House of Representatives
11 September 1958

22nd Parliament · 3rd Session

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

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– Is the Minister for Primary Industry aware that at a meeting in Murwillumbah on Tuesday last, attended by approximately 100 dairy farmers and presided over by Councillor C. H. Hall, the shire president, a motion expressing no confidence in the Federal Government was carried enthusiastically, following caustic criticism of the Government for its abject failure to do anything to assist the dairying industry in the difficulties with which it is confronted in the present critical situation? Has the Minister any comment to make in reply to the criticism of the primary producers? Has he any plans for correcting the position, or does he prefer to leave the problem for solution by the incoming Labour government?

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

– I cannot look more than 50 years into the future and think of what will happen to a then incoming Labour government. I also think that the dairy farmers, as a result of their experiences in 1949, are well aware that if they ever have to rely upon another Labour government their future will be a pretty difficult one and the dairying industry will face destruction. The honorable member for East Sydney, who is seeking to interrupt, can never take a sensible answer to a provocative question, but if he will listen he will get one. I am sure it is recognized by all the leaders of the dairying industry that this Government has lived up to the last comma of its promises made to the industry under the dairying industry stabilization scheme. This year, the Government has provided, as it did in the last two years, a subsidy of £13,500,000, and it is constantly watching the dairying industry to see how it can help upon a practical level. My colleagues on this side of the House have recently discussed the problems of the dairying industry with its leaders. I think it was one of the best and most enlightened discussions that have taken place on this difficult problem. I am hopeful that the whole of the problems of the dairying industry will be discussed by the Australian

Agricultural Council, because they are not problems that can be solved by this Government alone.

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– I address a question without notice to the Minister acting for the Minister for Trade. In view of the impending election and the expected early rising of Parliament, has consideration been given to the fact that the Tractor Bounty Act 1939-1956 expires on 23rd October, 1958? As the provisions of this act have a direct bearing on the prices and output of Australian-made tractors and are thus of great importance in maintaining the efficiency of a large section of primary industry, can the Minister indicate whether the report on the Tariff Board inquiry into this matter will reach Cabinet at an early date? If so, will the Government be able to implement the recommendations of the board, if it decided to do so, before the end of this Parliamentary session?

If this is not possible, will the Government give urgent consideration to extending the present Tractor Bounty Act for some time - perhaps a year - so that the planning and development of this vitally important Australian industry will not be interrupted, as it may be if the companies concerned are left in doubt during the recess about future legislation?

Minister for Supply · DENISON, TASMANIA · LP

– The Government is well aware that the Tractor Bounty Act expires on 23rd October this year, and that a claim by the Australian tractor industry is before the Tariff Board. The board has been asked to expedite its deliberations and present its report. It is hoped that the report will be received in time to have consequential legislation presented at least to Cabinet, find possibly to the House, before 23rd October. But if, as the honorable member suggests, the Tariff Board does not present its report in time, consideration will be given to extending the operation of the act until such time as the Tariff Board’s report is received.

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– Can the PostmasterGeneral inform the House as to the progress of stage 2 in the plans to extend television in Australia? Can he state when stage 3 is likely to commence and whether, in that stage, booster stations to extend television into wider areas will be approved and licensed? Also, where does microwave fit into the overall plan?

Postmaster-General · DAWSON, QUEENSLAND · CP

– Regarding the first part of the honorable member’s question, namely, the progress that has been made in stage 2 of the plans for the development of television in Australia, the position is that stage 2 provides for national stations to be established in the four remaining capital cities that have not television so far - Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart. The plans for the commencement of those national stations are proceeding according to my previous announcements on the matter. That is to say, sites have been obtained, and work is proceeding in most cases on the development of studios and transmission equipment. It is confidently expected that commencement of the national service by the announced date, that is, some time in November this year for Brisbane, and early in 1960 for the other cities, will be achieved.

The second part of stage 2 deals with the application for commercial licences in those four cities. Later this morning I shall make a brief statement regarding the applications in Brisbane and Adelaide, and I expect that the Australian Broadcasting Control Board will be making its report to me, for presentation to the Government, on the applications from Perth and Hobart within about a month. That deals with stage 2.

The honorable member asked when stage 3 was likely to commence. That, of course, is a matter for policy determination, and has not yet been considered. I did indicate, when I announced the commencement of stage 2, that the Government would proceed with stage 3 when stage 2 was nearing completion. So it will be some considerable time - at least next year - before stage 3, which will extend television into country areas, is again considered by the Government. The honorable member asked whether, in stage 3, use would be made of such relay facilities as booster stations, micro-wave, and so on. The method of extending television into the country will vary according to the conditions applying in each particular area, conditions such as the nature of the station and the nature of the terrain. There are no real technical difficulties involved in the extension of television. The main consideration is its financial impact on the economy of the country. According to the conditions, booster stations, repeater stations, or relay of some sort, either by micro-wave or co-« axial cable, could be used, and probably will be used in various ways in different circumstances.

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– Will the Minister for Primary Industry take steps to see that the question of filled milk - which is not milk, but rather a substitute holding a similar position with regard to cow’s milk as margarine does to butter - is placed before the Australian Agricultural Council so that steps may be taken to prevent this new product from being introduced into Australia? I understand that filled milk has already undermined the cow’s milk markets in South-East Asia, notably the Philippines. Will the Minister urge the State departments to take the appropriate action?


– I understand that this product called filled milk, which is a skim milk built up with, I think, a vegetable fat, has undermined the dairying industry in some other countries. For that reason, it has already received the consideration of the Department of Primary Industry. The honorable member will be glad to know that, at the next meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council, which is to be held as soon as the House rises, the whole problem of filled milk will be discussed, and I hope that each of the State governments will then take action to see that it cannot be passed off as cow’s milk, or a cow’s milk product.

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– Can the Prime Minister state whether the Government has yet evolved any positive policy regarding West New Guinea, or is it merely one of wait and see? For example, has the Government explored the possibility of some regional pact between the three countries most vitally interested, namely, The Netherlands, Australia and Indonesia, for the future development of West New Guinea and the ultimate self-determination of the native population thereof, or, alternatively, the setting up of a United Nations trusteeship in respect of the territory? As to the more explosive situation in the Formosa Strait, which could lead to a third world war, and as the subject is sure to come before the General Assembly of the United Nations, together with the question of the admission of Communist China to the United Nations, will the Government consider instructing its delegates to advocate the setting-up of a fact-finding commission by the United Nations to inquire into and report on the whole situation in the area mentioned, and on both the mainland of China and Formosa, with a view to devising some peaceable solution before it is too late to avoid a cataclysm into which we could all be drawn?

Prime Minister · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

– It is quite obvious that the honorable member’s question would require a very long statement of Government policy on matters, some of which ought not, in my opinion, to be publicly debated at the present moment.

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– Is the Prime Minister yet in a position to tell the House whether the report of the Constitution Review Committee has been sent in? If it has been submitted, or even if it has not yet been submitted, will the House be able to discuss it before Parliament rises?


– The report has not been sent in. Whether it will arrive in time to be discussed before the House adjourns, I do not know.

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– I ask the PostmasterGeneral whether the Government proposes that the Australian Broadcasting Commission shall be required to continue operating in premises in Adelaide which are totally unsuited to the purpose, and which may be described as a warren rather than as suitable accommodation for this important organization. Does the Government intend to have a new building erected, or has another site been chosen for the erection of premises more suitable for the carrying out of broadcasting and television work?


– Some time ago - I am sorry that I cannot tell the honorable member exactly how long - premises were acquired in Adelaide to establish the Australian Broadcasting Commission in proper quarters for both broadcasting and television activities. Just over twelve months ago I saw that site myself. It is an excellent site. The building is old, but it certainly is not a warren, as was stated by the honorable member. I think he must have been referring to the previous situation.

Mr Makin:

– Hindmarsh Square.


– I do not know the name of the street, but I saw the new site which was acquired. I am not aware of the exact position as far as development of the site is concerned, but I will find out for the honorable member and let him know.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Is it a fact that four ships of the Australian National Line have recently been laid up? Is it further a fact that those ships were formerly engaged on overseas charter work but are no longer able to compete at the current level of freight rates? Is it true that the lowest quotations for overseas voyages which the Australian National Line has been able to offer recently have been at a rate between 50 per cent, and 100 per cent, higher than the prevailing conference line rate?


– Although I think that the facts are as stated by the honorable member, I cannot reply to his question with any degree of precision. I shall convey his comments to my colleague, the Minister for Shipping and Transport, and let the honorable member have an answer.

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– Is the Minister for the Navy aware that in recent weeks a retrenchment policy resulting in the dismissal of some 300 employees has been put into effect at Garden Island naval establishment, Sydney? Is he aware that employees on lower-range salaries have borne the brunt of this dismissal policy and that some of those who were dismissed had up to fifteen years’ service on the island? In view of the fact that there has been no reduction in the vote for the Department of the Navy, why have such large-scale dismissals been necessary? Finally, will the Minister agree to the setting up of an independent authority to inquire into the present management of Garden Island?


1 thought that I had answered this question fairly fully yesterday in reply to a question asked by the honorable member for Hughes. I am not sure whether the honorable member for Dalley was in the House then, so, just briefly, I shall recapitulate the facts. There has been a reduction in the number employed at Garden Island in the last year or two owing to the fact that special work that was carried out there for several years - starting from 1952 - on the conversion of our “ Q “-class ships has been completed. The island is now going back to its normal functioning, which provides for a complement of about 2,100. I informed the honorable member for Hughes yesterday that provision had been made in the Estimates for the retention of a work force at Garden Island at that normal level of 2, 1 00, and that there was no immediate intention to make a reduction below that level. I also pointed out that, when it was found necessary, because of the volume of work being reduced, to put men off, every effort was made to give them other employment, either at Cockatoo or at Williamstown, or through the Department of Labour and National Service.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Territories. I understand that some weeks ago a deputation from the Legislative Council of the Northern Territory waited on the Minister in order to discuss certain constitutional proposals. Has the Cabinet had an opportunity to discuss the matters raised by that deputation? If so, is a statement to be made in regard to the subject, or what other result is expected?

Minister for Territories · CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– At the end of July a meeting was arranged between representatives of the Government and all the members of the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory in order to discuss a report on constitutional reform which had been prepared by a select committee of that council. Following that meeting a public statement was made on the outcome of the discussion. In it an assurance was given that the matters raised at the meeting would be placed before Cabinet as early as possible. Within a very short time of the conclusion of the meeting the full report of the discussion was placed before Cabinet, together with a submission by myself regarding the matters on which decision was required. Cabinet devoted what might be termed a special meeting one evening to the consideration of those matters. It examined them very carefully and in some detail and reached certain conclusions. At the same time, Cabinet reached the opinion that these matters should not be dealt with piecemeal; that the question of constitutional reform should be dealt with as a whole. The honorable member and the House will realize that the proposals that were discussed involved institutions in the Northern Territory itself as well as this Parliament. As I have said, the judgment of Cabinet was that they should be considered not piecemeal, but as a whole. Some of the proposals, particularly those which relate to some arrangement regarding executive authority in the Northern Territory during a transitional period, raised issues which are very complex and require detailed study. I cannot give an assurance that the detailed study will be completed in time for any of the proposals to be put before this Parliament during the current period of meetings. I sympathize, and I am sure the Cabinet sympathizes, with the very strong interest and understands what might be termed, with all due respect, the impatience of the people of the Northern Territory on these matters, but one has to realize that constitutional reform is not a subject which can be handled by decisions off the cuff. Constitutional reform does involve the need to exercise very great care and a farreaching vision.

Dr Evatt:

– So nothing will be done before the election?


– In the remaining three weeks of this session no measure will be introduced in this Parliament. It is in the hands of Cabinet to decide what measures will be taken on further submissions after the Parliament rises.

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– Some time ago, when I asked the Prime Minister a question concerning certain engineering difficulties’ associated with the Snowy Mountains project, he said that he would pass the matter to the Minister for National Development for attention and reply. Has the right honorable gentleman yet received a reply?


– I am not aware of having done so, but I will at once have an inquiry made.

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– Can the Minister for Primary Industry indicate the amount per bushel of the first advance on the 1958-59 wheat crop?


– I am unable to state what the first payment for the 1958-59 wheat crop will be. It is customary for that matter to be decided by the Government - usually about the middle of November. I will have inquiries made as to the precise date on which the amount will be fixed, and will inform the honorable member of it.

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– I ask the Prime Minister whether lead prices are fixed on the United Kingdom Metal Exchange. As the sale of Australian metal plays a very important part in our economy, what action is the Government taking to obtain an increased and stable price for our lead and zinc exports?


– I should have thought that this matter was well outside our control. The prices that we get for our base metals are affected by the world market. I should have thought that the honorable member would appreciate that fact.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Defence. Do the increased pay and allowances for the armed services, recommended in the Allison committee report, apply to the Citizen Military Forces, the Citizen Air Force and the Naval Volunteer Reserve? If they do not, will the Government give early consideration to applying this new pay code to all reserve personnel, in view of the real national work that these men are doing?

Minister for Defence · WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– The Allison committee was asked to review the pay code of the regular forces, and its recommendations, which were adopted by the Government, apply only to the regular forces, or the career men. The question of the pay and allowances for the Citizen Military Forces is now under consideration, and I hope that in the not far distant future an announcement on that matter will be made.

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– Can the Minister for Immigration inform me of the advantages that accrue to a British immigrant in acquiring Australian citizenship? Alternatively, are there any disadvantages in his not becoming an Australian citizen?

Minister for Immigration · ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– We provide that British immigrants, when they come to Australia, may, if they so wish, avail themselves of legal status by the process of registration for Australian citizenship, but by and large, looking at the matter in the broad, one of the glories of membership of the British Commonwealth, especially so far as countries such as Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand are concerned, is that we have complete freedom of movement and interchange of the advantages of the laws of each of our countries.

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– Will the Prime Minister take up with the Minister for External Affairs the question of replacement of motor cars at the various Australian overseas posts by purchasing, when required, our own well-tried and up-to-date Holden? Does the Prime Minister agree that if this were done it would give valuable publicity overseas to Australia as a manufacturing nation? I am confident that General Motors-Holden’s Limited would be able to arrange with its parent company, the General Motors Corporation, for servicing when required.


– I will be glad to bring that suggestion to the attention of my colleague.

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– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry this question: Is the Minister aware that the consumption of margarine in Australia was greatly increased by the actions of Labour governments in New South Wales and Queensland three or four years ago, and that the expression of Labour policy to which those actions gave effect has jeopardized the well-being of large and important communities in Australia and, in the end, could lower the purchasing power of everybody in the country? Has the Minister seen the unscrupulous and false advertisements used by margarine manufacturers in an endeavour to persuade the people that margarine products are as good as the great natural dairy foods? Has the intrusion of margarine in the market, combined with the fall of world prices, made it difficult for the dairying industry to maintain the prosperity that it has known over the last seven years? Can the Minister assure the House that there will be an early meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council, and that this matter will appear first on the agenda?


– As to the first question, the answer is. “ Yes “, but the Labour Government still in office in one of the two States and the Country-Liberal party Government that succeeded the Labour Government in the other State both have agreed not to allow an increase of the production of table margarine without first consulting the Australian Agricultural Council. As to the second question, concerning the fall in income, the statement made by the honorable member was a reasoned one as to the probable economic effects of the actions to which he referred. As to the third question, which concerned advertising, I personally think that some of it gets very close to what I should regard as improper, and constitutes an attempt to pass off industrial margarine as being equal in quality to choicest butter. The answer to the last question is, “ Yes “. T give the honorable gentleman the assurance for which he asks. This matter will be fully discussed at a meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council, I think early in October, and I shall then be able to make a statement about it. I should like to emphasize that, in my opinion, the whole of the problems of the dairying industry should be discussed at a meeting of the council, with the advice of the technical experts, in order to find out what can be done to protect the interests of this great industry.

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– Does the Prime Minister agree that the operations of hire-purchase companies in Australia are a significant economic problem, in that they materially reduce the funds available to the Commonwealth for essential services and impose unnecessary burdens upon those who borrow from such companies? Does the right honorable gentleman agree, further, that if this problem is left to the States to solve alone we shall get either no action, or action differing from State to State, which would further complicate the financial system? In view of these possibilities, will the right honorable gentleman say why he will not ask the Premiers to discuss with him some effective co-ordinated action in relation to hire purchase and the money market?


– The honorable member will realize that this problem which, I agree, is a very important one, cannot be adequately dealt with except by full State co-operation. -Mr. Ward. - You could call another conference.


– I am no great believer in calling conferences when no preparatory work has been done. I believe, Sir, and I think most people of experience would agree with me, that if you are going to have a conference on a matter of that kind a great deal of preliminary work ought to be done. I have, therefore, suggested to the Premier of New South Wales, who wrote to me an interesting letter on this matter, that before contemplating an all-over conference he ought to communicate with the other Premiers, conveying to them what he had in his mind in order that it might be determined whether there was sufficient prospect of reaching a common basis to justify the calling of a formal conference. That was my thought, and that remains my thought, and I hold it not because I think the problem unimportant, but because I think it very important indeed.

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– I address a question to the Minister for Primary Industry. I am bewildered by the keen interest that the Labour party is taking in the dairying industry, particularly when one looks back at that party’s unsavoury record. I wonder whether, to keep us up with the times, the Minister for Primary Industry could tell us what the counterpart in New Zealand of the Australian Labour party is doing for the dairy farmers of that country. The New Zealand Labour party is one which promises no more generously than the Australian Labour party.


– The New Zealand Government has reduced the price for butter fat paid to the producer to, I think, 40d. Australian currency equivalent per lb., which is a reduction by 10 per cent, of the price previously paid. I think it has issued a statement that this price will be continued throughout the current dairying year. The House will know that the interim price - not the final price - paid for butter fat in Australia is 45. 2d. per lb. and, -of course, there will be a substantial final payment when all the butter has been sold. I think that that is the answer to the honorable gentleman’s question, but I shall have another look at it, and if there is anything further to add to my answer I shall COm.municate with him.

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Extra-judicial Employment.


– In answer to a question put to me yesterday by the honorable member for East Sydney I said that I would lay on the table two letters relating to Sir Percy Spender, a Justice of the International Court, in connexion with a position on the directorate of the Goodyear tyre company. I do so now.

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– I address a question to the Prime Minister with reference to the conference proposed by the Premier of New South Wales on hire purchase. Does the right honorable gentleman agree that if he added his own persuasive powers and personal prestige in support of the request of the Premier for action, and also the strength of the Commonwealth in the matter, a much greater measure of success would be achieved in obtaining agreement?


– I accept gratefully the compliment involved in the question. I think that perhaps the best thing to do would be for me to arrange for the honorable member to see the terms of the correspondence between the Premier of New South Wales and me. That will complete what I have just been saying in answer to a question by the honorable member for Yarra.

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– To the Minister for Primary Industry I address the following question without notice: Is the Minister aware that at Brecknock Harbour, north of Broome, in Western Australia, cultured pearls have been produced satisfactorily after an experimental period of under two years? Bearing in mind the potential value of this new industry, and the large number of people employed in the similar industry in Japan, will the Minister advise the House what encouragement the Government is already giving, or could extend, to private enterprise wishing to develop further this promising new field of production?


– I think that the remarks of the honorable gentleman are correct, and that the production of cultured pearls off the Western Australian coast does give opportunities for expansion and profitable development. I well remember the initial stages of this enterprise, when the people concerned came to me and asked for the help needed to establish the industry. I think that we gave all the help that they needed, and since that date they seem to have gone from success to success. I hope that they continue to do so. So far as I am aware they have not asked us to give further help, but if the honorable gentleman can let me have any particulars of additional help needed I shall take the matter up with my department.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for Social Services. Recently, an application was submitted by a Methodist Church organization in Toowoomba, Queensland, for a Commonwealth grant to assist with the provision of a group of homes for aged people, known as the Toowoomba Garden Settlement. Has this application now been approved? If it has been, will the Minister indicate the amount involved and the arrangements that will be made for payment?

Minister for Social Services · RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– I have vivid recollections of an application under the Aged Persons Homes Act being made by the Methodist community in Toowoomba, Queensland. The application has been considered. I am happy to say that the proposal has attracted a grant from the Queensland Government of some £30,000 which, of course, is not matched by a Commonwealth grant under the Aged Persons Homes Act. The application, excluding the State grant of £30,000, attracts a Commonwealth grant, which has been approved, of some £47,600. The first instalment can be paid at the convenience of the organization concerned. I would be grateful if the honorable member for Darling Downs could represent me at the handing over of the cheque, and I would be particularly pleased if he could arrange for his daughter, with whom I danced during the visit of Her Majesty the Queen Mother, also to be present on that occasion.

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– My question, which is directed to the Minister for Social Services, does not relate to dancing but to the 10s. rent allowance that is shortly to be paid to pensioners in certain circumstances. Can the Minister say what conditions will apply in the case of pensioners who are tenants occupying government homes in Canberra and who are paying rent to the Commonwealth, but who are receiving from the Commonwealth very generous rental rebates? Will he confer with the Minister for the Interior to ascertain whether the 10s. rent allowance will now be counted in the income which affects the amount of rental rebate or whether the pensioners will be entitled to the whole 10s.?


– May I remind the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory that the supplementary assistance will be granted on application to those pensioners who pay rent and who qualify in other respects. The payment of rent is only one of the qualifications. What happens to a tenant in relation to a contract entered into for the occupation of premises is entirely outside the control of the Department of Social Services, nor can I be concerned with arrangements of the kind.

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– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry whether the Commonwealth Government has ever refused a request by the dairying industry for permission to market second-grade butter in Australia for household cooking purposes.


– 1 am fairly certain that I can answer the question by saying “ No “, for this reason: The constitutional responsibility for the marketing of butter resides with the States and not with the Commonwealth Government. However, I have considered this problem in connexion with the forthcoming meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council. In New South Wales, only the choicest quality butter can be sold over the counter, and I personally think that that is a practice which should be continued. It could only harm the dairying industry if pats of second and third quality were passed off as choicest quality; but as it is a matter of some importance, there would be no reason at all why I should not raise the question whether industrial butter, particularly butter for pastry purposes, should not be sold provided it was properly marked and labelled and there was no attempt to pass it off as quality butter.

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PostmasterGeneral · Dawson · CP

– by leave - I lay on the table of the House the following paper: - Australian Broadcasting Control Board -

Report and recommendations to the PostmasterGeneral on applications for commercial television licences for the Brisbane and Adelaide areas.

The board’s recommendation in its report is that one licence should be issued in each of these cities. The Government, however, has decided that two licences should be granted in each case. It has asked the board to make recommendations as to which applicants should receive the licences.

page 1127


Motion (by Mr. Hasluck) agreed to -

That leave be given to bring in a bill for an ;act to amend the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act 1955-1956.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

page 1127


Motion (by Dr. Donald Cameron) agreed to -

That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the National Health Act 1953-1957.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

page 1127


Motion (by Mr. Roberton) agreed to -

That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Social Services Act 1947-1957.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

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In Committee of Supply: Consideration resumed from 10th September (vide page 1111).

Miscellaneous Services

Proposed Vote, £27,544,000.

Refunds of Revenue

Proposed Vote, £25,000,000.

Advance to the Treasurer.

Proposed Vote, £16,000,000.

Bounties and Subsidies

Proposed Vote, £13,500,000.

War and Repatriation Services

Proposed Vote, £78,995,000. (Ordered to be considered together.)


– I wish to refer to the provision for repatriation services and the attitude of the Repatriation Commission towards those who, in their own opinion and the opinion of the medical profession, are entitled to repatriation benefits. I refer particularly to veterans of World War I. I do that because I believe that when the estimates come before the committee each year in relation to repatriation, there appears to be considerable disagreement even among honorable members as to the manner in which section 47 of the Repatriation Act is being interpreted and applied. In recent months, it has come to my notice that there is a tendency on the part of those who administer this section of the act to disregard completely medical reports which are in favour of applicants, particularly those who served in World War I. Two outstanding cases were brought to my notice recently. In those cases,, experts in the medical profession have given opinions which evidently support the claims of the applicants for relief. In point of fact, these cases go beyond the requirements of section 47.

Honorable members opposite who scoff at my views are either not in close contact with cases of disability suffered by World War I. veterans or they are not cognizant of the views of the medical officers and those who administer section 47 of the Repatriation Act. If honorable members want clear cases, I shall give them a classical example of the details that are required by those who are administering the act.

During the parliamentary recess, I had brought to my notice the case of a man who served in World War I. He enlisted in 1916 at the age of 21 years. In 1917, this man suffered gunshot wounds in the abdomen and chest and severe injuries to his right arm. After receiving treatment in England, he returned to France and was wounded again on 4th April, 1918. Again he was treated in hospital in England before returning to Australia. He arrived in Australia on 28th November, 1919. In March, 1920, a mastoid developed in his right ear. It was then found that a piece of shrapnel had entered his head when he was wounded in 1917 and was responsible for the development of the mastoid. This man was then in his early twenties, and he was granted a pension of 10 per cent, until 1922. In 1922, when he was 27 years of age, he again received medical treatment. I have seen his medical reports because I was privileged to act as his advocate. It was duly shown that he was suffering from deafness on the right side in 1922 when his pension was taken from him. He was discharged at that time without further eligibility for a war pension because it was anticipated that in six months’ time his condition would have materially improved. But from then onwards, this man was not free of trouble with his right ear. His medical history shows that it had to be treated continuously to remove moisture and wax which appeared on the right side of his head. He received treatment in 1930 and in 1935, and the relevant medical reports show that the disability was related to his war service. However, he did not again apply to the Repatriation Commission for assistance until 1944, when he made a written application for the restoration of his war pension, but both the Repatriation Board and the tribunal decided that his then failing health was not attributable to his war injury.

The aspect of this matter that particularly attracted my attention was the fact that the repatriation authorities took the view that as they had not heard from the applicant from 1922 till 1944 - and presumably he was all right during that long period of 22 years - it was unlikely that his then condition had resulted from his war-caused disability. From 1944 till 1953 his case was continuously before the Repatriation Commission. As early as 6th May, 1944, a medical report confirmed the applicant’s long-standing head trouble and it confirmed, also, that he had received treatment to his ear during the early ‘thirties. The doctor who furnished that report stated that the mastoid trouble was related to the man’s early military history.

This man’s health deteriorated further and ultimately, on the recommendation of Dr. Nowland, a highly qualified medical practitioner in Sydney, he was admitted to Broughton Hall, presumably for the purpose of having the cause of his general breakdown in health established. It is well known that once a person is admitted to Broughton Hall on a doctor’s recommendation, a very broad examination is conducted into all aspects of his mental condition. But what shocked me - and I think that this practice should be stamped out by whoever is responsible for the administration of repatriation boards - was my discovery that the details of what occurred at Broughton Hall- were transferred from the Broughton Hall file into the Repatriation Department’s file, where they reacted to the disadvantage of the applicant. I say quite frankly that it is a shocking state of affairs when verbatim extracts are made from the files of institutions such as Broughton Hall in relation to returned ex-servicemen, placed on repatriation files and used against the applicants by doctors who advise the repatriation authorities from then on. This is a scandalous practice that should not be tolerated in any free country, particularly Australia. After all, the medical profession does not recommend the admittance of a man to Broughton Hall unless it is thought that an examination may reveal a condition of mental illness. But when even minute details are transferred from a Broughton Hall file to the Repatriation Department’s files for consideration when a decision isbeing made as to whether the department should accept liability, I say that that is wrong, and that the practice should bestamped out immediately.

What happened in this particular case? On three successive occasions, the file went before officers of the Repatriation Commission sitting back in cushy jobs in Melbourne. They decided, on the reports of the doctors who examined the man at Broughton Hall, that he was not entitled to receive repatriation benefits in respect of a disability attributable to service in the First World War. I repeat that this is a scandalous state of affairs that should not be tolerated in any free country.

This man went back to Broughton Hall on the third occasion in 1957. Leaving aside all the certificates that had been obtained in his favour, I was able to obtain the report of the Medical Superintendent at Broughton Hall, under whose control the patient had been for many months. The report reads -

It seems perfectly clear that, in fact, if he had not been at the war and not received injuries, that he would not have suffered these disabilities or felt the need to seek medical attention. The point I make is that there could be no reasonable doubt that these occurrences were, in fact, responsible for a good deal of emotional distress and worry.

This report of the Medical Superintendent at Broughton Hall Psychiatric Clinic in favour of the applicant went to the Repatriation Commission in Melbourne, but was rejected on the advice of doctors sitting back in their offices.

I put it to the Government that this case illustrates the need for an immediate investigation, and an alteration with respect to the application of section 47 of the act. No longer should we tolerate a situation such as I have described in which details are transferred from an institution’s file to the repatriation files. The effect of section 47, as it stands, is that before rejecting his claim the repatriation authorities -must prove that the applicant is not suffering from disabilities arising out of anything that happened during his war service. I should like to pay a tribute to the tribunal which Anally set aside the decision of the Repatriation Commission and, after fourteen years, granted to this applicant what he was justly entitled to. But leaving aside this case, let us abolish the practice of transferring details from institution files to repatriation files where they may react to the disadvantage of applicants. If the claims of an applicant are to be rejected, let them be rejected on the merits of the case, not by some one who has never seen the applicant, on something written into the repatriation file from medical reports on an institution file. I put it to the committee as firmly as I can that when we were able to present, under section 47, a report from the man who had this applicant under his control on three occasions - on the last occasion for eight long months - that should have been sufficient. But no, again the matter had to go back to the tribunal. If ever there was a time when those who administer section 47 should be forced, in some way or other, to give effect to the provisions of that section, it is when they are considering applications from veterans of World War 1. I am on my feet at this stage particularly to speak on behalf of the men of the 1914-18 war. There is a tendency now to say that if they went from 1922 to 1944, for instance, without applying for some benefit, increasing age must have been responsible in some way for the deterioration of their health.

It is a standing disgrace to this Parliament and to the administration of the act that conditions such as 1 have mentioned should continue. Another case, which is even worse than this one, came to my notice last week. For heaven’s sake, let us have a look at the whole situation and tell the persons administering the act that this Government intends that section 47 shall be applied and that in future applicants will not be treated in this way.


.- The preceding speaker got very worked up on the point which he raised. I should like to point out to the committee that surely it is proper that all relevant information from any source whatsoever that bears on the case should be placed on a man’s file. I leave it to other speakers during this debate to deal further with that point, because my interest is in another field, but I make that statement very emphatically because of the emphasis that the previous speaker has given to his own view.

I want to take up the time available to me to speak to Division No. 222 - Department of Health, item 3, “ Commonwealth Council for National Fitness (for payment to the credit of the National Fitness Fund Trust Account), £72,500 “. I direct the committee’s attention to the fact that this figure remains unchanged at £72,500. It has stood at that level in the Estimates of this Parliament, without variation, since 1944. Many voices, apart from my own, have been raised to extol the virtues of the Commonwealth Council for National Fitness. Apparently many years must elapse before our case gains sufficient strength to enable the provision for this organization under the National Fitness Act of sufficient funds to do the task that is desirable. I believe that the merits of my request must be acknowledged by all thinking people. I submit that this is a proposition which can be fairly divorced from party politics.

The National Fitness Act 1941 set up councils for national fitness in each State. I want to underline the fact that this act of the Commonwealth Parliament showed the interest displayed by the Commonwealth and each of the States in this subject. Over the years, of course, this activity has become a partnership between Commonwealth and States, but because of the Commonwealth’s considered decision in recent years - in fact, since 1944, as I have mentioned - not to increase Commonwealth contributions, it has become increasingly necessary for each of the State governments to contribute more and more finance, not to extend but purely to maintain the work. In my opinion, they have been unable to maintain the work that was done in earlier years and extension has been out of the question.

If we look at the objectives of the national fitness movement, I am sure that what I have emphasized will be recognized. During the life of the Council for National Fitness, it has been clearly maintained at the Commonwealth level and in all States, that its objective is the all-round fitness of individuals to create and maintain a healthy nation. Health involves not only physical training but also cultural, moral and spiritual qualities. In the council’s first statement of aims and objectives, it was stated that all classes of the community should enjoy advantages which were enjoyed only by the more favoured.

So we can see that these councils in each of the States have not only had high objectives, which all thinking people must surely support, but also have become excellent coordinating agencies for voluntary youth organizations. The World Assembly of Youth is, to my mind, a very good illustration of the need for the Commonwealth to take the initiative in this field. In a recent question I stressed the need for the Commonwealth to go further in relation to this aspect of a national organization of youth, so that national representatives could go to the World Assembly of Youth conferences in various parts of the world. This question elicited the reply from the Minister acting for the Minister for External Affairs that this was a field in which the initiative must be taken by the various youth organizations of Australia.

I find it difficult to reconcile this statement with the reports of the Council for National Fitness which, over the last two years, have referred to the steps taken to set up a national advisory body to deal primarily with the nomination of suitable representatives of Australian youth to attend overseas youth conferences and, in particular, meetings of the World Assembly of Youth. A report was submitted to the council by the Commonwealth National Fitness Officer, and it was decided to recommend the establishment of a U.N.E.S.C.O. Committee for Youth, consisting of twelve members representing national youth organizations with international affiliations. When that committee met, it was decided to recommend instead the establishment of an advisory panel on youth, consisting of a number of members drawn from various youth committees and certain youth organizations that are known throughout this country. It was pointed out in the report that the functions of the panel would be, broadly, to advise U.N.E.S.C.O. committees on questions in the U.N.E.S.C.O. programme affecting youth.

It would appear to me that the high objective of helping youth organizations, through the Council for National Fitness, as a co-ordinating body has not been, achieved. As recently as last month, at New Delhi, India, Australian youth could, not have a direct representative, but could, supply only an observer. The point I make is that surely Australia is worthy of having, a representative on a democratic youth organization. Is it to be left to one organization in Australia to call for a federated’ youth body to ensure Australian representation at future conferences of the World’ Assembly of Youth?

We should either expand the national fitness movement and be proud of this Commonwealth legislation and the lead which1 the Commonwealth gives to the States, or vacate this field entirely to the States. It is. far better that we should do this than hogtie the movement for finance. However, my own personal belief is that from a national viewpoint Australia desperately needs this movement established under this act.

May I direct the attention of the committee to what I consider to be some interesting aspects of the present Australian situation. The continued education of the basic mass of Australian youth, which I would estimate at approximately 70 per cent., which leaves school and has little further education beyond the ages of fourteen or fifteen, is in my opinion a very haphazard affair. This field of youth education falls into a category of its own, when we recognize university, secondary, and primary systems of education, and the responsibility now being exercised by the States, with invaluable financial assistance from the Commonwealth. I make the point that the national service training of young men in Australia in recent years has been quite drastically reduced, resulting in a saving by the Commonwealth of some £10,000,000 under the Defence vote. Having effected that saving, we should not lose sight of the fact that the withdrawal of this amount of money has reduced opportunities for splendid training in physical fitness and citizenship for many thousands of young Australians. That is a strong argument why this vote should be at least doubled. The Commonwealth Office of Education has specific duties closely allied to those of the universities and the State education systems, but it plays no vital part in providing for the young people who have just left school. I admit that the Victorian Government, in 1956, recognizing the need in this field, passed its Youth Organizations’ Assistance Act, which allocated £20,000 from State funds to help voluntary youth organizations. But apart from the aspects I have mentioned, the only other current contribution towards the training envisaged for this group of young people is that made under this provision to which 1 address my comments.

The Commonwealth contributes only £72,500, and there has been no variation of that amount since 1944. What is our assessment of the value of this amount of money, when we recognize that since 1944 the national fitness movement in the various States has been subject to tremendous demands? How can we even maintain the programme which so impressed the nation in those early years after the passing of the net? The associated youth committees that operate in each State under the National Fitness Councils have now been recognized by State governments virtually as the voice of organized youth.

If time permitted I could remind the committee that while this is the unsatisfactory situation in Australia, overseas there are trends and developments which should challenge us as a young nation. What has happened in the United States in recent years is quite fantastic. No less a person than the President of the United States has set up a committee to investigate this field of fitness amongst the nation’s youth. Some of the recommendations of that committee should stir Australia to similar action. The President of the United States has been asked to create a top-level committee of federal departments having programmes and activities related to the fitness of America’s youth. A citizens’ advisory committee has been appointed by the President to advise him and the American people on the fitness of American youth. The co-operation of television and radio stations has been obtained in order to tell the story of youth fitness to the people of the nation. Sufficient funds are to be provided from public and private sources to permit the promotion of plans and activities essential for the attainment of fitness in American youth.

In Denmark, a recent new development has been the setting up of a Department of

Youth and Physical Education. The United Kingdom has taken steps to rectify the mistakes made in the immediate post-war years in this important field of youth activity. To-day, in the United Kingdom, there is a youth service section, and assistance to the youth of the country is provided under the 1944 Education Act. Reports that we receive from Soviet Russia - and surely there is some vestige of accuracy in reports of this nature - indicate an amazing advance in youth education and national fitness. The prowess of Russian competitors in all sports at the 1956 Olympic Games would seem to confirm the point that I have made. I understand that in Russia to-day pioneer camps for children, and children’s outofschool activities, are absorbing many millions of roubles.

In the time remaining to me I propose to make some concrete recommendations as to what is necessary in Australia. I submit that the recognition at Commonwealth level of the need for immediate action and implementation of a plan for national conference and research into the problem of young people who have just left school is essential. The Government should acknowledge the wonderful stimulus that has been given to the youth of this country by the small national fitness grants made since 1942, and I urge that the grant of £72,500 should, at the very first opportunity, be increased to at least £150,000. 1 also suggest that all persons active in Australian youth organizations should be encouraged to recognize that the National Fitness Councils and the Associated Youth Committees represent quite satisfactory existing machinery, rendering unnecessary the establishment of any further youth assistance committees, such as we have seen recently in Victoria. I believe that we could po a step further. I believe that this Government might well consider a scheme whereby every youth organization in Australis that is contributing towards the training of leaders and inspiring national idealism would be encouraged bv a £l-for-£l subsidy for capital expenditure on youth centres, halls and training camos

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Adermann:

Order! The honorable member’s time has expired

Mr. WEBB (Stirling [1 1 -51]. - I support the remarks of the honorable member for

Swan (Mr. Cleaver) in his appeal for an increase of the subsidy of £72,500, which has remained static for so many years. His suggestion that the amount be doubled is a good one. I also agree that this is not a party matter, except in the sense that our job as an Opposition is to try to get the Government to do something that it has refused to do over the years.

Mr Galvin:

– The Minister will not even meet the directors of the National Fitness Councils.


– That is true, and I think honorable members from both sides of the House should band together to try to force the Government to do something about this matter.

There is another matter of a non-party nature that I should like to raise, something that should receive the support of all honorable members, particularly those from Western Australia. It appears in the Estimates under the heading of Bounties and Subsidies. I direct attention to the fact that under the Gold-mining Industry Assistance Act a subsidy is payable under certain conditions on gold produced during the five years commencing 1st July, 1954. Small producers receive a flat rate subsidy of £2 an ounce and large producers, under certain conditions, are paid a subsidy limit of £2 15s. an ounce.

I remind honorable members of the importance of the gold-mining industry to Australia, an importance that seems to have been forgotten in recent years. The annual value of gold produced in this country is between £16,000,000 and £17,000,000, and the whole of our output is added to our international reserves. Certain areas of Australia, such as Kalgoorlie, are largely dependent for their existence on the continuance of gold-mining operations. The total subsidy payable to this industry this year is £900.000. That is a very small percentage of our total estimated revenue of more than £1,302,000,000. The subsidy should be substantially increased. Even if the subsidy were doubled the cost would still be less than £2,000,000.

The gold-mining industry is continuing to slip backwards. Further increases in costs will place it in a difficult position this year. The industry has been penalized over the years by the fixed price of gold and by increased costs of production. Although Australia has been pushing for an increase in the price of gold at the International Monetary Fund meetings, the United States, which holds more than 27 per cent, of the total gold quotas, has resisted all efforts to obtain an increase. No vote has ever been taken at the International Monetary Fund meetings on the question of an increase, and it is clear that the meetings are dominated by the United States. In reply to a question asked by me some time ago, the Treasurer (Sir Arthur Fadden) said -

Under the Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund an increase in the price of gold can be effected only by a uniform change in the par values of all the members’ currencies in terms of gold after a majority vote in favour including approval by every member holding 10 per cent, or more of the total quotas. The United States, which holds some 27 per cent, of the total quotas, is opposed to an increase in the price of gold, and the question has never been put to a formal vote in the Fund. However, Australia has argued the case for a review of the price of gold at past annual meetings of the Monetary Fund and there has been no change in Government policy on this issue.

I hope that on this occasion the Treasurer is more forceful in his appeal for an increase in the price of gold, and I hope that the issue is forced to a vote at the next meeting of the International Monetary Fund.

Under the stimulus of the gold price rise of the 1930’s, Australian production rose from 427,000 oz. in 1929 to 1,646,000 oz. in 1939. That gives some indication of the value of this industry to Australia, especially during difficult times such as those through which we are passing. If we cannot get an increase in the price of gold, there must certainly be a solid case for an increase in the subsidy to give the industry the assistance that is needed not only to maintain production but to increase it.

I draw the attention of the committee to the fact that in 1956 world trade was worth nearly four times as much as it was in 1937. During the same period, gold stocks rose by only 50 per cent. This industry is vital to Western Australia, which produces 75 per cent, of Australia’s gold. Kalgoorlie is one of the populated areas that are kept alive by gold-mining operations. Some mines have had to close, and, as a result, there has been a fall of over 100,000 oz. in gold production in

Western Australia. The production of this industry is worth 30,000,000 American dollars a year, so that honorable members must appreciate that it is a major source of dollar production.

Apart from that, gold helps our overseas funds in both dollar and sterling areas. Its sale is always assured, even if there is a fall in the sale of other exports. The price of wool is continuing to drop, as are the prices of many other primary products, and we shall have to fall back on exports other than primary products if we are to maintain our balance of payments position. What better product could we fall back on than gold? Before the war, gold was Australia’s third largest export. At that time it represented 8i per cent, of this country’s exports. To-day, it represents only 2i per cent.

The Australian price has only risen in relation to the exchange rate. Changes in the exchange rate increased the price of gold in this country from £9 14s. 4d. to £15 12s. 6d., but the world price for gold has remained pegged since the 1930’s. Compared with the average, prices ruling from 1936 to 1939, the price of gold has increased by only 76 per cent, whilst those for other metals have increased by much more. The “ London Economist “ calls for an increase of 300 per cent, in the price of gold to bring it into line with other increases. Surely those arguments justify giving every possible assistance to this industry, and warrant more sympathetic treatment from the Commonwealth Government. The industry needs to do more than just keep going; it needs to expand. If it were stimulated, it would be a big help to Western Australia’s economy for, not only would there be more employment in the gold-fields, but, by repercussion, more employment would be created in other industries. Australia as a whole would also benefit, as an increase in the price of gold would assist other goldfields. I hope the Government will . give further close attention to this particular matter.

I conclude my remarks on this subject by drawing attention to an article in the “ West Australian “ which supports the arguments I have just been advancing. It reads -

In the early post-war years, while the industry languished in this State, Canada had thumbed ils nose at the fund and had instituted assistance on a scale which enabled its companies .to expand. The Australian Government has always been timid about challenging the pontiffs of the International Monetary Fund, who would seem to have devoted their duties to maintaining the purchasing power of the almighty dollar.

I leave it at that, and again ask the Government to give consideration to the matter.

I am sorry that the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) is about to leave the table, as I was on the point of mentioning a matter which affects the department he administers. It comes under the proposed vote for Miscellaneous Services and relates to the building of homes for the aged. Under the Aged Persons Homes Act, provision is made for the payment by the Commonwealth of a subsidy at the rate of £2 for every £1 expended by a society, association, or other organization on the provision of suitable homes for aged persons. The act emphasizes, in particular, homes at which aged persons may reside in conditions approaching as nearly as possible normal domestic life. For instance, reference is made to “ proper regard to the companionship of husband and wife “.

After describing an eligible organization, the act says -

An organization conducted or controlled by, or by persons appointed by the Government of the Commonwealth or of a State or local governing body established under the law of a State is not eligible for assistance under this Act.

It would appear that the purpose of the legislation is, in the words of the act, “ to encourage and assist the provision of suitable homes for aged persons “, and, provided this is done by an organization not carried on for the purpose of profit or gain, its contribution should be welcomed. Unfortunately, the housing ‘commissions of the various States are debarred from participation in the scheme. This means that their efforts to provide suitable homes for the aged are reduced by one-third, calculated on the basis of a subsidy of £2 for every £1 expended by a housing commission. The only people who lose are the pensioners. This aspect of the matter should be reviewed by the Minister for Social Services. I emphasize here that in Western Australia special homes are being built in housing commission areas for pensioners. Flats which I have had the pleasure of inspecting are being erected for this purpose. They are being let to pensioners for 23s. a week. Should one of the pensioners pass on, the surviving pensioner is not required to vacate the flat but is allowed to continue in occupation and is charged a rent of only 8s. a week. That is a wonderful scheme. I hope the Minister will give serious consideration to providing sufficient financial assistance to enable this scheme to be continued.

There is another matter relating to Western Australia which requires review. T refer to the fact that 30 years ago a public benefactor named McNess bequeathed a large sum of money to the State for use in the provision of homes for persons in indigent circumstances. For some time, this has embraced pensioners exclusively. The bequest has been supplemented from various sources, including grants from the State government, and many cottages have been erected under the scheme. These cottages are let to pensioners at 12s. 6d. a week. Two trustees are appointed for the purpose of looking after investments, undertaking further building programmes, allocating accommodation and so on. The Minister comes ‘ into the picture only if there is any disagreement between the trustees. Clerical and technical services, collection of rents and so on are carried out, free of charge, by the housing commission.

The only impediment to greater activity in connexion with this scheme is shortage of funds. If the organization carrying out the scheme could be treated as one coming under the provisions of the Aged Persons Homes Act, three times as many houses as are being built now could be built for the aged. I emphasize again that there are no administrative expenses. Even the trustees receive no’ payment. I hope that the matter will be looked at by the Minister for Social Services.

I believe that, provided an organization is a reputable one and is not engaged in profit making or gain, it should be approved by the Commonwealth as an organization eligible for the type of assistance covered by the act, and I point out again that the only people who suffer from the fact that this organization is not so approved are the pensioners. Three times as many houses could be provided if the Commonwealth Government would treat this as one of the organizations that may be assisted.


.- I wish to refer to statements that appeared in the Toowoomba “ Chronicle “ on Saturday, 6th September, and in some form in a number of other newspapers throughout the country. Those statements make particular reference to a decision by the Federal Council of the Ex-prisoners of War Association to appeal again to the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Cooper) seeking a medical review of all prisoners of war. To my mind, the article that appeared in the Toowoomba “ Chronicle “ gave a definitely misleading impression. From the article it would appear that the Ex-P.O.W. Association was making a personal attack on the Minister for Repatriation for his failure to see that a report made to the Repatriation Commission in 1952 was published. At the outset, I should like to make it quite clear that the large membership of the E.x-P.O.W. Association - I have the honour to be the patron of the Queensland section - has the very highest personal regard for the Minister for Repatriation. I make that statement without qualification of any kind.

However, there has been some criticism of refusal to comply with continued requests for a further medical review of ex-prisoners of war. I have for some time made representations on behalf of the association, seeking this review. The association believes that such a review is necessary. We come in fairly close contact with numbers of men who were prisoners of war, and we know that many of them are sufferin? from defects that could well have been caused by their prisoner-of-war experiences. They will not of their own volition claim repatriation benefits. If they could ask for a medical check-up, knowing that they would be given any treatment that might be necessary, and nothing more, a number of them would be only too willing to do so, but they are not prepared to make the request when they know full well that if a physical defect is discovered and attributed to their war service, a pension will be paid. I think it is a splendid thing that in this day and age some people adopt that attitude.

There have been previous medical reviews of prisoners of war. By December, 1951, the Repatriation Commission had completed, to use its own words, “ a survey of the greater proportion of the former members who had endured captivity I draw attention to the words “ the greater proportion “. There has never been a complete medical survey of all ex-prisoners of war since the examination they had on their discharge from the services. Dealing with the survey made up to December, 1951, of a total of 14,305 men known to have been recovered from the Japanese, 10,223 were examined and the survey in respect of them completed. In 324 cases, the survey had been partially completed, and in 2,118 cases men had not availed themselves of the advantages of the survey. That is quite a significant figure in its way. 1 wonder what real effort was made to induce those men to be examined. lt was not possible to locate 1,640 men. The reason given was that some probably had left the country and others probably had died before the survey commenced. If any of those 1,640 men died before the survey in 1951, they did not die of old age. Their deaths would be accidental or attributable to their war service. If the department has no record of them, obviously their dependants are not receiving repatriation benefits. I think that inquiries should be made to find out the cause of death in some of those cases.

There is not the slightest doubt that a larger percentage of the ever-decreasing number of ex-prisoners of war is suffering from severe ailments, lt was noticeable that in the period of from ten to twelve years after the war there was an outbreak of spinal troubles, arising from the beatings that the men had been given while they were prisoners of the Japanese. It took from ten to twelve years, and in some cases slightly longer, for the condition to become evident. I know of a case in which an application for a pension was rejected by the board and subsequently by the commission, but which I hope is being reviewed by the commission at the present time. If was the case of a man who had suffered from malaria in three different forms, who had had cardiac beri-beri and who Ki’! suffered from severe malnutrition. The written evidence of doctors who attended him was that on a number of occasions they thought he would not live for more than a few hours. Not many months ago, he developed a heart condition. He had one medical examination by a man who was not a heart specialist, but just a general prac titioner. That examination lasted for only a quarter of an hour, and later his application was rejected. He was not examined by a heart specialist. Subsequently he obtained documentary evidence from three medical men very well known in both the medical and ex-prisoner of war world. Each of those men stated categorically that in his opinion the man’s condition was due to his war service, particularly to the time he spent as a Japanese ex-prisoner of war. Yet, in the face of that evidence, the commission rejected his application and suggested that he should take his case to a tribunal. A case such as that causes doubts to rise in one’s mind at times as to whether section 47 of the act is being properly applied.

As a result of that case, I asked the Minister if he could let me know what percentage of ex-prisoners of war of the Japanese were suffering from heart conditions and what was the percentage in the case of people who had had normal service. So far, I have not had an answer, although the question was put to the Minister, I think, two months ago. I believe that many vitally important things, not only from the point of view of the . men themselves but also from the medical point of view, could be learnt from a complete further survey of ex-prisoners of war. I hope that it will be carried out.

I should like to raise a couple of other points which I believe are relevant. A number of people believe that prisoners of war, as a bunch, or a type, are inclined on the whole to be bloody-minded and to complain too much. However, this repatriation document states -

It is perhaps well to state at the outset that an impartial survey by the Commonwealth Employment Service in 1947 indicated that the prisoners of war have settled back into employment as successfully, if not more so, as any other group of ex-servicemen.

At times ex-prisoners of war may appear to be a little more blunt than other people, but 1 should like some of the department’s medical men to remember that the conditions under which they lived in captivity were such that they were quickly able to sort out the reality from the bull. I know of one honorable member who went up for examination in the survey of 1951. He was a man with a very distinguished war record and had suffered from a number of diseases.

When he was called in, the medical officer asked, “ What is wrong with you? “ The honorable gentleman replied, “There is nothing wrong with me “. The medical officer then said, “Surely you must have something wrong with you “, and the honorable member said, “ I get recurrent malaria, and dysentery occasionally, but I am more or less used to that “. The medical officer promptly replied, “Well, I knew that you bloody-well would have something wrong with you and be complaining about it “. It is the last three words that 1 think are significant, lt is the official attitude which so often creates resentment in the minds of ex-servicemen. Bureaucrats with no knowledge of the conditions under which these men lived fail to appreciate that many of us who came through unscathed know what happened to many of our comrades and know what is happening to their families now. We know that, in a comparatively Small number of cases, the people concerned are not getting the treatment that their position warrants. There are people who do not claim repatriation benefits although they would automatically be given them if they were called up for a medical examination.

I shall conclude by repeating that the Prisoners of War and Relatives Association, in making these complaints and submitting its further requests, is not reflecting personally on the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Cooper). I was present when he told the association that he did not propose making a further survey because his departmental officers had advised him that, in their opinion, it was not necessary. Though the final responsibility must be taken by the Minister, the decisions are often made by the departmental medical officers. I hope that that will be realized, and that something will be done about this matter. I hope that the people of Australia will realize also that the members of the Prisoners of War and Relatives Association have a very high personal regard and affection for Senator Cooper.


.- I wish to refer to an unjust and harsh policy decision which was made by a Minister previously in charge of war service housing. I refer to the decision - which I believe to have no legal basis - to refuse to members of the women’s auxiliary forces who did not serve overseas entitlement under the Wai Service Homes Act. I have in mind the case of Aircraftwoman P. M. McCarthy, who is now Mrs. P. M. Duncan. She joined the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force on 26th November, 1942, and was discharged on 17th December, 1945. Earlier this year she made application to the War Service Homes Division for assistance in building her home. Her application was refused on the ground of a government policy of long standing. The following letter was sent to Mrs. Duncan’s solicitor by the War Service Homes Commissioner -

The action to decline assistance is in accordance with long-standing Government policy as confirmed by the direction of the Minister some years ago in pursuance of the provisions of section 20 (1.) of the War Service Homes Act. This policy is to refuse assistance to those members of the Auxiliary Australian Women’s Services who did not serve overseas.

Her solicitor sought the opinion of Mr. P. Flannery, barrister, of 180 Phillip-street, Sydney. Mr. Flannery maintained that Mrs. Duncan was in fact entitled to assistance under the War Service Homes Act. The ministerial direction in question had been given under section 20 (1.) of that act. Yesterday I received from the Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner) a reply to a question on the subject which I put on notice only a few days ago. The reply indicated that assistance was not given to ex-members of the militia or women’s auxiliary services unless they actually served outside Australia. Section 20 (1.) of the War Service Homes Act reads -

Subject to this Act and to the directions of the Minister as to matters of general policy, the Director may, upon application in writing, make an advance to an eligible person on the prescribed security, for the purpose of enabling him -

to erect a dwelling-house on a holding of the applicant;

to purchase land and erect thereon a dwelling-house;

to purchase a dwelling-house, together with the land on which it is erected;

to complete a partially erected dwelling- house owned by him:

to enlarge a dwelling-house owned by him; or (0 to discharge any mortgage, charge, or encumbrance already existing on his holding.

The only other ministerial direction under the sub-section relates to the refusal to discharge such a mortgage unless prior approval had been given to raise temporary finance. I would suggest that the expression “ matters of general policy “ does not relate to the question of eligibility. Under the War Service Homes Act “ eligible person “, includes any “ Australian soldier “ defined as - “ a person who during the continuance of the war which commenced in the year one thousand nine hundred and fourteen or during the continuance of any war in which His Majesty became engaged on or after the third day of September, one thousand nine hundred and thuy-nine . . . “

This is the particular provision to which I wish to direct attention -

  1. is or was a member of the Naval, Military or Air Forces enlisted or appointed for or employed on active service outside Australia or on a ship of war;

There is no doubt in my mind that Mrs. Duncan– -Aircraftwoman McCarthy - was an Australian soldier within the meaning of the definition.

Mr Chaney:

– She was not appointed for overseas service.


– 1 think I can show the honorable member that she was. She joined the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force in November, 1942. At that stage there were no regulations or acts governing the enlistment of women in that service. They were not gazetted until 24th March, 1943. That being the case, she was enlisted under the Air Force Act, which in certain respects is governed by the Defence Act. Section 37 of the Defence Act provides, in regard to the taking of the oath -

Every person enlisting in the Active Military Forces as a soldier shall take, before an officer or a Justice of the Peace, the oath set forth in the Third Schedule.

The oath set forth in the third schedule reads as follows: -

I swear that I will well and truly serve Our Sovereign Lord the King in the …. Forces of the Commonwealth of Australia for the term of years or until sooner lawfully .discharged dismissed or removed and that I will resist His Majesty’s enemies and cause His Majesty’s peace to toe kept and maintained and that I will in all matters appertaining to my service faithfully discharge ray duty according to law. So help me God.

There is no doubt that Mrs. Duncan, when she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force, took that .oath. Having taken the oath, there is nothing to suggest that she should not serve overseas. We find, how- ever, in pursuance of the gazettal of regulations dealing with the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force, that Mrs. Duncan, on 17th April, 1943 - she had been in the services since November, 1942 - was asked to sign a statutory declaration to the following effect: -

I hereby declare that I am willing to enlist in the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force constituted under the Air Force (Women’s Services) Regulations, for service within the limits of Australia (including the territories of the Commonwealth) only, and to serve therein for the period of the time of war now current and twelve months thereafter.

Then, for the second time, she took the oath under the third schedule of the act, which I have already read.

The point is that when Mrs. Duncan first joined the Air Force she enlisted for service wherever the Air Force authorities desired to send her. On the gazettal of the regulations, the authorities decided that women would not be required to serve overseas, and women members were then asked to take an oath that they would serve within the limits of the Commonwealth. It is harsh and unjust that such women should not be entitled to the benefits of the War Services Homes Act, when members of the A.I.F., of the R.A.A.F. and of the R.A.N, who voluntarily enlisted but did not serve outside Australia are entitled to assistance under the act. The members of the Women’s Services undoubtedly thought, when they enlisted, that they were to do a job that would allow some male member of the forces to be used in more advantageous circumstances. They were volunteers. Admittedly, the policy of the War Service Homes Division is that members of the militia who did not serve outside Australia are not entitled to receive assistance under the War Service Homes Act, but members of the militia who served outside Australia were forced to do so under regulations approved by this Parliament. lt is wrong that girls who enlisted and were prepared to serve wherever they were sent are not now eligible for assistance from the War Service Homes Division. I point out that members of the women’s nursing services who did not serve outside Australia are entitled to such assistance. In case there should be any doubt in the minds of honorable members as to whether the members of the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force did actually enlist, let me quote from the regulations governing the enlistment of women in the women’s services. Regulation 5 provides that -

A woman shall be eligible for appointment to, or enlistment in, a Women’s Service, if she has - fa) attained the age of eighteen years, but has not attained the age of forty years; and (b) passed such medical examination as is approved by the Air Board:

Regulation 12 provides -

The Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force shall consist of female officers appointed to and issued with commissions in, and airwomen enlisted in, that Service, and shall constitute a branch of the Air Force to be known as the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force Branch.

There is no doubt that these women were enlisted and that they decided voluntarily to serve their country in time of war. Many members of the militia and of the A.I.F. who served only in New Guinea, which is a Territory of the Commonwealth, are entitled to assistance under the War Service Homes Act. These girls could have been employed in New Guinea. They were prepared to be sent there. Yet, they are not entitled to assistance from the War Service Homes Division unless they actually served overseas. A line of demarcation has been drawn. I feel that the treatment of these women is harsh and unjust. It means that women who enlisted to serve Australia in its hour of greatest need are not now regarded as having played a worthy part in the war effort.

I wrote to the Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner), who is in charge of the War Service Homes Division, regarding this matter, and in the course of his reply the Minister stated -

Because of the general policy in these cases, detailed investigation as to the circumstances ot enlistment by Mrs. Duncan has not yet been completed. The Solicitor-General reviewed the conditions of enrolment and enlistment of the various arms of the Women’s Auxiliary Services and found many inconsistencies. In his view a big percentage of the members of the Women’s Auxiliary Services would have no claim whatever to eligibility whilst others, who enlisted at a later date, might have some claim. Such a position would, of course, be anomalous.

The position is that women who have some claim to assistance under the War Service Homes Act are being deprived of such assistance. I think that that is both harsh and unjust.


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

New England

– I do not propose to speak lengthily on these estimates, but there are two points that have been raised in which I am particularly interested. I think it was the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Cleaver) who raised the question of subsidies in relation to the National Fitness Council of Australia. Since that matter apparently may be dealt with under the proposed vote for subsidies, I propose to speak very briefly to it. I have been present, Sir, at a number of the immigration conventions that are held here in Canberra, and I know that eminent citizens, men high in the public life of Australia, who have given a great deal of time and thought to this question, have consistently brought forward resolutions urging that the work to which they give so much of their time, energy and directing force, and which is supported by the States, be further encouraged by a substantial increase in the amount of subsidy. I have spoken on this subject before, and I am not going to traverse the ground that I have covered on previous occasions.

I may say, Sir, that I was very intimately associated with this particular development. It took place first in New South Wales under my own ministry, though I do not claim the sole credit for what was done. The work was subsequently taken over by the Commonwealth. The plans of my department were given to the Commonwealth authorities because it was thought that this was something in which the Commonwealth should have an intimate interest. The reason for undertaking this work was not entirely altruistic, although it was felt, at that particular time, that there was a case for it on human grounds, apart altogether from considerations of expediency. The expedience of the situation is this: If you are going to develop in the community a strong and healthy group of young people, you must start, as with everything else, from the foundations. This Government has recognized that fact. During the term of office of the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) as Minister for Health, this Government introduced a Commonwealth scheme for the provision for free milk for school children in order to build a foundation of healthier children in the community. Work in this field was started in New South Wales, again by a department over which I presided, and I think that I can claim the major credit. The scheme that was initiated in New South Wales has been taken over by the Commonwealth and extended to all States, and the Commonwealth now pays very large sums indeed for this purpose.

This is a recognition, Sir, that, if you start with a foundation of healthier childhood, hospital expenses and social service costs in the later stages of life will be reduced, and the country’s economy will have a stronger and more vigorous body of citizens behind it. working for greater development and the common good of all economically. And if, unfortunately, we are forced into a war, this basis of health in the community will provide us with men for the armed forces without the excessive number of rejects which jolted us awake to this problem in World War II. The building of a foundation of health in the community by promoting the health of our children will ensure a healthier and more vigorous population to defend the country.

As I have mentioned, there is also the purely human aspect of the matter. Nobody likes to see any person afflicted with a weak constitution simply because, at some stage of his development, he did not receive the benefit of preventive health measures which would have laid the foundation for a healthy, strong and vigorous life. The work done by the National Fitness Councils is directed towards encouraging young people to engage in all sorts of healthy physical activities and, more than that, to educate them, by the application of scientific principles, not merely in physical culture, for that has gone by the board, but in an awareness of the importance of physical science and training - not in the art of developing big muscles, but in the application of scientific principles to the search for physical fitness, leading to more intellectual activities. I merely add my plea to the pleas of others in this movement outside, with whom I have been associated, that the Government should encourage the expansion of this work. If we are willing to spend hundreds of millions of pounds on defence, surely we can recognize that the first need is to have citizens capable of playing their part in defence without undue fatigue, if, unfor tunately, we should again be compelled to defend ourselves.

Without labouring the matter further, I should like to say that I think it should be considered more sympathetically by the Commonwealth Government. We subsidize the States in various ways, and surely a basis of physical fitness leading to mental and intellectual health and vigour is one of the things on which we could spend money to the best advantage.

The second matter with which 1 wish to deal is repatriation. I intended to discuss this matter in any event, but I take the opportunity of saying that I support the request by the honorable member for Bowman (Mr. McColm) for a more intelligent and more sympathetic approach than is adopted at present to the broken-down ex-serviceman who saw active service, particularly on the field of battle. This Parliament has enacted good repatriation measures, and we have a Minister who, with the support of the Government, has given a great many benefits to returned servicemen and their dependants - benefits that they did not receive before this Government took office. But, as time goes on, people are faced with new problems, and the outcome depends upon whether the problems are tackled or neglected. This Government, generally, has an excellent record in tackling the problems of exservicemen, but one aspect of the problem concerns me very deeply. I have put a case in relation to it privately to Ministers, and I have referred to it in this chamber. That aspect is the situation of the man who served on the field of battle and who. after his return to civilian life, cracked up.

The irony of the situation, as every honorable member knows for a fact, is that men who returned from war feeling that their health had recovered, and too independent to claim on the government, and who. for that very reason, did not do as others did and impose a drain on the public revenues, have been prejudiced when their health broke down, later in life. Many ex-servicemen break down between, say. 55 and 60. because the foundations of their health were undermined in their youth. The natural reserves that are normally built up between 20 and 30 were dissipated in the trenches and in other fields of warfare because they had to carry on, as men do carry on in a- crisis, working far beyond- their natural capacity and, by some” strange alchemy which occurs understrain, releasing and drawing upon reserves which, in others like myself who did not go to war, when drawn upon in later life, maintain- vigorous health at almost 70 years of age. 1 shall cite two cases which come to my mind, Sir. In the Kentucky soldier settlement area in my electorate, there were three brothers, all of whom enlisted in World’ War I., the youngest at fifteen and a half. Whether he was right in misstating his age is beside the point. The fact remains that he felt that he ought to be with’ his brothers, and he enlisted. One brother paid the supreme sacrifice in war and I believe that the other has died since. The youngest, after enlisting at fifteen and a half, served in the Middle East. He served in the Light Horse first. His family was noted for its horsemanship. He served also in the Camel Corps. I have seen his certificate of discharge, and there is not a bad mark on it. During bis three years’ active service, this soldier was wounded in the head, the buttock and the leg by shrapnel, and he was honorably discharged as being permanently unfit. I think that, altogether, he served about five years. On his return, he made no claim for repatriation benefits. Be was granted - and this is significant - a pension for three months on his return, which recognized the fact that he had been wounded. That was all that he got. He did not seek any more. He carried on in civilian life under his own steam, and managed to get a deserted soldier settlement block in the Kentucky area without assistance. When others sought assistance in the bad times that followed, he went out and trapped rabbits and engaged in other activities in order to keep going and not go into debt.

I have recently seen this man in hospital. 1 cannot recall his exact age, but I should think that he is getting on for 60. He is now completely broken in health and is just a shattered wreck of a man. He shows all the evidences of complete physical collapse. At best, he can get the burnt-out soldier’s pension at 60 years of age. That is not good enough for such a man or for his dependants.

Another, case that has come’ under my notice is- that’ of a man; now about 60 years of age; who was one of- a- family- of- sevenbrothers, who, I- think- with one exception^ served in World War I. The ex–serviceman with whom- 1 am’ concerned served for five years in various places, and went through the hell of mud, lice and- bombardment on the Western Front. To-day he is a complete wreck,- after- having been very near to that condition for years. His wife, who is a. trained nurse, is worn out with trying, to look after him. Again and- again, his case has been submitted to the tribunals and rejected. They admit that he has certain things wrong with him, and that he suffers from a depressive tendency, which covers a great deal. The tribunals admit that he is suffering from a general breakdown in health, but they say that it is not due to his service in war. That is not good enough in a country that boasts of its civilization.

I do not care what the medical profession says about a man who served on the Western^ Front under the conditions in which this man served. As one who breeds stock, I know that if a horse is given hard work at two years of age - and that would be the equivalent of eighteen years of age in a man, I imagine - that horse is a brokendown wreck at five or six years of age. But if one leaves a horse out to grass until maturity at, say, five years of age, it can be put to work and, if it is given reasonable treatment, it will give good service for 25 years or more. So far as I can see, from what I have learned as a breeder of animals, the same principles that apply to other animals apply to the human animal.

Some ex-servicemen are being denied their rights because those who administer the Repatriation Act flout some of its principles.


Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.

Sitting suspended from 12.47 to 2.15 p.m.


.- I wish to deal with a matter that concerns two departments,. I think in equal measure - the Prime Minister’s Department and the Repatriation Department. Some time ago, I raised in this Parliament the case of an ex-serviceman who had been refused employment by the Commonwealth Public

Service Board after reference had been had to his repatriation file. I do not intend to go over all the facts now, but I wish to refresh the minds of honorable members by reminding them that this constituent of mine applied for a position in the Commonwealth Public Service in a clerical capacity. He was accepted by the Public Service Board in accordance with its examination standards until the board called for his medical report held by the Repatriation Department. Arising from the presentation of that report, my constituent was refused even light work in the Commonwealth Public Service because it was considered that he would not be fit to carry out duties of a clerical nature, despite the fact that he has for some considerable time been engaged in heavy manual work.

As honorable members will no doubt recall, when I raised this matter on the motion for the adjournment of the House one night. I pointed out that here was a man who had served his country in war and was receiving a 50 per cent. disability pension, but was being denied appointment to the Commonwealth Public Service because of the results of his war service. I made the charge then, and I think it can be substantiated by what I will say later, that the Commonwealth Public Service Board is discriminating against exservicemen, particularly those who are suffering from disabilities for which they receive war pensions of any considerable amount. The main point in this instance is that this exserviceman was refused appointment to the Commonwealth Public Service after the Commonwealth Public Service Board had seen the repatriation report on his state of health.

I took this matter up with the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and also with the Commonwealth Public Service Board, and I received a letter about it from Mr., now Sir William Dunk, the chairman of the board. The letter, which was dated 18th November, 1957, from which I shall omit the name of the ex-serviceman concerned, reads in part as follows: -

The medical examination conducted as a result of Mr.- ‘s recent application for appointment discloses that, if anything, his condition has worsened.

You are probably aware that the medical standards are relaxed somewhat so far as the appointment of ex-servicemen is concerned. However, the medical officers are not prepared to recommend Mr.- ‘s appointment under the less rigid conditions.

The letter discloses that, in the opinion of the Commonwealth Public Service Board, the state of health of the man concerned had deteriorated between the times of the two applications he made for appointment to the Public Service. I again took the matter up with the Prime Minister, and I received a letter from the right honorable gentleman, dated 14th May, 1.958, which read -

I have had a further look at the case of Mr:- , an applicant for permanent appointment in the Public Service, whose case you raised recently in Parliament on the adjournment.

I must say, regretfully but firmly, that there is nothing further to be done in this case. Mr. does not meet the minimum standards of physical fitness required for permanent appointment to the Commonwealth Public Service, even the relaxed standards applied to exservicemen. It is the duty of the Public Service Board in carrying out the provisions of the Public Service Act to have due regard to the question of physical fitness in order to limit, as far as is possible, the risk of undue burdens falling on the Superannuation Fund, which is heavily subsidized by the Government. I am satisfied that the Board has made a carefully considered and justified decision in the case of Mr.

That brings me to the important point in question. This man has been denied employment by the Commonwealth Public Service on even the lightest work, on the ground that his health is not up to the required medical standards, and that his condition had worsened since he made a previous application. That being the case, it would be natural to think that the man would have been granted an increase in his repatriation pension because, when all is said and done, the refusal to appoint him to a clerical position was based on the ground that, in the eyes of the Commonwealth Public Service Board, his condition had worsened. The natural corollary of that, one would think, would be an increase of the pension that he was already receiving because of the state of his health. But what actually happened? I agree with the comments made to-day by the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison), who said that the Repatriation Department is making it impossible for men such as the man I am speaking about to get the justice which is their due.

After the rejection of his application for employment in the Commonwealth Public

Service, my constituent quite naturally applied for an increase of his disability pension. He received from the Repatriation Department a letter dated 12th August, 1958, the first paragraph of which reads -

With reference to your application for increase in the rate of your war pension, I have to inform you that the Repatriation Board has decided to continue your pension at 50 per cent, rate (£5 2s. 6d. per fortnight), which is considered commensurate with the degree of your incapacity due to war service.

Who are the doctors concerned in the Repatriation Department and the Commonwealth Public Service Board? On the one hand this man, who should reasonably expect an increase of 10s. or 15s. a week in his pension since he has been refused appointment to the Commonwealth Public Service on the ground of the deterioration of his health, is refused an increase, whilst on the other hand, in effect because he is in receipt of a disability pension, he is denied a position in civil life. The Government cannot have it both ways. Either the Commonwealth Public Service Board is discriminating against this man or the Repatriation Department is not giving him justice in connexion with his pension entitlement.

I regard this as a case that requires further consideration. Is it any wonder that this man is dissatisfied and discontented? He is denied employment in the Commonwealth Public Service of a kind that he would find more satisfactory than his present employment, and is forced to continue laborious work in another field because, says the Commonwealth Public Service Board, his medical report in the Repatriation Department shows that his health has deteriorated; but soon after, the Repatriation Department refuses him an increase in pension because his state of health does not qualify him for such an increase. There is a conflict there! There is indeed something wrong with this state of affairs, and it should not be allowed to continue.

I say again that I agree with the honorable member for Blaxland, who gave other instances of discrimination against exservicemen. Like this man, they are denied civil employment on the one hand and refused the pension benefits to which they must be entitled if their state of health is such that it is a just ground for denial of employment. I spoke to members of the Commonwealth Public Service Board about this case, and they gave me reasonably grave reports about the man’s state of health. It was in the light of that that I was astounded, as the man himself was, when he was refused an increase of pension, the granting of which I thought would be almost automatic in view of the facts of the case.

I ask the Prime Minister and the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer), who is at the moment in charge of the committee, to have this case looked into. The Prime Minister said that he was satisfied with the decision that had been given. I disagree with him. The Commonwealth Public Service Board’s doctors ought to be asked to state their case again, and the Repatriation Commission’s medical advisers ought to be brought to book on this matter. It is unfair that a man who has served his country in war and has been awarded a 50 per cent, disability pension should be discriminated against in civil life and at the same time refused protection by the body that should be giving him protection - the Repatriation Board.

This all gets back to what has been said by other members of the Parliament - that too much is required from applicants in respect to their state of health. Something ought to be done to give ex-servicemen more justice in relation to the granting of pensions. I consider that no graver injustice has been done than has been done in this man’s case. It requires special attention, and I ask the Minister for Immigration to bring it to the notice of the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Cooper) and the Prime Minister, so that the man concerned will not be denied justice either by the Commonwealth Public Service Board or the Repatriation Department.

In the few minutes still at my disposal, I wish, to refer briefly to a matter that concerns the Department of Trade and the Tariff Board. As honorable members know, many Australian industries, because of overseas competition, are seeking to obtain tariff protection. But it is beyond doubt that endless delays are occurring between the date of application and when a decision is given by the Tariff Board. I have in mind particularly an application that was lodged in September, 1957 - just about twelve months ago. In the meantime, licences have been granted to people who import the kind of goods that the man in question manufactures.

Pressure seems to have been exerted in certain directions to have the hearing of the claim postponed, because certain interests here desire to make more out of the imported article than they could possibly make from the Australian product. One would think that after a lapse of twelve months the inquiry would have been about to proceed, but in April last the applicant was informed by the Tariff Board that the inquiry would be held between December, 1958, and February, 1959. In other words, the best part of eighteen months will have elapsed before he gets a hearing. He could quite easily go out of business in that time. I suppose a further considerable period of time will elapse before the board makes its decision. In other words, just on two years will have elapsed from the date of application until a decision is given and, if protection is granted, it is implemented by the Parliament. That is altogether too long. It will give too much of an open go to the people who are importing similar goods and who are forcing out of production a good Australian industry.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Adermann).Order! I remind the honorable gentleman that the Tariff Board was dealt with when the committee debated the proposed vote for the Department of Trade.


– I thought I could deal with the matter under the proposed vote for Miscellaneous Services. I appreciate your generosity, Mr. Chairman. May I protect you by saying that I was merely making a passing reference to the matter! I content myself by saying that I bring that particular case to the notice of the Minister for Trade and the department under his administration. I ask that it be fully reviewed.

Earlier to-day, the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Cleaver) dealt with the subject of national fitness. I was a member of the Social Security Committee which travelled throughout Australia and inquired into the question of national fitness. It can be truthfully said that the only real assistance that has been given to the national fitness campaign was rendered by the Chifley Labour Government, because since that time successive anti-labour governments have been disinterested in this important aspect of our national welfare. This Government might well step up the amount of money that is granted for the campaign. I hope that the dreams of the honorable member for Swan are fulfilled, but, having looked at the record of this Government, I am not certain that one of its last acts before Labour assumes the reins of government will be to do as he wishes. If this Government will not give pensioners an increase of pension, they being the most deserving section of the community, I can hardly see how it will bother to look after the youth of the community generally. 1 conclude by asking the Government to take action on the first two matters that I raised, because grave hardship and suffering are being caused to the persons concerned. Both matters are deserving of attention, and I ask the Government to take note of my comments.


.- I wish to refer to a number of matters which affect the Department of Primary Industry and which come under the proposed vote for Miscellaneous Services. ‘ I have in mind dairying industry investigation, drought relief, extension grants, dairy research, and the annual appropriation of £13,500,000 for bounties and subsidies. The dairying industry is a most important one. As you well know, Mr. Chairman, about £700,000,000 is invested in the industry, including about £50,000,000 invested in the factories. In addition to that investment of capital and all that goes with it, a great social question is involved, because engaged in the industry is a great number of men deriving modest incomes from small holdings. They are to be encouraged. Their participation in the industry is the result of efforts all over the world to keep people on the land and to provide for them prosperous conditions and a good standard of living. So the dairying industry is not to be treated lightly. It is an important part of our economy. It creates a great deal of purchasing power in the community, particularly in the cities, where farm machinery, motor cars, radios, clothing and many other commodities are purchased. I repeat that the dairying industry is quite important, particularly as our economy is trying to survive in the midst of difficulties all over the world.

I want to make sure that the Government /maintains the annual subsidy of £13,500,000. I want to be certain that, although the industry is faced with certain threats, it is given confidence to carry on. Two threats face the industry. The first is the fall in world prices. The price of butter overseas has dropped from more than 400s. a hundredweight to just over 200s. The 50,000 tons of butter that is being exported is bringing us a very much lower realization. Secondly, the industry is confronted by the beginning of a fall in the home consumption of butter. That does not apply to other dairy products such as whole milk, ice-cream and cheese, the consumption of which is steadily .expanding in accord with the dietary needs of an expanding community. The consumption of butter fell from approximately 117,000 tons a few years ago to 114,000 tons last year, and perhaps this year it will fall another 3 per cent.

I come now to the inroads that have been made by margarine on the consumption of butter in Australia. I am glad that honorable members opposite :are interjecting, because it is their line of policy which has led to the present state of affairs. I refer to the action of the New South Government about ten years ago in raising the -margarine quota from 1,248 tons to 2,500 tons. One company was given a very large quota, and other highly reputable companies were given ridiculously small quotas. It appeared that improper influence was used. Some companies - there is no need for me to give their names; they are probably well known - began to produce more than their quota, thus defying the New South Wales Government, and ‘forced that government to take them to court.

Those companies were taken to court by the Department of Agriculture. They asked the department to produce the files relating to the fixing of the quota. The department said that it would produce the files up to, I think, lune, 1951, but not for the next three months. In other words, something improper had occurred which could not be brought before the court. That showed that the New South Wales Labour Government had indulged in some improper practice. Learned counsel then asked for a case to be stated to the High Court in order to ascertain whether a restric tion of the production of margarine was a matter for that court to consider. The matter was before the court for nearly two years, during which time margarine production in New South Wales rose to about 10,000 tons.

An even worse thing happened in Queensland. The then Labour Government of Queensland, faced with an annual consumption of about 900 tons of margarine, said to the dairying industry, “We will fix you properly. What we do with margarine quotas will damage you.” That government fixed the dairying industry in Queensland by raising the quota of margarine in Queensland to 6,000 tons although consumption was much less than 1,000 tons. In that way the Labour Government in Queensland made a vicious attack on the dairying industry. Only now are we feeling the effects, because consumption of margarine in that State has risen considerably. Sales of dairy products from some factories in Queensland have dropped by 20 per cent, in certain areas.

I can point to one aspect of this question by referring to a speech made in this chamber by the honorable member tor Fremantle (Mr. Beazley). In his academic way, the honorable member said it was merely a matter of switching from one group of producers to another. That is not the situation at all. It is a question of putting out of action a great number of people - say, tens of thousands - and starting with one or two factories employing a few hundred men. The nation .has to say whether it is prepared to allow persons to come here from the United States of America - I refer to some big soap manufacturers - to flood this market with margarine and with the sort of advertising which is designed to support the pretence that the goods they produce are as good as the natural wholesome foods produced by the dairying industry.

Let us consider this matter from a dietary point of view. In Australia, we have magnificent young people and athletes. On last Sunday night, eighteen young Australian athletes returned to Australia with 27 world records, and I am glad to say that fifteen of those athletes come from the Sydney milk zone. That fact reflects the quality of the produce of the dairying industry, and the diet that it supplies. At the Olympic

Games, Australian athletes won gold medal after gold medal, because they had had whole milk, butter and ice cream - all the things that the dairying industry produces. Let us look at the other side of the picture. What happens in South-East Asia? It takes fifteen pregnancies to produce two live children. Malnutrition and diseases like scabies are everywhere because there is no dairying industry in South-East Asia. That is the sort of thing that could be brought about in Australia if any harm is done to the dairying industry, which faces a tremendous task not only in producing a diet for the nation but also in keeping a large number of modest people on the land. They play an important part in our economy because the purchasing power of the dairying industry is so important. There is a babble of interjections from the Opposition, because it has been’ the policy of the Australian Labour party to back up margarine, whether corruptly or properly. That party’s action in this respect in New South Wales is deliberately corrupt.

Mr Duthie:

– I rise to a point of order, Mr. Chairman. I object to the statement by the honorable member for Macarthur that the State Labour Government in New South Wales is corrupt.


– Order! It is not the function of the Chair to examine whether statements are correct or not, and since the statement by the honorable member for Macarthur does not reflect on the honorable member for Wilmot, the honorable member may proceed.


– In this connexion, the Government of New South Wales was. corrupt. It was afraid to bring its files before the court. Of course, that statement could be verified from the court proceedings before Mr. Denton, S.M., about 1951 or 1952. The views of the dairying industry were expressed by Mr. Eric Roberts, chairman of the Australian Dairy Farmers Federation, who came here on Tuesday and said - and I am referring to the longterm and short-term views on this problem -

It is necessary for future development to be planned so that production shall be expanded as becomes necessary with the increasing population.

Indiscriminate development of new areas for dairying should not be carried out because of the serious effects it must have not only on the new settlers themselves but on the industry as a whole.

The question of the control of butter substitutes

And I also refer to milk substitutes which the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) referred to this morning - is of the utmost importance for dairy fanners as it is impossible for them to compete on an economic basis with margarine manufacturers.

I do not think that we should allow new producers of margarine to come to Australia and invest their money when they will do so much damage not only to themselves but also to the economy as a whole. Mr. Roberts also said -

It is pleasing to know that the Government is pressing forward a bill for sales promotion and’ research of the dairying industry. I hope it will1 contain a bias towards research into the development of new products and the opening up of new markets.

I cannot say how greatly impressed many of us are and how much we really admire those persons in the dairying industry who have, gone ahead with new products and have taken part in the revolution in merchandising in Australia. They are supplying goods that are well-wrapped for the self-serve markets. That development is appreciated because it provides for the quick and economic disposal of dairy products.

At this moment of world crisis in the butter market, the first thing to do is to ensure that confidence shall be restored to the dairying industry. Members of this Parliament and of other parliaments which are represented in the Australian Agricultural Council must do everything possible to make the industry sound, secure and confident. That can be done. We have the proposals; and we appreciate the words of Mr. George Coombes, of Queensland, because he has had a far-reaching effect on the industry. We believe there should be an ad hoc Commonwealth advisory council for the purpose of restoring, rehabilitating and supporting the dairying industry so that it can carry out the enormous task imposed on it of producing whole milk, butter and ice cream, cheese and all those products which are very important to the national diet.


.- The speech of the honorable member for Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate) was most interesting. He is trying to make such an issue of margarine. If this Government had fulfilled its obligations to the dairying industry and the people of Australia, we would not have any demand at all for margarine in Australia to-day. A recent reputable survey has shown that where they can do so, the dairy-farmers are buying margarine and disposing of their own butter because they realize that the nutritive value of margarine is so high and that it is a good table product. It is difficult to find a market for butter to-day because pensioners and other sections of the community can no longer afford to pay the price that is asked for butter. That is the fault of this Government and of this Government alone. When the Government is prepared to face up to its obligations in this connexion we will not have this pre-election cry of the honorable member for Macarthur. He merely wants to flood his local newspapers with a free pre-election speech in the hope that it will help him in the difficult days ahead of him.

However, I did not rise to talk on those matters to-day. I wish to refer first of all to the procedure that has been imposed on ex-servicemen when they apply for a service pension. Some years ago, the application forms for age and invalid pensions under the Social Services Act were streamlined. Red tape was cut out to a great extent, and to-day the application form for an age pension is fairly simple. An exserviceman may apply for a service pension which is, in effect, an age pension, but it is available at 60 years of age instead of 65 because of war service. However, the applicant for a service pension has to wade through half a dozen forms. He has to get his wife to fill in another form, and then fill in some papers which he gets back from the department. It is a long drawnout procedure. The means test for a service pension is identical with that for an age pension. The only qualification necessary is proof of service in the forces. I suggest that it would be worth while for the Repatriation Department to study the procedure that is followed by the Department of Social Services in relation to applications for age pensions and adapt it to service pensions. It should be possible for the Repatriation Department to grant or reject applications within two or three weeks. As the matter stands, officers of the Repatriation Department almost apologize to applicants for the number of forms that have to be filled in. I ask the Minister for

Immigration (Mr. Downer), who is at present at the table, to convey my suggestion to the Government. It was during the period that the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. McMahon) administered the Social Services portfolio that the pension application forms of that department were streamlined. To-day, an applicant for a service pension has to run around looking for a Justice of the Peace, a member of Parliament, or some other authorized person to witness his signature. Under the Social Services Act, any elector may fulfil that function, and many days are saved in the process. Difficulty in finding an authorized person delays the completion of the application and, if it is successful, the granting of the pension.

I wish now to direct attention to this Government’s attitude in relation to the psychiatric ward at the Dawes-road Repatriation General Hospital in South Australia. I have referred to this matter on numerous occasions, and Senator Critchley in another place has repeatedly asked questions concerning this Cinderella ward. All of the other wards at the hospital are first class, but the psychiatric ward is an old prefabricated building that was erected at the hospital during the war years. The ward is overcrowded; many of the beds are almost touching one another. There is similar overcrowding in the dining room, where patients are required to sit huddled together. When I last raised the matter in this chamber about six months ago, I had subsequently to direct the attention of the Minister to the fact that I had spoken on this subject. It frequently happens in this chamber that Ministers do not take any interest in what is being said. After I had addressed myself to this subject on the last occasion, T wrote to the Minister and asked him what was happening in relation to this ward. Ultimately, I had to send him telegrams.

Unfortunately, the Minister then took ill and the matter was passed over to the Minister for Health (Dr. Donald Cameron), who subsequently replied that the department knew that the ward was outmoded, that a new one was badly needed, and that in due course something would be done about the matter. That reply is not good enough for neurosis patients who need treatment at the hospital. I think the Government should be able to state when the construction of a new ward will be commenced. 1 point out that the present arrangement is unsatisfactory not only to the patients but also to the medical officers and the nurses, who are working under grave difficulties. If anybody deserves consideration, it is the unfortunate sufferer from neurosis who enters a repatriation hospital for treatment. It is not sufficient for the Government to state that it realizes that the present overcrowded, prefabricated structure is unsatisfactory. The Government should get on with the job of providing adequate accommodation. I suggest that two new wards should be constructed, one for the treatment of patients whose condition is not too bad, and the other for those who need much more attention. This would obviate the sending of a number of cases to the State hospitals.

The Government should honour its obligations to the ex-servicemen who badly need psychiatric treatment. I do not think it is too much to ask that a priority should be given in the building programme for a new psychiatric ward, or two wards, at the Dawes Road Repatriation General Hospital.

There is another factor in the present accommodation to which I direct attention. It will soon be summer. When the hot weather arrives, the cooling system in the psychiatric ward is switched on to provide a degree of comfort for the patients. This system comprises an electric fan in conjunction with water-dripping apparatus. It is quite effective, but unfortunately the patients near it receive a cold shower bath. Although that may cool them, it is not a very good amenity in a repatriation hospital, and it does not reflect much credit on this Government.

The honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) and the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) have referred to the practice of the Repatriation Department in obtaining for its files in relation to applicants for war pensions, particulars from the files of various institutions. T support the contention of those honorable members that this practice should be abandoned.

There is another aspect of the war pensions procedure to which I wish to refer. It is difficult to prove what I am about to say but 1 believe that some one gives directions to tribunals to grant only a certain percentage of applications.

Mr Chaney:

– What rot!


– It is all very well for the honorable mmeber to say, “ What rot! “. On one occasion 1 appeared before a tribunal with an applicant. The chairman said that there was no doubt that the evidence had a bearing on the case and that it would receive consideration. He almost committed the tribunal. But what happened? In due course, the appellant was notified that his appeal had been rejected. It seems strange that the chairman should imply from his remarks that the application appeared likely to succeed, and then for it to be rejected. Apparently either the ex-serviceman’s nominee or the representative of the Repatriation Department voted against the chairman. 1 feel that somewhere along the line something has gone wrong with the appeals tribunals. I am sure that the onus-of-proof provision is not being interpreted in the way that was intended.

I come now to the subject of national fitness, about which both the honorable member for Grayndler and the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Cleaver) have had something to say. lt was pleasing to hear the honorable member for Swan put up such a strong case for national fitness, because we on this side of the chamber have repeatedly tried to persuade the Government to do something in this important field. As the honorable member for Grayndler has pointed out, very little has been done to improve the national fitness scheme since it was inaugurated by the Chifley Government. The present Minister for Health is just as disinterested in the scheme as was his predecessor. Just as child endowment has not received sufficient attention in the social services legislation, so has the national fitness scheme been ignored. This Government has shown no interest in it whatsoever. The honorable member for Swan is to be congratulated on pressing home his claim, even at this late stage in the life of this Parliament. I should have liked to hear him criticise the Government during the debate on the Budget last year for its failure to improve the national fitness scheme. We know that nothing much can now be expected in the matter. I ask the Minister for Health, who is at present in the chamber, to consider the request that has been made on numerous occasions by the council of the National Fitness Association to arrange for a meeting of the council once a year, at which he himself would preside. By so doing, the Minister would learn at first hand of the council’s activities, and of its requirements. If the Minister for Health is not prepared to do that, he should give national fitness away and have it excluded from his jurisdiction. The Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer), who is at the table, would be quite a fitting Minister for the job, because he would be prepared to do it. We do need somebody who will take an interest in the national fitness grant. As the honorable member for Swan has indicated, if this Government does not want to do anything about national fitness, it should not make a sham of it; instead it should give national fitness away.

Mr. BOSTOCK (Indi) [2.551.- I wish to draw attention to the condition of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. This national memorial is amongst the best in the world. It is a war museum which contains a very large number of relics and exhibits, of which the nation may well be quite proud. That the memorial has created a great deal of interest is indicated by the numbers of visitors who go through it each year. Last year, 254,295 people visited the memorial, and already in the first six months of this year 192,000 visitors have gone through it. It is confidently expected that by the end of the year at least 300,000 people will have done so. These visitors embrace those distinguished people who come to Australia from time to time, including Her Majesty the Queen Mother.

The Hall of Memory is a unique piece of artistry. There is nothing of that nature in any other museum in the world. It is the work of Mr. Napier Waller, to whom we should all be very grateful. To complete the Hall of Memory the symbolic statuary still has to be put in place. A plaster cast of it has been sent to Milan, and it is expected that the bronze statuary will come here early next year. The bronze doors of the hall are in course of erection now.

Originally, the Australian War Memorial was intended to display only the exhibits and relics of the 1914-18 war. Then, in 1941, its scope was extended to include relics of the 1939-45 war. By an act of the Parliament in 1952, it was determined that the memorial should be a museum for relics of all wars in which Australian forces have participated. As a result of these changes from the original conception of the memorial as a museum of the 1914-18 war, the memorial has become so badly overcrowded now that it is in danger of deteriorating. As an example of that, I might point out that two costly dioramas depicting Tobruk and Shaggy Ridge, which are features of the exhibits of the 1939-45 war, cannot be displayed unless they replace two equally interesting and valuable dioramas of the 1914-18 war.

The decision of 1941 to increase the scope of the Australian War Memorial was followed in 1947 by Government approval of the expenditure of £250,000 for extension of the memorial to provide necessary accommodation. Following that approval in principle in 1947, in 1950 the Government decided to go ahead with the extensions as fast as was practicable, and in 1953 the Minister for the Interior, who was the Minister concerned, asked for details and estimates. Mr. Meldrum prepared a sketch plan and estimated that a suitable extension would cost £210,000. The plan was submitted that year to the Minister and approved by the Government, and in March, 1955, the Minister asked the Department of Works to include the extensions in the draft programme for the year. In point of fact, the extensions were included in the draft programme of works for 1955-56, 1956-57 and 1957-58, but the proposal failed each year to reach a position where it was included in the departmental estimates.

I realize, of course, that a great deal of work is involved and that the Department of Works has to provide all the necessary plans and specifications before the project can be included in the Estimates. But I do stress that the memorial is quite unique. Up to date, it has been completely firstclass, and that is largely due to the efforts of the chairman of the board of management, Dr. Bean. We have now reached a stage where so much time has elapsed since the Government originally approved of the extensions necessary to meet the commitments of the 1939-45 war, that a most important part -of the memorial is in grave danger of deteriorating, which would be a dreadful .pity and, in .my opinion, a national disgrace. :So I. do. ask, with .great earnestness, that the preparatory work .be commenced at once to make available the necessary detailed plans and specifications and whatever else is required, so that this work can appear in next year’s Estimates and be put in hand as quickly as possible. If that is done, it will be at least two years from now before .the accommodation will be available .to enable these valuable exhibits to be displayed to the people to any sort of advantage.

I make this appeal because 1 think tha the Australian War Memorial is doing more to build up a tradition of nationhood than is any other single factor in our country at the present time. It is a great pity that it should ‘reach such a high standard of excellence and then, not for Jack of Government approval but for lack of speed of execution of Government approval, be allowed to deteriorate.


.- There are two matters that I wish to bring briefly to the notice of the committee. They concern the Repatriation Department and the -War Service Homes Division. I do not propose to weary the committee with full details of these two matters, because I shall give that information to the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Cooper) when I interview him at a later stage. But I think honorable members should be aware of some of the .anomalies that exist in the application of the Repatriation Act and the War Service Homes Act.

Last week, the case of an ex-serviceman was brought to my notice. This man, by reason of -his war service, had to obtain hospital treatment. He was discharged 100 per cent, incapacitated. Subsequently he returned to hospital for another thirteen months. He was ultimately classified as a “ B “ pension with 100 per cent, disability. This man is anxious to obtain free medical treatment for his wife, which is .’provided for under the Repatriation Act, but he is disqualified because -he -did not apply for this free medical treatment before October, 1955. He was not aware that any one who did not apply before October, 1955, would be excluded from the provisions of the Re patriation Act so far as -they concerned free medical treatment for pensioners’ wives. On the one hand, a man who notified the .department prior to October, 1955, can obtain free medical treatment for his wife, while on the other hand, another man with .possibly longer and more meritorious service .cannot obtain .-this free medical treatment because he was not aware that -he had to apply before October, 1955. That is an invidious distinction to make between two ex-servicemen.

Turning now to the question of war service -homes, I have here a certificate of discharge of a man who served in the forces for -two years and -307 days. He was discharged medically unfit for service. His certificate of discharge indicates that he had continuous full-time service, and that after deducting non-effective service, he served for 1,037 days, including active service ‘for 541 days in Australia, but no active service .outside Australia. However, he was committed to undertake active service outside Australia if required. He is now denied a war service home because he did not see service outside Australia.

Mr Bowden:

– The honorable member stated ‘that , the ex-serviceman ‘was in an operational area in Australia, which would make him eligible for a war service home.


– Well, ‘this man has assured me that he cannot get a war service home. He has told me that two men of his acquaintance, one who served in the Army, and one who served in the Air Force, but who have never been outside Australia, are to-day living in war service homes. How can the Government justify that anomaly? I shall make available to the Minister for Repatriation and .the Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner) full particulars regarding -the matters I have raised. What applies to one man under a .given set of circumstances should apply with equal force to all others with similar qualifications, but apparently this is not so. I trust that the responsible Ministers will take some action to remedy the injustices that I have outlined.


.- The item in the Estimates that I wish to discuss is the .allocation of bounties to the dairying industry. This year, the Government is again making available £13.500.000 to enable the people of Australia to purchase their butter at about ls. per lb. less than they would otherwise have to pay. There is a great deal of misunderstanding about this particular item on account of the complicated method of its distribution through the Australian Dairy Produce Equalization Committee, which subsidizes the butter factories in order to allow them to make a higher payment to the dairyfarmer than would be possible on the return from butter sales at present ruling prices.

Since it has been in office, this Government has made £138,000,000 available for this purpose. In addition, it has made yearly grants to the States for extension work, and to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization for research. The Government intends to bring down a bill this session to extend the scope of the Australian Dairy Produce Board so that it can engage in sales promotion in our best market, namely the local market, and research into possible new products and new markets. I do not intend to go into that aspect now, as I covered it in my speech on the Budget, and the actual facts of stabilization in this industry are now very well known to anybody who has any interest in the industry.

I want to direct the attention of honorable members to the fact that dairy-farmers are alarmed at the present trend in world prices. They are also concerned at the competition from edible oils and the effect that these things will have on their future incomes, and perhaps their future existence. Representing as T do the richest dairying centres in Australia - the Buln Buln, Tanjil, and South Gippsland areas - these things are of vital concern to me because they are the concern of my constituents - not only the dairy-farmers, but the business and professional people who have established themselves in those areas on an assumption of a certain standard of prosperity because of the nature of the districts.

I think this committee should know that in the last few weeks there have been five major public meetings in Victoria to discuss this very question. The first one was at Warragul, in which district there is a greater concentration of the dairying industry than anywhere else in Australia. It has more cows to the acre, produces more milk to the acre, has a greater investment per acre than any other part, and they have shown, by their actions, that they have more interest than any other part. This particular meeting was attended by some 500 people. Not only dairy-farmers, but business people, also attended it.

The meeting was addressed by Mr. Eric Roberts, who occupies a unique position in the industry in that he has been a member of just about every committee that has had any hand in negotiating with the Government on matters affecting the industry. He set out very fairly the actual situation, and affirmed the fact that the Government has completely fulfilled its obligations to the industry under the agreements it has made with the industry. He did say that the present plan is not quite the one that the industry set out to achieve in 1952, and he emphasized that the maintenance of bounty is an essential factor if living standards of dairy farmers and country people dependent upon the industry are to he maintained.

At the conclusion of the meeting, a resolution was passed urging the Government to grant additional bounty to cover increased costs and so honour the spirit of the stabilization plan. I should like to read the relevant part of the actual resolution passed at the end of that meeting. It is -

  1. . We consider that the present bounty allocation will not be sufficient to give producers cost of production on that portion coming within the guarantee under the terms of the five-year Dairy Stabilization Plan without a price increase on the home market of a magnitude calculated to have a depressing effect on the level of Australian consumption.

We strongly urge the Federal Government to reconsider its decision not to increase subsidy allocation of £13,500,000 to assist in meeting the cost of production for the 1958-59 season.

Mr Daly:

– You are putting up a good case for a change of government.


– I am putting up the case of these people.

Mr Brand:

– Not for a change of government.


– No. I am taking the opportunity to put the case for these people. This Government is taking the necessary action to see that the industry gets the conditions it needs for rehabilitation.

The attitude of the dairymen attending these meetings is that the Government has an obligation to maintain the relative standard of living of those engaged in the industry, according to the spirit of the 1952 agreement; that is, to see that each year there would be sufficient money coming to the Australian Dairy Stabilization Committee to enable it to return the found cost - or guaranteed price - for that portion of the total production which is represented by the home consumption, plus 20 per cent.

Other meetings have been held in other districts. There was one at Thorpdale. Three hundred people attended a meeting at Traralgon, at which the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden) was present. There was a meeting at Colac. Another meeting was held at Warrnambool. The honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) was present at that meeting, and it was attended by over 1,000 people, on one of the bleakest nights this winter, following a power failure that had seriously disrupted work on the local farms that day. Another meeting is to be held at Korumburra on Monday night next, and I believe one is being called at Boolarra very soon.

The point I want the committee to consider is just where the dairying industry does rate in our community. Have we given enough thought to the fundamental character of its support of our national economy, and have we done as much to protect it as we would have done if it were a secondary industry of comparable size? it we take a look at a map of Australia, we see that dairying is distributed right down our coastline from Cairns to the Eyre Peninsula, and that there is another patch in the south-western district of Western Australia. All over Australia, settlement has been made possible, towns have been established and great centres have grown round the initial efforts of our pioneers to develop this vast continent.

The value of the milk output is something like £140,000,000, on the farms, and we could add at least 50 per cent, to that figure in arriving at some estimate of the wholesale value of this industry to Australia. It is estimated that the capital invested in dairy farms is £700,000,000, and that at least another £50,000,000 is invested in milk depots and processing plants. On farms and in factories, the industry probably finds sustenance for upwards of 600,000 persons, whilst it contributes substantially to many additional thousands in the production of farm and factory requisites, and in the transport and handling of dairy products in general.

Although it is customary to look upon wool as our most important industry, it is very doubtful whether it is of as great importance, from an overall national point of view, as dairying. The wool industry certainly does not provide employment for as many people, and it is not to be compared with dairying as an avenue for decentralization. In fact, except for the capital cities, one or two cities and towns in large industrial areas, and the sugar areas of Queensland, the great bulk of the cities and towns in Australia’s coastal belt are mainly dependent for their existence on this great industry.

The Australian farmer is well known for his resourcefulness and ability to overcome the ever-recurring vicissitudes of farm life. He is constantly readjusting himself to the changing factors in his fight for existence, and I have no doubt he will adapt himself to the conditions that are confronting him now.

As a government, we are not able to do very much in the way of controlling world prices, which are what is affecting the dairyman most at the moment, but, on the facts that I have stated as to the relative importance of dairying as a way of life, as well as an important factor in our economy, it might be as well for the Australian Agricultural Council, which consists of the State Ministers for Agriculture, meeting under the chairmanship of our own Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. McMahon), to make a thorough appraisal of the damage that has already been done to the industry by the impact of that cheap substitute for butter - margarine.

At best, margarine is only a substitute. It provides very little employment. It is largely a by-product of the great soap manufacturers, although I note that in Queensland they are now using up the waste fats from the meat works and passing off a glorified beef dripping on a longsuffering public that is hoodwinked by completely misleading and unscrupulous advertising. The Agricultural Council maintains a quota system for table margarine, limiting production, under licence, to 16,072 tons a year, but this limit is being flagrantly broken by the lack of uniformity in State laws.

The quantity being sold for table use is almost certainly considerably more than 16,000 tons, hut even that quantity would make a great deal of difference if it was transferred to butter sales. It could well bo, Mr. Adermann, that the Agricultural Council should consider very seriously the imposition of a total ban on its manufacture for table purposes. The Agricultural Council should most certainly insist upon the manufacturers stating what the stuff is made of, and should agree on uniform laws in regard to labelling and advertising. At the very least, the council should impose strict quotas on the production of cooking or industrial shortening in less than 14-Tb. blocks.

  1. R. FRASER (Australian Capital Territory) [3.25]. - The honorable member for McMillan (Mr. Buchanan), who speaks with authority on these matters, always puts a reasonable case and does not speak with the vehemence or exhibit the animus of some other honorable members who represent country electorates, and who attempt to blame us on this side for everything that goes wrong with their industries. It is perfectly true that there is a crisis facing the dairying industry in the production and sale of butter, but similar difficulties have been faced and overcome by other rural industries of this country. The honorable member, I think, spoilt a good speech by suggesting at the close of his remarks that the Government should impose a complete ban on the production of eating margarine and place a very strict limit on the production of commercial margarine or industrial shortening. I do not think I have ever heard of the wool growers - represented here largely by the Country party - suggesting a ban on the use of nylon or other artificial fibres of that kind. In fact, I think most of them wear nylon socks, and that is to their credit.
Mr Daly:

– And synthetic suits.


– I have heard of that one, too. There is a great need to answer the charge made by the honorable member for Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate), who imputed to the party on this side, a desire to promote the sale ot margarine and to destroy the dairying industry. Such a charge is completely false. Such a charge should not be made in this chamber by an honorable member who knows when he makes it that what he is saying is not in accordance with truth, as can be demonstrated. I think it is perfectly true to say that the dairy farmers of Australia owe a very great deal to the Labour party in the federal sphere. In the years during the war, and immediately after the war, it was a federal Labour government that helped to put the dairying industry of this country on its feet. They changed it from a depressed industry to one in which reasonable prosperity could be attained. F believe that the return of a Labour government would ensure that that process would continue.

If we followed to a logical conclusion the illogical remarks of the honorable member for Macarthur, who has made such a bitter attack upon the Labour party, and if we were to adopt the proposal of the honorable member for McMillan, we would be saying to the hundreds and thousands of people in this country who are on the lower incomes, or in receipt of pensions, “ Although you cannot afford to buy butter, we will not allow you to buy margarine “. That sort of argument is completely wrong. A solution of this problem must be found, but it is not to be found in the suggestions that have been made by these two honorable members. Butter to-day has priced itself out of the homes of many people in Australia. Thousands of people simply cannot afford to buy butter. It is perfectly true, as the honorable member for Kingston (Mr. Galvin) said, and as will be admitted even by honorable members who speak for the dairying industry, that a poll taken of dairy farmers shows that the majority sell the whole of their butter and buy margarine for their own home use.


– On what do you base that statement?


– The honorable member for Wannon, who has lately come into this Parliament to represent an electorate previously represented by my friend, Don McLeod, and who himself bears an illustrious name, can check the facts for himself, or he can check them with the honorable member for Macarthur, who will tell’ him that What I have said is true.

There is a> distinct difference between the production of table margarine and the production of commercial margarine. That distinction was made by the honorable member for McMillan. It must not be forgotten that commercial margarine, as it is known, contains, as the honorable memberfor McMillan knows, approximately 80 per cent, of beef fat. If we urge the elimination of that product, are We not inflicting injury on another primary industry? I suggest that it is possible for this Government, the State governments and the dairying industry between them to find a solution of this problem and ensure that the dairying industry will continue to receive the support that it should receive and that people will be enabled to buy a product that they need at a price which they can afford to pay,

I want to refer briefly to several matters affecting the Prime Minister’s Department which come under the proposed vote for Miscellaneous Services. I refer first, to payments made for flood, fire or cyclone damage relief. It has always seemed to me to be an anomaly that the Federal Government - I suppose that all governments act in the same way - will come to the aid of those who suffer loss provided that the loss affects a sufficient number of individuals. If one man’s home is destroyed by a bush fire, that seems to be treated as just bad luck. If one man’s crop is destroyed by hail, that is his misfortune. If one man’s farm is swept away in a flood, that is just too bad; he can bear the loss himself.

Governments are impressed by numbers, and, of course, public sympathy is affected by numbers too. If 1 00 farms are destroyed by a bush fire, if 100 farms are ravaged by flood or if 100 crops are destroyed by hail, then the Federal Government comes in and says, “ We will make a grant “, and it does so, perhaps on a £1 for £1 basis with the State government. But each of those 100 farmers or orchardists has suffered no more than the person whose home has been destroyed by a fire, whose crops have been washed away by a flood or whose orchard has been devastated by hail. I think that once again the suggestion should be made, and considered by this Government, that there should be an insurance scheme tocover such disasters, not only when they involve scores or hundreds of primary producers or others, but also when they involve only an indivdual, because he suffers just as ‘much when only his farm is destroyed by fire, only his crops are washed away by a flood or only his orchard is ravaged by hail as he would if 90 or 100 other farms were affected, lt seems to me that there is a responsibility on the Federal Government and the State governments to provide funds - perhaps on a contributory basis - so that recompense can be made to indivduals who suffer losses. The loss is just as great for the individual whether he is the only one affected or is one of ten or one of 100.

I do not want- to take up any more time. I just wished to refer to that one point and to suggest that the Government give consideration, as has been suggested in the past, to establishing a fund - it could be called a national disaster fund - from which assistance could be given in cases where a fire, a flood, a cyclone or other happening caused losses, particularly to those engaged in primary production.


.- I want to speak on a matter which I believe is of importance, particularly to the inmates of the repatriation general hospital at Concord. Since the decision was taken to ban liveartist concerts at the Yaralla Repatriation Hospital, I have been making representations to the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Cooper) to have these concerts restored. I pay a tribute to the Minister for his courtesy, and also for his great personal interest in this matter. He has even gone to the extent of attending a concert at Yaralla personally in an endeavour to get to the root of the problem.

With my experience of repatriation hospitals and the returned servicemen’s league, I cannot understand why this ban was imposed only at the repatriation general hospital at Concord. In Queensland, Victoria and South Australia, live-artist concerts are permitted to be held weekly in repatriation general hospitals generally for periods of one and a half to two hours duration. If such shows have the effect on the patients at Concord which we are led to believe, why do they not have the same effect on the patients in other repatriation hospitals throughout Australia? I believe that the patients looked forward immensely to the live-artist concerts which were held in the Concord hospital. Undoubtedly the patients are well catered for with picture shows, and just recently television sets have been installed. They have quite substantial amenities, but I believe that what they enjoy most is seeing artists in the flesh.

Inquiries have revealed that in South Australia, Queensland and Victoria such concerts have no harmful effect upon patients. Why, then, are they banned in New South Wales? Is it because the information supplied to the Minister caused him to make an incorrect decision in this case? The Government might well consider setting up a committee of Deputy Commissioners of Repatriation from all States, including New South Wales, so that the matter can be fully investigated. We should have in all repatriation hospitals a uniform policy that will enable these concerts to be held in New South Wales, as elsewhere. I am sure that would be a great comfort to the patients who look forward so eagerly to these concerts.

The present arrangements do not satisfy the great body of ex-servicemen in New South Wales. The matter was discussed at the recent federal congress of the returned soldiers’ league. I have the honour to represent an electorate in which there are two of the largest league sub-branches of ex-servicemen in Sydney. The members of those branches have repeatedly asked me to ensure that the present arrangements at Concord are altered and the concerts restored.

The Minister for Repatriation (Senator Cooper) on 8th August, conveyed to me the heartening news that present arrangements did not necessarily represent future policy, but the essence of the matter is speed, and for some months now patients at Concord have been denied the pleasure of attending these concerts. I do urge the Minister to set up a committee which will ascertain why concerts can be held in other States but not in New South Wales. Surely the deputy commissioners and medical superintendents in all States have similar knowledge and experience of these matters, and a similar kind of patient to look after.

So far from having any ill effects, the concerts have, I am informed, great moralebuilding value. That being so, a committee of the kind which I have suggested should be set up at once in order to investigate the matter and restore the concerts at the earliest possible moment.

Smith · Kingsford

– I wish to discuss a matter which would doubtless come under the heading, “ Miscellaneous Services “. I refer to the destruction of Commonwealth property and the interference with the comfort and welfare of surrounding residents which is taking place on the old Randwick rifle range. Some eight years ago a licensee, K. C. Styles, commenced to remove sand from this area, which is bound by Bundock-street. Moverley-road, Elphinstonestreet, and the Randwick naval stores. The pattern of operations has been consistently the same. Vegetation is cleared, the overburden is pushed to one side by a bulldozer and the clean white sand beneath is then carted out by trucks.

Mr Aston:

– You are behind the times. I have had the Minister out to look at the area!


– I want the Minister to have another look at it and see that the licensee carries out his obligations. The honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Aston) has failed the residents of the area in this matter. The licence requires progressive restoration, by grading and planting grass as each section is worked, but the department has never forced the licensee to comply with that requirement.

Mr Aston:

– That is not right, either.


– Almost the whole area has been denuded of vegetation, and the dirty sand left behind drifts freely in all directions, to the serious detriment and nuisance of a large number of residents, many of whom have paid £4,000 and £5,000 for their homes. The residents have complained to me of the very serious position which obtains during windy weather. In some cases evacuation to the homes of relatives and friends has been necessary. Sand has penetrated into dwellings despite all efforts to keep it out. There has been damage to exterior and interior paintwork, soft furnishings and carpets. Ceilings have been caked with sand and black dust. Meals have sometimes to be eaten in bedrooms because dining rooms facing the area are uninhabitable. Even worse, sand and dirt has been blown into the adjacent school and has affected children’s lunches and play. Noisy tractors disturb the rest of residents before daylight, both during the week and at weekends. There is an endless stream of huge sand trucks to and from the area. Local residents have to meet the cost of repairing damaged streets. The person responsible for the damage pays no rates.

In July or August, 1956, Mr. J. Innes Brett agreed to meet Mr. W. J. Aston, M.P., the licensee K. C. Styles, and residents’ representatives on the site. In view of the supposed impartiality of the department, residents were surprised to see the departmental officer arrive and depart from the conference in the licensee’s limousine. At the meeting it was pointed out - in the face of denials by the licensee - that the electricity commission had been asked to supply fly ash as filling for the site. We do not want fly ash in that area! Two years have gone by and the department has done nothing more. At that meeting, the licensee-

Mr Aston:

– Why does not the honorable member allow me to tell him what has happened in the meantime?


– I have seen this area and I do not need to be told that nothing has been done. At the meeting in question, the licensee, with the approval of the departmental representative, gave a firm assurance that positive steps would be taken to restore the area. That was in 1956. This is 1958.


– Order! To what vote is the honorable member referring?


– I am referring to the destruction of Commonwealth property, about which I am most concerned as the protector of the property. The licensee further undertook that 25 per cent, of the opened-up area would be covered each year, so that it would all be finished within a period of four years. Two years have gone by and nothing has been done. As had been the case with all previous undertakings given, the licensee did not honour that undertaking, nor did the department see that it was honoured. What is going on, Mr. Chairman? Is there some col lusion between the department and the licensee? Ugly rumours are current, and I am very concerned about the matter. A letter from the South Coogee Progress Association states -

On 13th October, 1957, residents once again held a meeting which was attended by Mr. W. J. Aston, M.P., who, on 30th October 1957, accompanied by the Minister, the Hon. Allen Fairhall, the Chief Property Officer for New South Wales, Mr. R. Snellgrove, and the departmental officer . . inspected the area. . . .

Despite the statements of the honorable member for Phillip, Mr. Snellgrove, the Chief Property Officer, stated at that meeting that proper departmental supervision of the property had not been carried out, but that in the future, strict compliance with the terms of the licence would be insisted on by the department. The letter goes on to state -

On 3rd December, 1957 the Minister wrote as per copy of letter enclosed. Residents’ requirements did not coincide with the solution proposed by the Minister.

The attitude of the residents was that a serious nuisance was being caused to them and that a private person was being allowed to ruin property belonging to the Commonwealth, worth easily £250,000. 1, as the protector of that property, am very concerned in the matter. The residents have demanded that, because of the apparent inability or lack of desire on the part of the department properly to supervise the property, the licence should be cancelled. I also demand that the Minister take action in that direction.

As the residents point out, steps should be taken to plant grass on a margin of 500 feet from all respective boundaries, this margin to be extended as rapidly as possible, and the work of final grading and grassing to be completed within a period of nine months. The residents felt that the Minister’s proposition should be given a trial, and they decided to wait and see whether his proposal would eliminate the nuisance. ‘ Unfortunately, the Minister’s proposition has failed, as did that of the departmental officers.

One of the residents made arrangements for the licensee to be supplied with all the grass runners that would be required, but the licensee dismissed the arrangement with a wave of his hand. Mr. Snellgrove’s letter completely misstated the true position.

Apparently, he, too, got somewhat off the line. The Progress Association letter states -

Firstly, no re-grading or grass planting was proceeded as he claimed Although we have been patiently waiting to see signs of “ the licensee’s energies on the major work”, no further re-grading of the area has been carried out since.

The residents of the district are concerned because of the ruination of Commonwealth property. According to present departmental plans, by the time the licensee has completed operations on this area, a large proportion of the land will be worth considerably less than it was worth before operations commenced. We find that there is to be a steep drop in levels of approximately 600 feet west of Moverly-road down to the existing level of the land on which the naval stores are built. There is to be a 600-foot depression. That is what is to happen after these excavators and, may I add, racketeers, get to work on the sand hills.

The residents find it hard to understand how it is that this Commonwealth property is being exploited in a manner to suit the convenience and profit of the licensee, with complete and callous disregard for the health and convenience of the residents, particularly the children. The letter goes on -

As it must be agreed that the licensee and departmental officers have had adequate opportunities to give tangible evidence of a sincere effort-

We only want to see a sincere effort being made - to abate the nuisance being caused, and have barely even attempted to do so we appeal to you, Sir, as the representative of the Kingsford-Smith electorate .to take any steps within your power to-

  1. Have removal of any further sand from the Randwick Rifle Range completely suspended forthwith, and
  2. Have complete rehabilitation of the area proceeded with immediately. (Please accept our thanks far your interest and consideration in this matter . . ..

Interest and consideration which were not shown, may I say, by the honorable member for Phillip when he promised all kinds of things in regard to the rehabilitation of these properties. I demand that my constituents in the area be given the consideration that their case merits. I want to know why it is that the Minister for the Interior has not shown the concern that one might expect in regard to a property worth at least £250,000. I hope that he will give it his attention immediately and have arrangements made for the excavations to be filled in. I make a special plea for the children in the area. Their health merits every possible consideration.


.- 1 wish to devote only about five minutes to the question of subsidies. The honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr. J. R. Fraser) quite temperately chided this side of the committee for speaking with some vehemence in accusing certain members of the Labour party of howling every time that mention is made of a reduction in the manufacture and consumption o’f margarine. That is perfectly true. But the honorable member cannot deny that certain Labour members, like old war horses scenting the battle from afar, hope to benefit during the forthcoming general election campaign from the temporary inconvenience of the dairy-farmer. If they take their minds back a few years, they will remember that a similar attempt was made before, and that nobody believed them. They did not get anywhere with it. T want to bring them up to date.

The honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), who is not in the chamber at the moment, falsely claimed that the whole trouble with the dairying industry today could be laid at the door of this Government. I point out that when Labour was in power it had an arrangement on the basis of a guaranteed home-consumption price, plus 20 per cent, export, but in those days the 20 per cent, export never exceeded the home consumption. Therefore, the whole of the production came under the guarantee. That was a situation totally different from the present one. The trouble to-day is that overseas prices are low and the consumption of margarine in Australia has increased. There is no other cause of the troubles of the dairymen.

Mr Ward:

– They are complaining about their living standards.


– Order! I ask the honorable member for East Sydney to be quiet.


– The dairymen to-day are not complaining about .the temporary position in which they find themselves.

They are anxious that their industry should have permanent stability and should not just be bolstered from year to year by temporary means.

Mr Duthie:

– They want a bit of socialism.


– 1 shall tell the honorable member now about the bit of socialism that the people of New Zealand are getting from the Labour Government there. I particularly want to mention this so that the dairy-farmers will never be caught by chaff - though Opposition members always seem to be trying to feed it to them. The example of New Zealand indicates just what the dairy-farmers can expect from socialist governments. I do not blame the New Zealand Government for what lias been done, .because the economic position in New Zealand may have made it necessary. The Labour Government there obtained the agreement of the dairy-farmers to a reduction of 10 per cent, in the guaranteed price, with emphasis on the fact that any difference between the actual return from exports and the guaranteed price would be met by a government loan to the industry - a loan made to a body equivalent to the Commonwealth Dairy Produce Equalization Committee Limited in Australia, and incurring interest and repayments of capital. That is’ in contrast to the subsidy paid by this Government, which is a gift to the Australian dairy industry. That indicates the difference between the Labour approach to the problem and ours.

Mr Ward:

– The honorable member is supposed to be supporting the Government’s approach.


– Certainly I support it, and for very good reasons.

Mr Ward:

– He now appears to be criticizing it.


– I am not criticizing it. I am criticizing the honorable member, and I shall never run out of material that would enable me to criticize him as long as I can stand on my feet.

I have indicated the difference between the socialist approach to the problem and ours. I remember when Labour was in office before. Conditions then were not identical with present conditions, because there was a war on, but it was frankly stated in this chamber that Labour’s attitude was that the farmer was not entitled to any more than the basic wage paid to his employees, plus 25s. a week as an allowance .for managerial work and a little more to meet interest on the capital invested in his farm equipment. In addition, Labour expected the farmer to work a 56-hour week when every one else was expected to work only a 40-hour week. The farmers will not forget that overnight. I should not like any of my constituents to forget it.

In order to help their own big business people, several countries are trying their best to meet the overloading of the world’s only free market for butter by increasing local consumption. In Holland, consumption of butter is only 6 lb. a head a year, whereas consumption in Australia, at its lowest, is 26.85 lb. a head. In Denmark, which is a great butter-producing country, consumption is only 10 lb. a head a year, and in the United States of America, 9 lb. a head. If the consumption per capita in the United States were as high as -that in Australia, the United States would not have a single pound of butter for export. The whole of its production would be consumed at home. Because the populations of these producing countries do not consume all of the butter that they produce, and because these countries export their surplus to the world’s only free market for butter, a glut has been created in that market. This is a problem to all of these big producers. I heard only the other day that Finland bought cheaply a lot of American butter with a moisture content not acceptable on the British market, but acceptable to ‘the people of Finland, and exported the whole of the Finnish production to England, with serious consequences for Australian, Swedish, Danish and other producers.

There we have the reasons why the dairying industry is in difficulties at the moment. A permanent solution is needed, and the finding of such a solution presents the real problem. Certainly, the Australian dairyfarmers want a little help from the Government to tide them over this period, but they are really looking for a permanent solution to their problems. It would be no permanent solution to reduce production on existing farms. One permanent solution would be to refrain from bringing any additional dairy farms into production.

This is where the States and the Commonwealth could do much by co-ordinating their approach. The Commonwealth is trying to discourage the establishment of additional dairy farms in new areas, and the States are defying it and breaking up more land for the establishment of additional dairy farms. This only accentuates the difficulties that the producers are experiencing at present.

I assure Opposition members, who think that the dairy-farmers are down and out and can be exploited for the benefit of the Australian Labour party, that any such idea is the greatest mistake in the world. The dairy-farmers are not down and out. They are not likely to be down and out. They are simply asking for help in finding a permanent solution to their difficulties in order to prevent the same problem from recurring year after year. The measures that I have mentioned would enable the dairyfarmers ultimately to stand on their own feet. They certainly do not want the Government to bolster them year after year. I strongly urge Opposition members to remember these things and to forget the idea that the dairy-farmers have their hands out, begging. The Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) bracketed them with the pensioners in a recent speech, in which he promised that he would see that the primary producers and the pensioners got a fair deal. From whose point of view would it be a fair deal - from that of the producers or from his?

Mr Ward:

– Does not the honorable member think that they should get a fair deal?


– They are getting it, but I am afraid that they would not get it from the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr Turnbull:

– Of course they would not.


– I agree. The Leader of the Opposition is simply using this present little upset in order to put over an election stunt in the hope of winning votes. But he will not win votes in that way.

The Australian Labour party is living up to the promise that was made in the early days of the Twenty-second Parliament by the honorable member for Melbourne, who, speaking for the Australian Labour party, promised that Labour would not co-operate with the Government in anything, either good or bad. Labour is certainly living up to that promise and, when something goes wrong because of its failure to co-operate and to help, Opposition members have the hide and the temerity to blame the Government. We shall not forget these things. The honorable member for Melbourne, who is Deputy Leader of the Opposition, had the effrontery to make that promise that I have mentioned immediately after the public, by an overwhelming vote, had chosen the Liberal party and the Australian Country party to carry on the Government. That promise indicates the lack of responsibility of members of this chamber who claim to represent here 50 per cent, of the people. I hope that the dairymen and the other primary producers will not be deceived by the purpose behind the specious election promises made by the Leader of the Opposition. (Several honorable members rising in their places -

Motion (by Dr. Donald Cameron) put -

That the question be now put.

The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. C. F. Adermann.) Ayes . . . . 58



Progress reported.






Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Proposed votes agreed to.

page 1159


Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 6); Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference) Amendment (No. 3); Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Amendment (No. 3); Excise Tariff Amendment (No. 2)

In Committee of Ways and Means:

Minister for Air · Evans · LP

– I move -

That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1958, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the fourteenth day of August, One thousand nine hundred and fifty-eight, be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals, and that on and after the twelfth day of September, One thousand nine hundred and fifty-eight, 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 1933-1958 as so amended. By omitting Prefatory Note (6) and inserting in its stead the following Prefatory Note: - "(6) " F.O.B. pi ice" means free on board price and means - the amount comprising the actual money price paid or to be paid for the goods by the Australian importer plus all charges payable or ordinarily payable for placing the goods free on board at the port of export including the cost of outside packages expressed in Australian currency; or in the case of goods consigned for sale in Australia, the amount which in the opinion of the Minister represents the money price which at the date of exportation of the goods would have been paid or would have been payable for the goods by an Australian importer plus all charges which would have been paid or would have been payable for placing the goods free on board at the port of export including the cost of outside packages had those goods been sold to an Australian importer expressed in Australian currency or its equivalent in Australian currency ascertained according to a fair rate of exchange at the date of exportation of the goods." By omitting Prefatory Note (13) and inserting in its stead the following Prefatory Note: - " (13) Unless the Tariff otherwise provides, or the Minister otherwise directs, the term " man-made fibres " means fibres or filaments of organic *polymers* produced by manufacturing processes, either - by polymerisation or condensation of organic monomers, for example, polyamides polyesters, polyurethanes and polyvinyl derivatives; or by chemical transformation of natural organic polymers (such as cellulose, casein, proteins and algae), for example, viscose rayon, cuprammonium rayon (cupra) cellulose acetate and alginates." [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 6).]

page 1159


[Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference) Amendment (No. 3).]

That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference) 1934-1 958, be amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals, and that on and after the twelfth day of September, One thousand nine hundred and fifty-eight, 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 (Canadian Preference) 1934-1958 as so amended. [Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Amendment (No. 3).] That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) 1933-1958 be amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals, and that on and after the twelfth day of September, One thousand nine hundred and fifty-eight, 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) 1933-1958 as so amended. (Excise Tariff Amendment (No. 2).] That the Schedule to the Excise Tariff 1921-1938 be amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals, and that on and after the twelfth day of September, One thousand nine hundred and dirty-eight, at five o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Australian Capital Territory, Duties of Excise be collected in pursuance of the Excise Tariff .1921-1938 as so amended. **Mr. Chairman,** the four Tariff Proposals I have just presented to the committee will operate from to-morrow morning. They propose various amendments to the schedules to the - {:#subdebate-31-0} #### Customs Tariff 1933-1958; {:#subdebate-31-1} #### Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference) 1934-1958; {:#subdebate-31-2} #### Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) 1933-1958; and {:#subdebate-31-3} #### Excise Tariff 1921-1958 The " Summary of Alterations " which is now being circulated to honorable members sets out in convenient form the proposed rates of duty as compared with those now in operation. Broadly the proposed variations in Customs Tariff Proposals No. 6 can be divided into two groups - those arising from recommendations of the Tariff Board and those of an administrative nature. The amendments arising from Tariff Board recommendations cover capstan- and' turret lathes, slide fasteners of the progressive interlocking type, metal clamps, hairdressers' and opticians' chairs, dental chairs, dental units, cotton yarns: and staple fibre yarns. I shall, at. a later stage, table the relevant Tariff. Board reports. Duties of 20 per cent. British preferential' tariff and 271 per cent, intermediate tariff are proposed: in respect of capstan an'di turret- lathes which- have previously not. been subject to' protective rates of duty, whilst on other lathes now covered by protective item- 176 (c) (3) the British preferential' tariff- duty of 1 5 per cent, is being increased to 20 per cent. Oh' slide fasteners of the progressive interlocking type, and: parts thereof, the; existing duties of 174- per cent. British preferential tariff and 50 per' cent', general' tariff have been' varied to a* sliding scale basis'. In the main this will represent at lowering1 of" existing duties on high-priced, fasteners' and parts, and' increased duties, on cheaper, fasteners and parts-. Om metal clamps, other, than "C " or " G " clamps* of' malleable- iron castings, duties- of . 27i per cent-. British? preferential tariff) and) 37,i per cent, intermediate tariff are: proposed. On the malleable iron " G " or "G" clamps the duties will be at the non-protective rates of free British preferential tariff and 74 per cent, intermediate tariff. The new duties on hairdressers', opticians' and dental chairs are designed to provide increased protection against low-priced imported chairs. The- existing duties" have lost much of their protective value since the time when they were imposed, which was in the' 1930s. The ad valorem" duties of 274- per cent. British preferential tariff and 45' per cent, intermediate- and general, tariffs on dental units remain unchanged. The existing alternative fixed-rate duties which apply under- the intermediate tariff and general tariff have ceased to be effective and are, therefore, being removed. The existing protective duties on cotton yarns are1 being varied to give effective protection against low-priced- yarns in certain counts, that is to say, of certain thicknesses. At the- same time there is a reduction in the protection given to Australian manufacturers of coarse count yarns. Australian manufacturers are well established in thisfield,, and: in- the Tariff Board's- opinion do not need the full level of protection given by' the present duties. Protective duties- are proposed for the first time in' respect of yarns containing more than 50" per cent, by weight of viscose, acetate or viscose and acetate rayon staple fibre. Some twenty or so drafting changes are proposed in the textile and yarn items of the tariff to- give effect to the suggestion made by the Tariff Board, in an earlier report on artificial silk piece goods, that the term "artificial silk" should be replaced throughout' the tariff by the term "man* made fibres ". This change will bring the* tariff nomenclature into line' with current trade practice. A consequential amendment to- the thirteenth prefatory note to the Customs- Tariff is also being made. {: #subdebate-31-3-s0 .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr OSBORNE:
LP -- lt is to give added protection to Australian, industry to ensure an increased capacity within the Australian economy to employ Australian citizens. As I mentioned previously, there is also a< series of amendments of an administrative nature; Prefatory Note- No. 6, relating to the1 definition- of " By-laws ", is omitted as redundant, as- similar provisions are- contained in section 271 of the Customs- Act. A new Prefatory Note No. 6 defines the term " F:O.B. price ",' wherever used in the tariff, Previously, free on Board price has been, defined" in a number of individual items of the tariff. Redundant provisions in Tariff Item 334 (c)' are being deleted. These provisions related to an additional duty on newsprint when the imported cost of newsprint fell below £15 a ton. While the overseas price of newsprinting paper remains at its present level; there is no possibility of the additional duty being brought into operation. Honorable members may recall that the additional duties on newsprint were associated with the newsprinting paper bounty legislation which has since lapsed. Item 174 (v) (34) has been redrafted to apply to all textile spinning frames regardless of the industry in which they are to be used. At present the item is restricted to frames for the woollen, worsted and cotton industries. Item 174 (x) (19) is amended, so as to apply to pattern cutting machines for use with dobby as well as jacquard textile weaving machines. The amendment of item 320 (c) (2) (a), which deals with cinematograph film, is intended to make it quite clear that the item applies only to cinematograph film having a width not exceeding 9.5 millimetres. Only films in these widths are actually admitted under the item. The terms of item 400 (b) have been widened to provide for the admission free of duty from all sources of goods brought to Australia for industrial processing and subsequent return to the country from which they were imported. This amendment will, for example, simplify procedures for the admission of colour film which is exposed abroad and which is sent to Australia for processing and re-export. A new item 400 (c) has been added to provide for the entry free of duty of stores for use in aircraft which are engaged on an international service or flight. These stores are at present exempted from customs duty in terms of Part VII. of the Customs Act and Customs Regulation 106. The tariff amendment will provide a simplified procedure for dealing with bulk stores such as fuels and lubricants. The amendment to the Excise Tariff is complementary to that in Customs Tariff Proposals No. 6 to exempt aircraft stores from duty. The amendments in both the Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference) Proposals No. 3 and the Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Proposals No. 3 are of a drafting nature only. In each instance they are complementary to action taken in Customs Tariff Proposals No. 6 and delete the term " artificial silk " and substitute " man-made fibres ". No change is made in the existing duties. I commend these proposals to honorable members. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 1170 {:#debate-32} ### TARIFF BOARD Reports on Items. {: #debate-32-s0 .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr OSBORNE:
Minister for Air · Evans · LP -- I lay on the table reports of the Tariff Board on the following subjects - >Cotton yarns. > >Hairdressers' chairs, opticians' chairs, dental chairs, dental units. Metal clamps. Metal working lathes. Slide fasteners. Staple fibre artificial silk yarn, and move - That the reports be printed. {: #debate-32-s1 .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL:
Melbourne .- I should like the Minister for Air **(Mr. Osborne)** who, by his reply to an interjection, has shown that he is quite capable of holding the portfolio of Customs and Excise, to indicate how many reports the Government has received from the Tariff Board that it has not yet dealt with, whether it proposes to deal with them before the election, and whether it has rejected any or returned them for further information. Will he, in the dying hours of this Parliament, give a little comfort to honorable members by imparting more information about the Department of Customs and Excise, about which honorable members learn too little? From time to time honorable members make observations about the difficulty experienced in ascertaining what the Government is doing about Tariff Board recommendations. {: #debate-32-s2 .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr OSBORNE:
Minister for Air · Evans · LP -- in reply - The honorable member for Melbourne **(Mr. Calwell)** suggests that the Parliament is in its dying hours. I point out that it is not yet dead. I suggest that the questions that he has submitted to me could be more appropriately put to the acting Minister for Trade on the next day of sitting. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: .page-start } page 1170 {:#debate-33} ### ESTIMATES 1958-59 In Committee of Supply: Consideration resumed (vide page 1159). {: .page-start } page 1170 {:#debate-34} ### PART 2.- BUSINESS UNDERTAKINGS {:#subdebate-34-0} #### Commonwealth Railways {:#subdebate-34-1} #### Proposed Vote, £3,993,000 {:#subdebate-34-2} #### Postmaster-General's Department {:#subdebate-34-3} #### Proposed Vote, £98,067,000 Broadcasting and Television Services. Proposed Vote, £8,475,000. (Ordered to be considered together.) {: #subdebate-34-3-s0 .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R JOHNSON:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP .- Appreciating, as I do, that a large number of Opposition members are eager to avail themselves of this opportunity to protest against the inadequacy of the services that are under consideration, I intend to be as brief as possible. I should like to confine myself to the estimates for the PostmasterGeneral's Department. Deficiencies in the administration of this department are such that, although approximately £95,000,000 was appropriated last year, for some inconceivable reason only approximately £93,000,000 was spent. I am sure that a large number of people who have been denied reasonable postal and telephone services will entertain high hopes when they note that the proposed vote for this year is £98,067,000. Postal and telephone services in the electorate of Hughes, which is one of the most rapidly expanding electorates in Australia, are most unsatisfactory. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- And it is the most effectively represented! {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R JOHNSON:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- It could be that it is the most effectively represented electorate, but that is not for me to say. It is important that I should direct attention to the needs of this rapidly expanding electorate on the perimeter of the great City of Sydney, because it is in such areas that there is a great influx of people. The lag in telephone installations is not being overtaken at a reasonable rate. The position in the electorate of Hughes is most alarming. It is not to the credit of the Government that in that division there are approximately 4,000 outstanding applications for telephones. This year the addition to the total number of telephone subscribers is 72,246. That is 6,993 fewer than the number for the previous year. We cannot be pleased with such a state of affairs. I think most honorable members are appreciative of the importance of telephones as a modern and effective means of communication, especially in trade and commerce. The provision of telephones affects our ability to compete economically with enterprises in other parts of the world. Recently, the committee and the House have been concerned with important national problems associated with trade. I submit that one of the reasons why our industries are having difficulty is the fact that our telephone *services are not* nearly as good as they are in other parts of the world; and I shall substantiate that contention. The number of applications for telephones outstanding at June, 1957, was 73,712. That was only 12,297 fewer than the number for the previous year. In other words, we are not overtaking the lag in applications for telephones to any great extent. I think it is only fair to claim that services controlled by the Commonwealth Government" should be provided within a reasonable time. Why should the people finally come to believe that when they want a service from the Commonwealth Government, they must expect to wait two or three months or ten or twelve years? Why cannot we expect to overtake the lag in telephone connexions and give a service in a reasonable time? The number of applications for telephones has fallen dramatically, and there is a good reason, *lt* is not to the credit of Australia, with a comparatively low density of telephone usage, that we should have a decline in applications for telephones. The Postmaster-General **(Mr. Davidson)** would do well to consider the reason. {: .speaker-KCA} ##### Mr Davidson: -- I am sorry to contradict the honorable member, but applications are increasing. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R JOHNSON:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Contrary to what the Minister has said, I understand that there were 147,888 applications for telephones in the year ended June, 1956, and in 1957 there were 115,373, or a fall of 22 per cent, in applications. I do not know where the Minister gets his figures, but I suggest that he have another look at the annual report of the Postmaster-General's Department, dated June, 1957, from which I have taken my figures. If there is any mistake, the Minister might be able to correct me. This report states precisely that there was a fall of 22 per cent, in the applications for telephones. No doubt the Minister *will take* the opportunity to deal with the matter. {: .speaker-KCA} ##### Mr Davidson: -- Is the honorable member referring to the figures as at 30th June, 1957? {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R JOHNSON:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Yes. {: .speaker-KCA} ##### Mr Davidson: -- This is September, 1958. I assure the honorable member that although there was a little drop, the figures have gone up again and the total is about 1 30,000 a year. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R JOHNSON:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- There should be a reasonable limit to interruption in debate, particularly when we are dealing with a report relating to the year ended June, 1957. If the Postmaster-General wants honorable members to be better informed, he might pay some attention to the efficiency of the department under his administration regarding the .provision of reports. I say that the provision of reports by that department is no better than the provision of telephone services. There -is -general inefficiency and lethargy as a result of 'this 'Government's -administration. That is no reflection on the personnel concerned, because :this Government determines policy and the manner in which the department will pursue -its activities generally. The fact is that in Australia, we have a telephone density of 18.8 telephones for each 100 head of population. That might sound impressive, but we are only seventh in world rating; and the first six countries are miles ahead of us. We lead the alsorans. There is a .great gap between the sixth and the seventh nation, and we are at the head of a long field of stragglers. As a member of the Australian Parliament from New South Wales, I am not impressed with the fact that in the Australian Capital Territory there are 31.12 telephones for >each 100 of population, and in New South Wales only 18.87 telephones per 100. There is something wrong, and New South Wales and possibly other States need to be given better :consideration. What is the reason for the fall in applications for telephones? The Minister should 'feel some responsibility. First, there is the long waiting period. In -some cases in my electorate - and this may seem incredible, but I am prepared to substantiate my statement - people have been waiting in -the Sydney metropolitan area for a telephone over -the whole period that this -Government ;has been in -office. That is to say, they have been waiting about -nine years. {: .speaker-K6X} ##### Mr COUTTS:
GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND · ALP -- :Have they abandoned hope? {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R JOHNSON:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I am not sure, but only recently a gentleman told me that he 'had submitted his application for a telephone before -this Government was elected. :He said he made the application because of the approaching confinement of his wife; ,then he introduced me to his twelveyearold daughter. By that time tie felt that the need for a telephone had long -since disappeared. One of the reasons -why people are not applying for telephones is that they realize the hopelessness of the situation. When there .are persons waiting -for eight, nine or ten years in many electorates, we can understand why they get discouraged. No -doubt it would be -possible in many exchange -areas to double the number of applications for telephones if there was some indication that a service would be provided within a reasonable time. The rate of applications has also been affected adversely by the introduction of the fee of ;£10 for connecting a telephone service. That fee was introduced by this Government about October, 1956, and it was most distasteful to many people. Many of them had lodged applications eight or ten years before; .and then were told that they would have to pay an installation fee of £10. One can understand why they objected to that charge, and why many of them cancelled their applications. It is like placing an order for goods that have been advertised by a city store, travelling some distance at heavy expense and then arriving to find that the price has been increased substantially. It would have been fair to waive the installation fee in the case of those who had lodged applications 'before the decision to impose the 'fee was reached. That would have been a reasonable attitude for the Government to take. There is no question that. the demand for a fee by the Government -has affected the number .of applications. When the department decides after .a long wait to .proceed with the installation of the telephone, it states that if the applicant pays an installation fee and a proportion of the rent, it will proceed with the installation of the telephone. The effect of that is, in practice, to make people wait for two, three or six months, during which period the Government holds £10, £15 or £18 of their money without .giving any services in return or paying interest on the money. {: .speaker-KCA} ##### Mr Davidson: -- The honorable member knows that -that one is not right. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R JOHNSON:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- If the postmasterGeneral intends to pay interest on -the money, I. hope *-he* will -be good enough to tell me, and I shall submit some accounts to him and ask him to forward his remittances to 'me. Many people take the view that as money is tight under the Menzies-Fadden Administration, they are not prepared to lodge £15 or £20 for the Government to keep for an indefinite period. It is not a statutory period; it fluctuates for various reasons. The position is most unsatisfactory. I wish that the Minister would not interject. My time is limited and he will have ample time to express his point of view later. Another reason, 1 believe, why applications for telephones are decreasing is the inferior service, known as the duplex service, which is developing in the community. This is a matter that the honorable member for Mitchel] **(Mr. Wheeler)** has dealt with on several occasions, and I am sure he will support to the fullest possible extent my contention that duplex telephones are most unsatisfactory and are not wanted by the Australian people. What is the position? Last year, 13,271 duplex telephones were installed. The total number that had been installed up to 30tn June, 1957, was 78,368. 1 am sure that most honorable members will agree that the duplex system is not very satisfactory, despite the considerably high rate of connexions. The system is not as bad, I suppose, as many people profess it to be, and it is not as bad, for example, as the party line system, in which one line serves two or more subscribers, and the cost of installation is more economical in consequence. Each party to a duplex installation has a separate number and meter, and there is no question that there is full privacy in the use of this system, but few people want it. They prefer to pay more for a superior service. {: #subdebate-34-3-s1 .speaker-KZW} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Lawrence:
WIMMERA, VICTORIA -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-34-3-s2 .speaker-KZP} ##### Mr WHEELER:
Mitchell .- -I sympathize with the honorable member for Hughes **(Mr. L. R. Johnson)** who represents an expanding electorate which consequently has telephone difficulties. I am in a similar position, which establishes the fact that members on both sides of the chamber are similarly affected. That, of course, is no consolation to the honorable member for Hughes, and it does not produce the telephones which he desires. Later, I shall submit a proposal which could solve some of the difficulties and, if the honorable member for Hughes is not an ingrained socialist, he may agree with me and assist me to try to persuade the Postmaster-General **(Mr. Davidson)** to institute a reform in his department. There is always a difference of opinion as to the actual definition of the PostmasterGeneral's Department - whether it is a public utility or a business undertaking. In expansive moments, the PostmasterGeneral himself and members of his department prefer to describe the department as the largest commercial undertaking in the Commonwealth. If that be so, we should apply business principles to the enterprise. First, the department should pay its own way. The telephone branch subscribes to this maxim and, at the last submission of accounts, it showed a handsome profit. So it should! The postal branch and the telegraph branch showed losses. That is understandable, as they are required to provide services to the community. Sometimes, as in the postal branch, services are provided which could not be justified if the economic aspect was the sole consideration. In my electorate, for instance, there are many mail services provided in the country districts which could not be justified on the score of cost, but the people in the country are just as entitled to mail services as are the people in the city and suburban areas. Accordingly, I support the department's policy of providing these services, even though a loss te sustained. I believe that the administration of the Postmaster-General's Department is uniformly good, but the administrative structure under which the department works is as old-fashioned as your maiden aunt's hat, **Mr. PostmasterGeneral.** When the Commonwealth took over the postal, telegraph and telephone services from the States in 1901, there were 10,000 permanent officers in the organization. To-day, there are 84,600 members of the department's staff, as well as 15,125 nonofficial postmasters, mail contractors, and other members - a total of 99,700, or near enough to 100,000 employees. In 1911, the year for which the first annual report was submitted, the department's revenue was £3,900,000. The turn-over for the year 1956-57 was approximately £888,000,000! But the system of management has not altered since 1901. The whole structure is under the ministerial direction of the Postmaster-General, who is responsible to this Parliament. The departmental administration is under the control of the Director-General of Posts and Telegraphs and his deputy directors in the various States. These gentlemen accept a degree of responsibility the value of which is far beyond the recompense they receive. The directors in the various States have been, and are, in my opinion, men of capacity, but I believe they are called upon to undertake a task of unreasonable magnitude. Management would be easier if there were a separation of some functions of the department. I believe that the system that was taken over in 1901 is out-moded and that it is too cumbersome for the demands of the' present time. The telephone branch is a profit-making concern, but it could do far better if it were a separate entity. It made a profit of £5,250,000 in 1957. The branch is quite capable of standing on its own feet, and it should do so. It should be as free as possible of governmental interference and it should be vested with as much autonomy as possible. The branch could be run on the same lines as government instrumentalities, such as Trans-Australia Airlines, and could be so administered that it would be possible for it to raise its own finance in the same way as State instrumentalities such as water-boards and electricity undertakings. This would relieve the Government of the necessity for providing funds from Consolidated Revenue to the PostmasterGeneral's Department for telephone purposes. If the telephone branch were a separate entity, it would become more efficient and, consequently, more profitable. It would thus offer greater inducements and promotion opportunities for the staff. The Government would then be able to devote its finances to running the public utility side of the Postmaster-General's Department. A part of the funds previously allocated to the telephone branch could be utilized to greater advantage in giving a better service to the public, and at the same time provide better working conditions, pay, and promotion opportunities for the men and women engaged in that section of the PostmasterGeneral's Department. I say to the Postmaster-General that this is an appropriate time to consider this reform. Australia is progressing rapidly, but his department is just not keeping pace with development. When honorable members complain that telephone services are inadequate, the invariable reply is that the department is doing its best with the funds which are available to it. That is fair enough, but under a scheme whereby the telephone branch was established as a separate entity, as 1 suggest, there would be enough finance available to keep pace with the demand. I submit to the committee that there are very few private enterprise undertakings which have a back-log of orders as a result of restrictions placed on production and output during or subsequent to the last war. But the telephone branch has not caught up with public requirements, and in New South Wales a considerable number of applicants is still on the waiting list for telephones. {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr Cope: -- Has the department the equipment? {: .speaker-KZP} ##### Mr WHEELER: -- Yes, it has the equipment, and where it has not it can secure supplies. This matter may not be of serious concern to honorable members representing old-established and built-up electorates. However, to members like myself and the honorable member for Hughes **(Mr. L. R. Johnson),** who represent expanding areas, the lack of telephones is a serious matter indeed. In the Mitchell electorate, which I represent, I am repeatedly making representations to the department for the provision of telephones. The reply from the department, couched in very polite terms, is invariably that the facility cannot be provided for an indefinite period. I know that reply off by heart, because I receive it so often. A case which I wish to cite is at Baulkham Hills, within 4 miles of Parramatta and within 19 miles of Sydney. From the point of view of telephone facilities, the anxiously waiting applicants might as well be in central Australia as 19 miles from Sydney, because they just cannot be granted telephone services. A building comprising shops and professional offices has just been completed by a **Mr. Ackling** who is a valued constituent of mine. The building has been tenanted by people who have confidence in this area and have sufficient of the pioneering spirit to outlay their capital to provide the community with new services. One is a dentist, as you, **Mr. Temporary Chairman,** are, and I ask how you could have conducted your professional practice without a telephone. Another is a solicitor and another a young lady with experience of hairdressing in London. A fourth offers secretarial services, and there is an estate agent who also requires a telephone. {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr Cope: -- Is there any starting-price bookmaker? {: .speaker-KZP} ##### Mr WHEELER: -- No, we are lawabiding citizens. Two other business people have approached me and asked what were the prospects for a telephone. Across the street and down the road are a mercer and a garage proprietor. If I were selling telephone services, I could get twenty applicants from this area in a day. All of these constituents are faced with a long waiting period before getting a telephone service. These are not isolated instances, as many cases of a like nature are in evidence in my electorate. All of these people have taken a risk with their life savings but, with all the will in the world, the success of their ventures is dependent to a large extent upon their getting telephone services. No normal business these days may be conducted successfully without this facility. In its absence the joint ventures of the man who puts his capital into erecting a building, and the people who put their life savings into businesses, are entirely jeopardized. It is idle to talk in terms of progress and " Australia unlimited ", if normal facilities of communication are not available. The lack of these facilities is not the fault of the departmental officers. In fact, every courtesy and assistance are given to me by officers both in Sydney and in Parramatta. The main ambition of these officers is to satisfy the applicant, get him off the waiting list, and have him as a satisfied subscriber. The fault is with the system, and the inescapable fact is that telephone development has not kept pace with progress. The early problem after the war was scarcity of equipment and shortage of labour, but these conditions do not exist now. The trouble is lack of finance. I say that this may be overcome if the PostmasterGeneral will investigate the proposal I have made. Consequently, I ask him to consider engaging the services of outside business consultants who, in association with his own departmental officers, will investigate the business undertakings of his department and make a report to the Parliament on whether the separation of the functions of the department is practicable and may be carried out. {: #subdebate-34-3-s3 .speaker-KID} ##### Mr LUCHETTI:
Macquarie .- The honorable member for Mitchell **(Mr. Wheeler)** has offered criticism of the operations of the Postmaster-General's Department. May I, at the outset, express my appreciation of the department and its officers who are engaged in the service of the community. I feel that, from the highest in the department down to the persons engaged in non-official post offices, a very fine job of work is being done for the people of Australia. The honorable member for Mitchell, quite rightly, directed attention to the fact that the department suffers because it lacks the finance necessary to carry out its functions and duties. One can remember when, not so many years ago, this Government bowed to the will of the people and the press of this country and decided to reduce the number of public servants. It dismissed from the Postmaster-General's Department about 5,000 employees, many of whom were valuable technicians and necessary for the extension of services to the people. I mention that, because I believe that we should place the blame where it rightly belongs. Responsibility for this situation rests not on the Postmaster-General **(Mr. Davidson),** but fairly and squarely on the Government for failing to provide to the department adequate funds to enable it to meet the needs of a growing nation. I suggest to the committee that there is need for the department, which is probably the biggest private or public undertaking in Australia, to adopt a more realistic approach to its problems. I know that this cannot be done without a sympathetic government, a sympathetic Treasurer, and Treasury officials who will meet the needs of the Postal Department. This year there is provision for the spending by this department of more than £101,000,000. I should like to see a provision whereby the department was granted by. the Parliament an authority to effect expenditure over a period of time and to go on the market, if need be, to obtain the necessary money to permit it to engage in those services which are quite lucrative. It is astonishing to me that the Postal Department, with such a lucrative business as its telephone branch, is still unable to give service to those who so urgently need it. I believe it is only one of the public undertakings of this country which fail to give a service for which they could receive adequate and satisfactory returns. If we evolved some plan whereby the Postal Department could be certain of obtaining, over a period of years, the funds necessary to carry out this work, I feel sure that the department would be only too pleased to meet this challenge and to get on with the work. A long-range programme seems to be most unlikely unless there is a change of heart, and no doubt a change of government. We know that the shortage of telephones is irksome and causes great hardship. It disjoints a business, and causes considerable suffering and inconvenience. It has a most serious effect in country districts where people are many miles apart. If some special priority is to be given in dealing with this urgent and pressing problem, I trust that it will be given to people who live in country districts, so that they may have the means of communicating with their fellows, thus making up in some way for what they miss by not living in the big towns and cities. Another matter which I think needs attention is the price of telegrams. Telegrams are too costly, and because they are too costly this service is not being used as much as it was in the past. A reduction of the price of telegrams would stimulate the traffic. 1 want to refer to one or two matters that are not quite so pleasant to the Postmaster-General. I regret that the honorable gentleman has recently been sick, and1 1 also regret that although he has been in the chamber for a considerable period this afternoon, he is not at present sitting at the table. Over a period of years, representations have been made by me with regard to improved telephone and other services in my electorate. The Joint Committee on Public Works inquired into the need to establish a new telephone exchange in Bathurst, which is in my electorate. That committee submitted a report to the Parliament, and the committee's findings, which were that a new exchange building should be erected in Bathurst, were approved by the Parliament. But despite that, no steps whatever have been taken by the PostmasterGeneral's Department to implement the will of the Parliament. I ask you, **Mr. Lawrence,** what is the use of these matters being referred to a joint committee charged with the responsibility of investigating them if the Postmaster-General's Department is not prepared to carry out the decision of the Parliament? I have followed this matter up, and only last year I received a letter from the Postmaster-General in response to my requests for the erection of this new building. In that letter, the Postmaster-General said - >It is now expected that the construction of the permanent building will commence during the 1958- financial- year, subject to the necessary resources being available, and it is intended to convert the Bathurst telephone system to automatic working when the new building is ready for occupation. You will appreciate that this adds appreciably to the total capital cost of the building scheme. I appreciate that, and after I received the reply from the Minister, I wrote to him on a number of occasions, and I have also spoken to him. I wrote to the PostmasterGeneral at the beginning of the financial year, but since then I have received no definite reply. I can only hope that this is due to an oversight, and that the honorable gentleman will reply to me in the affirmative, stating that the building will commence without further delay. It is a sheer waste of time if this Parliament is to reach decisions on matters such as this, only to have its decisions shelved by the department. If that is the way things are to be done, then the taxpayers should be saved the expense of the Public Works Committee's investigations, and the department should determine these matters without reference to anybody else. Another matter to which I direct attention is the invasion by the PostmasterGeneral's Department of land owned by a constituent of mine in the township of Woodford, New South Wales. One day this man found that his land was being invaded by workmen from the Postmaster.General'9 Department. He told them that they had no right to be on his land, but they said that he did not know what he was talking about, and they continued to carry out some cable work on the property. That was .an assault on the rights of my constituent, and in view of the fact that the Postmaster-General's Department has since discovered that the land was, in fact, owned by my constituent and not the Department of Railways, I think it is under a moral obligation to put matters right for my constituent. He proposes to build a home on the land, and the department would be doing the right thing if it were graciously to agree that it did invade his land, that it did cause him some considerable embarrassment, and that it did put him to some considerable expense in obtaining legal advice, having a search made, and making a survey. If the department were to compensate my constituent for the inconvenience and expense involved, it would be doing the right thing, lt is a poor show if a department with an annual expenditure of about £101,000,000 cannot do the right thing for one small member of the community. I appreciate the great service rendered by the Postmaster-General's Department. I trust that promises given with regard to the Bathurst exchange building and the new post office for Oberon will be honoured, and that this great undertaking will continue to serve the people of Australia in a decent and fair way. 1 am sure that everybody in Australia appreciates the great work done by this grand body of people who make up the PostmasterGeneral's Department, and I am sure that the department will enhance its reputation if it corrects the anomaly to which I have referred. {: #subdebate-34-3-s4 .speaker-KCD} ##### Mr DAVIS:
Deakin .- I should like to add my remarks to those of the honorable member for Hughes **(Mr. L. R. Johnson)** and the honorable member for Mitchell **(Mr. Wheeler),** and direct the attention of the committee to the problem of telephones. Like the two honorable gentlemen to whom I have referred, I represent an area of outer metropolitan and inner rural areas where, since the war, the population has increased out of all proportion to the overall population increase in Australia. I have said on other occasions that one of the problems facing us in this country is not so much the overall distribution of expenditure, but rather that expenditure is not necessarily directed to the areas in which the greatest degree of progress or development has taken place. This is something of which honorable members who represent electorates such as mine are only too well aware. The honorable member for Mitchell made some suggestions as to the form of control of the Postmaster-General's Department. It may be that some sort of semigovernment authority would be better than the present departmental control. At present, I should not like to commit myself to any particular suggestion, but I direct the attention of honorable members to this point, that whilst no doubt it is possible to detect certain flaws in the present administration of the department, it is not necessarily true that to substitute another form of control would remove those flaws. Nor can it be denied that with another form of control errors of another kind could possibly creep in. The honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. Luchetti)** said that the department should adopt a more realistic approach, and that it needed a more sympathetic government. It might be inferred from some of the remarks that have been made during the course of this debate that the department is not doing a satisfactory job. In my opinion, over the years, the PostmasterGeneral's Department has done a magnificent job, and I think that the committee's attention should be directed to the overall picture rather than to individual facets of the department, because to deal with the department in bits and pieces tends to give a false impression. For instance, according to the information supplied by the department, 661,000 were installed in 1939 or an average of 9.5 telephones per 100 of the population. In 1949, the last year of Labour's administration, that number had risen to 1,028,000, or an average of, I think, thirteen per 100 of the population. According to the report for the year ended 30th June, 1957, the number of telephones installed had risen to 1,800,000, or 18.2 per 100 of the population. It seems that, from those overall factors, we can draw two general conclusions. The first is that the department has, to a very large extent at least, met the needs of the increase in population and the development that has taken place over the years. Further, I think it should also be recognized that over the years we have experienced, in many ways, a marked increase in our standards of living. The demand for telephones is one way of measuring that. To-day, in almost every home, certainly in at least 1,800,000 homes and offices in Australia, there is a telephone. More and more people want a telephone to-day. It is regarded as a necessary amenity in any home. In both those ways, I suggest, the figures which I have quoted - they are readily available - do bear out the fact that there has been a marked improvement in our standard of living, that there has been very great development and that, on this level at least, the department cannot be charged with not being realistic. What has happened is that in this department, as in other departments, the direction of activity has not necessarily been related to the areas of intense development. We have provided in the Estimates a huge overall sum for the greatest business, or greatest government department, call it what you will, in Australia to-day, the turnover for which in the year 1 957 reached the fantastic figure of £887,000,000. Actually, we have provided something like £100,000,000 for that department, and it is extremely difficult for any one to trace, through the Estimates, or any of the other information supplied to Parliament, just where that money is being spent. I am speaking now, not in terms of whether it is spent on telephones, post office facilities, or telegrams, but rather in terms of the areas of the States in which it is spent. My own opinion is that too much attention has been paid to those areas which have achieved almost full development, and too little attention has been paid to those newer areas such as the ones my friends from Hughes and Mitchell represent, in which development has taken place over the last tew years. Since there are, so I have b:en informed by people other than Tasmanians, a few imperfect apples, I should like to direct the attention of the committee to one particular flaw, as I understand it, in the PostmasterGeneral's Department to-day. Since, in the areas about which we are speaking, there are more applications for telephones than the department can at once meet, there exists in the department a system of priorities. I have been informed that these priorities are related, normally enough, to professional and business requirements, and 1 think that the lowest priority is given to the ordinary private telephone. Over the years, I have had a great deal of correspondence with the department on this subject, and, quite frankly, I feel a great deal of dissatisfaction at the way in which the system is operated. I think my friend from Mitchell quoted some cases. I put before the committee only one of hundreds 1 have had in which there are reasonable grounds for assuming that if there is a system of priorities then it does not work on any ordered basis, nor, in terms of the locality in which the decision is made, does it work on any logical scheme that I can discover. There came to me, some eighteen months ago, an employee of the Commonwealth Government, a professional man with high responsibilities, responsibilities which he carried on over the week-ends. He was required to be on call at the week-ends. He had applied for a telephone. He waited for four years. He had not had a telephone, yet in that vicinity quite a number of other people who obviously, or. the surface of it, had a lower priority, had telephones installed. I could quote that sort of illustration ad nauseam, but it is sufficient, 1 think, to say - and I offer these remarks as constructive, not destructive criticism - that in an organization which is, in the main, extremely efficient, very smooth working, and carrying out its responsibilities as a public utility, and as a commercial undertaking in a way that I think reflects great credit to both the department and the Government, there is this one particular field in which such inefficiency exists as to create very great dissatisfaction in areas where, in the main, lack of telephones is delaying communications. The final matter to which I direct the attention of the committee relates to one of the rapidly-developing outer areas on the perimeter of Melbourne. I have now been making representations on behalf of a doctor of medicine who cannot have a telephone installed at his house. I was informed, when I first came to this place some few years ago, that in all cases one or two lines were kept so that when a professional man came into the area there would be a telephone line available for him. So extreme is the pressure that I am now assured that there is no telephone line available for a doctor in that district. That is the sort of thing to which I direct the attention of the committee, because I do believe that more consideration should be paid to that very narrow aspect of a very broad question. If attention could be directed to matters of that kind we would get a clearer picture of that which, in the aggregate, is an extremely efficient organization and which has, I think, more than played its part in the development that has taken place under this Government. {: #subdebate-34-3-s5 .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE:
Wilmot .- In the time at my disposal, I should like to refer to three matters connected with the Postal Department. The Postmaster-General's Department is the largest business undertaking, private or public, in Australia. It is even bigger than the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited in its capital investment and turnover. It is also the biggest socialized enterprise in this country. It renders a unique and remarkably varied service to the public of Australia. Further, the strength of the Postmaster-General's Department lies in its nearness to the public, especially through the operations of its thousands of official post offices and 9,000 unofficial post offices. Its staff carries out a tremendous range of public services, and it is a unique example of human relations work on a large scale. The Government requires its staff to carry out all sorts of jobs, especially in times of crisis. The strength of the Postmaster-General's Department is also manifest in the extreme courtesy of the officers of the department. In my twelve years as the member for Wilmot, I have had more to do with postal and telephone matters than I have had to do with any other phase of a federal member's activities. My electorate covers onehalf of the island of Tasmania and comprises 13,000 square miles. Probably more automatic exchanges have been installed in my electorate than in most of the other electorates. {: .speaker-KGC} ##### Mr Hamilton: -- How do you do" that? {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- That is a secret which I will not divulge now. From my personal experience, from tours of my electorate and so on, I know that the courtesy of the employees of the department is great, from the hard-working postmasters and postmistresses, the postmen, technicians, line staff, engineers, inspectors, right up to the Director himself. {: .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr Hasluck: -- What about the telegraph messengers? {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- The telegraph messengers, too. These men are the basis of the strength of this great department. Its weakness is not to be found in the human factor. In that respect, it is as strong as any other *government* department or public utility. Its weakness lies in the shortage of finance. Lack of funds has resulted in leg irons being placed on this great utility, which is strained to the utmost to-day due to the rapid development of new housing and industrial areas in our towns and cities and their demands for postal services of all kinds. This shortage of finance means fewer phones, fewer cables, fewer post offices and fewer mail contracts. Where mails should be going in five times a week, they are going in only twice a week. The service to the community is slashed because not enough money is made available for the department to do its work. You cannot blame the human factor; this is purely a financial problem. I criticize the Government for shackling a department that has the technical and engineering skill necessary for it to do its job. It would have all the equipment it needs if it had enough money, and it has the facilities to use the equipment. What is happening now is like putting a motor car on the road but not putting petrol into the tank. {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: -- What are they doing with the profits? {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- That is a point. The department made a profit of £5,000,000 last year. That should have been churned back into the department, not paid into Consolidated Revenue. The basic weaknesses of the department can be removed only by the allocation of more finance. The department has had to put men off from the line staff, which, to my way of thinking, is the very nerve centre of the department. The line staff put in new lines and the cable jointers make it possible for new trunk lines to be put down. I shall not take up my full quarter <of an hour, as other honorable members on this side want to speak. However, I wish to refer to one aspect of television. I asked the Minister a series of questions to-day about stage 1, stage 2 and stage *3* of hit television programme, which reminds me of the American three-stage rockets. I hope that the Postmaster-General's Department will have better luck with its three-stage television than the Americans have had with some of their three-stage rockets, which exploded at the second stage, and did not reach the third stage. I am afraid that we will get lost in the limbo of forgotten things before we reach stage three of the Government's television programme. Stage 3 concerns the vast countryside of Australia, which will never get television unless programmes are relayed by the microwave system or the booster system. I have been on the back of the PostmasterGeneral for nearly a year now, endeavouring to get the Government to make up its mind about what it is going to do in relation to booster stations. Let me give one illustration of how the booster system works. Latrobe, in northern Tasmania, 7 miles from Devonport, is surrounded by hills. It would not have television reception even if a television station were installed in Launceston, only 55 miles away. The reason is that Latrobe is amongst the hills. However, a man in Latrobe with great technical knowledge has put up a little li horse-power transmitter on a hill 2 miles out of the town. In effect, he has erected his own booster station. On a clear day he receives images from Melbourne - 300 miles to the north - as clearly as they are received in Melbourne itself. He- has his reception set in the town. He cannot get a licence to operate a booster station, because the Government has not yet made up its mind as to its policy on booster stations. It did not think about them when television legislation was brought down two years ago. Tasmania will have, during stage 2, a television station at Hobart. That is all we shall- have, apparently. Launceston will be, so to speak, in no man's land unless it can receive programmes from Melbourne or Hobart. Melbourne is 300 miles away and Hobart is 123 miles away. The only way to ensure that television programmes transmitted from Hobart would be received in Launceston would be to put a booster station at Oatlands, half way between the two places and the highest point between them, or on Mount Barrow, 25 miles to the east of Launceston. The north-west coast of Tasmania is one of the most important parts of the State. This area, which includes Devonport, Ulverstone, Burnie, Penguin, Wynyard and Stanley, will never have television unless we can put a booster station nearer to the north-west coast. I would suggest that such a station be placed on Mount Roland, which is over 3,000 feet high, and is situated 50 miles south of Devonport. It is the most northerly point in the great western mountain system of Tasmania, and would be an ideal site for Tasmania's north-western booster station. This is the first time I have put this suggestion forward, but I shall continue to press it until stage 3 of the television programme is completed. {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes: -- Is there not a microwave system from Arthur's Seat, on the mainland, to Tasmania now? {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- No, not for television. {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes: -- I am not referring to television, but to telephones. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- There is a telephone microwave system across the Bass Strait. We think we could receive television programmes transmitted from Melbourne if we had the correct site for the equipment to bring the images from the mainland to the island. {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes: -- The present site could be used. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- If the same site could be used for television as is being used for telephone messages, that would solve our problem to a great extent. In case the images cannot get across to the north-west coast of Tasmania, I am suggesting that a booster station be erected at Mount Roland, which is going to become in a year or two one of the greatest scenic attractions in Tasmania. It will out-Wellington Mount Wellington at Hobart. We are battling for a road to be built to the summit of this flat-topped mountain, from which you can see the complete range from the entrance to the Tamar down to Launceston and right through to the north-western corner at Stanley. A vast area of about 100 miles along the north coast of Tasmania can be seen from this one mountain top. It is a glorious view indeed. If we can get a booster station erected on that mountain, sending images along the north-western coast, it will be a tremendous help to people living in that area. The station could rebroadcast programmes from Hobart, which is 120 miles to the south-east, or programmes from Melbourne brought to Tasmania through a microwave set-up, coming via King Island. Whatever system the department finally decides upon - the microwave or the booster system - I hope that the northern part and the northwestern pant of Tasmania will be covered adequately and will receive programmes from the main station located at Hobart. The Queen Mother's visit to Canberra illustrated a remarkable thing. It was found that we could send to Sydney images of the proceedings in King's Hall, on the night of the State ball. They were received by people in Sydney as clearly as if they had been receiving the pictures from their own stations. The intervening stretch of 200 miles was spanned with the aid of two booster stations. It proved what could be done in this country with the aid of such stations. {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes: -- Television is carried right across Canada by the use of micro-wave and booster stations. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- That is a distance of 3,500 miles, so. honorable members will appreciate what can be done in Australia. In the beginning we thought that television could not be taken, very far beyond the capital cities, but now, we can accept the fact that it will ultimately go out to the country dweller also - if he can afford a set! My colleagues and I will keep fighting for the implementation of the third phase of television development so that country folk will benefit from it also. From what I have seen, of television, and from what I have learnt from friends who have television sets on the mainland, some programmes still leave very much to be desired. The choice of programme is still very limited. I. do not think that the television stations are observing the full spirit of the act - whatever the PostmasterGeneral **(Mr. Davidson)** may say to. the contrary. I still feel that they are getting round the law, and are putting over cheap and nasty programmes merely to fill up their transmission time and to capture the interest ot people who may be susceptible to sensationalism. The Postmaster-General might well have another look at the standard of television programmes. Interestingly enough, 35- television licences have already been issued: to folk at Burnie, Devonport and Launceston. On a clear day they can. get perfect television images from the Melbourne stations 300 miles to the north. {: #subdebate-34-3-s6 .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-34-3-s7 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN:
Bruce .- I cannot agree with the honorable member for Wilmot **(Mr. Duthie)** when he says that Australian television programmes are cheap and nasty. In Melbourne, especially, they are of a very high standard indeed. Those who are associated with the technical development of television, both in the Australian Broadcasting Commission and in. the commercial field, are to be. congratulated upon, the skill that they have shown. Those who are behind, th,e scenes, and select the. programmes; equally deserve congratulation. *I* must confess tha* I. watch television occasionally. Indeed, my wife and children have it on, and I have no choice. I see the programmes that they select from the three channels, and they are of a very high standard. For instance, I can recommend Palladin in " Have gun, will travel ". It is as good a half hour programme as can be seen anywhere. It is, of course, a film, but there is also., at about the same time, the live show " In Melbourne To-night ". That show has a totally Australian cast and features a personality called " Graham ", who recently returned after some months in the United States. Last Saturday night, he was back on his old programme and I would be surprised if a single television receiver in the whole of Melbourne was not tuned in to his show. He has proved himself capable of attracting and holding the public interest through high-grade entertainment. I; may mention that he. is also assisted by a most attractive person known as " Panda ". Any one who criticizes the standard of our television programmes, in Melbourne at any rate, is humbugging. I am sure that their technical excellence could not be bettered anywhere else in the world. Australian television is still in its infancy, but already it is of an excellent standard. The alternative programme provided by Station ABV2 is also very good, and the Australian Broadcasting Commission is to be commended for its live drama productions featuring Australian characters. The plays are almost always of very high quality - perhaps even higher than that of the imported films which are sometimes shown on television. The Australian Broadcasting Commission, of course, has had great experience in the sound transmission field. Television must have drained off many of its skilled technicians and actors, but the standard of sound transmission has remained very high. The only complaint that is levelled at it is one over which the commission has no control, lt cannot provide the third programme type of entertainment while Parliament is being broadcast. My main purpose in speaking is to emphasize, in common with other honorable members, the problem of representing an electorate which combines outer metropolitan areas and close country areas. My constituents number about 64,000. Many people are not yet on the roll, either because they have neglected to place themselves on it, are English migrants who have not been in Australia for the requisite period of six months, or are among the vast body of new Australians who have not yet applied for naturalization. In short, the adult population of the electorate of Bruce is in the vicinity of 80,000 or 90,000. It is inevitable that such a large body of people should, between them, produce a vast number of applications for telephones. The telephone has come to be an essential part of community life. A person who cannot ring his mother, father, brother, sister or friend for personal reasons considers himself quite isolated. A person who is conducting a business and is unable to obtain telephonic communication suffers very drastically indeed. In the Dandenong region there has been tremendous industrial development almost from Berwick through to Oakleigh and along the railway line from Huntingdale to the General MotorsHolden's plant east of Dandenong, and this has brought with it not only an obvious need for business telephones but also a great demand for that amenity on the part of new residents. The Postmaster-General's Department, to a great degree, alleviated a problem which would have been more immense than it is now, by providing, in the case of the big industrial concerns, a direct channel line from the areas which normally are served by an automatic switch. The department installed a direct cable line to the automatic exchange in the city, thus enabling those industrial firms to dial their numbers. The big concerns were thus put in a position which was far more advantageous than that of the people in a smaller way of business. That may seem unfair, but it must be pointed out that if those large industrial companies had had to use the manual exchange, the position would have been absolutely impossible for everybody. That was a step for which the Postmaster-General's Department ought to be commended. In the Dandenong area, at least 90 per cent, of telephone subscribers are served by a manual exchange. Although the girls who operate the exchange do a truly great job, the task is just beyond the ability of the manual exchange to cope. The department is in the course of constructing a new automatic exchange, and I am hopeful that that will be completed in the very near future. The Postmaster-General **(Mr. Davidson)** has assured me that that will be so, and I am most thankful. I take this opportunity - the first I have had in the Parliament - publicly to express my appreciation, and that of a large number of people in Dandenong, for the interest shown by the Postmaster-General in going to Dandenong in May last year, at a time when he was extremely busy, there to meet a deputation comprising councillors of the shire and many other interested people. Indeed, the whole population of Dandenong is interested in this matter. While there is an urgent need in Dandenong to change over to an automatic exchange, there is also an urgent need for a new post office. I may say that the present post office was built in 1870. But a new post office cannot be built until a lot of equipment is taken out and removed to the automatic exchange building. The population of Dandenong has grown from 7,000 to 20,000 in ten years. It is expected by the town planning branch of the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works that the population will be 60,000 in less than twenty years' time. It is therefore necessary to take steps, as the Postmaster-General has done already, for the proper planning of the necessary work. Of course, Dandenong is not the only place which has telephone problems. In the near vicinity there is the shire of Springvale and Noble Park, a shire that recently was separated from Dandenong and which now has a population of 25,000. The value of building permits issued for the area during the year ended September, 1957, was £1,873,000. The value of permits issued to August of the current year was £2,518,000. Only recently, there was a land deal involving the subdivision of 155 acres of grazing land. The population in 1945 was a mere fraction of the 25,000 that it is to-day. The shire, of course, has its problems in connexion with telephone services. It has almost completed new shire office buildings and expects to move into them next month. When it does so, because of lack of telephone services, it will be forced to use only three lines - in an area where 115 building permits for dwellings were issued in the month of July last alone. The shire is to be restricted to the use of three lines until major projects can be undertaken by the Postmaster-General's Department to relieve the position. {: .speaker-KWE} ##### Mr Timson: -- The building of the new post office at Dandenong will enable that difficulty to be overcome. {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN: -- Yes. Mulgrave now has a population of 42,000. In 1945, the population was 4,000._ The growth in the area is simply fantastic. For the year ended 30th September, 1957, there were 2,294 building permits issued in the Mulgrave area. The instances that I have cited give the lie to the claim of the Opposition that building in Australia is in a slump. If honorable members opposite go to the area that I represent they will find that such allegations are far from true. The area which may be generally characterized as the Mulgrave area includes Syndal, Glen Waverley, Tallyho, Mount Waverley, and a great number of other suburbs. On occasion, T have written to the Postmaster-General about this matter, and on 12th December, 1957, in the course of a reply to me, the Minister stated - >There are at present some 1,034 applications outstanding due to plant shortage in your electorate, the figures for each exchange area being as follows: Jordanville- 338, Tally-Ho- 384, Clayton - 83, and in the area which will be served by the new exchange to be established at Wheelers Hill - 229. **Major engineering** projects involving for the most part the laying of 200 pair cables are in hand . . . While the efforts of the Postmaster-General and his department are greatly appreciated, I suggest that 200 pair cables in an area with such a large population are totally insufficient. The Postmaster-General's letter went on to say that - {: type="i" start="1"} 0. . line plant will be made available to cater for 271 waiting applicants at Jordanville, 100 at Tally-Ho and all of the 229 requests outstanding in the Wheelers Hill exchange area by June, 1958. But unfortunately, it has not been possible to achieve that objective. In a more recent letter to me, the Postmaster-General stated - >However, as mentioned in your letter, development in your electorate is mainly of a residential nature and, although due regard is given to the need for telephone services in private dwellings, you will appreciate that it would be difficult to give a higher priority to relief works to cater for fairly recent requests for residence installations whilst in other localities many business and residence applications have been outstanding for long periods. I recognize that there are these conflicting claims and priorities, but I suggest to the department that the claims of the people in that area, which is growing so rapidly and which needs rapid provision of these services, are probably the most pressing in Australia to-day, notwithstanding what has been said by other honorable members. This is the area in which the greatest residential development is taking place. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-34-3-s8 .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr ALLAN FRASER:
Monaro · EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- It is apparent that serious discontent exists among the staff of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. This discontent is injuring the service rendered both in broadcasting and television. I am very quick to recognize the outstanding value of the work of the general manager of the A. B.C. Some of the decisions made by the commission are both very wise and very popular. In this category I place the decision, which has been communicated to me, to put me on television, from Sydney, through Station ABN, at 7 p.m. on Friday, 19th September. I regard that as one of the wiser and better decisions of the commission. But in some aspects of staff relations the position is most unsatisfactory. The morale of the staff of the A. B.C. is not high. There is a lack of esprit de corps. The sense of loyalty is not as strong as it should be. Senior staff members have no confidence that they will be supported in the decisions that they have to make ;from time to time, and this tends to destroy initiative within -the organization and to encourage buck-passing, .which is so injurious to many .big organizations. For this position, responsibility must rest with the commission, and with the general manager and the assistant general manager, and J. take the opportunity to urge them to make strenuous efforts to repair the situation, which has deteriorated a great deal in recent months. If they will make those efforts there will be considerable advantage to the working of the organization and an enhancement of the pleasure given to radio listeners .and television viewers alike. **"Mr. Hasluck.** - Is the honorable member speaking .of the technical staff .or - only the presentation staff? {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr ALLAN FRASER:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I am speaking of the senior administrative staff. I am not referring in any way to the technical staff. An unfortunate example of the trend within the Australian Broadcasting Commission is the way in which the senior officers' recent case before the Public Service Arbitrator has been handled. That case was heard in the board room of the commission. I think that any one acquainted with the rules and principles of arbitration will agree that the board room - the very place into which officers are called on occasions and in which they recognize the superiority of the men above them- is not the place in which these officers should be called on to present to an arbitrator a case for higher salaries an.d improved conditions. Secondly, it appears that the general manager, representing the commission in that case, which, as I have said, was heard in the commission's board room, took the opportunity to flip through the files of each of the senior officers in turn when they were called to give evidence, in order to find matters on which he could criticize them personally for their failures or alleged failures in the discharge of their duties. Obviously, such tactics must create a very unfortunate atmosphere indeed and make it very difficult for officers properly to present a ease for increased salaries and improved conditions. I want to refer particularly to a decision made some years ago by the Australian Broadcasting Commission, .which is known as Decision 15. Under that decision, the commission assumed the right not to pay overtime to certain members of its staff who were defined as those whose hours of duty could not be definitely . determined. Instead, they were to be rewarded .with one week's additional leave in each year, irrespective of whether they worked 50 or 500 hours .of overtime a year. On the face of it. .that was very unfair and most unreasonable. The information which I have received- and which I earnestly hope the Postmaster-General **(Mr. Davidson)** will investigate- indicates that for at least ten years .the Australian .Broadcasting Commission Staff Association has tried, by every means at its disposal, to persuade trie commission, through the general manager and the .assistant general manager, to withdraw Decision 15, or .at least .to apply it Less harshly. But, in fact, with the introduction of television, the commission has considerably increased the number of officers whose hours of duty it says cannot definitely be determined and who are therefore brought within the ambit of this obnoxious and possibly illegal Decision 15. All efforts of the staff association to have Decision 15 withdrawn or modified have failed. The association was advised by a leading Sydney Queen's Counsel that, in his opinion, the decision was illegal, and that the association should test it in court. The decision was tested in the New South Wales District Court. Although the case failed, the judge who heard it himself expressed doubt as to the legality of Decision 15. Finally, after the commission's persistent refusal to abandon its attitude towards Decision 15, the association approached the Public Service Arbitrator. The matter first came on for hearing in the latter part of 1957. The commission adopted a completely rigid and unyielding attitude. In fact, it prevented all the procedures of conciliation which ought to precede an arbitration hearing. When the arbitration proceedings began in Melbourne, the Arbitrator expressed himself as being highly critical of the application of Decision 15 and of its harsh effects. The transcript of the later proceedings in Sydney showed the Assistant Public Service Arbitrator to be even more critical of this decision. He finally made a ruling that the commission must forthwith cease to refuse to pay at overtime rates for work done on Sundays and -public holidays. 'For more than ten years, despite all the efforts of the -staff association, the commission, in direct contravention of Regulation "83, had refused to pay overtime rates for such work, and had applied instead this highly doubtful Decision 15. The Assistant Arbitrator then took what I think was a quite unprecedented step by himself going direct to the assistant general manager of the commission, the general manager being overseas, and urging the assistant general manager to try to settle the matter out of court in order to avoid embarrassment to the commission. That was after the matter had already been forced into court by the commission's refusal -to adopt the normal procedures of conciliation. I think that the staff association was .quite right in objecting to that direct approach by the Assistant Arbitrator. At a conference held in Sydney on 5th February of this year, the Assistant Arbitrator handed to the representatives of the commission and of the staff association a statement which he had prepared. That statement not only was highly critical of the commission and its general manager but also made it .clear that, in the Assistant Arbitrator's view, the commission should not have forced the staff to go to arbitration in the first place. In addition, it deplored the commission's attitude of rigid and uncompromising opposition to the representations made by the association. That statement was made by the Assistant Arbitrator confidentially to the parties before him in the dispute. Although the commission itself subsequently brought the matter into the open, I do not propose to read that statement. It is sufficient to say that it was highly critical of the attitude of the commission and its general manager towards the staff. The statement was supposed to be for the direct information of the commission and the officers of the staff association. It was the Assistant Arbitrator's desire that it should not be circulated beyond that area. However, after about a month had gone by, the executive of the staff association had reason to believe that the statement had not been circulated to the mem bers of the commission, for whom, of course, the Assistant Arbitrator expressly intended it. Accordingly, the association, itself sent a copy of the statement direct to each member of the commission, because it considered it imperative that the commission as a whole should be aware of the strong language used by the Assistant Arbitrator in condemning the commission's attitude towards this industrial matter. The association later learned that only as a result of its own action in circulating the statement did the chairman of the commission become aware of its existence. The general manager .and the assistant general manager, of course, were aware of it, but they had not made its existence known to the members . of the commission, of which they are servants. **Mr. Moses,** the general manager, returned to Sydney early this year, and apparently he was able to persuade the commission that the point at issue between the commission and the staff association was, not the commission's handling of its industrial affairs, but the association's impertinence or wrongful or unethical action in circulating the Assistant Arbitrator's statement to the members of the commission. I do not propose to enter into the argument as to whether or not the association acted ethically in making certain that copies of the statement were supplied to the members of the commission, but, obviously, the members ought to have received copies from some one. Clearly they should have received copies from the general manager or the assistant general manager. Since they did not receive copies from that source, there was at least a case for the staff association itself to make sure that the members of the commission were at least aware of what the Assistant Arbitrator had said. The information given to me is that, in recent weeks, the general manager has attempted to create a breach within the association over its dispute with the commission and, to some extent, he has succeeded in doing this. Members of the association who feel - and many of them must .feel - that it is in their own interests and, in fact, necessary for their own safety in their positions, to remain on friendly terms with the top brass of the commission. are refusing to associate with other members of the staff association who are determined to carry on the fight for improved conditions and salaries inside the Australian Broadcasting Commission. The position is that every member of the A.B.C. staff, from the highest to the lowest, is, in a sense, in the hands of the general manager and the assistant general manager. The honorable member for Gwydir **(Mr Ian Allan)** will be well aware of this. No member of the A.B.C. staff may approach the commission except through the general manager. Now, that is all right so long as the general manager facilitates the approach to the commission, enables the approach to be made; but, if the general manager stands in the way, it is impossible for a member of the staff who is aggrieved to get his case before the commission at all. Any request for an interview with the commission is refused unless the general manager agrees to it. My information is that if the general manager objects, 'then the commission will refuse to see a member of its staff. Further, any case put to the commission by a member of the staff is put in the presence of the general manager. I think that that is fair enough; but I am informed that the reply made by the general manager to the case put before the commission is made after the staff member has left the room. That, obviously, must be a cause of considerable discontent and of a feeling of uncertainty as to the justice that the member of the staff is receiving. In fact, I would regard that as being opposed to all the principles of justice that ought to apply as between employer and employee. I bring these matters forward because I think they are of considerable importance. They in no way constitute an attack by me on the general manager or the assistant general manager of the commission. {: .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr Hasluck: -- They are highly critical. {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr ALLAN FRASER:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- They are highly critical. I regard these two as men of great capacity and ability who have rendered very high services to broadcasting in Australia; hut, in these matters, I think they deserve the criticisms that I have voiced, and I hope that the ventilation of these matters will lead to an improvement in the position. Sitting suspended from 5.58 to 8 p.m. {: #subdebate-34-3-s9 .speaker-KGP} ##### Mr HAWORTH:
Isaacs **.- Mr. Chairman,** I wish to refer specifically to two matters relating to the Estimates for the Postmaster-General's Department. The first is that of postal charges. I am prompted to do so because of a recent statement by the Postmaster-General **(Mr. Davidson on Post Office operations for 1956-57. On that occasion he said, inter alia -** >Telegraph business again declined, due mainly to the competition of frequent air mail services and a speedier trunk line system. 23.96 million messages were handled compared with 25.41 million in 1955-56. I suspect, **Sir, that** the conclusion reached by the Postmaster-General in regard to the decline of telegraph business must be one of conjecture, because it would be very difficult to pinpoint precisely the reason for that decline. I submit that the reason is one of cost. I think the stage has been reached where there is a certain amount of customer resistance to postal charges. In other words, the Post Office customer finds the service too expensive; he can no longer afford to pay the charges and he does not use the system in quite the same way. I have no doubt that the customer would prefer to use the telegraph service before the air-mail service but that he finds it just a little too costly. I notice that the department's postage revenue stands at about £31,000,000 a year. To express it in terms of money disguises one of the hard facts of life - that is, that the cost of Her Majesty's mail services is rising to such a degree that it is beginning to pay people to avoid using them. It is because of that fact, too, that I am prompted to refer to this subject. To cost itself out of business is something that every private enterprise knows something about these days. Every business looks for ways and means to overcome the situation, and I submit that the same thing should apply to the Postmaster-General's Department. Perhaps it does, but I am not discussing that question at the moment. 1 am very sure that business houses that use Her Majesty's mails very extensively, and which have always done so, have made adjustments to their mailing systems since the 4d. rate was introduced. We must bear in mind the fact that putting a stamp on a letter is the last cost in the sending of mail. There is always the cost of the letter itself and the time and trouble incurred in preparing and writing it. Following the introduction of the 4d. rate, hundreds of business firms took the obvious step of restricting the mailing of receipts. Nowadays, all business houses avoid sending receipts if they can do so. Not only does the Commonwealth Government lose revenue as a result of that economy, but also the State governments lose a lot of revenue in the form of stamp duty. I suggest the time has come for the department to consider a more constructive approach to one of its largest enterprises. Reference to that was made this afternoon by the honorable member for Mitchell **(Mr. Wheeler)** and the honorable member for Deakin **(Mr. Davis).** 1 have only a very limited time at my disposal, and I do not propose to pursue the subject to any great length. But let me repeat that the time has been reached when the department should consider those things very seriously. To make a start, I suggest that the Government should very seriously consider sending first-class mail matter by air without any surcharge. I suggest that the surface delivery of mail matter should be discontinued wherever airmail facilities are available. As honorable members know, that is what happens at the present time between the mainland and Tasmania. Between those points mail is delivered by air, and I see no reason why that service should not be extended to every other State. I believe that the Post Office could recover some of its business if speedier methods of delivery were adopted. There should be a cheaper rate for mail posted and delivered within the same suburb. It is generally known that the department is saved handling charges when letters are posted for delivery in the same suburb. If a cheaper rate were applied to that kind of mail matter, customer resistance on the ground of cost would not be so prevalent. Ways and means of cutting the cost of sending mails are engaging the minds of a lot of business people. The other matter to which I wish to refer concerns the Australian Broadcasting Commission's studios in Victoria. The commission's broadcasting studio is located on one of the most valuable sites in Melbourne - the corner of Lonsdale-street and. William-street. It is accommodated in a one-story building which has a basement. But the site is obviously only partly developed. Since it first occupied that site, the commission has purchased property in an area known as Ripponlea, and has constructed on it a television studio. It seems, to me to have been wasteful for the commission to have purchased that site at Ripponlea when it already occupied a valuable site in the heart of Melbourne and which has not been developed to anything, like the maximum possible degree. It would seem to be logical, on the grounds of efficiency and economy, for the broadcasting service and the television service to be placed under the one roof. If the cost of adding to the present broadcasting studio is too great when it is compared with the cost of establishing the Ripponlea television studio, why should the commission retain the Lonsdale-street site, a great portion of which is used just as a car park? The occupation of the Ripponlea area means not only a loss of rates to the local municipal council, but also the using of good residential land and the marring of the surrounding area by the erection of unsightly television masts, which is something that the commercial stations have not done. The commercial stations have sought cheaper land in the industrial suburbs and have not interfered in any way with the residential areas. This is something I do not appreciate. There may be a very good reason for it, but I should like the Minister to throw some light on those two questions. First, can the airmail surcharge be lifted and all mail sent by air where possible? And secondly, why is a television studio to be set up in a residential suburb? {: #subdebate-34-3-s10 .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R FRASER:
ALP -- I refer to some policies and activities of the Postmaster-General's Department which, I fear, affect in an ad-, verse manner the development of the national capital. The concept of this place was that of a garden city, and right from the commencement of construction and in all developments through that period until very recent years, it was the practice that there should be no poles carrying wires in the streets. That was a distinctive feature of Canberra as the national capital. Indeed, I think, one of the most pleasing features of the place was that whereas , in other cities' streets were marred by little forests of poles and masses of overhead wires, Canberra was a" city where the streets were free of obstruction. It was hoped that policy would be continued. There, are. two authorities here responsible, for the dispersal of power, and other services. One is the Canberra- Electric Supply and the other is- the Postmaster-General's Department which provides telephone and telegraph services. Admittedly, the Canberra Electric Supply has, in some areas, used- wire-carrying poles in' the streets, butthey are. placed there as a temporary measure, and in the future the wires will be placed, underground. Those unsightly features of the- landscape will then disappear. But the Postmaster-General's Department, apparently as- part of the policy it has implemented throughout the Commonwealth, is proceeding in Canberra with the* erection of poles in the suburban parts carrying telephone wires for distribution to homes, offices and other places. There have been protests by a. number of people in the Australian Capital Territory and I think it is right that I. should voice some of those protests here and seek to have the original concept of this city adhered to so that these unsightly features will be removed. The Postmaster-General's Department naturally seeks to operate with the greatest possible economy and that, in itself, is commendable, of course; but we have here a planned city - a city designed to be a place of beauty, a garden city, a symbol of the nation and one of which I think the whole nation should be justly proud. It would be a shame if the departments I have mentioned were to impair that concept. At present, many of the telephone services - certainly those- in- all major areas and thoroughfares and in the principal residential streets of the suburbs - are carried underground. The services to and from the houses are taken along the street by underground cable and the distribution to the homes or business places is underground. But recently, as a measure of economy, the Post Office has adopted the practice of taking an underground cable along one side of the street and erecting at intervals what are termed' isolated distribution poles from which ten sets of wires go out to serve ten subscribers on both sides of the street. There- are some 350 of these poles- atpresent in- Canberra, and; my inquiries fromthe department indicate- that' its policy- is to continue; with that form of development.. I suggest- to the- Minister, for Social . Services **(Mr. Roberton),** who is. at the table, and, through him;, to the Postmaster-General **(Mr. Davidson)-** and the- Minister for the Interior- **(Mr. Fairhall)** that this is, a- wrong policy. It gets, right away from the- concept of. Canberra, as. a beautiful city, and this policy* should no longer be., continued. We should follow, the- practice- that is. adopted by the- Canberra. Electric. Supply. That authority, when iti is. necessary to: carry overhead' wires, takes, them, behind; thehouses, between the- streets: and.', then carries its- supply underground, to the homes. It may be argued that the PostmasterGeneral's, Department is charged with effecting this work, with the greatest economy, and that- it could not. embark on this more expensive procedure at this time. I suggest that, as this is a planned- garden city and the national capital,, and because we do undertake expenditure which normally would not be undertaken in a city of this size and population, if it is beyond the functions of- the Postmaster-General's Department, to follow the plan, take all its wires underground and remove its poles from- the streets where admittedly they are marring some beautiful aspects, it should be possible by consultation between the PostmasterGeneral's Department and the Department of the Interior, to see that funds are made available from votes, for the development of the national capital to the extent that they are required to meet the additional expenditure and the costs of proceeding with this development, as originally planned. I know that the Postmaster-General's. Department, where it extends telephone services through country towns- or municipalities, sometimes meets the same objection from the local government authority, and does have consultations between officers of the department and the authority concerned. I suggest that in Canberra there is great need for consultation between the PostmasterGeneral's Department and the officers of the Department of the Interior and, indeed, with the National Capital Development Commission so that we can halt this practice now, get rid of the poles which are already marring some of the most beautiful streets and vistas in this city, and so that we may continue to build the city as it was designed to be built and as the recent confirmation of the Holford report has suggested. This is a matter that could well be resolved between the two departments concerned. There is another matter relating to the Postmaster-General's Department to which I wish to refer. That is the practice that has developed within that department in recent years of getting away from standardization in its motor vehicles. It was quite easy to pick out postal vehicles in years past because it seemed to be the practice of the department to standardize on one or two makes of vehicles. That seemed to be a very sensible proposition because it enabled the department to carry in its own workshops the spares needed for those selected vehicles. But in recent years the department seems to have embarked on a policy of purchasing vehicles of many different kinds. I do not know the reason. Perhaps, it has been good salesmanship on the part of the representatives of the various automotive firms; but whatever the reason, the fact is that economy in operation and in the servicing and maintenance of these vehicles suffers because of the multiplicity of parts that must be carried and because of the different types of vehicles with which its mechanics and experts must become familiar. Perhaps, it is open to question whether the department should concentrate on one make of vehicle as that would be a matter for selection; but what I suggest through the Minister at the table to the PostmasterGeneral is that the department should ascertain what type of vehicle is suited to its several needs. Admittedly, it has to have several. Having decided . which type of vehicle is suited to its needs, the department should concentrate on the purchase of that type of vehicle alone by calling tenders and perhaps by accepting tenders of the firm most nearly approaching in type and price the vehicle that is required. The department would then be in a position to stock its workshops with that type of vehicle and parts and have its workmen trained in the operation of those vehicles. It would thus effect economies. If it is felt that there should not be a concentration on one make, or one type, or one brand of motor vehicle, I suggest that, as there are six States, each subject to the control of a deputy directorgeneral, it might be well worth while considering that when there are several or more makes of a particular type of vehicle available, one type should be selected for a State, together with spare parts, spare engines and accessories; and the same principle should be applied to the other States. The department would be improving its service and effecting a saving to the community if it got away from the multiplicity of vehicles it is operating to-day. I suggest to the Minister that that might well be considered by himself and by the officers concerned. There is one small matter to which I want to refer, in relation to the provision of television services. There has been considerable talk in recent years of extending television to this city, and various estimates have been given as to the cost that would be involved in providing such a service here. Speaking of this, I point out that in the coming year there will be transferred to this city from Melbourne some 1,100 public servants, many of whom have wives and families. They will be coming from a community in which television has been operating for some time and where it has become quite a familiar form of entertainment of the family circle. It may well be that the transfer of those people to Canberra is an added argument for the claim that television services should be extended to this city as rapidly as possible. The Postmaster-General has not as yet given us an estimate of what the cost would be to establish television services here. I can tell him that to establish a complete television service here - that is an originating station, complete with studios, mobile vans, transmitting masts and all the equipment needed - firm quotes can be given in the region of £95,000. Even with that quote, some reductions could be made with economies paring down the cost. I hope to have an opportunity later in this session to develop that theme. If the department is not prepared to face that expenditure at this stage, perhaps it could consider the establishment of what have been referred to as booster services, so that the people of this city would have an opportunity to view programmes that were being relayed in Sydney and in Melbourne. I understand - I have not any detailed information on this - that that would require an extension, of the micro-wave link from Goulburn to Canberra and that there would be some expense in the establishment of a transmitter here to beam that picture to this area. But I am told that, given an extension of the micro-wave link to Canberra, it would be possible to use the existing transmitting station, the existing studios and the existing masts at Belconnen for the transmission of this television programme and that it could be done with an expenditure of between £5,000 and £6,000. I have made that statement previously, and it has not been denied, nor has any information been furnished by the Postmaster-General's Department as to whether that statement could be correct. But to the best of my advice, it is correct to say that, granted the extension of the micro-wave link - I am not including that in the cost - the use of the existing transmitters and the existing towers, we could have a booster station provided here for an expenditure as low as £5,000 or £6,000. If- that is not so, I should like to be told what the cost of providing a booster station here would be. I hope at a later stage to be able to give details of the cost of establishing a full station here. We must remember that these items can be purchased in other countries over the counter. Package television stations can be purchased, and even to-day there are firms in Australia prepared to quote a figure of £95,000 for establishing a complete station in this city. That is less than one-half of the previous estimate I have heard given in this place. {: #subdebate-34-3-s11 .speaker-KFH} ##### Mr FORBES:
Barker .- The honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory **(Mr. J. R. Fraser)** has opened up the fascinating vista of television services for Canberra which, I think, is a very commendable objective. But to-night I want to talk about something which is of very pressing importance in my electorate. I refer to the provision of telephone services. I think that the things on which the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory has spoken are in the nature of the next stage in the process. I have a great admiration for the work that has been done by the PostmasterGeneral's Department since I have been able to observe it at close hand. The development of telephone services in Australia in recent years has been quite remarkable. Country people particularly, I believe, have cause to be grateful for the present Government's policy, which has resulted in greatly extended telephone services in the places where they are most badly needed. That was a decision taken by this Government when it came to office. It felt that a greater expenditure of the money made available to the Postmaster-General's Department should be applied to extending telephone services in remote areas, even though the extension of those services was very costly. But I believe that there is a good case for taking that particular principle even further than it has been taken at present. In particular, I believe that a very much greater proportion of the resources available to the Postmaster-General's Department should be made available to what is known as the R.A.X. programme - the establishment of rural automatic exchanges. I think there are two reasons for this: first, there are still far too many people in the country districts who have services that are practically useless because of the limited service that is provided by the exchanges to which they are connected. The man on the land depends on his telephone not only to push back the isolation which would otherwise be his lot, that is, for social purposes, but also to aid him in an emergency, such as a bush fire, and in the running of his property. He does business by telephone, and in that way saves precious time and increases his efficiency. The telephone service makes a major contribution to the cause of efficiency in Australian agriculture, which is vital to the future of Australian development. The best time for the man on the land to conduct business over the telephone is either early in the morning, or at night time; between those hours he can maximize his effort by working on his farm. There is no 40-hour week for the man on the land, and that is the most efficient way in which he can conduct his affairs. Yet quite often at those times - early in the morning, and after dark - he cannot use his telephone on his premises because of the restricted service provided by the local exchange. This state of affairs comes about, as I understand it, for two reasons. First, according to some arbitrary formula laid down by the department, the number of subscribers and the amount of business do :not justify longer hours; secondly, from my experience in ray own electorate, I believe this is becoming increasingly the case - the local exchange operator will not provide service for the extra hours, although it is justified by the amount of business and the number of subscribers. In a sense, the very prosperity which has been created by the Menzies Government has accentuated this particular part of the problem. The existing operators no longer require the extra income which they would get by providing service for the extra hours justified. In either case, it is not the fault of the subscriber himself. He pays the same rent as does some one who is provided with a continuous 24-hours service, but he receives less for it. He is probably the very person who, by virtue of his isolation, needs more the continuity of service. He is what may be described as a second-class telephone subscriber, the submerged tenth of telephone users. I would not think if so necessary to raise this matter to-night in the discussion of the proposed vote for the Postal Department, if we could see the end of this development in sight, but we cannot. These small manual exchanges operating for restricted hours are still going in and building up for the future the same sort of problem that exists to-day. There is only one solution, that is. to step up the rural automatic exchange programme, so that all future exchanges installed may be automatic, and that work may begin on the progressive replacement by rural automatic exchanges of existing manual exchanges operating for restricted hours. There is an additional reason, I believe, why this should be done. I understand that rural automatic exchanges operate with maximum efficiency and economy when there is a group of them; dialling into a central parent exchange and being able to dial to one another. At one place in my electorate, McLaren Vale, this state of affairs prevails. There are about ten rural automatic exchanges dialling into the local town. That is an ideal situation for maximum efficiency and maximum economy. But that is the only such instance in my electorate. The other exchanges are scattered all over the place in response to urgent and felt needs at the moment. Though it is unavoidable, in view of the present allocation of resources in the department, it is wasteful, uneconomic and inefficient, from a purely technical point of view. For these reasons, I ask the PostmasterGeneral - I hope that the Minister for Social Services **(Mr. Roberton),** who is at the table, will convey this request to him - to give serious consideration to speeding up the rural automatic exchange programme by allocating to it a greater proportion of the available resources. I should like to make clear that I think the way in which the department gives priority of installation to the rural automatic exchanges that it does provide at present is perfectly fair. Honorable members will probably know that, generally speaking, the principle is that a rural automatic exchange will be provided on a top priority in an area where there are no existing telephone facilities at all. The next priority is for those places of which I have ben talking, where additional hours of service are justified on the local exchange but it is not possible to find an exchange operator who will provide them. My plea is not so much a complaint against the existing system of priorities for installations, as a request for a greater share of the total resources of the department to he used for providing these exchanges. In some way, I think, it is better to have no telephone at all than to have in the house one which cannot be used because the exchange is closed - an exchange, moreover, which, when opened, operates on hours which are more appropriate to the city worker on a 40-hour week than to the farmer regularly working 50, 60 or 70 hours a week. In the interests of greater economy and efficiency in the telephone services, and above all in the interests of the greater efficiency of the man on the land - an efficiency which affects every man, woman and child in Australia, because their very livelihood depends on the productivity of the man on the land - I ask that the PostmasterGeneral's Department speed up the rural automatic exchange programme. {: #subdebate-34-3-s12 .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL:
Melbourne .- The Postmaster-General **(Mr. Davidson)** today presented a report of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, concerning recommendations which that board had made to him in connexion with the grant of television licences in Brisbane and Adelaide. This Government invited the board ki October, 1957, to hold an inquiry into applications for licences in those two cities. 1 ask honorable members to note that the inquiry commenced in Brisbane on 28th April, 1958. .Long before the Government decided, on 1st 'October, 1957, to invite applications, certain vested interests, in Sydney and Melbourne, particularly, had made their own arrangements at two conferences held in Sydney in April ,and May, 1957, beating the gun by several months, on the type of licence that was to be granted and on the co-operation that was to exist between all the applicants. In effect, before the board commenced any inquiries at all, the vested interests that were after these two licences had decided to try and create a monopoly. The board presented its report on 25th July this year, nearly two months ago. The Minister was absent for a period through illness, but the Government had the report in its hands and knew of the recommendation as to the grant of licences in each of the two cities. Three applications, all from newspaper, radio manufacturing, and television manufacturing interests were submitted. Nobody else put in an application. There were no other applicants because, after the experiences associated with the granting of licences in Sydney and Melbourne, it was obvious that the board would not be interested in other applications. There were three applications for each city, and the interests concerned expected that two licences would be granted in each city. According to the report the board recommended - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. That fresh applications be invited for one licence for a commercial television station in Brisbane and for one licence in Adelaide; 1. That in the selection of a licensee in either city, so far as practicable, the company will be preferred which is able to demonstrate that it is substantially locally owned and is not controlled in any way by any of the companies holding the licences for existing stations or significant shareholders in these companies; and 2. That it be understood and, if necessary, be a condition of any licence for a television station in Brisbane and Adelaide that the licensee shall not enter into any exclusive arrangement with any other commercial television station for the provision of programmes or the sale of station time or advertising. The board, in its report of 140 paragraphs, told the story of those companies. I am glad that the honorable member for Parramatta **(Sir Garfield Barwick)** is gazing intently and intelligently while I make this observation, because he is mentioned as one of the counsel in the case. The honorable member will remember this part of the board's report, which states - >The whole purpose of our inquiry was toexamine the claims and qualifications of those who applied for the licences, so that we might be in a position to advise the Minister as to the applicants who appeared to be best fitted to ensure the provision of satisfactory television services for the peoples of Brisbane and Adelaide, but, in the submissions which were made to the Board on behalf of some of the applicants, and also of other parties who were granted leave to give evidence after indicating their interest in the proceedings, this seemed to be a secondary consideration. Many of the submissions and much of the evidence were directed to the interests of the existing stations and to their development, and these considerations so dominated the inquiry as to give rise to basic issues in relation to the future of the commercial television services in thi? country. That is serious talk. Paragraph 130 of the report reads - >While, in the case of each application, it was contended that the applicant company would be independent, the proposed construction of certain of the companies is such as to make the conclusion irresistible that, if a licence were to be granted to any one of those companies, one or other of the existing licensees in Sydney or Melbourne would, in practise, be in a position to exercise control of the station. The next portion of that paragraph, which is quite germane and very important, reads - >The documents contained in Appendix E indicate that meetings were held in 1957- As I said, almost a year before the inquiry started - at which representatives of the Sydney and Melbourne stations discussed the best manner in which their companies might share the advantages to be derived from the establishment of stations in Brisbane: It seemed to be assumed that the same considerations would apply to Adelaide. At these meetings, the formation of groups to apply for licences in Brisbane was considered, and whilst the papers show that some other parties were to be included as shareholders in the applicant company or companies, the general impression to be gained from the documents is that the purpose of the meetings and subsequent negotiations was to attempt to produce the result that the station, or stations, to be established in Brisbane would be operated as an extension of the activities of the Sydney and Melbourne stations, and that the new territory would be divided accordingly. This board, which is appointed' to protect the public interest, made its recommendations. But to-day, in the House, the PostmasterGeneral, when he tabled his report, said - >I lay on the table of the House the report of the Australian Broadcasting- Control Board on its inquiry into the- applications received for licences for commercial television stations in Brisbane and Adelaide. The principal' recommendation in the Board's report is that one licence should be issued in- each, of those cities.. The Government however has decided that two licences should be granted in each case. It has asked the Board to make recommendations as to which applicants should' receive the licences. That is,, which of the existing applicants should receive the licences. The board says in its report that none of the applicants is satisfactory, and that if any of the present applicants are granted, licences the effect will be to make Brisbane and Adelaide dependent on. the big financial institutions in Sydney and Melbourne. One Sydney commercial station is owned largely by the "Sydney Morning Herald". The other station is. substantially owned by the " Daily Telegraph ". In Melbourne, one station is owned by the Melbourne " Herald " and another is owned by Electronic Industries Limited, of which **Sir Arthur** Warner is the presiding genius. Those are the stations that are owned by the little group that set out in 1957 to get control of the proposed stations. Paragraph 96 of the board's report quotes a memorandum from **Sir John** Williams, stating that the purpose of a. meeting held in April, 1957, was to - form a combined company out of the proposed groups, and try te exact some promise or undertaking from the Government that in the granting of a second licence, none of us should be debarred by agreeing to combine in the early stages of development. Well, pressure has certainly been brought to bear, and those groups have obtained what they wanted. Last week, I read about alleged activities of the Mafia in Melbourne. The Mafia has its own stand-over methods and ways of exerting pressure, but organized big business could teach the Mafia a lot of tricks about exerting pressure. Unfortunately, my time is very limited- {: .speaker-JSY} ##### Mr Buchanan: -- That is a good thing. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- I am well aware that honorable members opposite do not want the facts revealed. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP -- The PostmasterGeneral tabled the report, did he not? {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- He did, but the Government does. not. want much discussion on it. There are letters in Appendix E which I cannot, quote in full. The second letter in Appendix E is addressed to the managing director of the Herald and Weekly Times Limited, and it is marked " Strictly Personal ". The signatory is **Mr. Clive** Ogilvy. After saying that it would be convenient to attend a meeting in Sydney on 20th or 21st May, 1957. **Mr. Ogilvy** writes - >I appreciate that none of the parties has any commitment other than to continue discussionson Brisbane, but hopeful that we can arrive at a just and equitable " one for all - all for one " approach. The committee can well appreciate how the discussion progressed at this conference, with an earnest endeavour to find1 a " one for all - all for one " approach. The proceedings should have been televised, because the get-together spirit of sweet reasonableness soon gave way, as subsequent documents show, to a tougher and more gogetting approach. **Mr. Ogilvy's** attempt to run a unity ticket apparently failed. Two months later, **Mr. Ogilvy** wrote to a character not identifiable in the board's report, whom he describes as Angus McLachlan, Esquire. To show that he is on speaking terms with, the gentry, **Mr. Ogilvy** tells Dear Angus; - >Take it that there is still no word from Warner or- Williams. Unless some: concrete sign of " allness " or " oneness " must conclude that the " all for one - one for all " approach to Brisbane has failed, perhaps we are a bunch of nympholeps Honorable members, including the honorable member for Parramatta, will know what a nympholept is. Nympholeptcy is a combination of two words - nymph and epilepsy. A nympholept, such as **Mr. Clive** Ogilvy thinks Angus McLachlan and himself to be, is. according to the dictionary, a person suffering from a frenzy caused by contemplation of, or furious desire for, an unrealizable ideal or objective. This board wanted nothing to do with Ogilvy, Warner, Williams, Packer, Henderson, or any other of the applicants, but the board had been told, as we have seen, by the Government, to choose which two out of the three collections of nympholepts in Brisbane, and which two of the three in Adelaide are to he allowed to operate in a manner detrimental to the public interest. But perhaps I am wrong. **Mr. Ogilvy** and his fellowconspirators - because that is how the board regards them; I am not using the term - are no longer to be regarded as nympholepts Their frustrations have been swept aside by an accommodating government! No longer nympholepts, they are incipient recipients. This desire for oneness or allness was never realized, but we do find the managing director of the Melbourne "Herald" telling "Dear Clive" on 27th February, 1958- >As far as one applicant can wish another success with any high degree of sincerity, I would say that we wish you success with your Queensland application. They fall out a little later, and they dispute what happened at a meeting, because, on 4th March, 1958. **Mr. Ogilvy** wrote to " Dear **Sir John** " - >I certainly remember our meeting in Sydney but I am clear that this meeting failed to' reach agreement or any common understanding on the approach to the Brisbane application. I recall that at one stage of this meeting my own views were so opposed to yours that you strongly suggested I should leave the conference table. The brawling, the lobbying, the intriguing, the desire of one group to gobble another, and all the other characteristic activities of big business will probably be again enacted if the board re-opens the inquiry. But the Government has told the board specifically to select two of the three groups and not to worry about anybody else coming into the matter. All I hope is that all proceedings at the next meeting of the board will be televised. What 1 want to emphasize is that the board's report vindicates the Opposition on four counts. First, it justifies the Labour party's policy of nationalization of television by exposing the impossibility of preventing the creation of a monopoly of commercial television. {: #subdebate-34-3-s13 .speaker-JRJ} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Bowden:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- If no other honorable member wishes to speak at once, I will take my second period. I thank the committee for its generosity, and I will not impose long upon it. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: Order! The honorable member must wait until the Chair asks him to resume. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- May I? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member may resume. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- Thank you, **Sir. I** have never seen you so generous or accommodating as you are on this occasion. The second count upon which the board'sreport vindicates the Opposition is that it justifies the Opposition in voting against the legislation introduced by the Menzies Government to permit the establishment of commercial television stations as being against the public interest. Further, it justifies the claim made by the Opposition, when the legislation was being discussed, that any and all commercial station licences granted by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board would be given to newspaper interests. Fourthly, it justifies the demand of the Opposition that the Parliamentary Committee on Broadcasting should be reestablished so that Parliament can be regularly informed on what is happening in the fields of television and broadcasting and, particularly, on the stranglehold, the complete monopoly established by the greedy few, and the many other undesirable features associated with commercial television in this country. I asked the Prime Minister a question recently on what I called the monolithic monopoly growth that his Government has permitted to develop with newspaper interests owning and controlling all the newspapers, most of the commercial radio stations and all the commercial television stations. The Prime Minister said that all monopolies were monolithic, but that is not so. In the United States of America, there is a pluralistic form of capitalism, and an anti-trust law that, while not forbidding newspapers from entering the radio or television fields, would not allow radio or television interests to be associated with newspapers, or with each other, to the extent obtaining in this country. America is the home of competitive free enterprise, but the monolithic monopoly in Australia in the media of mass communication is the negation of that form of private enterprise, and constitutes a threat to our democracy and a menace to our free institutions. {: #subdebate-34-3-s14 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
Minister for Labour and National Service · HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP -- We have not heard much from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr.** Calwell) in the course of the current session of the Parliament, and 1 think the reason has been obvious enough, lt is because there are so few topics that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition can select to speak on at unity with the colleagues who sit beside or behind him. To-night he has broken his silence; he has got back into the kind of form which earned for him a little earlier the nickname, " Curse the Press ". Once again the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has swooped like a hawk on his defenceless prey. He has found a topic which has enabled him to ride again his favourite hobby-horse. This form of exercise used to give him great pleasure in the past. What is the burden of the honorable gentleman's attack? Is he attacking the Government for the decision which it has made, and which was announced earlier in the day? {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- I tried to make that clear. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP -- Let us examine for a moment what the decision was. The Government had before it a report relating to the installation of television stations in two of the capital cities of the Commonwealth - Brisbane and Adelaide. When the Government came to consider that report, it had behind it a certain amount of experience of the operation of television in two other capital cities of the Commonwealth - Sydney and Melbourne. What has been the experience in relation to those two other capital cities? We have had three television stations, two commercial and one national, in each of those cities. I do not happen to be a television fan myself; I do not even own a television set; but I gather the impression from many people who do own *television* sets that the system is working out very well in those two cities, that they are getting a variety of programmes, and that there is competition between commercial interests. Of course, those commercial interests have to maintain certain standards, not only by virtue of the operations of the board which determines these matters but also because the government station itself sets a certain standard to which the commercial stations must relate their activities. I must say that I have heard remarkably few complaints about the operation of television in Melbourne and in Sydney. When we as a Cabinet had to consider whether we would adopt the main recommendation, namely one commercial television station for Brisbane, and one for Adelaide, we put these questions to ourselves: Is it not desirable that there should be competition between these various interests? Is it not desirable that the user, who has to pay a very considerable sum of money - as it is to most people - to purchase a television set should have in return for that expenditure, which includes a substantial amount of government impost, a variety of entertainment from which to choose? Further, is it not desirable *in* a democracy such as the one in which we live that there should be a range of viewpoints expressed? And I suggest that the more viewpoints there are expressed through different television stations, the better is the public interest served. They were the principal considerations we had before us. We had a further rather interesting fact which I think is not brought out in the report itself. Presumably, the board had it in mind that because Brisbane and Adelaide had smaller populations than Sydney and Melbourne they were not so likely to be able to sustain two commercial television stations as the two principal capital cities, Melbourne and Sydney were. But it is a fact, as I understand, that the number of television sets in use in both Melbourne and Sydney has exceeded the earlier estimates of the board. AH the indications are that that process is going to snowball. In other words, earlier estimates of what a community could sustain in the way of commercial operation of television have been shown to be conservative estimates in the case of Sydney and Melbourne. It is reasonable to assume, in the light of that experience, that there were also conservative estimates in relation to both Adelaide and Brisbane. If we were to ask the people of Adelaide and Brisbane whether they would prefer two television stations, one government and one commercial, or three stations, one government and two commercial, there is little doubt about what their preference would be. They would want the variety that the three stations could give to them. If the board's purpose is to ensure that commercial television stations shall be able to operate profitably, and it doubts whether two can operate profitably, is it for the Government to decide whether these various substantial and admittedly quite wealthy groups can stand the financial hazard involved in competition between two commercial stations? They have applied for the licences. One has only to read the report of the board showing the groupings of interests to appreciate that they are well able to stand up to the risks involved in the operation. Why, then, should we be tender in attempting to remove any hazard which might come their way? The Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** made it a point of criticism that they are powerful groups. I confess that, on the Government side, we were not happy when we first had to deal with this problem to find that wealthy interests of public presentation, whether by radio newspaper or some other form of public propaganda or presentation, were in a position to control a particular station. However, let us be realists in this matter. This is a hazardous business. If television is to be efficiently presented, it requires people who are able to stand up to the risks, people who are able to sustain the early losses. It obviously fits in quite neatly to the scale and manner of the commercial operation of newspaper organizations, radio organizations, entertainment organizations and manufacturing organizations which have an interest in the manufacture of either radio or television sets. So it is quite natural to find these interests coming in rather more readily than other commercial interests, because not only are they able to take the risks, but they have an interest, linked with their other interests, in seeing that the show prospers. That is what has happened. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- Wheels within wheels. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP -- Our friend opposite says " Wheels within wheels ". His scepticism may have some basis, but is it warranted on the facts and the experience? J was one of the sceptics who did not like the way this thing was working out in the first instance, but at least I had enough realism to face up to what seemed to be the necessities of the situation. I confess my own fears - and I think I speak for my colleagues in the Cabinet - have not been realized. I think this thing is working out pretty well. As a community, we are getting a variety of programmes and a variety of viewpoints. I do not think that the Leader of the Opposition **(Dr. Evatt)** can fairly claim that his brand of politics is not being given fair chances of expression through the medium' of television. If some of the rather fulsome press accounts are to be believed, he is quite a television star and has been given frequent opportunities to demonstrate his capabilities in that field. In this particular instance, the Government had to decide whether it should accept the view that in these two capital cities the viewers should have one commercial station or the view that they should have two. Exercising the best judgment we could, on the facts before us, we said "Let them have two". I believe that the people of Brisbane and Adelaide will applaud the decision that they shall have two. We have not yet made a decision as between A. B and C. At this point we do not feel entirely qualified to say who should get the licences as between A, B and C. Having appointed this expert body, we now say to it, " You have gone into this matter pretty fully. In the light of the knowledge that we have decided that there shall be two commercial stations in each of these two capital cities, go ahead and recommend to us the people whom you think should get the licences ". The recommendation by that body will come back to us for decision. I do not want to take up the time of the committee unduly, .so I shall conclude on this note: Although the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has galloped through a sort of tirade on this matter, I believe that the real motive behind his attack was conveyed to us when he told us about his version of the policy of the Labour party. What we are doing runs contrary to what he believes would be Labour policy on this matter. It runs contrary to the nationalization of television and broadcasting. I want to say by way of tribute to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that he is a genuine and convinced socialist. He has never backed away from that. I do not know many men on the other side of the chamber who have been more conscientious and more devoted to the objective of socialism which was adopted by the Labour party in 1921. He makes no bones about it. He says that the radio broadcasting systems of this country should be nationalized, and owned and operated in the public interest as a nationalized concern. He carries bis reasoning a. logical step further and says that the television services of this country should be socialized, and owned and operated by the government in the public interest. He stands on that quite firmly. But once again we find the Labour party hopelessly divided on a major matter of policy. The right honorable member for Barton **(Dr. Evatt)** does not believein the nationalization of radio and television - not on your life. Again we see that the only unity which is to be found in the Australian Labour party at this time is the kind of unity whichexpresses itself in unity tickets at industrial elections. {: #subdebate-34-3-s15 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor .- The people of this country are indebted to the honorable member for (Melbourne **(Mr. Calwell)** for revealing to them that, as far as television licences for Adelaide and Brisbane are concerned, the Government is prepared to see that those licences go to people who are already the holders of substantial interests in existing television licences for Melbourne and Sydney. It is prepared to do that notwithstanding that the Australian Broadcasting Control Board - a body which nobody could accuse of holding Labour - opinions- has explained with perfect clarity that there is a plot on the part of the people holding the Sydney and Melbourne licences to gain control of the Adelaide and Brisbane television licences. It would not be so bad if the Government were not always lauding the supposed virtues of competition. "Competition in all things gives the people 'the best of all possible worlds ", the Government says, but when great financial interests combine to eliminate competition the Government is onlytoo anxious to foster the creation of the cartel.It is onlytoo willing to let such people dominate our daily lives. That has beenthe "Government's policy for as long as I can remember. Government supporters have praised the television licence holders for producing good programmes, but in my view the advertising that is being put on the screens in Melbourne and Sydney is positively revolting. For instance, we must put up with a lot, of nonsensical talk about pies - certainly a common enough article of diet for the Australian worker . We have to listen endlessly to talk of " Four'n Twenty " pies, " Noon " pies and somebody else's pies. Recently, I met a gentleman whom I had not seen for years. I asked, " What have you been doing, mate? " He said, ".I. have been working until recently in a pie factory, and what pies we have been making! Years ago we used to get twelve pies from a pound of meat, but now we getsixteen." Thatis the sort of product that is being peddled to the public. Not only is less meat put in pies these days, but in most cases the crust is made from inferior margarine, the competitor of our butter industry. One cannot look at television for very long without being told of the virtue of some one's cosmetics. In my opinion, cosmetics are a lot of muck. Most women would look better with a little cow cream on their faces. We have to listen to diatribes about the virtues of other products such as king-size cigarettes, though the medical profession has shown us that cigarettes do irreparable harm to our lungs. The Government is not worried about allowing television to be used by commercial interests for peddling their goods. The honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Forbes),** whom I know to be a cigarette smoker, may laugh, but I cannot see why a wonderful device conferred upon mankind by divine providence should be employed not beneficially but in promoting the sale of certain products. On television we see advertisements urging us to use headache wafers and similar drugs when this great medium would be better used in instructing people that freedom from headaches can more readily be obtained by leading a more natural life and by taking advantage of the remedies which are available in nature itself. The end result of all this advertising is that, to a certain extent at any rate, Australians are being encouraged to develop into a race of drug addicts. Generally speaking, the PostmasterGeneral's Department never fails to excite my admiration. Its efficiency at every stage of its operations - from the man' who delivers our letters to the great directors whopreside over its. administration - is par excellence. Rarely indeed does one heara complaint regarding the administration of the department. I. have been a member of this Parliament for about 21 years and it was not until last week that I receiveda complaint of that nature. It was from a gentleman with business interests who had suffered a delay of an hour and a half before being able to make an interstate trunkline call which was of great importance to his business. That sort of thing is, of course, very annoying, and I feel sure that a complaint in the right quarter would soon result in an attempt being made to prevent a repetition. Honorable members have, for a very long lime now, been subjected to a stream of complaints concerning the inability of the department to provide many of the citizens of this country with a telephone service. That is, of course, not a complaint about the department's administration, but as one who represents a constituency which is on the outer perimeter of Melbourne I am convinced that the complaints which come from both business houses and householders are amply justified. When people ask whether the department is short of cable, of plastic materials for use in the workshops where telephone equipment is manufactured, or of technicians and labourers, I feel bound to answer in the negative. Indeed, the Government claims to have solved the problem of scarcity of materials. Inquiries reveal that the materials which are required for the manufacture of telephone equipment are in ample supply, that the department's workshops are well equipped, and that the necessary technicians are available. A retrenchment policy which the Government undertook some years ago has resulted in a shortage of what might be termed skilled labour. Side by side with that fact we have 60,000 unemployed. In view of all this, and the important fact that the war has now been over for 13 years, one is forced to the conclusion that the department lacks the finance that it needs to do the work for which it is so splendidly equipped. {: .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon: -- You know that that is not correct. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- It is useless for the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. McMahon)** to deny the truth of what I have said. I searched long and diligently to discover the real reasons for the lag in the provision of telephones. In a very nice little journal, the " A.P.O. Magazine ". which is circulated in the PostmasterGeneral's Department, I found an article by the distinguished Director-General of Posts and Telegraphs to the effect that the number of applications for telephones had been reduced by 30,000 during the year, but that 43,000 people were still waiting. When one asks how long it will be before these people are likely to get telephones one is given the optimistic reply that it may be twelve months. That means, in effect, that installation will not take place for eighteen months. For the ordinary householder, particularly in case of sickness, that is a very serious state of affairs, and for the employers of labour and the captains of industry it also is a mighty serious state of affairs. Recently. I called at a factory, the management of which had complained to me about lack of telephone services. I found that the factory was owned by a company employing about 150 men and that there was only one telephone in the establishment. That telephone had to be used at all hours of the day in order to keep in contact with the people in charge of the company's contracting equipment throughout the suburban area and, indeed, in other States. That telephone had to be used to keep in touch with engineers who were supplying equipment for the repair of mechanical plant. From time to time in the office there were five or six men waiting to make telephone calls to order the requisite parts for machines, or to direct machines to other destinations, so that the work of the company could be done efficiently and effectively. I make no reflection on the administration of the Postmaster-General's Department. This lag in installations is not the department's fault. But I charge the Government with failing to make available to this great department sufficient finance to enable it to go ahead and provide services for the people as rapidly as that should be done. I remind the Government that, in Victoria, the State Electricity Commission has had as great a call made on it for the supply of electricity as has the PostmasterGeneral's Department for the supply of telephone services. In fact, the pressure on the Electricity Commission has been infinitely greater than that on the Postal Department; yet, the commission has met every demand that has been made on it. The honorable member for Wannon **(Mr. Malcolm Fraser),** who is interjecting, can apologize for his Government's record afterwards. This year, the Postmaster-General's Department is being provided with £770,000 more than last year for the extension of telephone services and all sorts of other essential postal services, although the arrears of telephone connexions number 43,000, to say nothing of the need for letter boxes, telephone cabinets, new post offices and all those things that go with an economy which is expanding, and with an increasing population. It is high time that Ministers ceased to shelter behind the excuse that there is a shortage of materials and that there has been expansion that they could not anticipate. It is time that they shifted the blame from the Postal Department and asked this Parliament for an appropriation adequate to cover the needs of the community. If the provision of telephone equipment and telephone services to the residents of Australia were a losing proposition, one could understand the present state of affairs, but the plain fact is that the provision of telephone connexions is a profitable part of the activities of the PostmasterGeneral's Department. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- The Minister for Primary Industry has challenged my figures. {: .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon: -- I am telling the honorable member that his figures are wrong. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: Order! The Minister for Primary Industry will remain silent. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- I will give the figures to the Minister and he can read them for himself. {: #subdebate-34-3-s16 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr MALCOLM FRASER:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- The honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** has put forward a point of view which represents one side of the picture but which completely distorts the achievements of the Postmaster-General's Department, and of this Government, in relation to the expansion of that department over the last ten years. If the honorable member had examined this matter a little further he would have found that the department has expanded during the last ten years more rapidly than ever before in its history. In speaking of the waiting lists which have been inevitable in recent years, he either forgot or ignored the lack of investment in postal facilities during the war years. He completely ignored the great strain that the very rapid development that has taken place, especially in the last ten years, has placed upon the resources of the PostmasterGeneral's Department. In ignoring those matters, he gave a false impression of the position. If the honorable member for Lalor had examined his case properly he would have found that, in the first 70 years of the history of this department, about 650,000 telephone lines were constructed, but this figure has been doubled in the last ten years. He would have found also that in the last ten years the number of rural automatic exchanges increased from 150 to well over 900. It is worth noting, too, that this Government has been in office during that time. It is easy to imagine how little was done in the post-war years before the Government came to office. The number of telephone trunk calls has almost doubled, from 58,000,000 to more than 106,000,000, again indicating the great strain that has been placed on the facilities of the department. The number of trunk line channels has doubled, from 7,000 to 14,000. To show how the demand for telephone services has increased, I point out that in the pre-war years the highest number of applications was approximately 60,000 a year. The highest number in the post-war years - I think it was three years ago - was. 150,000. That again indicates the strain that has been placed on the resources of the department. The record of what the department has done and of what the Government has done in making facilities available to the department, clearly indicates that both the department and the Government have played their part in making sure that Australia has the best possible postal and telephone facilities. There is a point that I wish to bring tothe notice of the Postmaster-General **(Mr. Davidson),** and I hope that the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. McMahon),** who is at' the table, will convey to him what I haveto say. I refer to the question of the Edenhope post office, which for many years hasbeen a sore point with the people of Edenhope, not through any fault of the department, but because of certain factors that are involved in the matter. This post office- was- about- due to be. condemned when the war started. During the war years nothing, o£ course, could- be done.. Soon after the war; the department tried to: buy a- piece of land next- door to the post- office, which had. a good house on it and on which it was intended to build a- new post office,, but it was. not until; three years ago that the department was able to finalize the purchase of the land. [Quorum formed.] **Mr. Temporary Chairman,** the delay was' due to the fact that the land was tied up in an estate that was finalized only after a much greater lapse of time than had originally been expected. When tha land, was eventually acquired about three> years ago, the department made plans to.- remove, the postal facilities to another building on this piece of- land which was to serve as a. post office and a postmaster's, residence. The townspeople of Edenhope, were -disappointed when this decision was made, because they felt: - and. I. believe rightly - that they deserved a new post office: The Building- which- is at present serving- is a' very- great improvement- on the old1 one which most certainly- could not have been used any longer. It has now been pulled down; and' if the department had continued to> use it probably it would have fallen about the ears of the staff. I think that that was the reason why, three years ago, MrStrange, who was then Director of Posts and' Telegraphs uv Victoria; decided that services should be transferred to another building, already standing, which was to serve as a1 post office and a postmaster's residence. Mr: Strange visited Edenhope about three years ago, discussed this matter with' the> townspeople, and promised that, in the very near future, a new post office would be provided there. However, I am quite certain that his original decision was correct1, because, as I have said, it was impossible- to continue to provide - services from the old building, which has been completely, demolished, and which almost fell down. The town- of Edenhope requires an even better post office building than the present one, and plans: for it have been foreseen. There is room to construct a new building in front of the: existing one,- and the present building, which serves as a- combined post office and postmaster's residence, will become just a residence. The town of Edenhope has. been expanding, and, with the prosperity that has come to the neighbouring rural- areas- over the last ten or. fifteen, years, it has been practically rebuilt. State schools and-, other, rural institutions have been very/ greatly extended, and. I believe that, in. respect of. this, centre, the PostmasterGeneral's Department has an obligation, to keep pace with the development that is taking place, although, as I have said, the reason why it has not done so was originally not. the department's fault, but was the delay of. seven- or eight years in completing, the purchase of a new piece of land. [Quorum formed.] It is- a-, strange mockery of parliamentary procedure when the honorable - member for East Sydney **(Mr. Ward)** sends half the members- present on his own side of the chamber outside in order that he may call for a quorum, and. prevent a case for a specific, service from being advanced. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- I rise- to order, **Mr. Temporary Chairman.** I object to the statement that I sent members on this side out of the chamber. I did no such thing. I merely directed attention to the- state of the committee, as I am entitled to do, I submit, under" the Standing Orders. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The honorable member for East Sydney is entitled to direct attention to the state of the committee if he thinks that a quorum is not present. {: .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr MALCOLM FRASER:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP **- Mr. Temporary Chairman,** when, the former Director of Posts and Telegraphs in. Victoria visited Edenhope three years ago, the townspeople informed him that they would prefer- to wait and carry on with the- old post office for two; three- or perhaps four years, if necessary, if that would mean that they could get a completely new post office instead of " merely having the facilities transferred to the present building which does combined, duty as a post office and a postmaster's residence. **Mr. Strange** at that time made what I believe was the right decision, and decided that that could not be done because it would not have been possible to maintain services in the old and very dilapidated building that had been serving" as a post office. That is why this temporary move - and it is only temporary - to the present building was made. I certainly hope that, in the not too distant future, a new post office building will be provided at Edenhope. Public relations with the Postmaster-General's Department are, in general, good throughout Australia, because of the very fine work that the officers of the department do, but I believe that if a new post office building is not provided in Edenhope public relations with the department in this area will very sadly deteriorate. The matter is now before the department as a result of representations for some positive and satisfactory decision, and I hope that the Postmaster-General will consider it earnestly and sympathetically. {: #subdebate-34-3-s17 .speaker-K6T} ##### Mr COSTA:
Banks **.- Mr. Temporary Chairman,** I desire to put before the committee certain matters relating to the Postmaster-General's Department. I regret that because honorable members have been deprived of the benefit of the provision made in the Standing Orders for Grievance Day they very seldom get the opportunity to raise these parochial matters concerning their electorates specifically, and therefore are forced to use the time that they are given to debate these estimates in discussing parochial affairs. All honorable members have complained about outstanding applications for telephone services. The honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** mentioned, a little while ago, that he had recently been advised by the Director-General of Posts and Telegraphs that 30,000 telephones have been connected during last year, and that there are at present more than 40,000 applications outstanding. On those figures, 1 consider that my electorate has fared badly. I have been notified by the PostmasterGeneral's Department to-day that 1,307 people in the Banks electorate are waiting for telephones. If the allocation of services in my electorate were as great as it should be. there would probably be only 300 instead of 1,307 applications outstanding. The large number of outstanding applications in the Banks electorate is due to the very great progress that is being made there. As some honorable members doubtless know, my electorate embraces a large part of the Municipality of Bankstown, the population of which is increasing at the rate of 19 per cent, per annum. Industry there is expanding at a similar rate. The department should pay greater attention to the expansion of its services in this area, because they are so necessary to industry and to the workers on whom the local industries depend. I have stated the position in my electorate, and I appeal to the Postmaster-General **(Mr. Davidson)** to give the Banks electorate special attention. There is another matter that I should like to discuss briefly. The PostmasterGeneral's Department is now in the process of installing a new telegraphic system, which is known by the abbreviated name of Tress, which stands for " telegraph repeating electric switching system ". This system appears likely to make every important changes within the department. In recent history, communications, not only in Australia but also through the rest of the world, have been based on the excellent morse system. Before the advent of that system, of course, they depended on signals made by smoke, flags and other very primitive means of transmitting messages from place to place. When we developed the morse system, we thought that it would do for all time, but it is now being discarded in favour of something better. The particular aspect of the matter to which I wish to direct attention is the fact that, coinciding with the introduction of the Tress system, a decision has been made by the Postmaster-General's Department to close the postal training schools. In those schools, morse was taught, of course, together with all other postal procedures and practices. As a matter of fact, in those schools, men were taught how to run post offices. Although morse was only one of the things taught in those schools, the department has decided, as a result of the introduction of the Tress system, to close them. I feel there is still a great need for the training of men to run post offices in these modern times. I should like the PostmasterGeneral to consider the continuance of these schools. Let the new Tress method be taught there, as well as the other procedures in the Postmaster-General's Department which, I am sure, still justify the provision of training schools. There is another important matter connected with the training schools, to which I turn now. When the schools were established in 1945 the departmental administrators at that time selected the men they considered to be the most efficient for the work of training postal officers. The men selected for that work most certainly proved themselves. However, now that the schools have closed, the great services performed by these men for the PostmasterGeneral's Department seem to have been forgotten. The men are hardly retaining their present status. At the time of their appointments to the schools some of them were supervisors in the telegraph branch but now, because of the big change following the introduction of the Tress system, there is not the need that there was previously for the skills which these men possess. They are getting no special consideration. I know these men personally, and I venture to say that had they not met the convenience of the department by transferring to that training work in the schools, but had continued in their former positions, they would now have a very much higher status than they have. At the moment they are on an unattached list, and from my inquiries it appears that their future will be rather bleak. They will not reach the heights within the service that they could have hoped to reach had they not gone into the schools to train other officers. So I should like the Postmaster-General to consider the re-establishment of these training centres, and also the position of the men who taught in them, whose worth has been proved by the fact that those whom they trained are now very efficiently running the nation's post offices. I know some of the men who went through those schools as students. They have since been selected by the department as cadet administrators. In due course they will be the men who will direct the PostmasterGeneral's Department. The men who encouraged and coached them, however, are now in the discard. I hope that their position will be favorably considered. The honorable member for Mitchell **(Mr. Wheeler)** commented on telegraph charges. I feel that the telegraphic branch, like a number of other institutions in the community, has had its day. The telegram is too slow a method of communication for normal modern requirements. The people are not using it because, with the development of the telephone system, people who have to communicate with each other for business and other reasons can do so more quickly by telephone than by telegraph. The telegraph system is also too expensive to use. A person in one suburb wishing to communicate with a person in a nearby suburb could take a taxi- and have a conversation with that person at a cost of about 4s. 6d. It would cost him about 10s. to send a reply-paid urgent telegram to the person. So the telegraph system cannot compete to-day in the communications field with faster and cheaper methods. The honorable member for Mitchell suggested1 putting the telephone branch under a separate authority. I venture to say that he selected this particular branch of the service for this kind of treatment only because it is making a very good profit at present. Its profit is about £5,250,000 annually. If it were showing a loss he would not be interested. The honorable member for Mitchell and his colleagues believe in doing with the postal services what they want to do with the Commonwealth Bank. They want to shackle the different branches of the postal service so that they will be able to hand them over to private enterprise. If the honorable member studies history he will find that the telephone branch was not always the paying proposition that it is at present. In a period of years after 1914 the postal services made a profit of about £60,000,000. But instead of being used to finance the expansion of postal services it was paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund. That was not the wisest thing to do. A public enterprise like the Postmaster-General's Department should by all means be allowed to stand on its own feet, and when it showed a profit of £60,000,000 over a period of years that money should have been used for its development. Another matter touching the PostmasterGeneral's Department, which should be considered, is the necessity to co-ordinate planning within the department, particularly the engineering branches. This also applies to other public utilities. Any honorable member would know cases within his own suburb of a fine cement footpath or a macadamized road laid by a local government authority being torn up perhaps in a few days by a gas company, a water and sewerage authority, or the Main Roads Board. I think it is time that bodies of that kind got together to prevent public waste. There should be greater co-operation between all those public utilities and the Postmaster-General's Department in order to ensure that once a good road or footpath has been put down it will not be dug up for the laying of a telephone cable, a gas pipe or anything else of the kind that could have been laid before the road or footpath was made. If not already in existence, machinery for such co-ordination should be brought into existence. Now I turn to rural automatic exchanges. A man who has been specially trained in this work has complained to me that much of this kind of installation work has been placed with private enterprise. In many instances, instead of the PostmasterGeneral's Department installing a rural automatic exchange, the work is done by private enterprise. There are certain utilities for which the Postmaster-General's Department does the work. A hospital board in Bankstown put a case before me in this connexion recently. The hospital is a very modern one, which was built at a cost of £1,500,000. It needed an automatic exchange, and because the department has decided that this kind of job is to be done outside the department, the hospital, which is a public utility paid for out of taxation, had to search for somebody to do the job at a much higher fee than the PostmasterGeneral's Department would charge. I think the public hospitals should be among the public utilities for which such work has to be done by technicians of the PostmasterGeneral's Department. They are just as much public or government institutions as are the railways or any other government department. I cannot see why there should be a shortage of rural automatic exchanges. I quite agree with members of the Australian Country party who have said that country people should get first priority for these exchanges, which provide a continuous service for seven days a week. Production of them should be stepped up. The only other matter about which I wish to speak concerns the criticism of duplex services. I am not opposed to the installation of duplex services, because they do provide a service for people. If duplex services were not available, many people would not have a telephone. But I think that better consideration ought to be given to the conversion to the duplex system of services that have been exclusive for up to twenty years. I bring that matter, too, to the attention of the Postmaster-General. A lot of other matters relating to the Postmaster-General's Department are outstanding. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-34-3-s18 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMAHON:
Minister for Primary Industry · Lowe · LP -- I wish to reply to two inaccurate statements that have been made this evening. I refer first to a statement by the honorable member for EdenMonaro **(Mr. Allan Fraser)** relating to charges against the general manager and the assistant general manager of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. The honorable gentleman's statement was made without any supporting evidence. The Postmaster-General **(Mr. Davidson),** who unfortunately is not able to be here because he has had to return to his electorate, has assured me that the morale of the administrative staff of the Australian Broadcasting Commission is extremely high. It is obvious, therefore, that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro has been misinformed by some isolated and disgruntled member of the staff. The charges made by the honorable member are without foundation. It is appropriate, indeed it is correct, that when a charge is levelled against the character of a member of the commission, the facts on which the charge is based should be presented and that they should be firmly based. The honorable member also referred to the fact that the commission's board room was used during the recent hearing of the senior officers' log of claims before the Public Service Arbitrator. That is perfectly true, but I am informed that the hearing was moved to that location to suit the convenience not only of the commission but also of the employees' association. Usually we can rely upon what the honorable member says, and I regret to have to say that, when he impugns the character and efficiency of high and responsible members of the commission, the charges made by him must be answered and refuted. I interjected when the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** stated that the funds provided for telephone exchange, trunk and miscellaneous services had been reduced. The contrary is the case. They have been increased by £1,500,000 in cash, but even that does not tell the full story. In fact, the increase is £2,000,000, because £500,000 of the 1957-58 funds was provided as a working advance for the Post Office Stores and Services Trust Account. No such provision has been made for 1958-59. The provision for other capital works items such as buildings and sites is comparable with that provided in 1957-58. I repeat what I said by way of interjection - that is, that the honorable member's facts were not correct. (Several honorable members rising in their places) - Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) putThat the question be now put. The committee divided. (The Temporary Chairman - Mr. G. J. AYES: 0 NOES: 0 AYES NOES {:#subdebate-34-4} #### Bowden.) Ayes . . . . . . 49 {:#subdebate-34-5} #### Noes . . . . . . 28 {:#subdebate-34-6} #### Majority 21 Question so resolved in the affirmative. Proposed votes agreed to. PART 3. - TERRITORIES OF THE COMMONWEALTH. {:#subdebate-34-7} #### Northern Territory Proposed Vote, £4,938,000. {:#subdebate-34-8} #### Australian Capital Territory Proposed Vote, £3,559,000. {:#subdebate-34-9} #### Norfolk Island Proposed Vote, £31,000. {:#subdebate-34-10} #### Papua and New Guinea Proposed Vote, £12,136,000. {:#subdebate-34-11} #### Cocos (Keeling) Islands Proposed Vote, £33,000. PART 4.- PAYMENTS TO OR FOR THE STATES. {:#subdebate-34-12} #### Department of Health Proposed Vote, £1,750,000. (Ordered to be considered together.) {: #subdebate-34-12-s0 .speaker-JVU} ##### Mr NELSON:
Northern Territory -- At this late hour, the committee is asked to approve the proposed votes for the Northern Territory, the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, Nauru, Norfolk Island, Cocos Island and the Australian Capital Territory, totalling some £36,000,000. It seems that the usual procedure will be used again and the gag will be applied very soon. On Tuesday of this week, the Minister for Territories **(Mr. Hasluck)** gave an assurance that somewhat lengthy consideration would be given to the estimates for the territories when that stage was reached. It was on that understanding that members of the Opposition refrained from debating the estimates for the Department of Territories when they were before the committee. The Minister said - >If the committee needs it, I willingly give an assurance that ample time will be provided when Part 3 of the Estimates comes before us to enable honorable members to discuss at appropriate length the proposed votes for any of the Territories in that part to which they wish to direct themselves. It appears that speakers on the Opposition side will be given only fifteen minutes each to discuss these Estimates. Our remarks must necessarily be brief, and we will not have time to discuss many matters. First of all. **Mr. Temporary Chairman,** I want to refer to a matter that was raised at question time to-day concerning constitutional reform in the Northern Territory. The honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth)** asked the Minister for Territories whether it was the intention of the Government to bring forward legislation during the life of this Parliament, concerning recommendations before the Cabinet on constitutional reforms which were agreed to at a conference between members of the Government and members of the Legislative Council of the Northern Territory late in July. The Minister replied that although the meeting had been held and an assurance was given that the matters raised by the meeting would be placed before Cabinet as soon as possible and within a short time of the close of the meeting, nothing had been done. The Minister said that a full report was placed before the Cabinet. Therefore, the Cabinet has had two months to consider those proposals and no concrete decision has been taken. The Minister has admitted that no measure will be introduced during the remaining three weeks of this session of the Parliament to give effect to all or any of those recommendations. T warned the Minister the other night that the members of the Legislative Council and the public in the Northern Territory were becoming increasingly restive on the attitude of the Government on these important reforms. Only this week, the elected members of the Legislative Council petitioned the Administrator of the Northern Territory demanding that the Legislative Council be called together because they feared that the Government was going to act as it has done in this connexion. The Government has shelved the recommendations of the Legislative Council until after the general elections in the hope that the people of the Northern Territory will have forgotten these matters before the new Commonwealth Parliament assembles, but I warn the Minister that the people of the Territory and their representatives in their council will have something further to say on this matter. The Legislative Council of the Territory was given an assurance that some positive action would be taken. Now, the problem is going to be shelved until after the general elections because the Minister has said that there are certain points that the Government cannot rectify " just off the cuff ". I remind the Minister that he has had eight years to work out proposals. The people of the Northern Territory regard this matter seriously. The Government had no interest in the matter until there was a demonstration in the council, and the Commonwealth Government was forced to call a conference. One would have expected that the Government would have some concrete proposals to put forward, but the Minister admitted by his statement to-day that it had no thoughts on the matter and was still considering what could be done about the complaints that have been made on behalf of the people of the Northern Territory over a period of some seven years. However, I am unable to pursue this matter any further, because of the limitation of time. I want now to pass from that serious matter to other serious matters that affect the Northern Territory and the people who are living there, which are dealt with iii the Budget. I refer particularly to housing in the Northern Territory. I have no doubt that the Minister will, when replying, quote figures to show that increasing amounts of money have been made available for housing in the Territory. I admit that that is so, but I want to point out to the committee that the only housing that has been provided by the Government in the Northern Territory is for the purpose of accommodating its own employees. In that connexion, there are two categories of civil servants - those that can be housed and those who cannot be housed. They are classed, of course, as key personnel and non-key personnel. A person in the key personnel category has a reasonable chance of obtaining a house, but a day worker in any of the non-key positions - and there are hundreds of them in the Northern Territory - has only a very remote chance indeed of obtaining a house. It does not matter whether or not he is married and has a family; it is just too bad for a man who occupies a non-key position; nothing can be done about it. The circumstances of the case are not taken into consideration at all. There is arising at the present time, T believe, a situation in which persons engaged on day labour will be barred completely from obtaining houses. Certainly, several people in this category have obtained houses in the Northern Territory, but now I believe a rule has been made that no further housing shall be let to persons engaged on day labour. The alternatives confronting these people are these: If a man on day labour can finance the purchase of a home, he may do so; otherwise he will have to pack up and leave the Territory. lt is true, of course, that the Government has in operation a housing loans scheme, but I point out that it is necessary for a person wishing to obtain a loan under that scheme to own the equivalent of £500 before he may apply. He must have a block of land and a certain amount of cash. People in the lower income brackets who are working in the Northern Territory are unable lo accumulate this initial deposit, and so they remain homeless. I urge the Minister seriously to consider amending the housing loans scheme for the Northern Territory to provide that loans will be made available to the people of the north who have a nominal deposit, because, having got to the stage of wanting to acquire a home, they are likely to become permanent residents and the possibility of their failing to meet their obligations is remote indeed. I wish now to refer to another aspect of the matter. I think that the Government should immediately establish in the Northern Territory a housing commission similar to the housing commissions in the States, to be financed from Commonwealth funds to enable it to build homes for rental throughout the length and breadth of the Territory. We know, of course, that not everybody can afford to buy a home. Furthermore, not everybody wants to accept the responsibility of acquiring a home under a housing loans scheme. Many people want to go to the Northern Territory to find out for themselves at first hand whether the working conditions and the climatic conditions would suit them. They want to sample the country for a period of time. Under existing conditions, of course, it is impossible for them to do so. If a housing scheme were in operation, under which homes could be rented for a certain period, I feel sure that many people would go to the Territory for the purpose I have mentioned, and that ultimately they would take their families there and become permanent residents of the north. In the Northern Territory, as in other parts of Australia, housing is the key problem at the present time. The Minister stated in reply to a question that I directed to him some time ago, that a housing scheme had' been announced for the Northern Territory and that funds were available in theEstimates for it. Later, he retracted the statement that the scheme had been announced, but I believe that he still insists that funds are being provided in the Estimates for such a scheme. I should like him to define the scheme and to informthe committee of the amount of money that will be made available to expand the homebuilding programme in the Northern Territory both for Government employees and for persons outside of Government employment who wish to establish themselves in the Territory. Of course, the housing problem does not. only exist in Darwin; it exists in relation to other centres in the Northern Territory and to agricultural settlement. If the Minister were to make a bold decision in relation to the housing problems of the Territory, he would go a long way towards solving a lot of the problems of the north. The extent of the housing problem in Darwin can be seen by the slum conditions, and by the number of displaced persons who are camping at Mendil Beach, which is greater than ever before. The shortage of houses in Darwin presents a very serious problem, and the longer a solution is delayed the more acute the problem will become. T believe that in the Australian Capital Territory the Government writes down the cost of housing construction to enable houses to be made available to tenants at a reasonable rental. If that can be done in the Australian Capital Territory, and if the State housing commissions can do it, the Commonwealth Government should adopt a similar approach to the provision of housing in the Northern Territory. T pass now to the subject of education. Some concern is being felt about the educational facilities in the Northern Territory. We know that during the period of the war the whole of north Australia was evacuated. Although we are trying to catch up on the schooling facilities there, it seems to me that we are falling further behind as the vears go by. The bone of contention in Darwin is the absence of an efficient high school. There is a high school of sorts, but I point out that it is sited on an area of 1-J acres of land, adjacent *to* the higher primary school and the infants schools. The three schools are -situated on an area of 5 acres of land, and they provide only inadequately for the requirements of the children of Darwin. It is known that in South Australia a minimum area of from 15 to 20 acres is provided for a high school. Yet, as I have said, the three schools in Darwin are established on an area of only 5 acres of land, and this is being whittled away by the building of temporary classrooms. At the present time, only *H* acres of playground area is available for the 1,100 children who attend the schools; ultimately, the playing area will be reduced to about 1 acre. I do not think that that is adequate. After many years of promises, a school is to be provided at Alice Springs. {: #subdebate-34-12-s1 .speaker-KZW} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Lawrence: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-34-12-s2 .speaker-JF7} ##### Mr BEAZLEY:
Fremantle .- I should like to make a few remarks about the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, and Norfolk Island, and also to refer to the matter of education in the Australian Capital Territory. A hundred years ago, this country was a colony of the United Kingdom, and the history of the relationship of many colonies with the United Kingdom is the history of objection to the fiscal policy of the Mother Country, to the mercantilized conception of conducting trade relations with the colony. Australia was one of the centres of protest at times early in her history. It seems to me that in relation to Norfolk Island, and Papua and New Guinea, we, as a colonial power, repeat many of the policies to which historical objection was taken by the people in the colonies long ago. The original reason for the annexation of these territories in the 1880's, and subsequently for the taking of German New Guinea in 1914, was the strategic convenience and security of this country. The colonial premiers, before federation, urged upon Britain the annexation of British New Guinea for strategic reasons, and therefore we have acquired in Papua and New Guinea a defensive position which is of enormous value to this country, as was shown during the Second World War. It seems to me, therefore, to be quite reasonable that we do make a very heavy expenditure from the contributions of the Australian taxpayer on welfare in New Guinea. There has been an increase of about £1,000,000 this year in the vote of £12,000,000. But there seems to me to be some aspects of our relationship with these territories which are mean and petty. There was a time, for instance, when Norfolk Island had a flourishing fruit industry. We are very often reminded about how manufacturers lean to tariffs, but whenever there is a suggestion from our colonial territories that some of their primary products should come into the country, we get a very marked Country party tariff attitude. The fruit industry of Norfolk Island a good many years ago was completely ruined by the exclusion of its fruit from this country. If we are to undertake responsibility for these territories, one of the aims of government surely ought to be the fostering of self-respect among their peoples. Selfrespect comes not merely from receiving grants from this country which may foster education or carry out necessary works in the territories; it also comes from a sense of paying their own way and having a viable economy. It seems to me that we ought to revise our entire attitude towards our trading with these colonies and make them part of the Australian fiscal area, if we are really to further the development and self-respect of the people who live in them. The second thing that I think we ought to get rid of is the tax which has created a kind of crisis, upon which no comment will be made because it is sub judice - the poll tax in New Guinea. It seems to me to be an undignified tax, a mere per capita tax that has nothing to do with the prosperity or lack of prosperity of the person concerned. It is a tax which is redolent of all sorts of old colonial relations. You had very great difficulty in working out the position of the native people, so you counted heads, and on each poll you put a tax. It seems to me that we ought to take a look at that tax as we apply it in New Guinea, and see if there is some better method of raising revenue, if it is felt that a contribution should be made by the people on the spot to the expenses of immigration. {: .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr Hasluck: -- This particular one was recommended by the Trusteeship Council. {: .speaker-JF7} ##### Mr BEAZLEY: -- I am not sure whether that necessarily makes it wise. 1 do not think that the Government would regard many of the comments of the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations on any subjects as being wise. Some of them portray all sorts of attitudes, which are really propagandist attitudes. The Trusteeship Council is not at all like the equivalent council for mandates under the League of Nations, which acquired some real colonial experience and a scientific and analytical approach to the problem. I feel that the Trusteeship Council is not a body which the Minister should quote as expressing the last word of wisdom on these subjects. The question we ought to ask ourselves is whether as a form of tax the poll tax is fair. Prima facie, it seems to me not to be fair. I feel also that we ought to be sensitive about this tax in view of the old slogan, which I think is valid - " No taxation without representation ". I know that there is some sort of representation in the legislative councils in New Guinea, but we would not say that the natives are fully participating in governing themselves at the present time. On that basis I think we ought to be sensitive about the approach that we make to them in taxation matters. I wish to make just one or two comments on the Australian Capital Territory. First, I should like to speak about the grant to the Canberra University College. I think it is time that we established in Canberra a university of Canberra. We have the Australian National University for the postgraduate students, but the elevation of the Canberra University College to the status of a full university, with all the faculties of an undergraduate university, would be immensely valuable, both for the Australian Capital Territory, which in some respects has a selected population, with probably a higher than average number of parents expecting to put their children through a university, and as a regional university for northern Victoria and southern New South Wales. Secondly, I should like to speak about the grant of £1,872,000 envisaged for educational purposes in the Australian Capital Territory. I refer to Division No. 280, item 11, "Private schools - Reimbursement of interest on capital borrowed for construction and extension of school buildings, £15,000 ". I feel that the Government has been torn by two forces in this matter. It has desired to recognize the fact that it is transferring large numbers of people to the Australian Capital Territory, uprooting them from Melbourne and Sydney, and that -many «of them are civil servants who send their children to private schools for religious or other reasons. The Government ds transferring them to the Australian Capital Territory and creating a crisis in the private schools for parents who want to send their children to those schools. So there is a kind of gesture of justice in this £15,00.0 to meet interest. But it is a sectarian nettle which the Government has, I think, hesitated to grasp firmly. I think we should say quite unashamedly that if the Commonwealth Government is creating in this Territory a problem for parents, it should itself help to overcome the school crisis which it has created in this Territory more generously than it is helping at the moment. At present I have my own children in the Australian Capital Territory, and they are going to a public school, the Forrest school. It is a new school which has a beautiful building and the facilities in it are a credit to the Government. I think that the Government has met pretty faithfully the position of parents whose children go to the public schools. But I think that the provision of £15,000 for private schools in this Territory which have become overcrowded as a result of Government policy in transferring departments here is not a very gerenous recognition of the contribution which those schools have been making. I understand that the Government has come under a considerable amount of sectarian fire on this matter. I am not a Catholic, but I think it is a question of simple justice for any sort of private school in the Territory that if, in the cities from which people are coming, they have had the habit, through their own convictions, of sending their children to private schools, and a crisis has been created by the transferring of population, the Government, whose policy is to transfer the population, should be prepared to pay to overcome the crisis. The last point I want to make concerns the establishment of the National Library. The National Library, of which the Parliamentary Library is a part,, is custodian for the nation, to some very great treasures. The Nan Kivell collection of Australiana and many, other treasures are comparable with the collections possessed by the Mitchell Library in Sydney. Those treasures are very unsatisfactorily housed. They are scattered all over the Australian Capital Territory in all sorts of unsatisfactory sheds and other forms of accommodation. It is time that the Government accepted its responsibility as custodian of these national treasures and housed them in an adequate National Library building. A kind of igloo is being erected in Canberra for the Australian Academy of Science. I do not object to that. I understand that it is a private society with a considerable amount of Government backing; but of equal importance to this community is the safeguarding of the great collection of books, prints, "early colonial records, and early records of the Commonwealth of which the National Library is custodian. I think that we should be prepared to spend £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 to build an adequate National Library, which could become a centre for research. As these facilities stand at present, it is extremely difficult for scholars to mobilize them, or for the public, which has at very great expense acquired them, ever to see them, except those portions that are sometimes put on exhibition in Parliament House, when the proper place for such exhibitions should be an adequate National Library. {: #subdebate-34-12-s3 .speaker-K6X} ##### Mr COUTTS:
Griffith .- I want to refer to tax reimbursements to the States, and particularly to a matter that has been raised recently by the Premier of Queensland. It would appear that some dispute exists between this Government and the Queensland Government as to the population in. Queensland. This dispute has been going on for some time. The Premier states that the population of Queensland is 30,000 more than the Commonwealth Statistician asserts it to be. This Government, rightly so, is standing behind the Statistician. The matter is being investigated. The Premier states that if his claim is correct the Queensland Government will be entitled to an additional £200,000 reimbursement from the Commonwealth Government in each year. According to yesterday's Brisbane news papers the Premier has made, another claim and is encouraging the people of that State in the belief that his Government will receive another £200,000 this year. The Estimates make no provision for that amount of money to be paid to Queensland. I am disappointed that the Treasurer **(Sir Arthur Fadden),** who is a Queenslander, is not in the chamber to-night. I am also sorry to see no Government supporter from Queensland present in the chamber while this most important matter is being discussed. However, the Opposition has its Queensland representatives here. I am very concerned about the financial position in Queensland. The deficit of that State for the last financial year is higher than it has been for 25 years. The Australian Country party-Liberal party Government in Queensland has a very doubtful record. It produces Bradman-like deficits whenever it has an opportunity to govern, and it is running true to form at the present time. The Premier of Queensland is asking this Government to treat Queensland as a mendicant State. He finds that it is impossible to govern with the funds now made available by the Commonwealth. I admit that Queensland, as the second largest State of the Commonwealth, has problems. Queensland is unique in that since it became a State in 1859 it has endeavoured to carry out its development on a decentralized basis. That makes the cost of government and the cost of development greater than is the case in other States which confine their activities to certain sections of their States. I hope that there will be some early announcement by the Government regarding this very important matter, because it is of some moment to the citizens of Queensland and to the Queensland Government. It will be a great blow to Queensland not to get this £200,000. But I fear that the members of the Queensland Government are merely being propagandists, and are feeding the citizens of that State on statements that are designed to encourage them to hope that the Commonwealth Government will make further grants to Queensland. I do not think that any additional grant will be made by this Government which the Premier claims he is entitled to because of some difference between his figures and those of the Commonwealth Statistician as to the population of that State. As a member of the Commonwealth Parliament 1 feel that it would be a shocking state of affairs if the Statistician has underestimated the population of Queensland by 30,000 people. However, I hope that this dispute will be resolved very soon. If the Statistician believes that he is right, I hope that he will say so - and very quickly - and that this Government will say that the Queensland Government will not get the additional £200,000 that it is encouraging the people of Queensland to believe will come their way. I want to refer now to the Australian Capital Territory, and I feel duty-bound to do so because the Parliament, and the Labour party, has honoured me by appointing me to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Australian Capital Territory, an honour that I appreciate very much. I want to make some observations about the development of the capital, a development that I consider to be right and proper. The Minister for the Interior **(Mr. Fairhall),** who is not present- {: .speaker-K7J} ##### Mr Cramer: -- The Minister is ill. {: .speaker-K6X} ##### Mr COUTTS: -- I am very sorry to hear that the Minister is ill; and my remarks will now be all the more sincere. I think that the present Minister for the Interior deserves the commendation of the nation and of this Parliament for the way in which he is tackling the problem of the development of the capital city of the Commonwealth. Although I am a resident of Brisbane, I think that there is an obligation on this Parliament to ensure that the capita] city of the Commonwealth shall be developed to such an extent that every citizen of Australia will be justly proud of it. A big industry is developing here in Canberra, and we parliamentarians should see that it is catered for. I refer to the tourist industry. People from all parts of Australia are making a point of visiting Canberra. I know from conversations with many of them that they are somewhat disappointed with the development that has taken place. The Government has a responsibility to see that the development of Canberra is speeded up. In the short time that the present Minister has held the portfolio, his efforts to develop this city have by far eclipsed the efforts of his predecessor. On all sides we see all kinds of development being tackled and all kinds of buildings being erected - buildings that will be to the credit of the Minister and to the advantage of Canberra. There has been a departure from the original plan in the decision to erect, large blocks of flats, but that is just a modern development which shows that the Minister is abreast of modern trends. On looking around Canberra, I feel that far too much land has been used for individual residential blocks, which average about 32 perches. In a capital city, with sewerage provided, ample park space, welldeveloped roads, and terrifically wide footpaths which are almost parks in themselves, there *is* no need to use so much land for single-unit dwellings. I think 32 perches of land is far too much. In my own home in the City of Brisbane, I have what I consider to be an ideal area - a 16-perch block with a 50-ft. frontage. {: .speaker-KIF} ##### Mr Hulme: -- Ridiculous! {: .speaker-K6X} ##### Mr COUTTS: -- As one who pushes a lawnmower, being unable to afford a power mower, I should say that the yard I have on the 16-perch block is quite large enough. I have no desire to engage illegally in the poultry industry and, of course, I therefore have no need for a larger yard. I feel that in future subdivisions in the city of Canberra the allotments for domestic purposes should be much smaller than they were when this city was first established. Of course, some honorable members might have a different opinion. {: .speaker-KIF} ##### Mr Hulme: -- They certainly have. {: .speaker-K6X} ##### Mr COUTTS: -- That is my opinion, and I have had a fair amount of experience, in fact a lot more than the honorable member for Petrie **(Mr. Hulme),** in local government. The Minister and the Government are to be congratulated upon inviting a town planner from the United Kingdom to submit a report with recommendations upon the future development of the city of Canberra. That town planner, **Sir William** Holford, recommended a revolutionary departure from the Burley Griffin plan in connexion with Parliament House. Let me say, to the credit of the Minister that he did not shelve the report and leave it to lie from year to year. He has referred it to the Government, and the Government has decided to adopt **Sir William** Holford's recommendation. We know now that the Government has decided that the new Parliament House is to be erected on the site recommended by the town planner, not on Capital Hill, as was intended originally. I am in complete agreement with that town planner's recommendation, and I can only hope that many of us who are here to-day, myself included, will have the privilege of taking our places on **Mr. Speaker's** right when the new Parliament House is completed. {: #subdebate-34-12-s4 .speaker-JU8} ##### Dr DONALD CAMERON:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP .- One of the items in this series of Estimates is the reimbursement to the States of capital expenditure for tuberculosis. It will be noticed by the committee that the amount, which is £1,750,000, is a little lower than it was last year, when it was £2,142,000. The reason for this is that, broadly speaking, the immense chain of hospitals and ward's which have been built throughout the country over the last ten years or so is now almost completed, and the capital expenditure is now starting to fall. The expenditure has been very large because, during that time, the Commonwealth Government has paid to State treasuries something like £39,000,000 in reimbursement of the cost of new hospitals and equipment and facilities that go with them, and of the cost of maintaining them. The result of the expenditure has been the provision of very fine new hospitals and chest blocks all over the Commonwealth. The most recent of them was opened the other day in Perth. The expenditure also resulted in the provision of a very fine chest hospital at Chermside, in Brisbane, and at the Royal North Shore Hospital, St. Vincent's Hospital and the Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. Wards have been built onto country hospitals in many parts of the Commonwealth as well as onto hospitals in the cities. Although that is reimbursement to the States for capital expenditure, of course, the total expenditure on tuberculosis for the year 1958-59 is much greater than that. It will be about £7.000,000. {: .speaker-JVU} ##### Mr Nelson: -- What have you spent on a survey of natives in the Northern Territory? {: .speaker-JU8} ##### Dr DONALD CAMERON:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- That is just getting under way. T cannot give the honorable member exact figures for it at the moment, but it will be quite a comprehensive survey, and it will complement and complete those that have taken place in all States of the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- Did you not vote to gag me last night? {: .speaker-JU8} ##### Dr DONALD CAMERON:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- I will have much pleasure in doing it again, if the occasion arises. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- I direct attention to the state of the committee. {: #subdebate-34-12-s5 .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- Ring the bells. [Quorum formed.] {: .speaker-JU8} ##### Dr DONALD CAMERON:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- I was saying that the estimated expenditure on tuberculosis, which will be found, of course, by the Commonwealth Government, will be over £7,000,000 this year; in fact, it will be almost £8,000,000. Last year, it was about £8,500,000. The objective of this tuberculosis scheme has been to remove, as it were, from circulation in the community, those affected and infectious with tuberculosis. It has involved the building of these great hospitals all over Australia, and it has involved the payment to sufferers from tuberculosis who are infectious of very large sums in tuberculosis allowances. Although it is true that this scheme was inaugurated before the present Government came into office, it is equally true that it made virtually no progress at all until it came under the vigorous and imaginative direction of my illustrious predecessor, the right honorable member for Cowper **(Sir Earle Page).** It is since then that the scheme has really made an impact on tuberculosis in Australia. Since the scheme was inaugurated, the death-rate throughout Australia has declined steadily from 29.8 persons per 100,000 in 1947 to 7.6 persons per 100.000 to-day, and the incidence rate throughout Australia is now beginning to fall slightly, in spite of the fact that the population has increased very greatly in the last few years. So national dividends for what has been done about tuberculosis are now beginning to be reaped by the community. There have been three main aspects of this tuberculosis campaign. First of all, there was diagnosis, which consists chiefly of case finding by means of mass X-ray services. Secondly, there was the building of -the hospitals which I have been describing and in which sufferers can be treated. Thirdly, there was the payment of allow.ances to infectious sufferers so that they could be withdrawn into the hospitals for treatment and could feel that their dependants are adequately cared for during the time while they are unable to provide for them themselves. Of course, I am not unaware that there have been great advances during this time in the chemo-therapy of tuberculosis, which have also improved the outlook for the whole community as far as this disease is concerned. So it is true to say that this disease, which has been in the past one of the great scourges of mankind, has really been attacked on a national scale in Australia and that the results which we are now beginning to reap are more than worthwhile. There is one other aspect of this to which I should like to draw the committee's attention. It is the fact that the hospitals which have been built throughout the Commonwealth, and which I have described, will be not only valuable for the treatment of this disease, but will be extremely valuable in the future for the treatment of other diseases - chest diseases. Cardiac surgery and all those types of recent surgical and medical development which are now beginning to become prevalent in this country will be able to be accommodated in these hospitals when they are no longer required for their primary purpose, the treatment of tuberculosis. I think that this is a matter on which the country can congratulate itself. In the first place, we have very largely brought this most serious disease under control, and in doing so we have provided ourselves with facilities for the treatment in the future of other diseases, especially chest diseases. {: #subdebate-34-12-s6 .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R FRASER:
ALP -- I address myself to the estimates of expenditure for the Australian Capital Territory. I regret that the Minister for the Interior **(Mr. Fairhall)** is prevented by temporary ill health from being here. I understand his interests are being watched by the Minister for the Army **(Mr. Cramer).** The estimates for the Australian Capital Territory provide for a very extensive programme of works. The total programme of works provided for the Territory, mentioned on page 140 of the Estimates, is to cost some £11,250,000, of which it is estimated that about £10,000,000 will be spent in the current financial year. There is at present, as the honorable member for Griffith **(Mr. Coutts)** has indicated, a very spectacular development taking place in the Australian Capital Territory. With the advent of the National Capital Development Commission and with the voting of an adequate amount for the current financial year, it has been possible for very extensive work to be put in hand. The speed with which the work is being undertaken and brought towards completion is almost bewildering. Each day in the issues of the " Canberra Times " and in the news sessions on the radio we read or hear of new contracts being let for housing, for extensions of sewer mains, for extensions of stormwater drainage, for the erection of new schools and for all sorts of work connected with the development of this city. Hand in hand with that development by Government expenditure, there is a very considerable expenditure of private money on the erection of homes, offices, factories, shops and other buildings - notably the one referred to by the honorable member for Fremantle **(Mr. Beazley)** for the Academy of Science. I hope that the level of expenditure at present being incurred can be continued, and I hope that the amount made available for this current financial year will prove adequate for the needs of this community, but at the moment I very gravely doubt that the present rate of expenditure can be maintained within the limits of the votes provided. I think that that anxiety is shared by senior officers of the administrative and operative departments here, who are facing this problem day by day, and who have in the past faced the problem of running out of funds within the last few months of a financial year. That has happened in this territory too frequently and too recently for any one to feel complacent about maintaining the present rate of development. It is necessary at this stage to look back over a period of years to see why it is necessary to-day, on the completion of homes, to turn the keys in the doors, lock up the homes and keep them vacant so that they will be available for the accommodation of defence personnel when they are transferred here in January of next year. Honorable members may or may not know that, consequent on the decision to transfer the defence departments and the Department of Supply here in January and June of next year, the Government has a commitment to provide homes for those of the transferees who are married and have families. Of the 500 public servants to be brought here in January, it is estimated that 300 will require to be provided with family accommodation in either houses or flats. In order to ensure that an adequate number of homes will be available at the time the transfer takes place, the Minister has recently had to issue an instruction that no further allocations of new homes will be made to people already on the list and waiting for homes here in Canberra. That decision, of course, came as a sharp slap in the face to people who were on the brink, or virtually on the brink, of securing homes - and, let me say, of securing homes for which they had waited, in some cases, a considerable number of years. Those people will now, of course, have to wait for a considerably longer period. There will not be a complete cessation of the allocation of houses. The Minister's decision affects only houses now being constructed and completed. It will apply also to new constructions of one-bedroom and three-bedroom flats, but some two-bedroom flats will be made available to people who are already on the housing list. Perhaps I should remind the committee that the housing list at present contains over 4,600 names, and that new names are being added at the rate of something over 320 each quarter. The rate of home construction at present is round about 80 homes or flats a month, so that the rate of construction is not even keeping pace with the rate of new registrations. In order to see why there is this present lag and why the spectacular development taking place coincides with one of the gravest housing shortages that this community has experienced, it is necessary to look back a little into history, to the plan initiated by the Chifley Government in 1947-48 for the development of Canberra. That programme, having been commenced under the Chifley Government, was carried on by the Menzies Administration in the first two or three years after it took office. The programme aimed at providing 600 homes a year. It reached its peak in the year 1952. In that calendar year, the total number of homes constructed in Canberra was 574, which was then a record figure for construction. By a deliberate decision of the present administration, the building programme was reduced, and in 1953 the total construction was 491 housing units. By 1954, that figure had dropped to 323. That was at a time when the transfer of personnel to this place was accelerating and when the population was increasing rapidly. It was also at a time when every public body, every authority in the community, every council or committee concerned with the development of Canberra and every organ of publicity was urging on the Government the need to proceed with an accelerated building programme in this territory, aimed at providing houses at the rate of 1,000 a year. That advice was given by the chairman of the Public Service Board in his annual reports from year to year; it was given by the " Canberra Times " editorially; it was given by the Chamber of Commerce, by the Advisory Council, by the Trades and Labour Council and by every public body and committee in the town. But, in the face of that advice, this Government let the building figures drop to 323 in 1954. In 1955, the total of constructions was only 359, but there was a spectacular increase in 1956, when the total reached 622. That figure, of course, included a number of the flats for which the honorable member for Griffith expressed some keenness - a keenness which I do not share with him. In 1957, the number of houses constructed, dropped to 443 and the total so far in 1958 is 491. What 1 want to point out in that connexion is that it would have been a very different story if the Government had heeded the advice offered to it by quite expert bodies. It was repeatedly given certain advice by the chairman of the Public Service Board in the sure knowledge that these transfers would take place. If that advice had been heeded there would have been no need for a building lag to occur. We would have had by this date an adequate number of homes to provide for all the needs of the people who are at present on the list and in Canberra awaiting homes, and could also have built in anticipation of the transfer of the defence departments. It is a tragedy that that advice was not taken, but 1 will say that under the present Administration - and particularly since the National Capital Development Commission was established - development has been taking place at a most satisfactory rate. The commissioners have, unfortunately, to contend with the Government's failure over the years to provide adequately for the needs of the people. They are faced with the arrival next year of 1,100 public servants, many with their wives and families. The danger is that the commission, with all the goodwill in the world and against its better judgment, will be forced into makeshift decisions, and into perpetuating a form of building which has proved a failure in the past. It is a pity that the commission could not have had an opportunity to proceed with the development of this capital at a proper pace, and with adequate preparation. I fear very much that, because of the pressing need to provide homes - and they must be provided - for those who are being brought here, as well as for those who are already here, there will be a tendency once again to resort to expedients rather than to proper planning and durable development. I do not share with the honorable member for Griffith **(Mr. Coutts)** the idea that 16 perches is sufficient land on which to place a house. I have held very strongly that we should not permit here the development of the narrow frontage outlook which has branded so many cities in the Commonwealth. I am pleased to see that the National Capital Development Commission shares that view and holds the opinion that the minimum frontage should be approximately 65 feet and that the minimum area of a block should be about 7,500 square feet. If we are to build a national capital of which this country can be proud - and T believe that all honorable members would wish that to happen - we cannot permit development which in the future may be abused and result in the creation of slums. T believe that the commission is proceeding alone proper lines. T am certain that its members have been wisely chosen. I hone that they will have the full support of the Government, just as they will have the full co-operation of the people. I want to make one more plea, to emphasize that you -cannot develop a capital of the kind we want; that you cannot embark upon a programme of this kind, on annual budgeting. I think the Government will find that the commission also will be compelled to put that point of view to it. If we are to proceed with the proper, planned development of the National Capital it is essential that we budget at least five years in advance, so that the commission will be able to commit its funds and ability in advance. Only in that way can we plan and build properly. Before I sit down I would remind you, **Mr. Temporary Chairman,** as a member of the Public Works Committee, that the plans of men gang aft agley. You, **Sir. will** recall that one decision made by the Public Works Committee and accepted by the Parliament was that the Kings-avenue bridge should be completed by 30th June, 1958. The Kings-avenue bridge has not yet been started. The expected increase in population, the development of the northern suburbs, and the completion of administration buildings for the defence services on the other side of the river will all take place while we continue to depend upon one rotten and rickety Commonwealth Bridge, which is already too narrow to carry the traffic offering. That is the kind of mistake that has been made in the past. It is the kind of mistake that should not be made in the future, and I hope that what I have said on the subject of development will be heeded by the Government. {: #subdebate-34-12-s7 .speaker-K7J} ##### Mr CRAMER:
Minister for the Army · Bennelong · LP -- I should like to speak for a moment or two on behalf of the Minister for the Interior **(Mr. Fairhall)** who is unfortunately ill and unable to attend the Parliament. I want particularly to comment on two matters to which the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory **(Mr. J. R. Fraser)** has directed attention. One was that homes would be released to defence transferees only. I do not think that the honorable member should have said that because only very recently - on 26th August - the Minister for the Interior told him that approximately 100 homes would be surplus to defence requirements and could be made available. The Minister did not give a direct undertaking as to the number, but did indicate that some houses would be available to persons already in Canberra. {: .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R FRASER:
ALP -- In January! {: .speaker-K7J} ##### Mr CRAMER: -- That may be so. The honorable member knew that when he made his speech, but he endeavoured to convey the impression that no houses would be available to persons on the local waiting list. He referred also to a diminution in the construction programme over the years, and mentioned especially 1953, 1954 and 1955. If he will think back to those years he will recall that there was then a boom in building throughout Australia. The building figures at that time were a record. The honorable member himself used the word " spectacular ". One could very well use it in speaking of everything that this Government has done in the housing field since it has been in office. In the intervening years it has .been impossible at times to obtain all the labour necessary to carry-out the contracts that the Government wished to let. The honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory knows that that is why the building figures for certain years were not greater. To-day, more labour is available and there is greater competition for building contracts. This Government, so far from being guilty of any neglect, suffered from the boom that it had fostered in the building industry by its Commonwealth-State arrangements and the money that it made available. Therefore, the argument of the honorable member falls to the ground. I was very pleased to hear the congratulatory remarks of the honorable member for Griffith and I shall certainly convey them to the Minister for the Interior. Indeed, the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory was himself not uneulogistic in referring to what was being done. I agree that the new commission will give a wonderful stimulus to the development of Canberra. It will be able to apply itself completely to the work of development which .every one agrees is necessary. The movement of defence personnel is of course essential, as the honorable member .knows. It does not mean, in the slightest sense, that there will be any neglect to provide homes for .people already awaiting them in Canberra. The Government is well aware of .the fact that they are waiting and is doing everything it can to help them. We may look .forward to a flourishing building programme .in the hands of a statutory authority charged with the responsibility of concentrating all its efforts upon the development of the Australian Capital Territory. The establishment of the commission by the Government was a splendid idea. It is answerable to no one except the Minister, as prescribed in the act. It can carry out its own work uninhibited in any way, and we may expect great things from it. {: #subdebate-34-12-s8 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr WEBB:
Stirling .- I wish to make a few remarks under the heading "Payments to or for the States", in relation to the development of the north-west of Western Australia. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- Before the honorable member proceeds, may I remind him that payments to or for the States in this connexion refer only to the Department of Health. The honorable member may .discuss other payments to or for the States under the proposed vote for Capital Works and Services. I was lenient with the honorable member for Griffith **(Mr. Coutts),** but I should not have allowed him to go on. {: .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb: -- I understood that when these items were placed before the committee it was decided that payments to or for the States should be one of the items to be discussed. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- If the honorable member will refer to the Estimates he will see that " Payments to or for the States " in this connexion refers specifically to the Department of Health. {: .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb: -- When shall we have an opportunity to discuss the payments to or for the States to which I want to refer? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- Since the honorable member has indicated that he does not intend to take .long, I shall allow him to proceed. {: .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr WEBB: -- The matter to which I propose to refer is the grant to Western Australia for northern development, .the amount provided this year .being £125,000 It will be remembered that, earlier this year, legislation was passed by the Parliament to provide .for the sum of £2,500,000 to be made available over a period of five years for the development of the north-west of Western Australia. Approval was to be given by the Commonwealth for certain works, to be recommended by the Western Australian Government, to be undertaken. Earlier this year the Western Australian Government made submissions to the Commonwealth relative to certain works of an urgent nature. One of those was the construction of a deep water port at Black Rocks, at Derby; another was the construction of a new berth at Wyndham - the existing jetty is only 300 feet long and is unsatisfactory for modern ships; and the third was extensive investigations in the Napier-Broome Bay area, to study the most suitable and economic method of surveying the north Kimberley region recently opened up for pastoral settlement. Here again, we have evidence of delay on the part of the Commonwealth in replying to submissions by the States. The legislation to which I have referred was passed by the Parliament earlier this year, and within a matter of weeks the Western Australian Government had placed its submissions before the Commonwealth. The Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** has told us that it was only a matter of two or three days before he replied to the Western Australian Government, indicating that the submissions were acceptable to the Commonwealth. Correspondence was tabled in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly on 19th August last, when this Government was criticized for delay in answering the State's submissions. On 4th August, the Premier of Western Australia had asked for a reply, pointing out that, due to seasonal conditions, work had to be commenced urgently, and that it was necessary to place orders for the steel plates that were required, particularly for the Wyndham jetty. I think that it is necessary to emphasize that point, because the State Government has been delayed in carrying out the job it wants to do in the limited time in which it has to undertake these works, bearing in mind the seasonal conditions that apply in the areas concerned. Black Rocks, where the deep water port is to be provided, is near Point Torment, about 14 miles from Derby. The idea is to provide a deep-water port to service the west Kimberleys area. This site was selected by the naval vessel " Lachlan ", which carried out hydrographic surveys in 1946 and 1947. As a result of those surveys, it was revealed that there was a depth of water up to 36 feet at all stages of the tide, within reasonable access of the shore, and that approaches to the site in King Sound offered no major problem of navigation. The existing port at Derby, which honorable members from Western Australia will know well, is a tidal port and can only be approached during special tides and by specially designed small ships. There are tidal fluctuations of up to 34 feet. Consequently, when the tide is out, the ships rest on the bottom of the ocean. Broome also is a tidal port, with a tide range of 28 feet, and even there at times the ships rest on the bottom. No overseas ships can use these two ports unless they are specially constructed in a manner similar to that of the ships of the Western Australian shipping service. During the war, as an outlet for the cattle industry, meat works were constructed at Broome, although it was admitted by all those responsible that the works should have been constructed at Derby. However, Broome was at that time the most northern port to which shipping could proceed. The meat works were therefore located at Broome. Their location at Broome entails for cattle a walk of more than 90 miles over the worst stock routes in the north. Although road trains now operate, they are more costly than is the ordinary method of moving stock. On account of the non-use of Broome by overseas ships, it is necessary for all the meat that is handled at the Broome freezing works to be shipped to Fremantle, where it is transhipped for export. It is obvious to all who have examined this matter that the proper outlet for the west Kimberleys is in the vicinity of Derby, but that the existing port, for the reasons I have given, is inadequate. Therefore, a port at Point Torment is essential. The Blue Funnel Shipping Company has given an undertaking that its overseas vessels travelling to Australia from Asia will call at Point Torment when the port is built there, as well as at Wyndham and Darwin. That, directly and indirectly, will help to reduce the large deficit on the State-operated steamers. As honorable members from Western Australia know, the deficit incurred on the State ships runs into approximately £800,000 per annum. That deficit is more or less treated as a subsidy to assist the people of the north, because if increased freights were charged to meet the deficit it would affect detrimentally the people living in the northwest and in the Kimberleys region. There is tremendous scope for development of this area, and development of the west Kimberleys eventually must take place. There is an annual rainfall ranging from 50 inches to 20 inches, and the regularity of the rainfall compares with that of south-eastern Victoria. The district covers an area of 20,000.000 acres. It is intersected by major river systems which carry immense volumes of water. The gorges that exist, and which some honorable members had the pleasure of seeing when they recently toured the area, are ideal sites for the construction of dams. There are extensive areas of rich plain country which are suitable for large irrigation projects. The Fitzroy River carries a tremendous volume of water, comparable to the flood discharge of the Nile. All that water, of course, is going to waste, because, in the past, no real imagination was applied to the development of the area. Those honorable members who visited the Kimberleys also saw the Napier-Broome Bay area, where the State Government plans to build jetty facilities to serve the pastoral industry. The pastoral properties are in the process of being developed, but part of the area will be used for the purpose of making the necessary investigations. Honorable members who visited the Napier-Broome Bay area must have been impressed by the immense area of water in the bay, an area three times the size of Sydney Harbour, with a tide rise and fall of only 10 feet. At the moment, however, apart from luggers, the only means of transport to the area is by air. When this country is developed it will be wonderful pastoral land. At the Kalumburu Mission we saw crops of maize, peanuts, sorghum, tomatoes, and many tropical fruits, indicating that the soil will grow almost anything. The other project to which I want to refer is the extension of the Wyndham jetty, which is so essential. However, the Premier of Western Australia fears that the financial allocation that has been made will not be sufficient to enable the whole of these three projects to be completed. Wyndham is a deep-sea port, and the extensions that are proposed to it will enable ships drawing up to 40 feet of water to berth there. Already at Wyndham there are modern, efficient meat works which handle at the moment more than 30,000 beasts a year, but which could handle 80,000 if the facilities were available. What is required is a pasture of about 30,000 acres close to the works to be used as a staging depot for the fattening of cattle brought over long distances to the meat works. That is where the irrigation of the area comes in, and that is why I have emphasized in this chamber time and again the need for this Government to provide finance for the Ord River irrigation scheme. It is estimated that the damming of the Ord River would cost about £16,000,000, which, as 1 have already pointed out is not as much as one year's expenditure on the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme, lt is essential that those things should be emphasized in this Parliament as often as possible. People who have had an opportunity to visit the Ord River area realize that it is wonderful country. It is waiting for us to develop it, but I am afraid that if we have not the initiative and courage to do so so, somebody else will. {: #subdebate-34-12-s9 .speaker-KE7} ##### Mr KEARNEY:
Cunningham -- **Mr. Temporary Chairman,** I wish to discuss the Estimates for the Northern Territory, which provide for an expenditure of £4.938,000 in the current financial year. Earlier this evening, the honorable member for the Northern Territory **(Mr. Nelson)** made two very pungent points. He gave the Government a serious warning about the restive condition of the people of the Territory, and he criticized the Minister for Territories **(Mr. Hasluck)** for his failure to adhere to an undertaking given in this chamber two days ago when he spoke about the constitutional troubles that are developing in the Territory. The undertaking was that ample time would be allowed for the consideration of these Estimates. That is clearly stated in the report of the Minister's speech in " Hansard ". The honorable member for the Northern Territory has pointed out that ample time is not being allowed to permit of proper discussion. Of course, it is not. In an- hour, we are expected to dispose- of a group of proposed votes totalling some £36,-000,000. All this expenditure will come out of the taxpayers' money. The Government's approach has been one of silence. In the last hour, we have not heard one Government supporter, apart' from two Ministers, attempt to discuss these important Estimates. They treat the issues involved with the silence of contempt. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- And they did not discuss them, either. {: .speaker-KE7} ##### Mr KEARNEY: -- They did not get down to details. The important matter that I wish to mention is the constitutional revolt that is taking place in the Northern Territory. Recently, the elected members of the Northern Territory Legislative Council resigned in a body. After having had ample time to produce a plan and formulate proposals designed to remedy the grievances of the territorians, the Government has failed to produce anything. At this late hour in the life of this Parliament, the Minister for Territories has completely rebutted any suggestion that effective legislation will be introduced in this sessional period to deal with this important issue. The Government's attitude amounts to a display of arrogant contempt for the territorians, whom it intends to neglect completely. This is- clearly intended by the attitude of Government supporters towards this debate tor-night. As the honorable member for the Northern Territory has pointed out, the warnings are serious. This Government has been juggling with the fate of the Northern Territory for nine years, and it has failed to produce anything in the nature of a concerted overall national plan for the development of this important part of Australia. In fact, the Government, in respect to its policy for the Northern Territory, may be likened to a buffalo in a bog. It is completely without motion and it has no intention of proceeding anywhere. In further rebuttal of any idea that the Government has plans for effective action in the Northern Territory,, we have its silence about the deplorable housing conditions endured by the people of the Territory. The honorable member for Stirling **(Mr. Webb),** who preceded me, spoke about the Kimberleys and the Ord River area. Throughout the northern part of this great continent, we need, above everything else, proper housing for the people. The- honorable member for the Northern Territory has given us facts which indicate that the family man cannot obtain a Home in the Northern Territory, and no provision is being made for the construction of homes for the workers there. Only people of affluence can establish their families with comfort in the north. {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr Cope: -- The worst slums in Australia are to be found in the Northern Territory. {: .speaker-KE7} ##### Mr KEARNEY: -- Of course they are the worst slums in Australia. Honorable members who have visited the Territory in the last two years have seen ample evidence of that. I have visited the Territory and I was deeply impressed by the difficulties that face the average worker there. The wage level, in real terms, is substantially below the wage level of workers in similar callings in New- South Wales and other parts in the south. The cost of living of the average family, in my estimation, is £5 a week higher in the Northern Territory than along the eastern coast of Australia. In view- of these circumstances, the worker in the Northern Territory is in a condition of economic bondage. In my opinion, the Government should provide some kind of wage bonus for workers in the Territory in order to encourage people to go there. We badly need more people there; we need, above all, families. Climatic conditions are such that white people can settle the north. Yet we still have the frontier atmosphere - and it is indeed a frontier But this Government is content to move, if it moves at all, at a snail's pace. We must encourage workers to go to the Northern Territory and develop it; but the Government will never do that. The honorable member for the Northern Territory has told us of the condition of the education system in the Territory and its many other great problems. Conversations that 1 had with local residents when I was in the Territory made it abundantly clear to me that the average worker there, whether government or privately employed, could not afford to send his children beyond high school stage, and sometimes not even beyond the primary school stage. He certainly could not afford to give them a university education, and there is no provision for general trade or technical training. Only people of substantial means in the Northern Territory can be sure of educating their children properly, **Mr. Chairman.** The honorable member for Fremantle **(Mr. Beazley)** spoke earlier of the excellence of the schools in the Australian Capital Territory. Conditions in the schools here are in sharp contrast with those in Northern Territory schools, as indicated by the honorable member who represents the Territory in this Parliament. In other words, the Government distinguishes sharply and snobbishly between the children in the Australian Capital Territory and those in the Northern Territory, although all are Australians and all are entitled to a proper and equal education. The future of this country is dependent upon the training of its children, whether born here or in the Northern Territory, but this Government permits an enormous difference between facilities and services in the two places. {: .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr Barnard: -- Perhaps the two Ministers concerned should exchange portfolios. {: .speaker-KE7} ##### Mr KEARNEY: -- There is no question of that. In view of the Government's and the Minister's refusal to heed the just grievances which led to the mass resignation of the elected members of the Northern Territory Legislative Council, T am sure that we shall see further trouble develop. The remarks of the honorable member for the Northern Territory, who has brought this matter to the Government's attention vigorously and ably at every available opportunity, made that clear. 1 condemn the Government emphatically for its failure to rise to the occasion and realize that if we do not develop the north and populate it somebody else will do so. Darwin may become a battleground again in our lifetime, but next time we may not win. Our shield is a populated Northern Territory. {: #subdebate-34-12-s10 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD:
East Sydney **.- Mr. Chairman-** Motion (by **Mr. Harold** Holt) put - >That the question be now put. The committee divided'. (The Chairman - **Mr. C.** F. Adermann.) {:#subdebate-34-13} #### Ayes Noes {:#subdebate-34-14} #### Majority 53 21 32 Question so resolved in the affirmative-. Proposed votes agreed to. Motions (by **Mr. Harold** Holt) agreed to - >That the following resolutions be reported to the House: - > >That, including the sum already voted for such services, there be granted to Her Majesty a sum not exceeding £471,970,000 for the services of the year 1958-59, viz.:- {:#subdebate-34-15} #### Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve That there be granted to Her Majesty for the services of the year 1958-59, for the purposes of the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve established by the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve Act 1955, a sum to the extent of £102,000,000. Resolutions reported. Standing Orders suspended: resolutions adopted. {:#subdebate-34-16} #### In Committee of Ways and Means: Motions (by **Mr. Harold** Holt) agreed to - {:#subdebate-34-17} #### Estimates That, towards making good the Supply granted to Her Majesty for the service of the year 1958-59, there be granted out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund the sum of £237,609,000. {:#subdebate-34-18} #### Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve That, towards making good the Supply granted to Her Majesty for the service of the year 1958-59, for the purposes of the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve established by the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve Act 1955, there be granted out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund the sum of £102,000,000. Resolutions reported and adopted. {:#subdebate-34-19} #### Ordered - >That **Mr. Harold** Holt and **Sir Arthur** Fadden do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolutions. {: .page-start } page 1220 {:#debate-35} ### APPROPRIATION BILL 1958-59 Bill presented by **Mr. Harold** Holt, and passed through all stages without amendment or debate. {: .page-start } page 1220 {:#debate-36} ### ESTIMATES 1958-59 {:#subdebate-36-0} #### Additions, New Works and Other Services Involving Capital Expenditure {:#subdebate-36-1} #### In Committee of Supply: {:#subdebate-36-2} #### Ordered - >That the Estimates - Additions, New Works and Other Services involving Capital -Expenditure 1958-59 - be considered as a whole. > >Proposed vote, £128,418,000. Proposed vote agreed to. Motion (by **Mr. Harold** Holt) agreed to - >That the following resolution be reported to the House: - > >That, including the sum already voted for such services, there be granted to Her Majesty a sum not exceeding £128,418,000 for the services of the year 1958-59, for Additions, New Works and other Services involving Capital Expenditure, viz.: - Resolution reported. Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted. In Committee of Ways and Means: Motion (by **Mr. Harold** Holt) agreed to - >That, towards making good the supply granted to Her Majesty for the services of the year 1958-59, for Additions, New Works and other Services involving Capital Expenditure, there be granted out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund the sum of £79,432,000. Resolution reported and adopted. {:#subdebate-36-3} #### Ordered - >That **Mr. Harold** Holt and **Sir Arthur** Fadden do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution. {: .page-start } page 1221 {:#debate-37} ### APPROPRIATION (WORKS AND SERVICES) BILL 1958-59 Bill presented by **Mr. Harold** Holt, and passed through all stages without amendment or debate. {: .page-start } page 1221 {:#debate-38} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-38-0} #### Retirement of Treasurer {: #subdebate-38-0-s0 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
Minister for Labour and National Service · HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP .- I move- >That the House do now adjourn. In doing so, I direct the attention of the House to the fact that in the life of one of our colleagues this is a very significant night indeed. This is the last occasion on which the right honorable member for McPherson **(Sir Arthur Fadden),** who was formerly leader of the Australian Country party, will be sitting in this chamber as a member of the House of Representatives. Of course, the right honorable gentleman will not be leaving the service of the Parliament immediately, because he has important official business to conduct overseas on behalf of the Government. For him, as one who has regularly taken his place in this chamber for more than 22 years, this must be, as it is for the rest of us, a parting that he regrets and even a moment of sadness in which I am sure we all share. Ever since the right honorable gentleman announced his intention to retire from the Parliament he has been pursued, one may say, by an amazing succession of sincere tributes of farewell from all sections of the community. What must be to him one of the most touching aspects of the tributes so warmly and generously paid to him is the variety and range of those tributes and the sources from which they have come. I know that, amongst the many official tributes that have been paid to him, none has touched him more deeply than those that have come from persons associated with the work of. the Parliaments - not so much members of the Parliament whom he has known well and closely over the years, but the various parliamentary staffs. The private secretaries, the staffs of this House-, the refreshment room staff, have all sought in their own way to pay tribute to our friend and colleague. Surely, there has never before been in the history of political life in this country - certainly not in my own experience - a range of farewell tributes paid to any public man such as those paid to the right honorable member for McPherson. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- Where is the Prime Minister? {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP -- The honorable member for East Sydney has anticipated my next sentence. I was about to say that the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** would have wished to be here to-night to say, very much more eloquently than I could hope to do, the things we all feel by way of tribute as members of this Parliament to our friend. The Prime Minister has taken the opportunity presented to him on two earlier occasions - the luncheon given by the Cabinet and the function given by the Government parties to the Treasurer earlier this week - to pay his own public tribute to the record of a warm friend and a devoted colleague. The Prime Minister would have been with us to-night had not an earlier official engagement prevented him from doing so, but the right honorable gentleman did ask me to associate him most wholeheartedly with whatever was said here. I must say that I feel it a privilege to have been able to take the opportunity myself to say something on this occasion, not only because of the long official association I have had with the Treasurer on the Government side of the House and when we were allies in Opposition together, but also because of my own personal friendship with the right honorable gentleman. That friendship goes back now 22 years, and we think of the time when I moved and he seconded the Address-in-Reply so far back as 1937. There has never been- a- rift in that friendship through all those years, and I am most happy to be able to associate myself, in a very sincere way, with the- tribute of respect and, indeed, of gratitude from the Parliament and the people of Australia tohim. Now, **Mr. Speaker,** it is not necessarytonight to go into any detail about the record of our colleague. This is not an obituary occasion, and we do not set out to put down in detail the great contribution that he has made to his country. I would merely mention in passing his long term as leader of one of the great political parties in our national Parliament - the Australian Country party - and the record term he has served as Treasurer, a record term in which he has brought distinction upon himself, and, I believe, made a notable contribution to the prosperity and development of his country. But we think more particularly to-night of his personal qualities, and the personal qualities - the warm, endearing personal qualities - are the things which have stamped him in our minds and, indeed, have made him a legend in his own lifetime. The right honorable gentleman's warm humour, his willingness to help a colleague at all times and to give the benefit in a kindly way of his advice, encouragement and assistance will be remembered by almost every man in this chamber. The Treasurer has demonstrated a special quality of mateship which is almost peculiarly his own. His definition of mateship is that anybody can be with you when you are right; a true mate is one who sticks by you when he thinks you are wrong. The right honorable gentleman has demonstrated that quality to many of us in many a stormy passage when he might have had his own doubts of the wisdom of the course we were pursuing. We want him to know that he will go from this Parliament with friends in every section of it, and outside it among those who have a hand in the working of the Parliament. We shall not imagine him as having gone out of active public life or the life of Australia. One can hardly imagine Artie Fadden without seeing his lively personality manifesting itself wherever he happens to be. We wish him farewell from the Parliament; but he knows that wherever he goes in Australia, he will meet with old friends and new - old friends whose friendship will never fade. We thank him, from the Parliament, for the contribution he has made to Australia, and wish him and Lady Fadden that close association together in his retirement which, over these many years, they have not been able to enjoy while he has been so actively engaged in the service of his country. **Sir Arthur** Fadden does not leave a single enemy in the House; and wherever he turns, he turns to a friend: {: #subdebate-38-0-s1 .speaker-DTN} ##### Dr EVATT:
Leader of the Opposition · Barton -- On behalf of the Opposition I join with the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. Harold Holt)** in this farewell to the Treasurer **(Sir Arthur Fadden).** It is quite impossible to-night - and I do not think this is the proper occasion - to refer to the detailed record of service of the Treasurer in the Parliament and elsewhere. His services to Australia extended into the post-war period, but they were very great and important during the most critical years of the Second World War. Many of us can recall very vividly some of the very important contributions that he made to the common effort of the nation then. One's mind flashes from point to point of his career. I think it is correct to describe him as a mate in the sense that the Minister for Labour and National Service 'has used the term - a mate is a person who sticks to his friend when he is wrong. In that sense, we stick to the Treasurer although he has been very often wrong, in our view! I think the right honorable gentleman represents one of the most attractive types of our fellow countrymen. He is an Australian sportsman and in all respects he has acted in politics, although it is not so easy so to act, in accordance with the highest traditions of sportsmanship in Australia. We wish him well. We wish him happiness. We send our fondest greetings to his wife and loved ones. We must always feel ourselves to have been happy and proud to be associated with him in the important life of this great Parliament. {:#subdebate-38-1} #### Friday, 12th September 1958 {: #subdebate-38-1-s0 .speaker-KZE} ##### Mr ROBERTON:
Minister for Social Services · Riverina · CP *2* midnight]. - I speak for the leader of the Australian Country party **(Mr. McEwen),** who, unfortunately, is absent on Government business abroad. I speak also for the deputy leader of the Australian Country party **(Mr.** Davidson), who, too, has found it impossible to be. here, I speak- for every member of the Australian Country party, and if what I have to say is tinged with sadness, it is because this is the last occasion when the Treasurer **(Sir Arthur Fadden)** will appear in this House as the Treasurer. Those of us who have been privileged to be closely associated with him have for him admiration and affection in greater measure perhaps than any one else. I, myself, have known the right honorable gentleman for more than a quarter of a century. Any number of people, in our country know the Treasurer, as a man who has had to face up to grave responsibilities, particularly during these last ten years, but we are inclined to forget his early political history. In that connexion, **Mr. Speaker,** I crave the indulgence of the House to recall a time when1 the right honorable gentleman was a member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly. The Speaker of the House, having called members from either side, as is the custom, interrupted the debate, stood in his place and, addressing the members, said, " I am going to say now what I believe has never been said before in any legislature in the British Commonwealth. The last three speeches, I believe, are the finest I have ever heard in this House. I feel so very deeply about it that I grasp this opportunity to express this opinion to the chamber about them." Then he called the next speaker. Of the three speakers to whom he was referring, if my memory serves me aright, one was a gentleman named Randolph Bedford, a most colourful character of the Queensland Parliament. The second was a gentleman called James Garfield Bayley, who was to become a member of this chamber. The third was Arthur William Fadden. So there was a time, **Mr. Speaker,** when the right honorable gentleman could rise to great heights of oratory, and if that time has passed, it is probably due entirely to the onerous duties he has had to bear, the difficult tasks he has had to do, and the responsibilities he has had to undertake when he led the Australian Country party in this composite Government. I express the views of every member of the party when I say that we know our leader as a man who has played the game of life according to the rules. If he has ever found the rules irksome, he has pressed against them, but he has discharged hi9 duties as a man, as a private citizen, as a public figure and as a very distinguished servant of our country. {: #subdebate-38-1-s1 .speaker-L0V} ##### Mr WIGHT:
Lilley .- In a very short while from now, the bells of this Parliament will ring, and with their ringing we, as the members of the Parliament, will bid adieu to the right honorable member for McPherson **(Sir Arthur Fadden),** who has distinguished himself as a statesman not only in the Parliament of Queensland, but in the Australian Parliament, and who holds a record as Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia that may stand for all time. The ringing of the bells will signal the termination of the consideration of the eleventh Budget that he has introduced. No other Treasurer in our history has had the great privilege of introducing so many Budgets into this Parliament; and perhaps no Treasurer in the future will have that great privilege. The right honorable member for McPherson is a statesman. That he has given much not only to his native State, Queensland, but also to Australia will be acknowledged by every member of this Parliament. There is not one member of this Parliament who does not feel a very great and a very warm affection for him. There is one thing that I believe should be placed in the records of this Parliament, and that is the gratitude not only of ourselves, the members of the Parliament, but also of the people of Australia to Lady Fadden and members of the family for the great sacrifices they have made so that the right honorable gentleman would be enabled to give of his very best to Australia, and he has done so. Their sacrifices have been our gain, and the gain of the Commonwealth of Australia, and it is fitting that we should say so on this occasion. It is with great regret that we say farewell to the right honorable gentleman tonight in his capacity as the Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia. In doing so, we express our sincere appreciation of the real friendship that he has always extended to us. The younger members have benefited enormously from the helpful, sincere advice that he gave them when they first came here. We have benefited also from his mateship - to use his own word - and we look forward to seeing him in the precincts of this Parliament, if not as the right honorable member for McPherson, if not as the Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia, then as our friend. Each and every one of us to-night says " Good luck, Artie, to you and to your family. Thank you for what you have brought to this Parliament and for what you and your family have given to this, our country ". {: #subdebate-38-1-s2 .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL:
Mallee -- If the question, " What is life's greatest gift? " were asked in this House, we would get various answers, but undoubtedly the correct answer to that question is " The will to serve ". The right honorable member for McPherson **(Sir Arthur Fadden)** is richly endowed with this quality, and he has given of his talents unsparingly in the service of this great nation. I believe that the whole structure of civilization is based upon the confidence that men have in each other - in their integrity, in their honesty, and in their ability. We thank **Sir Arthur** Fadden for the confidence he has engendered in the Australian Country party, in the members of this Parliament, and in the citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia, and we recall with pride that during Australia's darkest hours he never doubted that right would triumph. I am reminded of a question that was once asked of three men who were doing a certain job: " What are you doing? " One of them said. " I am working for £3 a day ". The second said, " I am chiseling granite ". The third man replied, " I am helping to build a cathedral ". **Sir Arthur** Fadden was not working for so much a year and he was not just playing politics; he was helping - and helping considerably - during his term of office to build this nation. To-night, we thank him for his great work. **Sir Arthur** Fadden goes from this House and from Canberra heavily freighted with the goodwill and best wishes of us all and. may I say, with the love and affection of those with whom he was most closely associated - the members of the Australian Parliamentary Country party. The Liberal party is a large party, respected by the people who support it; the Labour party is a large party, respected by the people who support it. The Australian Country party is a little party, but **Sir Arthur** Fadden found that there is this advantage in a little party, that you can carry it more easily in your heart. Finally, I should like to pay a tribute to Lady Fadden, from whom came all of the hope, al! the love, and much of the power and the courage that has fortified **Sir Arthur** in his great service to Australia. {: #subdebate-38-1-s3 .speaker-F4T} ##### Sir ARTHUR FADDEN:
Treasurer · McphersonTreasurer · CP -- **Mr. Speaker,** J should be less than human if I were not profoundly affected by the sentiments expressed in the speeches that have just been delivered. This is a democracy, and as I have said more than once, all the good fellows in this Parliament are not on just one side of the House. Democracy could not work if that were so. Just as you cannot have all spin-bowlers in a cricket team, so in a democratic parliament you must have a team, representative of all phases of our way of life, and capable of expressing all thoughts and all convictions. I have always recognized that. I shall always remember my friends among you - good fellows wherever you sit. I thank Harold Holt for the sentiments expressed in his speech. It is particularly pleasing that those lovely sentiments and sincere thoughts should emanate from Harold, because, as he said, he and I came into the House together as young fellows - he much younger than I. In 1937 he moved the adoption of the Address-in-Reply to the Governor-General's Speech, and I seconded it. It will always be one of my happiest political memories, one which I shall always have with me, Harold, that 0U friendship never abated, and we never had a cross word. The confidence I had in you in the early stages has never weakened. In fact, it has been consolidated and fortified with the effluxion of time. I should be one of the happiest men in Australia to-night, but believe me I am not. The courage that I had when I decided to get out of politics has dissipated like icecream in the sun, as the days have gone on. To-night I am very sad to leave this place. Parliament is very important. It is the real basis of our existence, from whichever angle you like to look at it. We have our different views, our different convictions. our different policies and our different objectives. If we did not have them, God help democracy! But we play the game under the Marquess of Queensberry rules. We can have our battles here, just as we can have our battles in the boxing ring, and still observe the rules. We have to recognize each other's point of view, and the point of view of the people whom we represent. Each of us, I suppose, represents at least 40,000 people, and we are the representatives of their thoughts and their point of view. I do not want to make a long speech. Generally no notice is taken of me when I do. I have always found that the fellow who talks the least stays here the longest. I hope that I go out of this place without an enemy. As far as I am concerned, anyhow, that is so. I hold no personal grudge or bitterness against anybody. My party has been most loyal to me. Its members have tolerated me, followed me, and had confidence in me. The loyalty I have enjoyed has come not only from the Australian Country party. It has come also from the Liberal party, with which we have formed a composite government. I do not suppose that any man has ever been more endowed by Providence with friends so tolerant and understanding. I always think that the best word in the Australian language is " mate ". As long as Australians adopt the principle of mateship as expounded by Henry Lawson, we shall all stick together and face any difficulties that confront us. We may be divided on policies, but in the ultimate we are united in the general objective of Australianism and the personification of matehood If I spoke for a week, I could not adequately express my innermost feelings, and anyhow you would not stay here for a week to hear me. I thank you, Harold, particularly, for it was you who began these speeches. I thank you, Robbie, and you, **Dr. Evatt,** for the characteristic kindness and tolerance that you have always extended to me. I thank you. Bruce, and each and every other one of you. I was particularly pleased to hear the references made to my wife. There is only one woman in the world who would put up with me, and I got her. We are all great blokes, and we can all throw our chests out, but the driving force - even if it is only a nagging :one- -comes from a good wife. I am reminded of the story of two fellows, one of whom asked the other, " Bill, have you seen my old woman? " Bill said, " I think 1 did once, Jack ". Jack said, " You know, she is one in a million ", whereupon Bill replied, " I thought she was won in a raffle ". I am also reminded of the story of the man who said to another, " 1 shall never forget the day I got married. I got a hell of a fright ", whereupon his friend said, " Yes, I see you have still got her ". Be that as it may. Of course, 1 am going to miss this place. When I made the announcement that I was retiring, a friend of mine, a justice, asked me, " What's all this nonsense Artie, about your getting out of Parliament? " I said, " There's no nonsense about it, I am getting out ". He said, " What are you going to do? You wont be able to carry on. You'll miss it all." I -replied, " Yes, and the fellow you sentenced to ten years in Boggo Road gaol will miss that place when he gets out! " Leaving this place is not :going to be easy, *it* .-is a great social leveller. It is a great .factory of .fraternity. I repeat that all the good blokes are not just on one side. I thank you all very -sincerely, particularly 'for the references that you have made to my good -wife, because whatever little -success I .have achieved would .not have been ^.possible but for the tolerance shown ito me by my wife and the sacrifices made -by my family. Question resolved in the affirmative. House, adjourned at 12.20 a.m. (Friday). {: .page-start } page 1226 {:#debate-39} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS The following -answers ,to ^questions were circulated: - {:#subdebate-39-0} #### Nuclear Bomb Tests {: #subdebate-39-0-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the acting Minister for External Affairs, upon notice - >Is he able to state how many tests of (a) atom and (b) hydrogen bombs have been conducted by (i) the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (ii) the United States of America, .and (iii) the United Kingdom since their manufacture became practicable? **Sir -Philip** McBride. - The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows: - lt is not possible to give separate figures for atomic and hydrogen bomb tests nor is it possible to give an exact figure for Soviet explosions as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, unlike the United States and United .Kingdom, has not revealed the details of its tests, thereby making it necessary to rely on information on detection from outside. The following are approximate figures for both types of test explosions. United States: 113. United Kingdom: 18 major and several minor explosions. Union of -Soviet -Socialist Republics: The United Kingdom Prime Minister said in March, 1958, that he thought the number of Soviet explosions has been "over 50". The 'United States Atomic Energy Commission, which has followed the policy of announcing the detection of only those Soviet .explosions .which it deemed to be of particular significance or interest, has stated that at least 39 explosions took place up to the end of March, 1958. {:#subdebate-39-1} #### Purchase of Aircraft {: #subdebate-39-1-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES m asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice - >Why was Trans-Australia Airlines prevented from purchasing Caravelle aircraft? {: #subdebate-39-1-s1 .speaker-KWH} ##### Mr Townley:
LP -- The Minister for Civil Aviation 'has furnished the following reply: - >Originally T.A.A. and Ansett-A.N.A. proposed to purchase Caravelle and Electra aircraft respectively. The Government -was .unable to .agree to the operators' requests .for .such radically different types of medium range aircraft as approval would have initiated a competitive race for a multiplicity of jet types. The economic results of this could have been to seriously compromise the Government's clearly stated policy of retaining two major airlines in active opposition on the main trunk routes. The -Government did recognize the need for. a medium-range aircraft 'for use -on the longer route such as the .Perth route and when the managements of the two airlines agreed to standardize upon the Electra aircraft for this purpose, approval -was accordingly given to the purchase of two of this type of aircraft by each major operator. {:#subdebate-39-2} #### Biological Products -Standards Committee {: #subdebate-39-2-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: m asked the Minister for Health, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. -When did he appoint the .members of the Biological .Products Standards Committee established under .the Therapeutic Substances Regulations -notified in the " Gazette " on 26th -January, 1956? 1. When has the committee met? 2. What recommendations has the committee made? {: #subdebate-39-2-s1 .speaker-JU8} ##### Dr DONALD CAMERON:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 7th May, 1958. 1. There has been no necessity as yet for this committee to meet. 2. See 2 above. {:#subdebate-39-3} #### Naturalization {: #subdebate-39-3-s0 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: y asked the Minister for Immigraation, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is any special procedure or instruction issued to municipal and shire councils in regard to the conduct of naturalization ceremonies; if so. what are the details? 1. What arrangements are made for the enrolment of naturalized persons? 2. Are councils or shires obliged to ensure that naturalized citizens complete enrolment forms; if so, what councils or shires take this action? Mfr. Downer. - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Instructions for the guidance of municipal and shire authorities in the conduct of naturalization ceremonies are contained in a booklet entitled " Australia's Naturalization Ceremonies " produced by the Department of Immigration, and which was distributed to all local government authorities alter the present type of civic naturalization ceremonies was introduced. The booklet covers in detail the sequence of the ceremony and the procedures to be observed in regard to the formalities associated with the renunciation and oath of allegiance. In addition, the booklet deals generally with the requirements for naturalization; the essential features of ceremonies; the arrangements to be made for the holding of ceremonies, including details of members of parliament to be invited; and contains suggestions for additional features that may be introduced into ceremonies at the discretion of mayors. 1. Arrangements were made some time ago to have electoral enrolment cards, and a post free envelope, made available to each adult new citizen at the time of his naturalization. Mayors were also asked to draw attention to the cards when they mentioned in their speeches, the new citizen's right and duty to vote. In addition, the names and addresses of all adults naturalized are supplied to the electoral authorities by the Department ot Immigration. Recently, because it was claimed that some new citizens found the enrolment card difficult to understand, it was decided that the Department of Immigration should arrange to issue to newly naturalized persons, with the electoral enrolment card, instructions in simple language to assist them to complete their enrolment. The issue of these instructions is about to commence. 2. The local government authorities are not obliged to ensure that newly naturalized persons are enrolled as electors and, so far as the Department of Immigration is concerned, they have not been asked to do any more in this connexion than to bring to the notice of persons being naturalized, their obligations to enrol as electors and cast their vote at elections.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 11 September 1958, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.