaves . hospital. "There is also the psychological side, for people who have suffered incapacity as a result of accident must be accustomed gradually, to their new environment The Psysiotherapist and the occupational therapist work side by side with the doctors in strengthening the muscles needed in the new calling. The patient goes from there to the vocational training section .where he learns the skills required by the trade for which he is considered suitable. The work, of assessing his capabilities is most important, as is also the task of placing him in employment. After he gets a job the department follows the matter up and 'ensures that his adaptation to his new environment is complete. I have dealt at some length with the fine work of the service, which is operating in all States. I should like now to refer especially to the splendid work done at Coonac in the electorate of Fawkner. I might mention that the work which the service has done this year has saved more in pensions alone than the £568,000 that rehabilitation has cost, and has also resulted in greater productivity, and improved morale on the part of the individual. There are long lists of people waiting' to take advantage of the service, for which, more money is required.- Private enterprise can do a great' deal to help by providing some of the. finance needed. I have in mind especially insurance companies, which benefit so greatly from the work of the rehabilitation scheme. Private enterprise can also help in other directions. Certain firms have made a practice of co-operating with the rehabilitation service in the placement of the trainees. The firm of General Motors-Holden's Limited, of Melbourne, is a case in point The printing trades also have made it their business to find avenues of employment for these people. Greater cooperation on the part of industry is needed, and it is up to general managers and personnel officers in factories to go round and see which jobs can be done by handicapped people. The trade unions could also help by directing attention to work opportunities in their' own trades. There is also the special case of the blind. Many blind persons are employed in the electorate of Fawkner, so I know how much more could be done to find jobs for these folk in -industry. When they do find a job that they enjoy, they are so. very reliable that absenteeism is reduced to a minimum. I suppose that they change their jobs less often than do any other group of workers. The more jobs that can be found, the more quickly can they be placed in a position of independence, and helped towards a better way of life, and the more quickly' can intending patients be absorbed by the scheme. i should like to commend the department very warmly upon the work that it has done this year, and express the hope that the service will be greatly expanded in the years to come. I hope, too,' that every one, and industry in particular, will co-operate in this great work. {: #subdebate-30-6-s17 .speaker-KDB} ##### Mr EDMONDS:
Herbert .- I wish to say a few words about the activities of the Department of Immigration and, at the outset, join those who have expressed appreciation of the work of **Mr. Heyes,** the departmental head. 1 have had extensive dealings with **Mr. Heyes,** and with other departmental heads, and every honorable member will agree that no ohe could be more courteous and helpful. The same may be said of the members of his staff, and especially of **Mr. Nulty,** the chief immigration officer in Brisbane. This gentleman is always prepared to give honorable members - certainly myself- - a good hearing. I have never been able to. understand the Government's policy in regard to the selection of European migrants. I want to say at once that .there have been seasons when our sugar cane could not have been harvested without , the assistance of the Department of Immigration. Wave in mind a period when the honorable member for Melbourne **(Mr. Calwell)** was Minister for Immigration, and also a period - when the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. Harold Holt)** held that portfolio. £ express the gratitude of the sugar industry when I say that we cannot forget the tremendous assistance that has sometimes been given us in gathering the harvest. All the immigrants, of course, were not suitable. That was to be expected. When we speak of thousands of immigrants, it would be most extraordinary if every one of them was suited to the industry in which he worked and remained in it Of course, all of them did not remain in the industry. Without wishing to discriminate between countries, I am sure all honorable members who know anything about the sugar industry will agree that the best immigrant ever te* work on cane-cutting was the Italian; and more Italians remained in the industry than people of other nationalities. One result of that in the north of Queensland, in my electorate, is that there are more Italian farmers than any other foreign farmers in the sugar industry and naturally they would be assimilated easier and quicker than immigrants from, other countries. {: .speaker-KWE} ##### Mr Timson: -- Would most of those be growing cane? {: .speaker-KDB} ##### Mr EDMONDS: -- The immigrants are cutting cane, but their countrymen are growing cane. - They are sugar farmers. There is a matter which is worrying the Italian farmers, particularly iri the. Herbert River district, and I mention this to the Government in complete sincerity, not with any desire to criticize, but in the . hope of being able to obtain an explanation. From time to time Italian "fanners return to Italy and there they come in contact with people, observe them working, and get to know their background and to understand everything about them. Knowing that they will want immigrants to work on their farms or in the fields for the next season, these Italian farmers would like to nominate those people about whom -they feel ' completely satisfied and in respect of whom ' they can guarantee security. I shall not mention a specific case, because I have had more than one, . The Italian farmers are prepared to nominate and pay the fares of these people, to Australia, and guarantee employment and accommodation not only for the men but for their wives and families. Yet under the present policy of the Government that cannot be done. What happens is that a certain number of Italians are selected, and brought to Australia. A certain number, then are allocated to the sugar industry. The Italian farmers must accept men whom they are not certain of, men whom they have never met before. These immigrants are foisted on the Italian cane fanners, and most important of all from the Government's point of view, the Commonwealth accepts and bears the whole of the cost of bringing these people to Australia. If the Italian farmers, were, permitted to make their own choice of menin Italy, they would bear the cost of bringing them to this country. I cannot see logic in the Government's attitude. I presume I will be given an explanation. Whether it is a reason or an excuse remains to be seen. I cannot see logic in the policy of bringing to Australia, at the taxpayers' expense, people many of whom cannot stand up to the conditions of cane-cutting. When I. say that, I do. not speak disrespectfully of people who find themselves unfitted to cut cane, because cutting cane is pretty bard work and if. any honorable member wants to find out anything about it, let him ask me. -I have done a good bit of the work and I know that not everybody can adapt himself to cutting sugar cane. These Italian farmers have a personal and complete knowledge of the men they require, but they are not permitted to bring those men to this country and must accept men who are selected overseas, sent to Australia, and foisted on them. I suggest to the Government that when a farmer is prepared, as many of these farmers are, to accept full responsibility- and to pay the cost of everything ' associated With, bringing the immigrants to the farm, the Government should modify its policy in order to allow them to do so, The other point that I wish to bring before the committee is that grave concern *h* being felt already in the sugar industry in north Queensland. I take it that the position -in the sugar industry occurs in other industries as well As everybody -knows, the' sugar industry is a , seasonal one. Over the past few years' nobody worried very much how the people engaged in the industry- the cane-cutters, the millworkers, and all those people in associated industries- would be absorbed in what we call the slack season, because ample State government and municipal construction work which absorbed these people was always taking place. They worked in the sugar industry during the harvesting season, transferred to construction and other work in the slack season, and later returned to the sugar industry. But these days conditions are. not quite as good as that, and, because of the State government's lack of -finance, . construction works do not go on any longer. In the last slack season thousands of people were walking the streets looking for work, but no work was available. The same position will occur at the end of this crushing season, I appreciate the Government's ' position, ' because the . previous government could have found itself in exactly the same posi-nbn. One factor with which the Government is concerned is that this country must be populated in order ' to survive. I do not think there is one honorable member of this Committee -who does not agree with that' statement. Australia must have population. A population figure of 9,000,000 or 10,000,000 is not good enough. But you cannot convince Australian workers' that immigration is necessary when work cannot be found for Australians. During the slack season not only will New Australians be searching for work without any possibility of finding it. Married Australians, who were born and reared in Australia and have worked all their lives in the sugar, industry, will be looking for jobs and probably will have to leave their homes and transfer to other areas. I do not know where those areas are, and no member of the Government has ever -been able to tell me. That will be the position. Great concern has been expressed to me, both in correspondence and on the telephone, at the possibility of hundreds, if not thousands of people, at the end of this crushing season, which is generally at the end of 'the year, looking for work which will not be available to them until at least May of next year. I ask the Government to give serious' consideration to those- factors. I realizethat the country must be populated, but I believe that the Government should proceed cautiously with immigration, because it will never be able to convince the workers that it is necessary to bring more unskilled immigrants to this country at a time when unskilled Australians, as well as unskilled New Australians, are searching for work without success. I put those propositions to the Government, not with any desire to criticize or to be nasty, but in a constructive way, with the hope that something will be done when the matter has been considered by the Government. {: #subdebate-30-6-s18 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH:
Forrest .- The honorable member for Herbert **(Mr. Edmonds)** made a very thoughtful and constructive contribution to this debate. He touched On one of the serious problems in Australia, the problem of seasonal employment; and there is no doubt that coming as he does from the cane-fields in Queensland he is familiar with that problem. I put to him, however, that the level of immigration does not entirely solve it. If we had no immigration whatsoever we would have the position where in the sugar season, to take the example he has given, if there were full employment there would be a shortage of available labour to fill seasonal vacancies. On the other hand, if we have sufficient labour to take up the seasonal employment that is offering, then quite obviously when that particular seasonal employment cuts out we are faced with the problem of where that labour is to be placed. I am quite sure the honorable member appreciates that problem. We have met it in the past, as he freely acknowledges, by being able, when there has been an acute shortage of labour on the cane-fields, to bring in a number of Italian immigrants. However, it can only be met permanently for the Australian economy by intelligent planning on the part of both State and Federal governments to provide the' sort of production and industry which coincides with the slack periods in the seasonal industries to absorb those employees thrown on the market. Some such constructive approach would achieve far better results than trying to trim down our immigration programme on any day to day -fluctuation in the employment figures. It can be adJusted to some degree. I want to deal with trends in immigration particularly over the last few months which show that it is possible to adjust the intake of immigrants of the type absorbed into the country to the employment situation. It was found some time ago that the Italians and other southern Europeans already in Australia were seeking to nominate friends and relatives to come to Australia in such numbers that our balanced programme was in danger of being upset. We have the position where, for the year 1955-56 there were 55,942 of what are called Form 40 nominations, that is, applications by southern Europeans nominating friends or relatives. The Government had to restrict those admitted in that category to close relatives, such as wives, minor unmarried children who were dependent on their parents, dependent parents or other aged dependent relatives, and unmarried' females under 35 years of age. That was for the specific purpose of enabling families to be reunited, to enable dependants to come to Australia *to* receive the assistance of those upon whom they were dependent, and to redress the slight unbalance of sexes that had crept into our southern European immigration programme. That policy has improved the position to such an extent that at the end of the current year we shall receive only 15,833 of these Form 40 nominations as against 55,000 for the preceding year. Not only has that trend been corrected and the surplus arrested, but the balance of the sexes also has been redressed. That matter has been raised in this chamber on several occasions. Whereas before we were getting a preponderance of male Italian or southern European immigrants, we are now getting a proportion of three females to each male. The monthlyaverage has declined from about 5,000 in the preceding year to about 1,300 in the current year. Those who have been critical of the Government's admittance of southern European immigrants to this country, in the face of those figures must admit that we have tried to restore a very satisfactory balance. That in part answers the problem which the honorable member for Herbert raised in relation to people being nominated by friends whom they know in Australia to give them help on the cane-fields. {: .speaker-KDB} ##### Mr Edmonds: -- We are more concerned about employers who nominate. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH: -- That is perfectly true. Within that rule - and it is necessary to enforce that rule fairly rigidly because there is a tremendous pressure for southern Europeans to come to Australia - it is not possible for those people to come to this country. However, the type of people whom the honorable member for Herbert mentioned would have at least as good and probably a better chance of selection by the Australian immigration authorities if it were necessary to import workers for the particular type of work for which they are required. Honorable members opposite cannot have it both ways. If they want us to keep a balance of immigration - and this is a policy which has been pursued ever since the inception of the immigration programme - we must impose and enforce restrictions impartially and fairly whenever that programme tends Ito become unbalanced. It will be appreciated, from the figures cited to. the Parliament that i the balance has been noticeably restored. On the matter of British immigration, it has been suggested at times that the Government is not trying to do all it can to obtain British immigrants. It- has also been suggested at times that we are deliberately trying to encourage southern Europeans instead of British immigrants. I think from what the honorable member for .Phillip **(Mr. Aston)** told the committee and from the figures I have just cited in regard to southern European immigration,' it will be apparent, as indeed it should be apparent, that this Government is anxious and willing to have every suitable British immigrant who can be brought to this country; but it is not as simple, as that. There are to-day about 1 4,000 applications in' Great Britain for entry to this country covering about "40,000 people, but unfortunately' those applicants have not found a sponsor in Australia or will not fit into a category of work available h'ere. To those who say that our proportion of British intake. is not high enough, the only possible way of restoring that proportion would be to reduce the intake of other immigrants who can be fitted into this community, because a larger proportion of the British applicants are people for whom no suitableemployment can be found here. They are people such as white collar workers and the like, and I think honorable members will readily appreciate the difficulty of placing, say, a bank clerk or an insurance clerk in a similar situation in Australia. Australian employers are naturally more anxious to have people with an Australian background who have worked their way up from the bottom in their particular business 'rather than accept the British equivalent into their firm or business. That is the sort of difficulty with which the Government is faced. Another difficulty is the ability to recruit suitable skilled immigrants for the type of work that is available. I must say quite bluntly that we do not receive from either the United Kingdom Government or trade unions the co-operation and assistance to which we are. entitled. If we had more facilities accorded to us by the United Kingdom Government, the trade unions, and other people concerned, we might conceivably attract the skilled workers for which . employment is available in Australia. The only other alternative, if we are to maintain a certain proportion of British immigrants - a fixed percentage if you like- . to reduce the intake, of other immigrants I should like honorable members to consider the possible consequences of that. This Government has followed a programme initiated by the Labour party of aiming at the maximum possible absorption of immigrants. That policy has been tested over a period of years, during which the number of immigrants entering the country has fluctuated,' and* it has been found that we can absorb approximately 1 per cent, of our current population. O.ur intake has been geared to that relatively stable figure over the last few years. * {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr Cope: -- What about homes for. them to live in? , , {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH: -- That is a problem that- . does exist. . The honorable member will . forgive me for just mentioning it Very briefly , because I, do' not want to be sidetracked. . . However, the fact is that immigrants build . more homes than they , require for them- : selves. We have decided on a stable intake', of immigrants which the community can' ' absorb, and has absorbed successfully with immense benefit to Australia. The question is: Are we to review that number 'each' year in accordance with the varying intake ' of British immigrants which will fluctuate, not only with changes in conditions in Australia, but also with changes in conditions in the United Kingdom over which we have no control? The numbers also fluctuate according to changing international conditions, such as the Suez incident and other happenings. Honorable members will agree that it is desirable to keep our intake reasonably balanced, and while taking as many British immigrants as we possibly can, to maintain the yearly target we have set ourselves. That is the policy that this Government has followed. In the brief time left to me I want to deal with one other point that has arisen during the course of this debate. I think it was the honorable member for Port Adelaide **(Mr. Thompson)** who suggested that the accommodation we provide for British immigrants is not sufficiently attractive. I have only one answer to make to that suggestion. We provide them with cheap, but reasonably attractive, accommodation. One of our problems is the long-term resident in these hostels, who will not get out even when other accommodation is available to him. {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr Thompson: -- Has the honorable member ever seen the hostel to which 1 referred? {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH: -- No, I have not. I know of an immigrant who continued to live in a hostel although he owned more than one dwelling-house for which he was receiving rent. That is the problem the Government is facing. We try to make the highest standard of accommodation available at a price in accordance with the relatively limited resources of the immigrants during their early period in Australia. Subject to that, we do not encourage them to live any longer in the hostels than is necessary. We like them to go out and obtain their own accommodation, because that is a very important factor in their assimilation into the community. {: #subdebate-30-6-s19 .speaker-JSS} ##### Mr BRUCE:
Leichhardt .- I fully agree, as a result of my knowledge and experience, with every word that was uttered by the honorable member for Herbert **(Mr. Edmonds).** He gave the committee a very clear and concise description of the position. The honorable member for Forrest **(Mr. Freeth)** seemed to have some difficulty about the slack season. There would be no difficulty if the Government were to encourage young Australians, British-born immigrants, and immigrants from other countries to go on to the land and so become used to the climatic conditions. They could then cut cane, and in the slack season earn additional money. While we are prepared to welcome immigrants from all countries, of course, we prefer to see more British immigrants coming into the country, including, of course, immigrants from Malta and Cyprus. We should like to see a greater number of British immigrants entering the country than is the case at the present time. I was shocked to read in the press, over the name of the Minister for Immigration **(Mr. Townley),** a statement that thousands of immigrants have applied to come to Australia but apparently are unable to do so. As far as the housing situation of British immigrants in Queensland is concerned, the position is certainly not as it was described by the honorable member for Port Adelaide **(Mr. Thompson).** The holding capacity of the Yungaba hostel in Queensland is equivalent to that of a large hotel. As soon as the immigrants arrive there they are allocated to certain positions. They may remain in the hostel for only a week. No trouble whatever has been experienced in handling British immigrants in Queensland. The honorable member for Phillip **(Mr. Aston)** on a number of occasions has made mention of political expediency. The only interpretation I can place on such statements is that members of the Opposition use the immigration question for political purposes. That is a very narrow-minded view. Surely the Government should accept advice from honorable members on this side, who probably know more about this problem than most of its supporters. Some eighteen months ago I brought to the notice of the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. Harold Holt),** who preceded the present Minister for Immigration, the disproportion in the numbers of male and female immigrants. Apparently, he did not adopt my suggestion to maintain a balance between the sexes. I have since obtained some further information. I have before me a pastoral statement on immigration by the Catholic bishops of Australia. Many immigrants are, of course, Catholics. Many of the Catholic priests are fine linguists who can speak the language of the various immigrants. English-speaking priests have been brought into this country from overseas. They do not need interpreters, but are able to talk directly with the immigrants. Portion ofthe statement issued by the bishops reads - >At the beginning of the immigration scheme there was an over-emphasis on the present need for more workers to develop our post-war industrial potential as rapidly as possible. This led to a preference being given to single mate adults, who soon gravely outnumbered the female newcomers, and caused a serious upset in the balance of the sexes amongst non-British migrants. > >A policy of this sort is beset with grave consequences, which are both economic and moral. From the economic standpoint, when womenfolk and families are not welcomed in due proportion to potential breadwinners, a huge withdrawal of local money flows from our country to assist dependent relatives and friends left in the homelands. Let me emphasize the effect on the Australian economy of the sending overseas of millions of pounds to support relatives that the Department ofImmigration will not bring here. The statement continues - >The absence of their womenfolk and relatives also tends to retain in their native lands the most deeply personal interests of the migrants, and leads many of them to return. Moreover, if helps, to swell that rootless and shifting population of the cities, the birds of passage, that are of' little permanent value to the cultural or economic life of the nation. > >From, the spiritual standpoint a policy of this nature is inevitably associated with lamentable moral disorders. It is a totally wrong attitude to regardthe migrant as just another worker who brings to this country another pair of hands. He is a human person, and we are bound to offer him an opportunity to develop his personality at least equal to that which he would have had in his homeland. We have welcomed these new workers into our country to share our privileges of citizenship, and weshould give them full opportunities to take root in our midst by establishing homes and family life. But experience has taught the unmarried non-British migrantthat he will receive little encouragement to marriage from Australian girls, and his unnatural position in the communityhas caused a spirit of deep resentment. Social workers inform us that the predominance of male migrants has- led to a rapid growth of the sordid trade of prostitution. Those remarks do not come from Harry Bruce; they come from the Catholic bishops of Australia. The priests would be able to, obtain the real facts f rom these migrants, sift and weigh that information, and pass it on to the bishops. What I have read is a considered statement by the bishops. That is the position, stated probably in better language than that whichI used when I originally brought the matter before the Minister for Immigration. This statement completely endorses what I said to the Minister eighteen months ago. I now read the following press article which appeared in the Brisbane " CourierMail" {: .page-start } page 1542 {:#debate-31} ### WORK AND WOMEN {: .page-start } page 1542 {:#debate-32} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-32-0} #### N.Q. POSER From a. Staff Reporter. CAIRNS. - Migrants are settling in to the North Queensland community well in general, but they are faced with two main problems - shortage of year-round work and shortage of women. In addition, they seem to be hindered in the processes of assimilation by a feeling of resentment towards them from older migrants of 20 and 30 years ago. The Italian Consular Agent in Cairns (Mr.C. Trucano) said yesterday. "Most of the New Australians here are Italians, but it is impossible to give accurate figures because they are continually coming and going. Those of the post-war Italians who stay settle in well. "But at the end of each cane-cutting season (in December) about 2,000, mainly single men, drift off to the southern cities to find employment." **Mr. Trucano** said that this aggravated the problem because only about 30 per cent. of those who left the district came back for the next canecutting season and fresh migrants had to be imported. "We need some secondary industries here or some Government developmental projects to keep the migrants here", he said.. " Perhaps, more important, we need to find female companionship for the single migrants. " I suggest that the assisted migrant scheme be enlarged so that all unmarried female relatives of a New Australian canbe sponsored instead of just unmarried sisters as at present." So we have those opinions by two different sets of people. The first,I repeat, was by the Catholic bishops of Australia, who have the opportunity to find out exactly what the migrants are thinking and what the position really is. They point out that the cost of bringing out migrants is not the only cost, but that added to that cost are the millions of pounds that are sent overseas to the relatives of migrants. They direct attention, too, to the moral degradation that is caused, to the fact that migrants do not settle down, in their minds, when their womenfolk are left overseas, and that ultimately many of them return to their homeland after the country has been put to the expense of bringing them here. Those three salient points shouldbe burned into the mind of the Minister for Immigration. I was in touch with immigration in the very early days. Migrants who did not Bring' out their wives1 with' them married by- proxy and* ultimately were married officially' uv this country. To-day, the first generation of' those immigrants consists' of young men' and: young' women, who' have played- an active part- in- establishing our economy- and in. our cultural life. They are a- mighty fine' set' of- people, and* are a distinct credit to Australia- in the field of sport and" in every other way. It is logical that, when we bring, these people to Australia, we should settle them on the land. That statement prompts me to refer, to the: matter- of. transport, which should! be considered; broadly" and not narrowmindedly. There are three: forms of transport; - aic, rail; and* road' transport. I suggested1- that our existing railways should1^ bet maintained'.. E have suggested, too;, that; air transport.' serves* only existing towns'. I further suggest that, if we build roads*, additional towns: will1 eventually be established', because-, that is the- most important! aspect- of' the transport question1. Hundreds of thousands of square miles of excellent country- could be opened up if additional' roads were built. The question of< limiting: the intake of migrants would never arise if the .Government were to ensure' the expenditure of money' on the construction of roads- in- what are practically deserted country areas. {: #subdebate-32-0-s0 .speaker-LLW} ##### Mr DEAN:
Robertson .- I refer to) the item " Visits to Australian Territories by, Members, of Parliament,, £4S,000 " in the estimates for' the- Department of Territories. I point out,, at; this stage; that in. th& financial, year- li956-57 the actual expenditure on this item, was less, thant £l!,000-.. £ do that to- emphasize that members who have been. able, to make such visits have; not. been extravagant. As> a result, the- proposed vote for this, year has been- reduced. But I do not- in any way decry the: importance of these: visits,. I rise; solely because- I believe that visits by members of Parliament to tha territories are: important. I completely concur.- in what was. said to-day by the Minister, for Territories, **(Mr. Hasluck).** Bub there ase some things, which I as a. member- who has visited- the= Territory *et* Papua and New Guinea recently, might add* to. what the. Minister, said1. One- cannot* fail* to be- completely- impressed! by the: devotion to- duty.- and1 the enthusiasm, witta which) the; officers, of' the Territory cany; out their tasks-. When I say the " officers:" J refer to His Honour, the Administrator, the Assistant Administrator, district: officers-, assistant district officers, patroL officers: and those- associated with agricultural services;, native affairs, and medical ser;vices. In: other word's*, I refer to the whole- range; of personnel engaged ih- the' administration, of. the Territory of Papua, andi New Guinea on our behalf. I bring- this, to; the- notice, of the committee because; although a- number o£ members have had the- opportunity to make- visits to- the: several territories*. I do. not: think, it is> generally realized) by- the general? public that Australia; has: a great responsibility to those: territories!. Nob do I. think that, the importance- of. some- of the- problems, asso-dated with- the- territories is. generally realized-.. Because L believe: that great, bene-fit. flows from personal1 contact,. I make a plea to honorable members who have- the opportunity from time- to time to- go- to the territories- to. be the- vehicles of propaganda;, in. the true sense- of- the word;: to make known in their own- districts, on-, their r.e>tum the results of their observations-; and to- discuss the problems, and responsibilities which we, as. Australians,, have' towards these territories. One of the first questions that was asked of me on my arrival in the Territory of Papua and' New Guinea on my recent visit was, " What is the future of New Guinea, in relation to Papua and to, Australia as a whole?"' I'.do not know the official thinking on this: matter of the Minister' for Territories (Mr: Hasluck)' or of other members of: the Government,, but the off-the-cuff answer that' I gave - and the view that I believe to be reasonably held' by the majority of members, of this place-, irrespective of the side of : the chamber on which they sit- was that we looked forward to the- time' when' the trusteeship territory of New Guinea would' become part of. what I would like to call' Australian New Guinea. I visualize that, in due course - one is not able to say exactly when, but in the reasonable future - because of the1 policies and the objectives of* the Government^ ft will' be possible1 to' hold5 a- plebiscite in the trustee.ship' territory of New Guinea- to' determine whether its' inhabitants wish to- be- united with- those of Papua-. When- that* happens the combined' territory could; then> become the seventh of the- eighth' state; according to the time at which it occurs, and take its full place in the Commonwealth of Australia. When one goes on a visit to these places one is able to discuss day-to-day problems and objectives not only with the administrative officers, but also with those who are engaged in private commerce, farming and the development of the lands of the Territories. I refer to the Australian and European population as well as the native population. No doubt other members had that opportunity, as I did, of visiting the very successful farm conducted by a native and also the co-operative gold mine. We saw the success of the new experiment of encouraging the native population to take part in local government and in the Territory's council. In other ways, also, the native population is gradually being encouraged to take its place in the full life of the Territory. Once again, I say that this is not easy, because of the different standards of value that are held by the natives. They have their own ancient culture and traditions, which are completely different from our own. An incident which illustrates this fact happened in the Goilala area after the arrival of the Chief Justice, **Mr. Justice** Mann, and I pay tribute to His Honour for the manner in which he dealt with the case. It received some publicity in the Territory. Honorable members may remember that, quite recently, a native was committed for trial in the Supreme Court of Papua and New Guinea, sitting at Tapini, on a charge of having murdered his wife. The Crown reduced the charge to one of manslaughter. Then, because the incident could reasonably have been taken to have been an accident, the charge was not proceeded with. But, because of an old tribal law which demanded that a death, even if accidental, be repaid with a death, it seemed likely that quite a number of deaths could take place, one after the other, and that innocent people who had nothing whatever to do with the incident might be harmed. **His** Honour was fully aware of this, and, consequently, he invited a number of members of both family groups - I think about 100 in number - into the court and asked them if they would consider compensation for the woman's death. This was an entirely new departure from the traditional procedure. First the representatives of the offended family asked for the only compensation that they knew of for death, and that was another death. **Mr. Justice** Mann persuaded them to. talk the matter over. In due course, they returned and told him that they had decided to waive the tribal law and had agreed on compensation of two pigs, two dogs and two tooth necklaces. I cite that incident in no spirit of levity, but as an example of the different standards of value that I have mentioned. That compensation was sufficient for the relatives of the dead person. I believe that that illustration proves htat we have to be understanding in handling the continuing problem of absorbing the indigenous people of New Guinea into our own way of life so that they may take their full responsibility as they receive thentraining. I should like to pay a tribute to the Minister for Territories, the officers of his department in Canberra, and the Administration in the Territory for the way in which they are prosecuting this objective. {: #subdebate-32-0-s1 .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr CURTIN:
Smith · Kingsford -- I propose to discuss Division No. 115 - Ship Construction - under the proposed vote for the Department of Shipping and Transport. I was a shipbuilder before I entered the Parliament. {: .speaker-LLW} ##### Mr Dean: -- I thought that the honorable member had been a boilermaker. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- I was a boilermaker shipbuilder before I entered the Parliament. Therefore, I am in a position to speak authoritatively about the tragic situation that has developed in one of Australia's basic industries since the Government has been in office. Australia is a continent with a coastline of 12,000 miles. Consequently, it needs ships, for various reasons, first and foremost among which is defence. Daily, the newspapers lead us to believe that there is grave danger of war. That talk, of course, has been inspired by this Government for a number of reasons. If the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** and other honorable Ministers have been sincere in their claims that the Government was preparing for any eventuality, and that £200,000,000, or £190,000,000, as the case may be, was urgently needed for defence expenditure in any one year, the Government should not have neglected the shipbuilding industry as it has done. Two of the greatest dockyards in Australia are situated in Sydney. They are Cockatoo Dock and Mort's Dock, both of which have modern shipbuilding equipment. These two dockyards employ the finest skilled tradesmen in the world - Australian tradesmen. Why are these two dockyards not fully occupied with orders? Other Australian dockyards, such as the establishment of Evans Deakin and Company Limited in Brisbane, and the Williamstown Dockyard, in Victoria, also are partly idle. Other small dockyards in various parts of Australia which are not large enough to build ocean-going vessels, are idle. The Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited dockyard, at Whyalla, in South Australia, has modern slipways and equipment, and is capable of building vessels in excess of 12,000 tons dead weight. It is largely occupied in satisfying B.H.P.'s need for orecarrying vessels to transport iron ore from Yampi Sound, in Western Australia, to its steel works on the east coast. The situation prompts the question: Why is the Government so lackadaisical about formulating a shipbuilding programme to provide ships and keep the work force of skilled tradesmen together in case war should break out? What protection does it intend to afford us? "the only Navy ships that we have are lying in mothballs near Bradley's Head, in Sydney Harbour, and are not in a fit condition to put to sea. These facts prompt another question: What is the Government doing to defend our 12,000 miles of coastline? {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr Cope: -- Nothing! {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- It is doing nothing at all. What is the defence vote being spent on? Yesterday 25 boilermaker shipbuilders at Mort's Dock were dismissed. This means that 25 of their assistants, and at least 100 other men employed in allied trades, must be put out of work, because the construction of a ship requires the employment of a considerable number of tradesmen, both highly skilled and unskilled. Indeed, the construction of a ship of 10,000 tons dead weight needs, as much material as would be required to construct a village of twenty houses. What is this Government allowing to happen to the steel that we produce in Australia, and could use in our own shipbuilding yards? The &-in. steel plate that is used in the upper strakes of a ship, above the water line, is the most important plate in a vessel. With the Government's permission, 90,000 tons of that grade of steel plate have been shipped to Kobe and Yokohama. Those cities, of course, are in Japan. Government supporters. - Ha, ha! {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- I advise the exservicemen in the ranks of Government supporters to take note of the fact that, with the Government's permission, 90,000 tons of steel plate for shipbuilding have been shipped to Japan. Why? Does the Government propose to encourage the shipbuilding industry in Japan to the detriment of the Australian shipbuilding industry? Evidently, the giggling supporters of the Government do not know the first thing about what is happening, and, in any event, they approve everything that the Government does. The Government, with the consent of the Prime Minister, apparently has decided to give Japan favoured treatment, by sending to that country shipbuilding plate that the Japanese will use to construct ships that should be constructed in Australian shipyards. In other words, this Government is allowing the Japanese to import employment, and Australia to import unemployment. The patriotic shipowners, of course, claim all sorts of concessions from the Government by way of freight increases, and they seem to get whatever they ask for. Freights have increased by 12 per cent, over the last twelve months. It is interesting to note a reply given by the Minister for Immigration **(Mr. Townley),** on 8th October, to a question on notice asked by the honorable member for Werriwa **(Mr. Whitlam).** The Minister's answer indicates clearly where the shipping companies propose to obtain the vessels that they need for trade on the Australian coast. These companies take the cream of their profits from trade on the Australian coastline. In effect, therefore, the Australian people are paying for the new ships. But where are the orders- for them being placed? I am sure that the people of Australia will be disgusted to know. The honorable member for Werriwa asked the Minister for Immigration, who represents in this chamber the Minister for Shipping and Transport **(Senator Paltridge),** who w.ere the .builders ».of ,the new vessels that had 'been .ordered. *-A* bulk sugar carrier motor messel of 7,150 tons .dead -weight -has been ordered by .the Adelaide Steamship Company limited, from 'Hall, .'Russell .and Company .Limited, in .the .United .Kingdom. That vessel is expected to be completed in October, 1958. A cargo motor vessel has been -ordered by -Mcllwraith McEacharn Limited from Grangmouth Dockyard Company Limited, -in ,me .United .Kingdom. That 'will .be .a -vessel of -3,450 tons dead weight, .and it .could easily have been constructed at any of the eight slipways at Mart's -Dock, the .very, dockyard from which good boilermakers and .other tradesmen :are being dispersed, -either .to .obtain employment at .establishments elsewhere throughout Australia, or to languish in unemployment, as the .Government was .informed yesterday .by telegram. Further down .the list .supplied by ;the Minister we find the " Macedon " which was built by Jos. L. Meyer, .Papenburgems, "West Germany. That is very good news for,the.28 boilermakers who were dismissed yesterday from Mort's Dock. Going ^further .down the .list we see the "Jan Crouch", which was .ordered by R. M. .Crouch for a Western Australian shipping .service. {: .speaker-KKU} ##### Mr Mackinnon: -- A State government line! **-Mr. CURTIN.** - No, not the State 'shipping service, a Western Australian shipping service. That vessel is being built by the Cheoy Lee Shipyard, Hong Kong. I -hope those dismissed boilermakers will take .note >of 'that fact. Another vessel listed is -the " Koonya ", .ordered ;by th Union Steamship Company >of New . Zealand Limited, and being 'built by .'Henry Robb Limited, Leith, Scotland. Then there is the "Abel'Tasman", ordered by H. C. Sleigh Coasters 'Proprietary 'Limited. Those, of us who 'have motor cars often -see the name "U. 'C. 'Sleigh " in connexion with Golden Fleece petrol. His company is one of the partners in the oil combine, and he has ordered this vessel of 3,200 tons, which is being built by Hall, 'Russell and Company Limited, df Aberdeen. The Australian Constitution gives power to the -Government to prevent 'these orders from being placed with overseas shipyards. This -Government repealed 'the legislation that -was passed "by the 'Chifley Government which (provided that all ships ito be used on the Australian .coast must .be :built -in Australia. These vessels are now -being built overseas. As -we have seen, .one .is being built in 'Germany, and another in Hong -Kong. All the -major (repairs .that .are -being effected *<to* (these .vessels are carried -out at Yokohama .and Kobe. That is one of the uses 'to which the 90,000 (tons *of A-in. plate ..that has -been -exported -to Japan .will be put. *1* call on -this 'Government to accept its national responsibilities. {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden: -- -It .has already spent £800,000 on subsidizing .the industry. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- If ,the Government is -not game >to .implement ;a [satisfactory plan, the Labour parry is. We demand -that Australians shall !be given /priority in the matter of .employment oxer Germans, Japanese, and Chinese, .-and that no -ship ; shall foe allowed to go overseas for repairs while there as one unemployed man -in .Australia .who prepared to work in 'the .industry. 1 ;have only a 'few -more 'minutes of my time left, but I should like to tell honorable members about : this 'Government's lack -of interest ;in 'the defence -of <our country, which -has 12;000 -miles of coastline. Two vessels of the ^Commonwealth shipping Sine are now trading, with the 'approval of 'this Government, among "the 'islands surrounding the Japanese -mainland. They have been let out on charter. The Government has allowed these -vessels, which 'should "be plying up and down our -own coastline and carrying profitable cargo, .to be taken -on charter by .the Japanese Government. Why all this concern 'for the Japanese Government? We now have the 'Japanese Trade Agreement. H-he -CHAIRMAN. - Order! The honorable (member's .time -has .expired. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- As -no Other honorable member has risen, **Mr. 'Chairman,** in accordance with -the Standing 'Orders, I shall take my second period of fifteen minutes. I have been a member of the 'Boilermakers Society df Australia for 43 years, and I .arn proud to belong to that organization. 31 am proud to belong to a union that is prepared ito -fight for the interests .of , the people of Australia. As an Australian, I demand that this 'Government give Jull consideration :to instituting. a shipbuilding programme, so that allourdockyardscanbe fruitfully employed. Itisridiculous in the extreme that this island continent should lag behind other countriesin the shipbuilding field. Motion(by **Mr. Roberton)** put - >That the question be now put. The committee divided. AYES: 52 NOES: 27 Majority . . 25 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Proposed votes agreed to. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 1547 {:#debate-33} ### ADJOURNMENT Communism - Garden IslandDockyard - Japanese WarCriminals. Motion (by Mr.Roberton) proposed- >That the House do now adjourn. {: #debate-33-s0 .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN:
PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP .- Iam gladthatthehonorable member for Capricornia(Mr. Pearce) is inhis place because to-night I have to submit to the House thecontents of a telegram that I received to-day and atelephone conversation I had, arisingout of allegations made by the honorable member when he was allegedly debating asa matter of urgency the subject of television. I was surprised that the honorable member, who lives a thousand miles away from a television set, should have entered the debate until I saw that hehad a dossier.The protestI wish to make on behalf of members of a union who sent me the telegram andtelephoned me is that thehonorable member raisedthe issue without understanding itsimport, and has libelled two members of Actorsand Announcers Equity of Australia without havingfullknowledge of the facts. Ibelieve that this Houseshould require ofhim an explanation and an apology. I received a telegram from **Mr. Hal** Alexander, general secretary of Actors Equity, shortly after the honorablemember for Capricornia made his speech. The telegram stated - >Claim of Pearce(Capricornia)thatIstood as Communist candidateforGrayndler1955elections is complete fabrication. Havenever stood for parliamentaryseat in my life. Can you raise at question-time I demanda completewithdrawal byPearceof privilegedslanderous lie. At about the same time, I received a telephone messagefromthe presidentof Actors Equity, **Mr. Hal** Lashwood. He assured methat hedidnot stand as a Communist candidatefor Wentworth at any time.He stood as an independent candidate for Wentworth, afactthatmustbe well known to the honorable memberfor Capricornia. **Mr. Lashwood** is a member of the Australia Labour party, of eitherthe head office branch or a branch in the electorate of East Sydney. Both of these men asseveratethat the statement that they were Communist candidates is a slanderous lie. If thehonorable member for Capricornia had desired, he could have walked across the chamber andChecked withthehonorable member for Grayndler **(Mr. Daly)** his statement that **Mr. Alexander** was a candidate for that seat in 1955, but the honorable member for Capricornia preferred to make a libellous and slanderous statement about **Mr. Alexander. Mr. Hal** Lashwood is a distinguished actor and a well known radio and television entertainer. He was slandered before the people of Australia, to whom he is well known as an artist, by the statement that he is a Communist and that he contested the Wentworth seat as a Communist candidate. **Mr. Lashwood** was not a member of the Communist party and the allegations should be withdrawn by the honorable member. The allegations that were made by the honorable member could be easily checked. I ask him why he made them if he did not do so with malice. That was the basis of the argument that he advanced. I ask for consideration of the rights of people outside the Parliament. The honorable member rose ostensibly to speak on the important matter of employment for actors and actresses in television, the new mass medium which is giving us so much anxiety, but his chief desire was to slander these people. He introduced a touch of McCarthyism in marking these people as Communists. He had no effective contribution to make in the debate on the matter of urgency, so he set out to smear a union. That is his form in this House. The only chance the young Liberals have of securing preferment is to slaver at the mouth and cry " Red, red, red! ". The senior deacon of them all is the honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth).** {: .speaker-JMF} ##### Mr Aston: -- The honorable member for Mackellar is not a young Liberal. {: #debate-33-s1 .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN: -- The honorable member for Phillip should beware in case he is included among them. I am annoyed and angry because this young man, the honorable member for Capricornia, wanted to have a slap at the urgency matter, and was prepared to accept as true any statement that had been made to him. I should like to know where he got his information. Who supplied the dossier which was entirely and scandalously wrong? Is the honorable member prepared to make an apology in the light of the contents of the telegram and the telephone conversation that I have made known to the House? I have nothing further to say except to direct attention again to the danger of making statements in this chamber which cannot be checked. Sometimes, I, myself, fall into error and I am honest enough to admit it, but if I fell into the error of which the honorable member for Capricornia has been guilty I would be man enough to stand up, withdraw and humbly apologize. There is too much smearing in Australia. There is too much McCarthyism, and the seat of the evil is on the Government side of the chamber. The honorable member for Capricornia is always prepared to lash out at the Labour party and make references to the so-called red influence on the party. When he gets an opportunity to do so, he is delighted. The result in this case was a scandalous smear of two unionists. I believe that, with malice aforethought, he wanted to slander them. He rose to do so and he succeeded. He should make an abject apology to the House and to the persons concerned. {: #debate-33-s2 .speaker-KXW} ##### Mr PEARCE:
Capricornia -- You will recall, **Mr. Speaker,** that shortly after the end of my statement concerning **Mr. Alexander,** I approached you and signified to you that I desired to take the earliest opportunity afforded me in the House to apologize to two gentlemen named Alexander. I had said that **Mr. Hal** Alexander had stood as a Communist candidate for Grayndler in 1955. I have found that that was completely inaccurate, and as I told you, **Mr. Speaker,** I sought the earliest opportunity to tender an apology. The Alexander who stood as a candidate for Grayndler was Harold John Alexander, and I understand that he stood as a Communist candidate. I apologize to him, too, for connecting him with Actors Equity, and I apologize to Hal Alexander for connecting him with the Communist candidate in Grayndler. 1 have since ascertained that the Hal Alexander, of Actors Equity, whose real name is not Alexander but Williams, has been connected with various Commu-nist-front organizations, which, of course, does not make him a Communist. I am also informed - and I took the trouble to check the information- {: .speaker-KDB} ##### Mr Edmonds: -- That is very good of you! {: .speaker-KXW} ##### Mr PEARCE: -- Yes, I do not want to make the same mistake twice. On page 83 of the report of the royal commission held in 1950, **Mr. Justice** Lowe said that he considered, on Sharpley's evidence, that this Alexander - ne Williams, or whatever his name was then - was a Communist and the fact had been established. I tender an apology to Alexander for whatever harm I have done him after **Mr. Justice** Lowe's report on him. I have connected him with Grayndler, and I am sorry. I am sorry I connected the Alexander in Grayndler with Actors Equity, and I apologize to him for that. The others facts that I have stated can be checked; they are accurate. I did not say that **Mr. Lashwood** had stood as a Communist candidate in any campaign. I did not mention the electorate of Wentworth or any other electorate. I said that Lashwood had taken part in Communistsponsored fronts, particularly in relation to cultural and peace activities. I have nothing to add to or retract from that statement. {: #debate-33-s3 .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr CURTIN:
Smith · Kingsford -- I should like again to draw the attention of the Government and of the people to the scandalous neglect of the graving dock at. Garden Island. This dock was built during the war for the defence of Australia and it cost £8,000,000. It is capable of building two 10,000-ton ships. It has the most modern equipment, which cost many millions of pounds, but the management of the dockyard, with the concurrence of the Government, has been laying off high-class tradesmen. Instead of the workers being unemployed, the industry should be fostered for the defence of Australia. I make no apology for bringing to the notice of the people of Australia the scandal associated with the Government in regard to shipbuilding or the lack of shipbuilding. My union has asked me to bring this matter to the notice of the House, and I bring it to the attention of the Minister for the Navy **(Mr. Davidson),** whose main portfolio, as we all know, is that of Postmaster-General. I draw the attention of the Minister to the shocking state of affairs at Garden Island. Hundreds of men will be dismissed while we are, according to the press, in grave danger of war. The cruiser "Hobart", which has been in mothballs in Sydney Harbour for quite a considerable period, was reconditioned by this Government at a cost of £2,000,000 or £3,000,000. In the event of war, it will need more reconditioning to put it into a serviceable state. We should bring the destroyers, which have been in mothballs at Watson's Bay for many months, and the minesweepers back into service and recondition them so that they will be ready if they are needed. From day to day we hear much talk about the danger of Red aggression. The Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** makes scare statements in the House about how close we are to war. We all remember the statement that we would be at war in one year, and then later that we would be at war in three years. Now, according to the daily press, war is at our backdoor. What is the Government doing about reconditioning the warships? What is it doing about calling up the naval men who have been placed on the reserve list? What is it doing generally about our defence services? The whole of Garden Island needs reconditioning. In the interests of the Commonwealth, the people should be made to feel secure in their minds that the Government is doing something to protect them in the event of war. We have 80,000 unemployed. Some of them could be given work to do at Garden Island. The work they could be given on defence measures would take them over Christmas and into the middle of next year. The Australian Labour party would support any proposal made by the Government to use, say, £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 of the defence vote to put our house in order. The unemployed would be given work over the Christmas period. I make that suggestion in all sincerity. A big job could be done at Garden Island. All the minesweepers could be made ready. After all, in any future war aerial mines will be laid, as they were in World War II., around the beaches, the rivers and the ports. What does the Minister for the Navy intend to do? Does he want the minesweepers reconditioned so that they will be ready to go to sea? We have ships that could lay booms across our harbours. Will they be reconditioned so that they will be ready if they are needed? It is most essential that our harbours and rivers should be protected in the event of hostilities, and this can be done only by laying booms across them. I ask the Minister for the Navy to do something constructive for once and to do something to assist in the defence of this great country of ours - Australia. *Wl.* 'KILLEN (Moreton) [4S1.'8] .- I -want to "advert, 'briefly, and without 'heat, to 'a remark -made 'by "the -honorable member - fol Parkes '(Mr. Haylen) during "this 'adjournment debate. B5e referred to me, together with -my friend -and 'colleague, 'the "honorable member -for Capricornia **(Mr. 'Pearce),** and the honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth),** as being Mccarthvites and smearists That is approximately a paraphrase of the sentiments he -expressed. I say to the honorable gentleman, with all purpose, that I defy him to "find one utterance that 1 have made 'in 'the Parliament concerning any individual being associated with the Communist party 'that is incorrect. I turn aside from that to the main point that "I wish to speak about mis evening. This -matter 'has attracted attention .that it does not really deserve and is .causing deep concern to many people. A 'few months ago, a peer of -the "British realm chose to make an attack upon the 'monarchy. 'This is a very serious matter, and -not -something to 'be treated -as though 'it 'belonged to the kindergarten. The great -majority of sensible people 'regarded 'that attack with contempt and chose to ignore it, even 'though they resented it -very -much. Now -we have been greeted with another -attack :by =a gentleman by the name of Muggeridge. It has 'been said (that what Muggeridge -has 'had to say was *mot* an attack. II 'disagree 'with that because he used the -phrase, " The Monarchy *is* pure show ". I do -not 'think it does us any 'harm to remind ourselves 'that the object of the attack by 'these two gentlemen -is 'the (Queen of this country. «I want to say to night -that I :believe that -along with me .a great : many -.people <deeply resent the attacks. Further, il want ito say 'Without any .elaboration that '.there are .many people who 'regard the .attacks as part - Of a design to weaken the monarchist! institution. It is a .pity these critics, these detractors, are too miserable, too contemptible to admit that Her Majesty the Queen is doing a difficult job, remarkably well, 'Under .difficult .circumstances. "I believe -that there is a degree of 'blame to be attached to the press of not only this country 'but -the world. 1 believe that far too much attention has been given to these critics. I believe also that the press of this country and 'the press throughout the British Empire - 9 hope -that description does not jar any one - does not -devote enough -attention 'to inculcating into the -minds 'of British people 'a 'realization of the true 'constitutional significance of the British 'Crown. Support .for (sound (institutions, of -course, ds-never spectacular. What captures "the imagination is the destroyer, the -pseudo iconoclast, the denigrator, the despicable 'detractor. British people -the world over are '-fed .up with the Altrinchams the 'Muggeridges -and all their .miserable tribe. As for "Muggeridge, that sybaritic socialist 'has assured : for -himself .a dingy place in 'history. In days -gone 'by, when chivalry was -more sensibly displayed, 'many thousands would -have -claimed satisfaction from **Mr. Muggeridge.** I .am -quite .certain when J .-say that long -.after .the .heel prints of ihe Muggeridges have , passed .from view the Monarchy will .remain. .1 .do .not believe that this is .any .ostentatious .parade of loyalty.; it (is merely .an expression of a view (held <by many millions -of people throughout the world when I say ,to *Hae* Muggeridges, to the Altrinchams and to all me -other -potential ^detractors <of .a lovely, gracious and char nf ing woman, "Leave the "Queen alone"'. {: #debate-33-s4 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD:
East Sydney .- Before -proceeding to ideal 'with the matter to Which I w'ish to 'refer specifically, 'I should like -to -mention to the honorable member $or Moreton 'Plr. Killens) that -it seems rather strange that he -should 'select eight minutes past eleven at night to refer to 'an 'incident that occurred a considerable time ago. 'Evidently the (honorable (member's <feelings were notes© outraged when the found lit possible >to -wait "for 'weeks and weeks- **"Mr. Whitlam.** - He had to 'have his script prepared. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD: -- Yes. There are many things of far ,more immediate concern to the Australian people that can 'be raised. The honorable member for Moreton also sa'id, as I understood him, that the community was fed up with Lord Altrincham :an'd **Mr. Muggeridge.** Let me tell the honorable member for Moreton 'that -.there are many people in 'this country '.who are fed -up with :him. I suggest that an 'future ;he should devote a little >of this "lime to with the important-things,that -affect the people of "this country 'instead of 'worrying about a statement .made overseas about a .matter upon .which the -honorable member seems .to .have been .so upset .that he allowed some weeks to pass before he referred *ito* -ft -in this .House. I should 'like now to ma'ke 'some reference to the honorable -member for Capricornia **(Mr. Pearce).** 'He 'has -made some amends for "the -offence he -committed in "this Mouse earlier "to-day. ?le "has now withdrawn -to some degree his earlier statement, and 'I support the view -expressed by -the honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Havlen)** But it-is not 'uncommon for members -o'f -the Government "to deal -rather -extravagantly with "the truth, 'to handle -it -very -carelessly, as 4 shall -illustrate now. I -have 'the documentary -proof to show that a responsible member df this -Government deliberately misled this -House -in respect of -a matter which 'I raised on "the adjournment on 'the 1 1-th September of -this .year. The matter to-wh'ich I-ref erred then was the sympathetic action taken 'by 'this 'Government to 'secure the -release <df all Japanese -who 'had been declared war criminals "by Australian tribunals. When "I raised this matter, -and 5I said that the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. McMahon)** had given certain .assurances 'to ;the -New .South Wales -branch -of the Returned Sailors, .Soldiers and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia, there was the usual stj-pe *i* of - comment that -we bear from that ^quarter when J raise matters in this chamber. J -shall quote .what the Minister said so that I may <b.e completely -fair in my .approach to 'this .question. He .?aid - >The honorable member 'for East Sydney **.(Mr. Ward)** mas -told the House .that d .gave .an .assurance .to the New -South Wales ..president of the R.'S:S.AS.L.A. that if the 'Japanese war criminals were -returned to "Japan -their sentences would -not be commuted, lit as lucky 'for the 'House -that that statement has .come .from the honorable member for East .Sydney .and -therefore would he dubious. He implied that <I had *not spoken -the truth. >He .-should <not .approach .this question -so hurriedly .because I happen .to have in my hand a copy of a letter sent by **Mr. "William** Yeo, State president of the New SOuth Wales branch of the R.S.S.A.I.'L.A. 'to the Leader of the Opposition **(Dr. Evatt).** It ;is so interesting that I propose reading it to the House. It says - {:#subdebate-33-0} #### Dear Sir, In -"Hansard " "No. 11, -page '430, -appears a question "from **"Mr. 'Ward** to 'the Prime Minister, asking '"'had a letter > or any communication been received from me regarding 'the -transfer of Icon.victed Japanese War .Criminals from Manus Island to the Sugamo 'Prison in 'Japan'-". I desire to state that in no instance did I communicate -with the "Prime 'Minister -on this matter. I was approached by the Hon. W. -W. McMahon, who was then a Minister of the Commonwealth Government, 'regarding the .removal of the Japanese .prisoners from Manus Island to Sugamo. The purport of **"Mr. McMahon's** approach -to -me was, -.What -would be the reaction of the R'S.L., .in New "South Wales at any rate, to such transfer. -I questioned **Mr. McMahon** whether the transfer meant a -reduction in .the period of -the sentence of the Japanese criminals. **Mr. McMahon** assured .me 'that -it was not 'the intention .of the Commonwealth .Government to agree to .the .slightest .reduction .in -.their .sentence but that it was wholly and solely on .economic grounds that they desired -to transfer the prisoners to Sugamo. **Mr.** McMahon pointed out that while at Manus Island, the whole cost of the incarceration had to he home by the Commonwealth Government, but immediately they were transferred to Sugamo, that responsibility would be on the Japanese 'Government. .On -that assurance, il stated, .as -far .as the New South .Wales 'Branch was concerned, jio objection would be .made .to -the 'transfer. Nobody was more surprised than I was to find out - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. That the Commonwealth 'Government 'had agreed Uo 4he -reduction 'df their sentence .and .an early release of she prisoners, and t(2) that .although I [assumed that when **.Mr. McMahon** saw me .and discussed .the matter, .that he was speaking 'for and on "behalf -of ?the 'Commonwealth Government, tin -finding <out 'subsequently that this was not -the case; That letter us signed by **Mr. William** Yeo, State president of the New South Wales branch ;of the R:S.S.A.I.L.A. and it is quite obvious *from* what is said an it that -when the Minister said he had .given no such assurance 'he was not telling the -.truth, she was misleading this House. {: #subdebate-33-0-s0 .speaker-KSC} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon John McLeay: -- Order! The Minister cannot debate the matter. {: .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon: -- I ask for a withdrawal. The honorable -member .may state the .facts, if he -wishes to .do so. {: #subdebate-33-0-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member for East Sydney will withdraw the reflection on the Minister for Primary Industry in relation to misleading the House. {: #subdebate-33-0-s2 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD: -- I withdraw, **Mr. Speaker.** I say that here we have two conflicting statements, one from the president of the New South Wales branch of the R.S.L., and the other from the Minister for Primary Industry, and I prefer to believe the president of the New South Wales branch of the R.S.L. People can form their own conclusions as to who is telling the truth. I do not have to tell them whom to believe. The people who elect honorable members to the Labour side of the Parliament, at (east, are intelligent and are able to assess for themselves who is telling the truth in this matter. The facts are that the Minister did approach the R.S.L. people in New South Wales. He did make them believe that he was speaking on behalf of the Government, as a responsible Minister of that Government, and he did assure the New South Wales branch of the R.S.L. that the Japanese war criminals were not to have their sentences reduced and were not to be given their liberty until they had served every day of the sentences imposed by Australian tribunals. This is the Minister who has the audacity occasionally to reflect on the veracity of honorable members on the Labour side of the House! We have already had one honorable member from the Government side making an abject apology, and now we have conclusive proof about the Minister. I will admit that it probably comes as a great shock to him, because he evidently believed that **Mr. Yeo** would either not have his attention directed to this particular statement in the Minister's speech, or would have it directed to some other feature of the speech. But now that the Minister is confronted with the letter from **Mr. Yeo,** he squirms in his place as though he were infested by the European fleas that were mentioned in the House at question time to-day. I say that this matter provides another illustration of the way in which members of the Government have been reckless in their approach to the truth. I wish now to make reference to another matter, because it is rather significant. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable gentleman's time has expired. {: #subdebate-33-0-s3 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr MCMAHON:
Minister for Primary Industry · Lowe · LP , - I rise only to make clear what the course of the discussion was between the Government and the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia on the one hand, and myself and **Mr. Yeo,** of the New South Wales branch of the R.S.L., on the other. So far as the Government was concerned, the negotiations or discussions were conducted between the federal body of the R.S.L. and the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr. Casey),** who wrote, on 10th December, 1953, to the federal secretary stating what the actual position was. So far as I am concerned, on a Government basis, whatever discussions there were, and whatever letters were written, were oh the basis of the Minister for External Affairs and the federal president, or the federal secretary, of the R.S.L. So far as I am concerned, that was the only basis on which discussions would take place. It might be of interest to the honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr. Ward),** who seems to wish to create some kind of trouble over this problem, which, frankly, I do not think is a matter that is really deserving of discussion in this House, to know that, in accordance with legislation passed in 1945 by some other government, and by international agreement, provision was made, in respect of various classes of war criminals, that there could be what was called mitigation, or remission of punishment, and, in respect of certain other classes of punishment, there could be clemency to those people. In other words, at that time in 1945, when the right honorable gentleman sitting opposite me was AttorneyGeneral, legislation was drafted or arrangements made to permit remission of penalties, and also to permit clemency. Therefore, the Australian Labour party, at that particular time, was considering whether, as an act of justice, and at a subsequent period of time, when it was thought that the severity of the penalties imposed on the war criminals might be mitigated, action could be taken by the government in power. What has been done, therefore, has been done pursuant to legislation passed by the Chifley Government, and not by the Government of which I am a member. As I have said, all official discussions were conducted by my colleague, not by myself. It is perfectly true that at some time early in 1953, when I returned from Manus Island, it was suggested to me by one of my senior colleagues that as I was the .Minister who was taking a very active part in trying to ensure the return of the Japanese from Manus Island to Japan, I should discuss it as a matter of courtesy with **Mr. Yeo.** I rang **Mr. Yeo** and asked him if he would care to discuss the matter with me. He said, " Yes. I will get a couple of members of my executive ". I said, " All right ". I went along and explained the facts to him, he knowing that I was not the Minister with jurisdiction, but thai the jurisdiction lay with my colleague, the Minister for External Affairs, and not with the New South Wales branch of the R.S.L. but with the federal body. I explained that to **Mr. Yeo,** and one of the other gentlemen said, " Yes, we think it is a good scheme to let them go back, for the reasons you have given " - the main one being that so many of the war criminals were becoming insane. As a matter of justice, I thought that too many of them were becoming insane and that they should be repatriated from Manus Island, where they were living in tropical conditions, to Japan, where they could live under somewhat more decent conditions and where, in truth, they could come occasionally into contact with their relatives and friends. I, therefore, as a matter of decency and of justice - and I think that the right honorable gentleman would agree with this - could see nothing wrong with their being repatriated to their homeland. But one of the other gentlemen said to me, " What happens if there is some move for clemency, or some move for remission of sentences? " and **Mr. Yeo** said - and I should like the honorable member for East Sydney to know this and to report it to **Mr. Yeo** - "That is one of the risks we have to take ". Now, **Mr. Yeo,** because he happens for some reason or other to be wrapped up in this political gesture, not writing to the federal president or secretary of the R.S.L., not writing to his federal branch at all, but writing to a political leader; suggests that something different has been said. **Sir, I** say that when the particular question was asked, "What will happen if there is an attempt to remit penalties, or to cancel them in some way? " **Mr. Yeo,** not waiting to ask for an explanation from me, said, "That is one of the risks we will have to take ". I rose only to explain the facts and to make no comment whatsoever. I have done so because the honorable member for East Sydney has twice raised this subject. Again, I make the simple statement that I do not think this is a matter of sufficiently great importance to warrant the attention of this House. If it had been, I am positive that the federal president of the R.S.L. would have taken up the problem with the Prime Minister of this country. To the best of my knowledge, the federal body of the R.S.L. has not taken action and therefore, sir, whilst I do not commit the federal body of the R.S.L. in any way, I think it is a very fair and proper deduction to make that it has not taken exception to the attitude of the Commonwealth Government. {: #subdebate-33-0-s4 .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH:
Mackellar -- I think that the House had better consider for a moment all the implications of the things that have been said by the honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Haylen),** in view of what has been said by the honorable member for Capricornia **(Mr. Pearce).** The honorable member for Parkes read out some telegrams and accounts, I think, of telephone conversations with **Mr. Alexander. Mr. Alexander** believes that to be called a Communist, to be associated with the Communist party, is slanderous. That view wastaken up and endorsed by the honorable member for Parkes. It is perfectly true that the honorable member for Capricornia confused the two persons named " HAlexander", one in the Actors Equity and the other who had stood as a Communist candidate for Grayndler. It is true alsothat one **Mr. Alexander** knew that the Actors Equity Alexander had been associated with Communists for a long time, and had been declared a Communist after examination of the evidence by a justiceof Australia. He was quite definitely associated with the Communist cause. Here we have the position of a man who hasbeen openly associating with Communists,, saying that it is a libel and a slander if he is called aCommunist. We find the honorable member for Parkes getting up and endorsing that view. Iput to the House that the honorable member for Parkes is deliberately covering up for a Communist. He is deliberately covering up for a man who has been publicly declared to be a Communist. What does it mean? It means that the Opposition, in this matter as in other matters, is acting as an agent for the Communist party. The Communist party, above everything, does notwantan exposure of its operatives. In this case, somebody who was closely associatedwiththeCommunists, because a small mistake is made - it was not a mistake of substance to call him an associate of Communists declares in phony indignation through his mouthpiece from Parkes that he has been subjected to this colossal slander. This is typical of Communist tactics, it is typical of the cover-up usedwhen any exposure of as Communist is made.It is at matter forregret that the Opposition associates itself with these tactics. Furthermore, the honorable member for Parkes has endeavoured to put into the mouth of the honorable memberfor Capricornia words that he did not use with regards to **Mr. Lashwood.** He said that Mr.Lashwood indignantly repudiated the statement that he had stood as a Com- munist candidate for Wentworth. No such statement was made. Here we see the smear technique of the Opposition at its normal intensity. It. is another lesson for this House.Ibelieve that if the Oppositionhas any honesty in this matter, it will agree with me that we should have some machinery for the exposure of Communists, for the identification of Communists. Communism can operate only if there is a cover-up for Communist agents. If there is a known Communist agent there always seems to be a technical difficulty about saying that he is or is not a Communist. There have to be safeguards, everybody realizes that, and surely, if the Opposition is a loyal Opposition and believes that communism isa subversive conspiracy - a phrase I take from the right honorable member for Barton **(Dr. Evatt)** - then surely the Opposition will help in the creation of adequate machinery for the exposure of Communist agents. {: #subdebate-33-0-s5 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I am sorry that the honorable member for Mackellar- Motion (by **Mr. McMahon)proposed-** >That the question be now put. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -I rise to order. {: .speaker-KSC} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon John McLeay: -- The motion may not be discussed. The question is, "That the question be now put". {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- But on the point of order, **Mr. Speaker-** {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- No question of order is involved. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- The Minister for Primary Industry did not propose the motion for the adjournment. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! It is competent for any Ministerto move at any time, " That the question be now put". Question put - >That the question be now put. The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. John McLeay.) AYES: 51 NOES: 24 Majority . . . . 27 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Original question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 11.42 p.m. {: .page-start } page 1555 {:#debate-34} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS The following answers to questions were circulated: - North- West of Western Australia. Repatriation General Hospital, Springbank. {:#subdebate-34-0} #### Australians Migrating Overseas {: #subdebate-34-0-s0 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr R W HOLT:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP olt asked the Minister for Immigration upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many Australian nationals migrated to (a) Canada, (b) New. Zealand, (c) the United Kingdom, and (d) the United' States of America, during the two years ended the 30th June, 1957? 2.How many migrants to Australia have returned to their country of embarkation in each year since 1949, giving the figures for each country separately? 1. How are these figures arrived at? {: #subdebate-34-0-s1 .speaker-KWH} ##### Mr Townley:
Minister for Immigration · DENISON, TASMANIA · LP -- The answer to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. This question has been referred to the Commonwealth Statistician, who has advised as follows: - Information is not at present available as to the numbers of Australian nationals or citizens migrating oversea because the documents completedby (or on behalf of) oversea travellers, and which are used for compilation of statistics, do not distinguish fully between "Australian nationals" or '"citizens" and persons who have been resident in Australia for one year or more. Moreover these documents do not clearly distinguish persons migrating permanently from those going abroad for indefinite and extended periods. The question of obtaining fuller information as to all oversea migration, including that of Australian citizens, is now being considered by an inter-departmental committee concerned with facilitating oversea travel. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. In regard to this question, the Commonwealth Statistician has advised as follows: - The documents available for statistical purposes do not contain enough information to show the number of migrants to Australia who have returned to their countries of embarkation, nor is there any means whereby " returning migrants " might be distinguished from permanent departures generally. I should add that, using information in the possession of the Department of Immigration from various sources, and making certain reasonable assumptions, it is possible to arrive at an approximate estimate of the percentage of post-war British and non-British migrants who have returned to their countries of embarkation. It appears that about 2 or 3 per cent. of non-British migrants have returned permanently to their countries of embarkation, whilst for British migrants the corresponding figure is estimated to be about 6 or 7 per cent. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. In view of the answers to 1 and 2 above, no answer can be given to this question. {:#subdebate-34-1} #### Commonwealth Scholarships {: #subdebate-34-1-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: m asked the Prime Minister, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many scholars have held Commonwealth scholarships in each of the last five calendar years? 1. How many of these scholars in each of these years have received (a) no living allowances, (b) living allowances of half the maximum amount or less, (c) living allowances of more than half the maximum amount, but less than the maximum and (d) full living allowances? {: #subdebate-34-1-s1 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The numbers of scholars who have held Commonwealth scholarships in the last five calendar years are as follows: - This information refers both to full-time and to part-time students and cannot be used as a basis for the consideration of the data in the answers to question 2. Part-time students, some 20 per cent. of the total, are not eligible for living allowances. 2. (a) No living allowances - {: type="a" start="b"} 0. and (c) It is not possible from statistical data, available to answer these two points separately. The total for(b) and (c) is- When the detailed administration of the Commonwealth scholarship scheme was handed over to the State Departments of Education, an assurance was given that statistical data to be returned by them would be kept to a minimum. The statistical returns are not in sufficient detail for answers to be given to points (b) and (c) separately. {: type="a" start="d"} 0. Full living allowances - Living Standards. {: #subdebate-34-1-s2 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr Menzies:
LP s. - On 10th October, the honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr. Ward)** asked the following question: - >I ask the Prime Minister whether it is a fact that retail trade statistics reveal a fall in purchases per head of population for the second successive year, or, putting it another way, that there are more people buying fewer goods, which are costing more. If so, does the Prime Minister still persist with his denial of the claim that living standards in this country have declined? Final figures of retail sales for the year ended 30th June, 1957, are not yet available. However, estimates of total consumption expenditure for the year have been made, and these estimates include goods sold at retail as well as other items, such as rent, not purchased in retail stores. According to these estimates, consumption expenditure per head of population increased from £341 in 1954-55 to £357 in 1955-56 and to £370 in 1956-57, representing rates of increase in the past two years of 5 per cent., and 4 per cent., respectively. These figures are a further indication that living standards in Australia continue to improve.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 17 October 1957, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.