House of Representatives
19 February 1959

23rd Parliament · 1st Session

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

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Incidents at Navuneram.


– I understand that some time this morning the Minister for Territories intends to make a statement in connexion with recent incidents in New Guinea and I should like to ask the Minister whether he will make available to the House the result of the inquiry conducted by Mr. Justice Mann into those incidents, which have been dealt with previously in the House.

Minister for Territories · CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– Later this morning I shall ask leave of the House to make a statement on the report of the commission of inquiry into the Navuneram incident. If leave is granted the statement will attempt to traverse the contents of the report, and when I have made the statement I shall table the report, which is in eight volumes. It is my intention to move that the report be printed, thereby enabling the Opposition to debate the report if it wishes.

Dr Evatt:

– What about letting the Opposition see the eight volumes now, so that it can become acquainted with their contents?


– Honorable members would not have time to read the report before it is tabled.

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– I ask the Minister for External Affairs a question, which I preface by reminding the right honorable gentleman that soon after the Australian vessel “ Ian Crouch “ was reported missing, a Royal Air Force Shackleton aircraft reported having seen five apparent survivors on an island, with a junk-like vessel proceeding towards the island. The Royal Air Force Shackleton aircraft then itself became lost. I ask the right honorable gentleman whether he has any information as to what happened to the Shackleton anti-submarine aircraft. Was any examination made of the subsequently found body of a person reported to have been a member of the crew of the aircraft? If an examination was made of the body, did the condition of the body reveal injuries consistent with an aircraft crash?


– I am not currently informed as to the detail of the matters about which the honorable gentleman speaks, but I know that my department has been in active collaboration with other Commonwealth departments that are more vitally concerned. I shall certainly obtain a report of the kind sought by the honorable member, and I shall pass on to him at the earliest moment whatever information becomes available.

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– I ask the Treasurer whether it is a fact that the Australian Loan Council has decided to allow local government bodies to borrow an extra £4,000,000 for their works programmes this year. If that is so, and in view of the fact that local government bodies are having great difficulty in obtaining loan funds already authorized by the Loan Council, will the Treasurer appeal to financial institutions to help municipalities to find the loan money already authorized, as well as the additional amount about to be authorized?


– The House may be interested to have a little detail on this matter. The Premier of New South Wales informed the Prime Minister before Christmas that loan raisings for local government purposes had proceeded so successfully and so rapidly that it would not be possible to maintain the same rate of local government activity for the remainder of the year unless there was some extension of the total amount that could be borrowed.

It was also stressed, at the time, that funds were available from willing lenders to local government bodies. I took the matter up with all the State governments and we asked them each to indicate to what extent they felt that if some extension of borrowing rights were made they would be able to use the funds to advantage in their own States. In the result, the total amount suggested to us for all the States combined was of the order of £4,000,000. The amounts varied from State to State but, in view of the total mentioned, and as we had previously indicated that we were sympathetically disposed to some extension because we felt it would assist in promoting activity particularly in some country districts, we announced, after consultation with the Premiers, that the total amount sought could be authorized. That was the substance of our announcement. That arrangement is now in train and New South Wales has been authorized to raise £2,000,000 of the £4,000,000. Victoria, which sought £800,000, £400,000 of which was proposed for water and sewerage projects, has been authorized to raise that amount. I stress to honorable gentlemen that each of the governments indicated to us that it felt not only that borrowers would be forthcoming for these amounts but also that willing lenders would be available.

Mr Bird:

– There are not many willing lenders in Victoria.


– I am only giving the honorable gentleman the information that we had from the Premier of that State, and that was comparable with the information that we had from the other States. If he feels that that is not the factual position I shall explore the matter, but I merely give the House the information that we now possess.

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– I should like to ask the Prime Minister a question in connexion with the forthcoming Premiers conference which is to deal with Commonwealth and State financial relations. I ask the Prime Minister, whether, if it has not already been considered, some thought could be given, in the interests of economy, to placing on the agenda a discussion on any present overlapping between Commonwealth and State government departments.

Prime Minister · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

– I cannot undertake to say that that particular matter would fall within this conference because the conference has the very heavy task of discussing the financial relations - meaning by that the large problems of financial relations - between the Commonwealth and the States. The important matter to which the honorable member refers was, some years ago, the subject of a conference between the Commonwealth and States, and should it appear to be useful to reconstitute such discussions I will certainly give attention to the proposal.

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– Will the PostmasterGeneral give his personal attention to settling such major policy matters as it may be necessary to settle in order to provide improved telephone services in the Hampstead and Enfield Heights area of the Bonython division? I am appreciative of local departmental help but this matter may require direct ministerial oversight. The public naturally cannot understand why this area continues to be denied better telephone services.

Postmaster-General · DAWSON, QUEENSLAND · CP

– I was glad to hear the acknowledgment from the honorable member for Bonython that the departmental officers do pay great attention to the various problems of development of telephone services in Australia, because that is quite correct. However, he has asked me whether I will look at a particular problem that he has put forward. I shall be glad to do so. I am sure that, when I do, I shall find that the department is doing all it possibly can within its resources to ensure that service is given.

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– Will the Minister for the Interior consider a suggestion that in all future federal election scrutinies, ballotpapers not marked by voters should, immediately they are sighted by the presiding officer or his assistant be indelibly stamped “ unmarked ballot-paper “?

Minister for the Interior · FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– I think that the suggestion made by the honorable member has some merit and I certainly undertake to have it examined.

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– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry: Will sugar crops in Queensland be harvested this year by mechanical means? Are mechanical means also used extensively in the bulk handling of sugar generally, resulting in the displacement of man-power to an alarming degree? Was the present retail price of sugar fixed before the introduction of mechanical cane harvesting, modern mill machinery, and the bulk handling of sugar? If so, and in view of the great saving made through the use of modern methods of production, does the Minister propose to take steps to reduce the retail price of sugar to an appropriate economic level?

Minister for Primary Industry · FISHER, QUEENSLAND · CP

– I presume that the means which will be used for the harvesting of sugar in the forthcoming season will be similar to those used in the preceding season, that is, part manual and part mechanical. The sugar industry is very efficient and is continually seeking to become more efficient. I hope that the honorable member is not suggesting that an industry should not seek to become more efficient. But after all, when an industry becomes more efficient, is it not entitled to the benefits of its increased efficiency?

The honorable member asked whether the present price of sugar under the agreement with the States was fixed prior to the installation of bulk handling facilities. It was. I remind the honorable member that probably he and other southerners at times would have been without sugar if the industry had retained its previous methods of loading sugar and transporting it south. There were times when the storehouses were overfull and the mills would have had to refrain from crushing because they could not get their sugar despatched to the south. It was really due to the increased efficiency on the part of the industry that these difficulties’ were overcome.

I remind the honorable member that subsequent to the fixation of price, as he terms it, wages in the industry have been increased to meet increases in the cost of living and general costs. I feel that, having regard to the low level of export prices and the fact that the sugar industry has had to fight for the retention of present overseas prices, it is entitled to the present home consumption price; and there will be no reduction of that price.

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– I ask the Minister administering the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization whether the organization has made any further progress in discovering means of combating skeleton weed, which is regarded most unfavorably in the wheat-growing area of Victoria. Does the Minister know that, again this year, there is a strong crop of this weed between Parliament House and the Hotel Kurrajong? Will he give further consideration to my oft-expressed request that the C.S.I.R.O. conduct experiments at Canberra on this local vigorous growth of skeleton weed in an endeavour to discover means for its eradication?


– The C.S.I.R.O. has been seised of the skeleton weed problem for a number of years and has been doing active research on its own account and in collaboration with the State Departments of Agriculture in New South Wales and Victoria. It has produced a number of reports recording the results of research, in collaboration with the State governments. I have not heard of any dramatic finding in the last six months, but I shall certainly bring myself up to date on the matter and inform the honorable gentleman of the latest developments. I shall also go into the matter - or have it gone into - of the occurrence of skeleton weed in Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory.

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– I address a question to the Minister for Immigration. I preface it by reminding the Minister that before the recent election Government senators always attended naturalization ceremonies, representing the Minister, when those ceremonies were held in electorates represented in this Parliament by the Opposition. Since the election, however, these senators have been conspicuous by their absence. Does this indicate that the Minister no longer considers it necessary to be represented at naturalization ceremonies, or were the senators present at these ceremonies purely for electioneering purposes?

Minister for Immigration · ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– I am surprised that the honorable member for Kingston should impute such base motives to honorable senators. In any case, I think it would be highly improper for this House to pass judgment on another place. There have, however, been no new arrangements regarding representation either of myself, or of honorable senators and members of the House of Representatives at naturalization ceremonies. These rules were laid down some time ago, and I think my honorable friend is only, too well aware of them.

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– My question, which is addressed to the Minister for Health, concerns a constituent of mine whose Scottish son-in-law recently sent him a Christmas parcel which included four tins of grouse and four tins of partridge. When this parcel arrived, he was sent a notice by the Commonwealth authorities informing him that the birds had to have an ante-mortem veterinary inspection as well as a postmortem inspection. Can the Minister tell me how an ante-mortem inspection can be carried out on wild animals? Does this mean that these delicacies cannot be imported into Australia?


– I can only say that I think there must have been a misprint in the letter referred to.

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– I ask the Treasurer a question in relation to the statement he is preparing about the short-term money market. Will he include in that statement certain information as to the background behind the formation of this market? Where did the initiative come from? Will he also say what are the requirements and conditions under which a line of credit will be laid down for the companies concerned? Will the line of credit be subject to control by the central bank in a manner similar to the line of credit of the trading banks, or will the institution of the shortterm market provide a way of avoiding the special accounts procedure? Finally, will the direction of funds invested under this scheme be completely under the control of the companies concerned or will the central bank have a say in what happens?


– I shall see how far the statement being prepared can cover all the points that have been raised by the honorable member for Yarra. I imagine that it can cover them quite conveniently. I shall just make this one point clear at this stage: To the best of my knowledge the initiative for the establishment of the short-term money market was taken by the Governor and board of the Commonwealth Bank, who felt that it would be a very useful addition to our central banking arrangements in this country. .

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– Has the attention of the Minister for the Interior been directed to the deplorably dirty state of the path leading from this House to the Hotel Canberra, and to the fact that it has been in this condition for the past week, to the great inconvenience, I am sure, of visitors and honorable members? If his attention has not been directed to it, will he have a look at the path and make sure that this disgrace to Canberra is removed as soon as possible?


– I have not noticed the path myself. I will certainly see that it is examined and, if necessary, action will be taken. However, I point out to the honorable member that we had a cloudburst in Canberra last week and that a record amount of rain fell in a short period. In addition, there was considerable soil erosion in many parts of the town and this is being progressively cleaned up.

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– Is the Minister for Health aware that many members of medical benefit societies experience difficulty in obtaining information concerning the benefits that they are entitled to receive from these societies and that such deficiency makes it difficult either to anticipate future commitments or to check on mistakes that occur in the administration of the societies? Will the Minister undertake to make it a requirement of registration for medical benefit societies dispensing Commonwealth benefits that such organizations provide a comprehensive and readily available list of benefits for members?


– Practically all benefit organizations - certainly all registered benefit organizations - issue a list of benefits and a list of tables under which contributors can insure. If contributors are not certain of the benefits that they can receive from the society with which they insure, they can very easily find out at the time of insurance. If the honorable gentleman has any specific instances of people who have not understood the conditions of insurance or have been misinformed about them, I will examine them for him if he lets me know about them.

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– My question, which is directed to the Minister for External Affairs, relates to the forthcoming meeting of the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East, for which Australia will be the host country in the next few weeks. Is the Minister in a position to give to this House a statement of the aims and plans of the conference? Secondly, would it be possible for an explanatory statement, in typed form, to be made available to honorable members? Thirdly, is there any provision for honorable members who are interested to attend the conference as observers?


– Yes, the Ecafe conference is to be held from 9th to 19th March, at Broadbeach, on the coast of Queensland. His Excellency the Governor-General will formally open the conference and address it on the first day. I shall be leading the Australian delegation. My friend and COl.leage, the Minister for Primary Industry, will be the deputy and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Trade will be the next member of the Australian delegation. There will, of course, be senior representation from the departments concerned, other than my own. Australia has been a member for twelve years, since the beginning of Ecafe. This conference will be, I expect, the largest conference yet held in Australia. It will be attended by delegates from about twenty Asian and a number of other countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France and Italy. This conference is held each year in a different member country of Ecafe. The broad purpose is to provide a forum for discussion of Asian economic matters, a review of the Asian economic position in the broad, proposals for economic development for ‘the future, the effect of fairly rapidly increasing population growth in Asia and a wide variety of other questions. I expect that Mr. Philippe de Seynes, the distinguished Under-Secretary for Economic and Social Affairs within the United Nations Secretariat, will be there, and that observers from a number of other international bodies will attend.

I shall be glad to have an informative paper prepared for honorable members on the subject of the Ecafe conference. I believe that nothing except their own arrangements and convenience would prevent members of the Parliament from attending the conference as visitors. However, I will go into that and see what has been the practice in the past. 1 acknowledge the importance of the honorable gentleman’s question. I think that this conference will be a landmark in Australia’s relations with the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East, which is very highly regarded, particularly in Asia.

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– I address my question to the Minister for Territories, who, in an answer to a question asked yesterday, fortified the belief that the problem of strong drink is one of the principal reasons for holding back the development of full citizenship for the aborigines in the Northern Territory. As this is a national rather than an administrative or purely Territory question, will the Minister consider the appointment of a committee of this Parliament to examine the whole problem of drink and its relationship to citizenship for aborigines in the Northern Territory and in Australia generally?


– I think that the honorable member has interpreted my remarks of yesterday rather freely. I did not speak of the relationship between citizenship and addiction to strong drink. There is undoubtedly a relationship inasmuch as some primitive peoples who are not yet schooled to exercise self-control and temperance may require the protection of those who stand in the position of trustee towards them. Unfortunately - I say “ unfortunately “ with some emphasis - this idea about liberty to drink as much as one wants has become closely identified with the idea of citizenship responsibilities. I think it is a great pity that that has come about. It is not the chief privilege of a citizen to be able to drink as much as he likes. There are very many other privileges and very many other responsibilities besides that one.

On the question of further inquiry, I would mention to the House that at the present time the Legislative Council of the Northern Territory is conducting an inquiry into this matter. I think that it may perhaps be as well for us to await the results of that inquiry before we take any steps of our own. The honorable member, of course, was one of a party of members of this Parliament who toured welfare establishments in the Northern Territory towards the end of the last Parliament, and I recognize his interest in and sympathy with this general subject.

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– Will the Minister for Air inform the House regarding the number of Lockheed CI 30 Hercules transport aircraft which have now been taken over by the Royal Australian Air Force? Is it expected that the additional aircraft of this type still on order will be delivered during this year? Also, apart from their use for general cargo, are these aircraft suitably equipped as personnel and troop carriers?

Minister for Air · EVANS, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– Twelve of these aircraft were purchased. Nine have already been delivered, and I am glad to be able to tell the honorable member that the remaining three are expected to arrive from the United States of America within the next week. The carriage of personnel is among the purposes for which the aircraft are designed. Seats can be easily fitted into them and easily removed. But their special capacity - and I think that I should emphasize this - lies in their ability to carry heavy and bulky equipment, and it is for that purpose that they will be of the greatest use to the services. They have ahead of them an active programme of exercises with both the Air Force and the Army, principally in the carriage of heavy material.

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– I ask the AttorneyGeneral: Is it a fact that for some years now Hungerford, Spooner and Company, chartered accountants, of Sydney, have been in the process of winding up the Associated Dominions Assurance Society Proprietary Limited, in liquidation? Is the Minister aware that among the policy-holders there are many age pensioners who badly need the few pounds that are likely to come to them? Can the Minister say when a distribution of assets will be made, or will he see whether something can be done to expedite a payment to the policy-holders in the near future?


– I recently received a similar request from another source, and at the present moment I have inquiries on foot. As soon as I have the necessary information I will see that the honorable member knows about it, and for my part I will see that the liquidation proceeds as fast as it can.

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– Will the Treasurer be good enough to confer with the Minister for Primary Industry, who will supply him, more adequately than I can at question time, with the very cogent reasons for removing the sales tax from ice cream?


– I shall be very interested to hear any cogent and compelling reasons which my colleague, the Minister for Primary Industry, may put to me as to the desirability of removing sales tax from ice cream.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Trade. Is it a fact that a large advertisement appeared in the Melbourne “ Age “ on 17th November last under the heading, “ Import Licensing Advice “? Is the Minister aware that this notice advised that a Mr. J. Somerville Smith, of Canberra, a resident adviser and representative of large business firms with import quotas exceeding £16,000,000, was available, for consultation, to companies wishing to become new importers? Is it a fact that this advertisement advised that the consulting fee for a half-hour interview with Mr. Somerville Smith on import licensing matters was 100 guineas? Has the Minister taken the trouble to investigate the success or otherwise of this gentleman’s lucrative venture and, if so, with what results? Is it competent for this consultant, or any other, to win consideration for clients that is not ordinarily available from the Department of Trade?

Minister for Trade · MURRAY, VICTORIA · CP

– I would say that life is too short for me to try to keep up with Mr. Somerville Smith, but I wish to give an assurance to the honorable member and the House that no one is able to secure preferential treatment in the matter of import licensing. The policies which are applied are clearly defined, and they are applicable equally to every one in similar circumstances.

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– Can the Minister for External Affairs give the House any information on recent political developments in Burma?


– There has been some tension, in recent times, politically in Burma. General Ne Win, who was the head of the armed forces in Burma, was asked to take over the government on a caretaker basis for six months, which can be done under the Burmese constitution. He announced recently, after four or four and a half months of the six months had gone by, that hd wished to resign, cease to be Prime Minister and put the leadership of the government into the hands of the Burmese Parliament. He gave as his reason that under present conditions free and fair elections were not possible in Burma, which had been the purpose of the creation of his caretaker government. Under the Burmese constitution there can be a caretaker government for a period of only six months. It is understood that U Nu and U Ba Swe, the heads of the two factions of the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League, are agreeable to an amendment of the constitution to give General Ne Win a further term of caretaker office in order that conditions can be created under which normal democratic elections can be held on a fair basis. I understand that in the last day or so there has been a meeting of the Burmese Parliament at which this matter was to be considered, but I have not yet heard the result. These things have all led to an appreciable degree of tension in Burma in the last month.

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– I direct to the PostmasterGeneral a question in relation to the control of fruit fly infestation in the various States. Is the Minister aware that although Victoria and South Australia have inspectors stationed at road blocks and also on trains to ensure that fruit which is not properly inspected does not enter those States, persons can send small parcels of fruit through the post and have them delivered to addressees without any inspection at all being made? My information is that this is being done in my own State, and that there is no control over fruit, which may be infested with fruit fly, being transmitted in this way.


– I am aware of the existence of road blocks on the borders of Victoria and South Australia, established for the purpose of ensuring that there shall be no transference of fruit fly to those States, and I want to assure the honorable member that I have a very strong conception of the danger of anything which would tend towards the spread of fruit fly infestation into areas that are not afflicted. I cannot inform him offhand, however, of the precise provisions that exist in postal regulations for the inspection of parcels for this purpose. As the honorable member knows, the inspection of any postal matter is something which, for reasons of secrecy, we do not tolerate in the department. However, I shall make some inquiries into the point that he has raised and advise him accordingly.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for Primary Industry. In August, 1957, this House passed a bill in which provision was made for establishing a wool-testing service in Australia. Can the Minister advise me of the progress made in this regard?


– I am pleased to be able to say that the progress has exceeded all expectations. I had the honour and privilege, in Melbourne last Friday week, of declaring the laboratory open. Since it has been established, Dr. Dixie has enlarged its activities beyond what was originally contemplated. This testing authority has been recognized by the international wool-testing organization, so the tests that are taking place in Melbourne now have international recognition. The authority has also embarked upon what is termed a sealofquality procedure and has taken in yarns and garments, in addition, for testing. So we hope that soon it will be recognized in the trade that when we buy a garment we will be looking for the testing authority’s certificate upon it as an assurance that it is really a woollen fabric of the required strength. I am surprised that Australia has been so slow in establishing such a testing authority, but I suppose the first essential is testing by the manufacturers, which has been in operation overseas for years. Now the growers see the value of this project, and an increasing number of Australian manufacturers also realize that it will be useful and will contribute to the demand for Australianmade garments.

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– I ask the Minister for Social Services to review sympathetically the plight of the pensioners and to widen the scope of payment of supplementary assistance by way of rent allowance to pensioners. Will the Minister have regard to the plight of pensioners who are subject to heavy repayments for the purchase of their homes and who are also called upon to pay rates and other charges? Will he make sure that these needy people receive supplementary assistance?

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

– The honorable member knows that social service payments are reviewed every year. A review of the supplementary pension, which was introduced as an innovation last year, will be considered in precisely the same way as is done in respect of all other social service benefits. Due consideration will be given to all the matters that the honorable member has raised.

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– I preface a question to the Minister for the Army by saying that I understand that two important army exercises will be held in the near future at Puckapunyal and in north Queensland. As I believe these two exercises will be landmarks in the history of Australian Army training, will the Minister make arrangements for interested members of this House to witness them?

Minister for the Army · BENNELONG, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– I assure the honorable member that all members of this House would be welcome to pay a visit to the two important exercises to which he has referred. I understand that special arrangements are being made particularly for Victorian members of this Parliament to see the exercises at Puckapunyal. Those manoeuvres will be carried out by the Citizen Military Forces as an exercise for a full brigade group. The exercise of the field force in Mackay will take place about May and will be perhaps the most important exercise ever to be carried out in peace time by the Australian Army. There will certainly be a place there for honorable members who wish to be present. The exercise will be held well out in the jungle, but honorable members will be welcome. I will certainly ask my officers to investigate the possibility of extending an invitation to ali honorable members.

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-Is the Minister for the Interior aware that the Department of the Interior has entered into a lease with Advertiser Newspapers Limited, Adelaide, under which the department will pay the company £960,000 in rent over the next twelve years for premises that it will occupy in a new building which is being erected by the company at a cost of about the same figure - £960,000? I should like to know whether the figure arrived at by the department was an offer made to Advertiser Newspapers Limited or whether it was a price that was asked for by the proprietors in return for making the space available. Does he know that the amount charged by the company per foot is at least 50 per cent. higher than the rate charged by some of the other people in Adelaide who let space to the Department of the Interior for Commonwealth offices? In view of this enormous expense, and what appears to be waste of public money, will the Minister inform the House how long it will be before his department will begin, and complete, the erection of Commonwealth offices in Adelaide in order that this wasteful expenditure of public funds can be brought to an end?


– If any such arrangement as the honorable member alleges has been entered into, it is not one that has come under my notice. I shall have the matter examined and let the honorable member know the position.

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Incidents at Navuneram.

Minister for Territories · Curtin · LP

– by leave - The House will recall that on 7th August last year I gave an assurance that certain incidents that occurred at Navuneram, in New Britain, on 4th August, 1958, when two villagers lost their lives, would be the subject of an independent inquiry. The Commission of Inquiry was set up and has now reported. The House will also recall that as the Royal Commissions Act of the Commonwealth does not apply to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, the Government decided to ask the Administrator of the Territory to appoint Mr. Justice Mann, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Papua and New Guinea, as a Commissioner under the Commissions of Inquiry Ordinance of the Territory, with terms of reference drawn up by the Government, to give effect to the view expressed in this House that the inquiry should be as wide as possible. The papers that I will shortly present to the House will show that the Commissioner’s inquiry did in fact cover a very wide range, and dealt not only with the incident at Navuneram, but also with antecedent events and the circumstances in which the incident occurred.

When the Commissioner presented his report last November, Parliament had been prorogued and an election campaign was in progress. I therefore took the decision that the report should not be published until such time as the new Parliament met. Having regard to the circumstances in which the inquiry had been initiated, I believed it was my obligation to present the report in the first instance to the Commonwealth Parliament.

As the report is a long one it may be of service to the House if I attempt to traverse its contents. First, I should express to the Chief Justice of the Territory the appreciation of the Government and, if I may say so, of this Parliament for the work he has done on our behalf. When honorable members have read his report I am sure that they will agree that he has carried out his task with the scrupulous care, diligence and impartiality that would be expected from an occupant of his high judicial office.

Secondly, I should like to dispose of what might be termed the question of culpability. An inquiry of this kind necessarily raises the question whether or not any person or persons should be called to account for actions taken or for any failure or neglect of duty. We do have to satisfy ourselves whether any officer or officers of the Territorial Administration either did what they should not have done or failed to do what they should have done. Now, while it may be possible for various persons to reach various opinions on what was the best way to handle the situation which arose at Navuneram and, while some persons who were not there on the fatal day may freely express their own confidence that they themselves would have done better, 1 find nothing in the Commissioner’s report which would justify any assertion that any officer of the Administration concerned in this affair acted other than in accordance with his honest judgment of what is best to do and I find nothing in the report to justify any charge that any officer either exceeded or fell short of what might reasonably be regarded as the demands of his duty. On this point I quote the Commissioner - i do not want to be taken as expressing the view that the officers of the Administration should be held responsible for the incidents, indeed i reject such a conclusion, and think that any search for a scapegoat to take the responsibility for these events would involve serious injustice to these officers, and would deprive the Administration of the benefit which can only be derived from close attention to the causes of the trouble. All of the officers who gave evidence did so frankly, truthfully and without reserve. They are all men of outstanding ability and intgerity, and wide experience in the Territory, and they faced the very difficult problems with which they were confronted with great courage, and application to duty.

So in view of that report, the Government does not have it in mind to visit either censure or disciplinary action on any of the officers concerned in the affair and we do not think that either censure or disciplinary action would be justified by any of the findings of the Commissioner.

The paragraph of the Commissioner’s report from which I have quoted, page 1475 of the typescript, gives a lead into my third point. What are the matters of real concern to us all? What are the lessons which we can profitably learn from the results of this inquiry? In the passage quoted, the Commissioner in effect says that the Administration would benefit most from giving “ close attention to the causes of the trouble “. He also refers to “ actions on the part of the Administration and its officers which in my view have shown weaknesses which have contributed towards the events that occurred at Navuneram “. Later he refers to the events as “ the culmination of many years difficulty during which important and indeed essential policies being implemented for the benefit of the natives themselves were being held up and frustrated by small groups of natives . . “. Paraphrasing the Commissioner, I submit to the House that we have to examine every possible weakness which may have contributed to the events at Navuneram in order that those weaknesses may be repaired. We have to give close attention to the causes of the trouble so that we are better able to avoid any such trouble in the future. May I express the hope that in any debate which may follow in this House we will concentrate our minds on that aspect of the inquiry, and that we will approach these questions with care and a sense of responsibility, withholding rash judgments until we are sure that we fully understand the complicated matters before us.

When a primitive and dependent people are being advanced rapidly towards civilization under the tutelage and rule of a trustee power there will always be strain and the possibility of misunderstanding, and even conflict. In Papua and New Guinea there are many unusual stresses and emotional conflicts as well as the perpetual strain of the tug-of-war between old ways and new ways. Those stresses and strains exist in the situation itself and they were neither created by the bad purposes of any one nor can they be removed by the expression of good intentions by some one else. In our attempt to understand the tasks of administration in the Territory and in any attempt to reach an opinion on the particular situation that arose at Navuneram we need to keep in mind the whole picture as well as the segment on which we are now concentrating our attention. Our present duty, however, requires us to look narrowly at the incidents at Navuneram.

In his report, the Commissioner says that the immediate background of the happenings of 4th August is found in the operation of the Personal Tax Ordinance but that the question of taxation was only incidental to a much wider dispute going back over a number of years.

Let me say something to the House about the Personal Tax Ordinance. It came into force on 1st January, 1958. It provides for the payment of a tax at a maximum rate of £2 per annum by all male persons who are not otherwise exempt, irrespective of race, in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. It sets up simple and easily accessible machinery to hear individual claims for reduction in, or exemption from, the tax payable; and provides for a variation in rates between different areas and in accordance with the varying abilities of the people to pay. Only a comparatively small percentage of the native population pays the maximum rate of £2. Figures supplied to me by the Administrator show that out of an enumerated adult male population of 476,840 in Papua and New Guinea, a total of 176,497 were automatically exempted at the beginning of the 1958 tax year and 53,999 were either totally or partially exempted by tribunals during the year, so that only half of the adult male population were in fact paying the full personal tax. The vast majority of those on whom the tax has been levied have paid willingly. They paid without protest and I think it would be no exaggeration to say that a large number of them have felt that their requirement to pay a tax was a recognition of their standing and importance in the community.

In passing, 1 should mention thai, although the tax was primarily introduced for a number of reasons advanced by tha Administrator as being valuable for our administrative purposes, the tax is also in accordance with the expressed wishes of the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations and its introduction was noted with satisfaction by the Trusteeship Council.

Inextricably linked with the question of taxation in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea is the introduction of local government among the native people. In accordance with established policy, the Administrator has created, within proclaimed areas, councils consisting of elected native members to undertake a wide range of local government activities under the supervision of officers of the Department of Native Affairs. These councils have powers of taxation for local government purposes and the Personal Tax Ordinance provides that taxes paid by individuals under the Native Local Government Councils Ordinance can be recognized as a reason for total or partial exemption from personal tax. In other words, if natives who belong to a local government council are paying tax to that council they do not pay tax under the Personal Tax Ordinance.

Local government is being promoted because it is regarded as a field in which the native people can learn to help themselves, can become familiar with democratic procedures, and can be prepared for further political advancement while at the same time they are helping in their own social and economic progress. The first Native Local Government Council - the Reimber Council in the Rabaul area of New Britain - was proclaimed on 7th August, 1950. At 22nd January, 1959, 27 councils had been established, representing 172,663 people through 749 councillors. The United Nations has encouraged the development of these councils and noted the Australian efforts over the past eight years with approval.

The findings of the Commissioner - and this is the point that we have to note carefully - give prominence to the opposition by the Navuneram people to local government councils and to the personal tax and also refer to the belief of the Navuneram people that the personal tax was a device to compel them to enter the scheme for local government councils. The Commissioner mentions the patience with which Administration officers attempted to explain matters to the natives and the unreasonable lengths to which this particular group carried their opposition to the tax and to local government.

In amplification of the Commissioner’s report I would quote some figures supplied by the Administrator regarding the numerical strength of the opposition to local government councils among the Tolai people in the New Britain area. As at December, 1957, those Tolai people who were in favour of the councils totalled 35,591 and those against only 3,688. Of the dissentients, 1,112 were in Navuneram, Taviliu and adjacent village groups. In brief, over 90 per cent, of the Tolai people wanted councils and less than 10 per cent, in three groups of villages, did not want them.

I would ask honorable members to read, when the reports are tabled, not only the findings on this point but also those sections of the report in which the Commissioner discusses the behaviour of the Navuneram people. He remarks -

On some occasions when the officers had spent a great deal of time carefully answering questions and explaining matters at issue the natives seemed to close their minds to any argument based on reason and simply refused to take any notice.

That comment appears at page 1439 of the report. I would also direct attention to those paragraphs of the report in which the Commissioner refers to other questions, more remote than the question of personal tax and local government, which affected the attitude of the people of Navuneram. Although I am sure that the Commissioner himself would not claim that his discussion of this aspect of the question can be more complete than the experience made available to him, his references to “ conditions, pressures and loyalties operating within their own group “ indicate how complex are the influences which may produce a situation such as that at Navuneram. For example, he mentions some of the past history of the Tolai people, and the fear of the Navuneram group that they may lose both their land and their identity as the result of pressure from other rival groups of natives. He speaks of that element in the concern of the Navuneram people that was “ proAdministration government and anti-native government “ and says -

Their experience has shown the natives that they can trust the Government, but not their fellow natives.

Hence, he says, at page 1453, they were “ bewildered and alarmed at the proposal to substitute native government for the government they had known and trusted “.

The Commissioner also discusses, at another place, a variety of conditions which had effected the trust and confidence between officers and the native people. 1 think I summarize his views fairly when I say that he chiefly questions the wisdom of those officers who, having the duty of implementing the policy of local government, became somewhat impatient with those natives who stood outside the scheme. He suggests that the continued pressure on them to join local government tended to damage the confidence of the natives in the officers.

I mention these points to illustrate the way in which many influences, some near, some very remote, have a bearing on the situation and I would venture the opinion that, careful and penetrating as the report is, it has not by any means told the whole story. This is implicit in the Commissioner’s own reference, on page 1478 of his report, to the need for a more thorough investigation over a considerable period of time by persons with experience and expertness in many different fields - anthropologists,

Native Affairs officers, Lands Department officers and others. I would again ask honorable members and any others who may comment on the findings of the Commissioner to read those findings with some humility about their own capacity to say the last word in the face of the complexity of the causes that produced the situation.

Against this background, may I now attempt to summarize the findings of the Commissioner. The report says that there were bad relations between Administration officers and Navuneram natives from about 1950 onwards. From about 1951 onwards the natives of the Navuneram area had been firmly and consistently refusing to carry out the stated policy of the Administration and this refusal related in its most marked form to the development of local government in the area. Despite efforts by Native Affairs officers to explain it and apply it, the Navuneram natives resisted the Personal Tax Ordinance and - carried their opposition to Government policy to such unreasonable lengths that they were prepared to refuse all Government assistance and finally resolved that if it came to a conflict with the Administration they would die rather than give in.

Out of that situation, in June, 1958, civil proceedings were taken against individuals to recover tax. Efforts on 29th July to enforce the law were not successful. I quote the Commissioner again -

There was not much real physical violence on this occasion mainly on account of the efforts of the District Officer to carry out his mission in a peaceful manner . . . This was about the fourth time that violent clashes between natives in this neighbourhood and Native Affairs officers had ended in apparent success to the natives, and as a result an attitude of arrogance was added to the already openly hostile attitude of many of them.

As a result of these events a policy decision was made at Administration headquarters and conveyed to the officers of the Administration at Rabaul through the District Commissioner to the effect that the required force should be used to uphold the law and that, inter alia, proceedings would be taken under the provisions of section 16 of the Personal Tax Ordinance which makes it an offence for a person to refuse to pay without reasonable excuse.

Dr Evatt:

– Where were the Administration head-quarters?


– At Port Moresby. The Administrator made a decision at Port

Moresby and conveyed it to Rabaul. At this point may I inform the House that the Administrator reported to me that he had given this instruction of 29th July. As it was a matter normally handled by the Administrator it was not necessary for me to approve formally of what he had done, but it would have been possible for me to have countermanded his instructions. I did not do so and it was my considered opinion at the time that I should not do so. I reaffirm now my confidence in the Administrator’s judgment, against the background of local knowledge, on handling a situation of this kind. It would have been improper for the Minister to have intervened when the Administrator, who knew the local circumstances, had taken a considered judgment.

Dr Evatt:

– Who was the Administrator?


– The Administrator is Mr. D. M. Cleland. Returning to the report, the Commissioner’s findings then record the fact that, at a conference at Rabaul on 2nd August, after the Administrator’s instruction had been received, an expedition to Navuneram was planned for 4th August. He said -

The officers present were … of the opinion that it was essential for the maintenance of law and order in the community that the expedition should succeed and that if it failed it would lead to widespread violence and bloodshed. The conference also agreed that the natives should be brought before a court convened at Navuneram and constituted by officers of the Department of Native Affairs acting as magistrates. It was also decided that a force of 80 native policemen equipped as is usual with rifles and bayonets should form part of the expedition to provide any necessary force and that 200 rounds of ammunition should be taken but kept strictly under the control of the Superintendent of Police and only be used in case of emergency.

The Commissioner believes that the conclusions reached at this conference at Rabaul were partly but not wholly justified by the circumstances. His first criticism is that, on the assumption that the views of the officers of the Administration that violence and bloodshed were inevitable were justified, then the forces employed to carry out the expedition were dangerously inadequate. His second criticism is based on his view that his inquiry revealed that it was an erroneous conclusion that the natives were seeking to reject the authority of the Administration or the rejection of law and order. At the same time he added that if his own view of the matter is correct, he was satisfied that -

The officers of the Administration who formed what 1 regard as an erroneous view cannot reasonably be blamed in the circumstances for having done so, nor do I think that having regard to established departmental procedures it was reasonably open to any of these officers to undertake any independent inquiry which might have led him to the correct view. Moreover this is the first occasion in the history of the Territory on which this kind of opposition to Government action has been carried out with such a high degree of organization, or carried so far and with such determination, in spite of great efforts on the part of the officers of the Administration to explain the scope and effect of the action involved.

The Commissioner also believes that the conference of 2nd August gave too little weight to legal considerations involved in the actions which were proposed. He is critical of the way in which officers of the Department of Native Affairs set up the court and says that the Department’s “ zeal in undertaking conflicting duties in regard to natives was being carried beyond the limits of prudence or reason “.

Dr Evatt:

– What is the court referred to?


– That was the court that was set up at Navuneram to hear the cases of alleged refusal to pay tax. May I pause here again in my summary of the Commissioner’s findings to comment. The paragraphs of his report dealing with the conference of 2nd August at Rabaul presided over by the District Commissioner seem to me to be one of the main points requiring our attention. This was a critical stage in the proceedings that culminated in the clash at Navuneram.

Dr Evatt:

– The District Commissioner was not Mr. Cleland?


– No, Mr. Foldi is the District Commissioner at Rabaul. I cannot attempt to resist the validity of the Commissioner’s proposition that when a question of enforcement of law is being considered, as it was being considered at this conference, full weight has to be given to the legal questions involved and that a legal officer should have been present at the conference. Nor can I dispute the argument that it was highly undesirable to attempt to constitute a court from Native

Affairs officers whose recent or prospective duties unavoidably made them parties to the conflict which was to be resolved. While we have to recognize that a number of local and temporary factors limited the courses open to our officers, we in the Government admit the mistake and express regret for it. The Administrator has already taken up these matters in order to correct this particular weakness.

In his general discussion of the case in another part of the report, pages 1456 to 1463, the Commissioner also examines at some length the general problem of the relationship between the Department of Native Affairs and the administration of the law. What he says is in keeping with views repeatedly expressed by the Government to the Administrator. Care will be taken in future that policy is strictly observed in this regard.

The more critical point raised by the Commissioner is whether the judgment of the conference on the nature of the situation was erroneous and consequently whether the action was wrongly planned. If there were an error of judgment it was an honest error in judgment and the Commissioner himself lays no blame on the officers. He recognizes, as we, I suggest, must recognize, that these officers had been involved in various incidents over a long period which convinced them that the native villagers were defiant. It is a matter of opinion whether the officers correctly assessed the situation but we can all agree that the officers reached their opinion carefully, after long consideration and after weighing all the information available to them; and we have to give weight to their opinions as those persons who had been most closely in touch with the events.

Returning now to the Commissioner’s findings, we have to examine the circumstances in which the two natives lost their lives at Navuneram on 4th August. The Commissioner makes some conjectures about what the villagers intended to do after they had been told to come down to meet the Administration officers on that morning, but concludes that the purpose of the villagers was to present a united front to the Administration officers and flatly refuse to pay the tax. He adds that whatever pre-arranged plan they may have made miscarried when the unexpected appearance of a large police force took them by surprise. Although at the time the officers of the Administration took the view that the natives had planned to make an attack on the official party and had prepared for it, the Commissioner believes that this view was not justified.

After the natives had assembled at Navuneram in “ substantial numbers “, two officers addressed them and called upon them to pay their tax. The Commissioner continues -

The natives were very unresponsive and gave a general impression of determined hostility. . . Both [officers] showed a great deal of patience in addressing the natives for almost two hours in spite of abusive and offensive retorts and wild behaviour calculated to exasperate anybody who had not had the same experience at exercising patience and forbearance.

The court was then set up, after the two hours spent in explanation, and the natives asked to come before it. After they had again been addressed by the officers for a long time without success, a conference was held between senior officers and it was decided that the only course was to go out among the natives, arrest the alleged offenders and bring them before the court. The Commissioner says -

This proposed course met with the approval of all the senior officers present who saw no alternative course which they could honorably pursue since in their view the maintenance of law and order was directly at stake and had to be vindicated.

Up to this point of time there had been no attack on the Administration party, and the Commissioner believes that, at this stage, the natives did not intend to initiate an attack, although individual natives were shouting out threats and challenges and words of provocation. The Commissioner continues -

The decision to take the first step which would directly involve physical conflict was taken by the officers of the Administration for the reason which I have indicated. I think that the evidence shows that the forces available to the Administration at that time were inadequate to ensure that the course proposed could be safely carried out, and I do not think that the decision should have been made or carried out.

The Commissioner describes the way in which a melee developed after the police went into the crowd in an attempt to make arrests. He also describes the turning point, when the natives, who, in his view, had hitherto been on the defensive, became the attackers and pressed their attack on the Administration party “ with grim determination and ferocity “. Later he uses the phrase “ a frenzied rage “. Many of the European officers and native policemen were then placed in a position of considerable danger in the face of this frenzied attack. The situation became “ most serious “. In these circumstances orders were given to issue ammunition to the reserve squad of police. Two hundred rounds, which was all the ammunition carried by the expedition, were distributed. As the outlook worsened, the order was given to fire over the heads of the natives, and the reserve squad opened fire. The first burst was aimed high in the air, and the village natives thought that blank cartridges were being used; but even when some of the bullets started to knock fronds and coconuts from the trees, and it was clear to some of the attacking natives that blanks were not being used, this did not have much effect on them at first. The natives gave up the attack only when bullets were going through the trees in among them at a low level, at which stage Tovatuna and Tovurete, the two natives killed, were shot. As soon as the attack abated the order to cease fire was given and all firing ceased.

The Commissioner says -

In all, fifty-four bullets were fired, and I think that the fairest conclusion is that something between one-quarter and one-third of all those bullets entered the trees amongst which the attacking natives were moving at a height which would endanger their lives. I am satisfied on the evidence that it was not intended by the officers in charge of the police reserve squad that any of the bullets fired should be fired at such a low height and that the officers took special care to prevent this from occurring.

But it did occur. The Commissioner continues -

I am satisfied on the evidence that it was as a direct result of this contravention of orders and of the killing and wounding of the three natives in question that the attacking natives were put to flight and widespread bloodshed on both sides narrowly averted. I am satisfied that as from the time . . . just before the reserve squad opened fire every step taken by the officers of the Administration was unavoidable in the circumstances which then existed and was intended to save rather than to cause loss of life and injury. Accepting the situation as it stood at the commencement of the firing, I think that the Police Commissioner would have been justified if he had ordered some of hu reserve squad to fire at the attacking natives.

At an earlier part of his report, discussing the matter more fully, the Commissioner says (page 1476) -

The deaths of the two natives who were killed and the injuries suffered by the others were unfortunate, but were suffered during a stage at which the officers had no means of exercising better control over the situation.

The real tragedy of Navuneram lies in the inevitability with which events marched with accelerating pace to their sad conclusion. Once a course of action had been commenced it could not be checked. The officers concerned, described by the Commissioner as “ all men of outstanding ability and integrity “, were faced with a situation of unusual difficulty. They made decisions which, from their experience and their knowledge, seemed to be best, and they carried out those decisions with moderation, patience, a high sense of duty and a constant attempt to avoid bloodshed. It is easy enough, after the event, to question the rightness of the decision. Opinions among people entitled by experience to speak on these ‘matters may differ widely concerning the expedition to Navuneram on 4th August, but I suggest that there is nothing in the record that will entitle any one anywhere in the world to say that the decision was not made with careful thought, responsibility and in good faith with the purpose of doing what would bring the best outcome for the people of the Territory.

The lessons that have to be learned from these events and from the report I now propose to table are lessons for all of us. First is the lesson of the need for constant, patient and penetrating effort to understand more clearly the complex situations with which we are dealing. Second is the lesson of trying to come closer to the indigenous people, to enter more intimately into their minds, and to gain and to retain their trust and confidence. The wisdom of what we do will grow with our understanding. Third is the lesson of the need for administrative arrangements and leadership to ensure that all the officers engaged in the task of administration on behalf of Australia will know their task clearly, and will have the opportunity of doing it to their full ability. A task of administration of this kind calls for constant alertness and intelligent analysis of changing situations by every officer in the field, in all departments.

Following the submission of the Commissioner’s report, the Government and the Administration are already giving attention to some of the matters raised. I will review them quickly.

The Taxation Ordinance, and1 the associated administrative instructions, are being examined to guard against the possibility of any repetition of such errors in approach and administration by the officers concerned as the Commissioner believes to have occurred.

The problem of land shortage has been receiving close attention for some years. Land has been made available for native occupancy through native local government councils, and two separate, though small, resettlement schemes are developing in the Gazelle Peninsula. A full examination of the land position is being made. The Government has always been conscious that land policy is a fundamental key to native welfare and has tried to evolve a land policy designed to safeguard the rights of natives in their land and to prevent the occurrence in New Guinea of land problems of the kind which have arisen in dependent territories elsewhere in the world.

Additional measures to bring closer contact with the natives are to be developed and a review of the Local Government Councils Ordinance is being made to determine at what points it may require revision and to foster the development of area councils to give the natives an increasing control over matters of local concern to them and a wider experience in political management.

The Administration is taking steps to ensure that immediately an officer of the Department of Native Affairs assumes his magisterial function he is completely free from and independent of his department. The system of appointing stipendiary magistrates will be extended so that in the main centres Native Affairs officers should not exercise magisterial powers. Legislation is also being drafted to divorce Native Affairs officers from their police powers when they are serving in developed areas.

Recognizing the force of the Commissioner’s remarks regarding the too frequent transfer of officers, steps are being taken to ensure that continuity of service by appropriate officers in particular areas shall be maintained1 to the utmost administrative possibility. As part of the same process arrangements are being made to enable officers to become fluent in native languages. Measures to improve communication between the Administration and the people are being examined.

Apart from the Navuneram inquiry, a fundamental review of the structure and functions of the Department of Native Affairs has been in progress for some time past with a view to making adjustments to suit changing circumstances in the Territory and, in continuing this review, we will take account of the points made by the Commissioner. This basic review of the whole function and structure of the Department of Native Affairs is incomplete, but I would regard it myself as being one of the fundamental measures to be taken on the administrative side. At the same time we have to appreciate that many other departments of Administration - health, education, land’s, agriculture and so on - are touching the lives of the people at many points. We have to take greater care that the understanding and co-operation between departments is complete and that they are all pulling in the same direction. We must appreciate that in New Guinea we are dealing with a rapidly changing situation, and we must adjust our methods and practices in accordance with those changes.

The Administrator is taking steps for the fuller and closer examination of the local position in the Gazelle Peninsula. Last December I had the opportunity of discussing with him in person at Rabaul the measures he is taking and also took advantage of the occasion to discuss with the District Commissioner and other officers, with leaders of the native people themselves, and with missionaries and citizens in close touch with them the state of affairs following Navuneram. While such talks, which were prolonged, would certainly not entitle me to try to say the last word on the subject, I feel that I can assure this House that the lessons have been taken to heart and that trust and confidence are being repaired.

After we have considered the situation at Navuneram and the immediate measures that are being taken to overcome some of the weaknesses revealed there, we still have before us the broader problems of our Territorial administration. The situation is not static. It is perpetually changing and we have to make sure that our thinking about the problem and the methods we use are also being perpetually adjusted to meet newly emerging needs. Behind all we do is the constant need for better communication between us and the people on whose behalf we are exercising trusteeship so that we will understand them better and they will understand us. We have to deserve and they have to give us their respect and their trust if our partnership with them is to work for the good of all. That is the ideal set before all our Australian officers in the Territory. It is true we have reason to be watchful, careful and wise; but we have no reason as Australians to be ashamed of our record in the Territory, which, on the whole, is one of beneficence and of great achievement.

May I express the hope that any public discussion on Navuneram will take place in the context of this wider concern for the future of the Territory and its peoples and their relationship with Australia, so that we may have a constructive discussion on the great creative task in which Australia is honorably engaged.

I lay on the table the following paper: -

Navuneram Incident, New Britain - Report of the Commission of Inquiry.

Motion (by Mr. Freeth) proposed -

That the paper be printed.

Dr Evatt:

– I ask for leave to make a statement.


– The right honorable gentleman can obtain leave to continue the debate.

Dr Evatt:

– I want to make a statement on some urgent matters now. If the Minister will withdraw his motion until a later stage, that will allow me to make a statement in reply. That perhaps would facilitate it.

Mr Freeth:

– In those circumstances, the right honorable gentleman would have an opportunity to make two speeches on the same subject.


-The position is that the right honorable gentleman has asked for leave to make a statement.

Mr Freeth:

– With respect, I submit that the question before the Chair is, “ That the paper be printed “.

Mr Calwell:

– On a point of order: The Leader of the Opposition is to be prevented from making a brief statement now and also engaging in the debate at a later stage, yet the Minister for Territories, who has made his statement now, will at a later stage, if the Minister for the Interior proceeds with his motion, have an opportunity to make a second speech. I suggest that that would be most unfair, and we do not want to have it that way.

Mr Hasluck:

– May I suggest that the Leader of the Opposition commence to speak to the motion which is before the House and then ask leave ‘to continue his remarks? I will give an assurance on behalf of the Leader of the House that if, when the Leader of the Opposition wishes to continue his remarks, he comes up against some limitation of time, we will move tor an extension of time.

Dr Evatt:

– I want to take the usual course. The procedure now being followed is unheard of; the Government has never done this before. There are a few matters on which I want to comment immediately, but we will not have the basic documents to examine until a later stage.


– May I suggest that there is a motion before the Chair, which has not been withdrawn? If I put the motion and the debate is adjourned, the right honorable gentleman could then seek leave to make a statement.

Mr Calwell:

– On a point of order: You called the Leader of the Opposition and he rose to speak. Then the Minister for the Interior interposed his motion. I suggest that, having called the Leader of the Opposition, you have no right to call a Minister to move a motion other than the motion “ That the question be now put “.


– The position is that when the Minister for Territories tabled the paper, the Minister for the Interior rose in his place and moved that the paper be printed. When he sat down I called the Leader of the Opposition.

Dr Evatt:

– Is that not the whole point? The Minister made a statement first and I wish to make some comment on it. Is that in order?

Mr Hasluck:

– We do not want to prevent the Leader of the Opposition from speaking.

Dr Evatt:

– Then why does the Minister adopt this unusual course? I am seeking leave to make a statement, not to deal with the documents.


-I suggest that the only course is for the Leader of the Opposition to move that the debate be adjourned, and for me to put that motion. If it is agreed to, the debate will be adjourned. The right honorable gentleman may then seek leave of the House to make a statement, and the matter will take its normal course.

Dr Evatt:

– If the Minister agrees to that. I am satisfied.

Debate (on motion by Dr. Evatt) adjourned.

Leader of the Opposition · Hunter

– by leave - Mr. Speaker, iX is quite plain that this is a matter of very great importance - far greater importance than appeared when it was first brought before the House - and I feel great satisfaction that honorable members on this side of the chamber pressed for the widest possible report. My view of it, based on the summary that we have had from the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck), is that it is absolutely necessary in the interests of administration and of justice that the full report of the commissioner who made the inquiry should be studied by all honorable members. I take the Minister’s view to this extent - that the administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea by Australia is of importance not only to Australia itself, but also to Australia’s status as an administrator of trust territories.

I do not wish to traverse in too great detail this summary of the report. It would have been far better if the papers had been put before the House so that we could study the Commissioner’s report. The Minister has given us extracts from it, but it is quite obvious from those extracts that there is very substantial criticism of the Territory Administration in relation to this incident. The Commissioner indicates the need for a review of the position so far as administration is concerned - and, indeed, the Minister himself admits it, because, at the last page of the statement which he read to the House, he indicated that there will be an overhaul of the administration so far as it concerns the native peoples.

I shall not go into the various details of that, but it is quite obvious that the Commissioner, Mr. Justice Mann, who is Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Papua and New Guinea, is far from satisfied with what the Administration has done in this matter. That appears plainly enough from the extracts from the report. The Minister concedes that, because at one stage - this does not appear in the roneoed copy of his statement, to which he added passages - he said that the report is penetrating but has not told the full story. I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister has not told the full story either. I do not mean that he has deliberately concealed things, but he has made comments all through on the Commissioner’s report, and here we are, having his comments, without the House or the country having a real opportunity to study what the Commissioner has said. He administers a function of great importance as the chief judicial officer of the Territory, and what he says on this is very important indeed.

According to the second page of the roneoed copy of the Minister’s statement, the Commissioner says, in effect, that the Administration would benefit most by giving “ close attention to the causes of the trouble “. He points to actions on the part of the Administration and its officers which, in his view, “ have shown weaknesses which have contributed towards the events that occurred at Navuneram “. That is simply an illustration of the general position which I have emphasized. The findings of the Commissioner, according to the Minister - and this must be correct - give prominence to the opposition by the Navuneram people to local government councils and to the personal tax. One matter mentioned in the comments on the incidents when they were reported to the House was the personal tax, or poll tax, and the opposition of certain native peoples to it. That opposition is quite understandable. According to the Minister, the Commissioner’s findings also refer to the belief of the Navuneram people that the personal tax was a device to compel them to enter the scheme for local government councils. The Minister said that the Commissioner mentions the patience with which administration officers attempted to explain matters to the natives and the unreasonable lengths to which this particular group carried their opposition to the tax and to local government. It may be unreasonable, but, still, the Administration has to administer the Territory in a way which will gain the confidence of the native peoples.

I want to say at once that, so far as the officers are concerned, one can see from this the Chief Justice’s appreciation of the general quality of their service - an attitude which I am sure is shared by all honorable members. But here is an occasion to test and probe the weaknesses of the Administration, and I have no doubt that when the matter comes up for debate honorable members will go carefully into that aspect of the question.

In the Minister’s statement there are repeated references which require elaboration and will undoubtedly call for some expression of the point of view of the House. The Minister said that he thinks he summarizes the Commissioner’s views by saying that the Chief Justice chiefly questions the wisdom of those officers who, having the duty of implementing the policy of local government, became somewhat impatient with those natives who stood outside the scheme. The Minister stated that the Commissioner suggests that the continued pressure on those natives to join local government tended to damage the confidence of the natives in the officers. We can easily understand that they were looking to government - that is, to the Australian Administration - rather than to any new local government which might be strange to them, and distrusted by them, to watch their interests. That is quite understandable. You just do not dismiss that as if you were dealing with a people experienced in modern law, with all its complications of central governments, state governments and local government. We are dealing with something that is strange to the natives and distrusted by them, and somehow or other we must regain their confidence.

The Minister has pointed out that in June of last year civil proceedings were taken against individuals to recover the tax, and that the efforts to enforce the law were not successful. Then he dealt with the crucial decision, which was made not at the centre of government of the Territory, at Port Moresby, but at Rabaul, by an officer subordinate to Mr. Cleland. As a result of clashes caused through an endeavour to collect the poll tax, according to the Minister, on 29th July, a policy decision was made at Administration head-quarters, and conveyed to the officers of the Administration at Rabaul through the District Commissioner, to the effect that the required force should be used to uphold the law and that proceedings would be taken under the provisions of section 16 of the Personal Tax Ordinance, which makes it an offence for a person to refuse to pay without reasonable excuse. The Minister said -

  1. . the Administrator reported to me that he had given this instruction of 29th July.

Is that the date on which the instruction was given at Port Moresby?

Mr Hasluck:

– It was given on 29th July at Port Moresby, and conveyed to me about 3rd August.


– That is the same day. apparently, on which the decision was made at Rabaul.

Mr Hasluck:

– No. The decision was made in Port Moresby, and it was communicated to me at the same time as it was communicated to Rabaul. It reached me three or four days later.


– So that the decision to collect the tax by force was made, not merely at Rabaul, but by the Administrator at Port Moresby, and the Minister became aware of it?

Mr Hasluck:

– The decision on the method was made at Rabaul. The decision on policy was made at Port Moresby.


– The policy was to collect the tax, but the decision as to the methods and arrangements for doing it were made at Rabaul. Yes. I follow.

The Minister referred in his statement to the conference - the crucial conference - at which the subject of discussion was how the tax was to be collected. The decision there to send a force to the spot was the crucial decision. That decision meant that the personal tax was to be collected in this way: That if they could not get it by asking for it, and demanding it, force was to be used to seize the natives and take them to a court set up for that purpose - a court not properly constituted in the sense of being completely judicial in character, because there were administrative officers on it. After that was done at Navuneram the clash occurred in which these lives were lost.

Now, the Commissioner’s first criticism - and I am quoting from the Minister’s statement - is that -

On the assumption that the views of the officers of the Administration that violence and bloodshed were inevitable, were justified-

Assuming that it was right to go there and ask for the tax and that the natives, on refusal to pay, were to be seized and tried, and the ordinance enforced immediately - then the forces employed to carry out the expedition were dangerously inadequate.

The Minister continued, regarding the Commissioner’s criticisms -

His second criticism is based on his view that his inquiry revealed that it was an erroneous conclusion that the natives were seeking to reject the authority of the Administration, or the rejection of law and order.

That negates what the Administration believed to be the position - that the natives were out to defy the law in force. The Chief Justice, as the Commissioner, does not accept that conclusion. That goes pretty well to the root of the whole matter, because the Commissioner says -

The officers of the Administration who formed what I regard as an erroneous view cannot reasonably be blamed in the circumstances for having done so, nor do I think that having regard te established departmental procedures it was reasonably open to any of these officers to undertake any independent inquiry which might have led him to the correct view.

Then he deals with that. The Minister went on to say -

The Commissioner also believes that the conference of the 2nd August-

This Rabaul conference - gave too little weight to legal considerations involved in the actions which were proposed.

And he discusses that. Then the Minister went on to say -

The more critical point raised by the Commissioner is whether the judgment of the conference on the nature of the situation was erroneous and consequently whether the action was wrongly planned. If there were an error of judgment it was an honest error in judgment and the Commissioner himself lays no blame on the officers.

It is, of course, common ground, that it was a mistake made not in bad faith or as a result of vindictiveness. Then the Minister said -

It is a matter of opinion whether the officers correctly assessed the situation, but we can all agree that the officers reached their opinion carefully, after long consideration and after weighing, all the information available to them.

Then there is a discussion of the actual incident at Navuneram, and the Commissioner is quoted as saying, referring to the address made to the natives -

The natives were very unresponsive and gave a general impression of determined hostility. Both (officers) showed a great deal of patience in addressing the natives for almost f.vo hours in spite of abusive and offensive retorts and wild behaviour calculated to exasperate anybody who had not had the same experience at exercising patience and forbearance.

The Minister continued -

The Court was then set up and the natives asked to come before it. After they had again been addressed by the officers for a long time without success, a conference was held between senior officers and it was decided that the only course was to go out among the natives, arrest them and bring them before the court.

The Commissioner says -

This proposed course met with the approval of all the senior officers present who saw no alternative course which they could honourably pursue since in their view the maintenance of law and order was directly at stake and had to be vindicated.

The Minister continued -

Up to this point of time there had been no attack on the Administration party and the Commissioner believes that, at this stage, the natives did not intend to initiate an attack, although individual natives were shouting out threats and challenges and words of provocation.

And this is the Commissioner’s comment -

The decision to take the first step which would directly involve physical conflict was taken by the officers of the Administration for the reason which I have indicated. I think that the evidence shows that the forces available to the Administration at that time were inadequate to ensure that the course proposed could be safely carried out, and I do not think that the decision should have been made or carried out.

I think, Mr. Speaker, that I have said enough to indicate the crucial point in this affair at Navuneram, where two lives were lost in the situation described by the Chief Justice - a situation detrimental to the best interests, I think, of the natives, and to the best interests of Australia as the trustee power. The Minister’s comment on the Navuneram affair was as follows: -

The real tragedy of Navuneram lies in the inevitability with which events marched with accelerating pace to their sad conclusion. Once a course of action had been commenced it could not be checked.

I think that that is a fair comment, and true. A mistake was made, and the decision was taken to deal with a difficult situation involving native peoples who did not appreciate the necessity for this tax, felt it was an imposition on them, and thought it was part of a plan to force them to accept local government, which they were not ready to accept. The Minister is quite correct in pointing out that the lessons to be learned from the events and from the report that he has tabled are lessons for all of us. These are lessons which the Administration must read and must profit from. The Minister said -

First is the lesson of the need for constant, patient and penetrating efforts to understand more clearly the complex situations with which we are dealing.

That is obvious. That is the duty of the Administration, and I hope and believe that this may lead to a better state of affairs. The Minister went on to say -

Second is the lesson of trying to come closer to the indigenous people, to enter more intimately into their minds, and to gain and to retain their trust and confidence.

Again, that is correct. That is the lesson stamped over the trust under which we are trustees of the Territory. It is not our territory in the ordinary sense of our having sovereignty over it. Legally, we are a trustee for the benefit of these people, and they need special care and patience beyond the ordinary. Most of the history of the Territory shows that the Australian Administration satisfies the great requirements under the United Nations charter. I believe that it does so, and that this will make it essential to review the position, overhaul some of these matters, and see that mistakes are avoided. The Minister, continuing to speak of the lessons to be derived from what has occurred, said -

Third is the lesson of the need for administrative arrangements and leadership to ensure that all the officers engaged in the task of administration on behalf of Australia will know their task clearly -

Then came references by the Minister to the measures which he indicated are to be taken. The Taxation Ordinance is to be examined to prevent, as he says, “ a repetition of such errors “. That is excellent. Then there is the question of land policy, which is also mentioned. The Minister then said -

Additional measures to bring closer contact with the natives are to be developed, and the review of the Local Government Councils Ordinance is being made to determine at what point it may require revision . . .

So the objection to it from the natives has some justification. The Minister continued -

The Administration is taking steps to ensure that immediately an officer of the Department of Native Affairs assumes his magisterial function he is completely free from and independent of his Department.

That might be so if he is a judicial officer. Unfortunately, action has been taken by persons who exercise magisterial functions, apparently without that independence which is necessary to the exercise of judicial power. The statement then deals with the transfer officers, and states that measures to improve communication between the Administration and the people are being examined. It is stated that measures to be taken on the administrative side are regarded as fundamental, and that many other departments of the Administration are touching the lives of the people at many points.

I have said sufficient at this stage to indicate the importance of the report and the necessity for a close study of what the Chief Justice has said, in order to assist the Government or criticise the Government in connexion with the Administration. That has to be done. It is a very vital matter at this stage in history, where Australia has won the confidence of the United Nations and of the world at large for the administration of a strict trust Territory like New Guinea, bound by similar principles to those applying to our own Territory of Papua. Australia’s reputation could be confirmed, and the best way of doing this is to have a discussion on this subject, to which all members can contribute usefully and not merely by way of scoring through criticising the Administration. The Administration must be held under close watch by the National Parliament. I submit that that ‘has been proved in this instance and those honorable members who asked for the inquiry will at this stage know that the inquiry has been completely justified.

I pass from this matter with the assurance that it will be fully debated in this House at a later stage. I emphasize again that the basic document for the House to look at is not the Minister’s comments, although they are valuable, but the Chief Justice’s independent judicial findings. When one looks at those, I think it is pretty clear that some grave mistakes were made, which led to the use of force at a time when it should not have been used, and in circumstances in which force should have been avoided. Therefore, it is essential that we have an opportunity to pass judgment upon the matter at a later stage.

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Motion (by Mr. Osborne for Mr. Harold Holt) agreed to -

That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent -

motions being moved in connexion with the establishment of Joint Committees on (i) Foreign Affairs, (ii) Constitutional Review and (iii) the Australian Capital Territory, the consideration of such motions, and the subsequent appointment of members to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and

the appointment of the Committee of Ways and Means and the moving of a resolution in that committee.

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Debate resumed from 18th February (vide page 85), on motion by Mr. Browne -

That the following Address-in-Reply to the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General be agreed to -

May it Please Your Excellency:

We, the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank Your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.

New England

– I should like to join with those members who have expressed their congratulations to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and to his deputy, the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) on the successful outcome of the general election, after some nine years in which the Australian Country party has been in association with the Liberal party in the Government of this Commonwealth. I should like to take this opportunity to say that, while I think the Australian Country party is fortunate in having the present Deputy Prime Minister as successor to Sir Arthur Fadden, I feel profoundly convinced that the work of Sir Arthur Fadden, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, has been an important factor in the development of the sound policies, particularly along financial lines, which have made possible a continuation of confidence in the Government of this Commonwealth.

I do not propose to pursue that line further, because the time of every honorable member is limited in a speech of this kind. I shall therefore refer briefly to several matters which are mentioned in the Governor-General’s Speech. I know that it is the intention of the Government not only to reconstitute the committee of both Houses which has been reviewing the Constitution of the Commonwealth, but also, when the committee has completed its work, to give close consideration to its proposals with a view to determining whether amendments to the Constitution should be submitted to Parliament and to the electors. I congratulate the Government on its determination to re-appoint the committee so that it may complete its work, and in particular, make available to the House a more lengthy and considered statement of the reasons that prompted the recommendations which, accompanied by a very brief precis of the position, were submitted before the last Parliament was dissolved. I hope that the work of the committee, in the fields it explored very extensively, will be continued.

The committee, of which I had the honour to be a member, had, in the nature of things, to take the Constitution as a whole, carefully scan its provisions, and then determine the order of priority of certain recommendations to the Parliament. It was thought that, if we attempted to bring all these matters - some of them merely formal, some quite noncontroversial, and some controversial - under one series of recommendations for reference to the people at one time, we might defeat the purpose of the review, which is to fairing about amendments to the Constitution. Consequently, we determined that certain matters should be dealt with in the first section.

A tremendous amount of ground work has been done on subjects other than those which have been referred to in the committee’s report, and it would be largely a waste of time and money if all of the work done were not brought to a conclusion. Having said that, T profoundly hope that, in the interests of the development of the country, it will not be necessary to wait until the whole review is completed before those matters which have been referred to the Parliament are dealt with and substantially, if not in their entirety, referred to the electors of the Commonwealth for their determination. More than that I do not wish to say at this juncture.

I allude now to a very important reference in the Governor-General’s Speech to the determination of the Government to proceed, in association with the States, with the appointment of an impartial committee of inquiry to investigate and report on the complex problems of the dairying industry. In personal discussion and correspondence with the previous Minister for Primary Industry, I strongly urged that that course should be followed. There are many problems in the dairying industry, particularly as they affect the northern part of New South Wales and southern Queensland, which need a most comprehensive and critical examination, An attempt should be made to ascertain why this industry which is so fundamental to the welfare of Australia is not enjoying prosperity. One factor which possibly operates to the detriment of the dairying industry is agricultural finance. For that reason, I hope that no attempt will be made in this House to emasculate the provisions for the proposed development bank which will come before the Parliament shortly. Whilst regard must be paid to the general development of the industry, the fact is that in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales, many dairying districts have emerged during my lifetime from primeval forests. Possibly, there is an urgent need for land legislation to provide security of tenure. I am not expressing an opinion on that point. I am certain, however, that the industry does require an infusion of capital, properly placed, and the means of putting the industry on an economic basis. The achievement of that objective at present defies all the hardworking attempts of a great many people who are engaged in dairying.

All those who are interested in universities will be delighted to learn that the Government has already appointed the chairman of the permanent Universities Committee which was promised by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) before the House adjourned last year. T am sure that everybody will be equally delighted to know that the committee will be appointed very shortly and will proceed to follow up the matters referred to in the Murray report, particularly those which the Murray committee did not have time to investigate fully. 1 believe that the work of the permanent committee, somewhat along the lines of that which was formed in the United Kingdom, is vital to the development of teaching and research in and the proper housing of universities throughout Australia. I am a councillor of one of the newest of our universities and I know that, apart from the disastrous fire which seriously hampered its efforts, it suffers from shortages of buildings and equipment. Similar shortages are operating against sound and confident planning for the development of other Australian universities. There is a demand to-day for people of science. We need people of broad training with capacity for leadership. Unless we have that leadership, we might find that training in technology and science are not devoted to their proper ends which are an improvement in the general conditions of the human race. Those who are trained in universities should give leadership on moral and physical lines as well as assist to increase the wealth of the human race.

With some trepidation, I direct my attention now to that part of the GovernorGeneral’s Speech in which His Excellency referred to the Government’s defence proposals. This is not a field in which I can profess to be an expert. As a man of peace, I believe there are certain factors which must be regarded as fundamental to any defence policy. Those factors which should be applied to Australia in my view are: First, the nation must be economically strong. If it is not wealthy, discontents will eat into the system of defence. Secondly, our industries and population must be reasonably decentralized. That is becoming more and more a vital factor in survival, as well as defence, under the threats which exist to-day. Thirdly, a young country such as ours must plan for vigorous development on a balanced scale. Fourthly, its defence forces must be as modern, efficient and well equipped as the national resources will permit and the national will can sustain.

Having outlined those points I wish to say this: Before and during the last general election campaign, a constant spate of criticism was directed against the Government for its failure to do this and that and for the alleged waste of money on various avenues of expenditure. I do not suggest that some of the points of criticism might not have been justified, but no government in the world to-day can escape the implica tions of the transitory stage in which Australia is moving forward. In the Middle Ages, long after the discovery of gunpowder, men still fought in steel breastplates and helmets. So to-day, as we move from one era to another, the tendency is to try to balance the probabilities of old methods against those which are to come. That is what has bedevilled this Government as well as every other government. How far must they stick to conventional forces, or will they find the old equipment about as useful as peashooters in the event, God forbid, of another war? Because of those vital questions, the development of new forms of defence is a slow process. Of course, the plain fact is that the world economy is geared to conventional forces of defence. If we were to swing overnight substantially from one form of defence to another, there would be economic chaos involving unemployment and a general disorganization of industries which interlock with defence. That, I think, would bring far more trouble to this nation, as well as to others, than would some hesitation as to how far they should proceed one way or another. I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

Sitting suspended from 12.46 to 2.15 p.m.

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Prime Minister · Kooyong · LP

– by leave - I table, for the information of honorable members, the report of the Committee of Inquiry into Public Service Recruitment. This committee was appointed by the Government in September, 1957, to examine recruitment standards and practices of the Public Service. Its members were -

Chairman - Sir Richard Boyer, K.B.E., Chairman, Australian Broadcasting Commission

Members -

Professor T. Hytten, C.M.G., former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Tasmania.

Dr. W. C. Radford, M.B.E., Director, Australian Council of Educational Research

Mr. R. S. Parker, Reader in Public Administration, Australian National University.

Mr. F. J. Webb, Commissioner, Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission

The terms of reference of the committee were broad, so that its inquiries could be directed not only to the current recruitment needs of the Public Service, but also to the principles and policies which might affect the efficiency of the service in the future.

There are over 60 specific recommendations in the report, as well as a number of expressed points of view which are in the nature of recommendations. Some of them are far-reaching and many will require careful examination before the Government is in a position to determine finally its future policies. No decisions have yet been made. The Government has set up a Cabinet committee to go through the report, and also an official committee of permanent heads, with the Chairman of the Public Service Board. So the report is already under active consideration. I have also asked the Public Service Board to seek the views of the various Public Service employee associations on those recommendations in which they have a particular interest.

The committee’s review is the first since the present recruitment pattern for the Public Service was developed in 1922. That pattern has remained much the same, despite some minor changes. But over the period the character of Commonwealth administration has undergone great changes, and has been subject to new challenges; and the procedures and policies of the 1920’s may not be altogether appropriate as we approach the 1960’s.

The Government could have waited to make up its mind on future action before releasing the report, but it has not felt k desirable to do so, because it thinks so important a document should have full public discussion.

Acceptance of the committee’s recommendations would result in a number of amendments to the Public Service Act. It is too early to forecast the nature of these amendments, indeed, it is too early to forecast what the result of our considerations may be. But they will be brought before Parliament, if they arise, when the terms of the report have been finally considered by Cabinet. This may take some time because of the comprehensive nature of the report.

I suggest to the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean), who is at the table, that it may not be necessary for me to move that the paper be printed, because nothing will occur without matters being brought before the House in a substantive form, when there will be ample opportunity to discuss them. The real object of my intervention at this stage is to make it clear to honorable members that the report is available. The report is lengthy and will require a great deal of consideration. In the meantime honorable members will have ample opportunity to confer with public service organizations and other people, and obtain a considered opinion.

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Debate resumed (vide page 115).

New England

– In the time left at my disposal I wish to refer to some points that I made earlier. One of those points was that our industries and population must be reasonably decentralized in the interests of defence. The modifying factors in the world to-day with regard to defence include the successful launching of satellites, from which I deduce that nations that may be hostile to us would be capable of obtaining information useful to them in pin-pointing targets for atomic attack. The second point that I want to make is that the intercontinental ballistic missile, with its tremendous range, modifies all present systems of defence. My third point is that limpet missiles in the air. particularly those that mav be discharged from pilotless aircraft, will almost certainly modify aerial combat. My fourth point, which is of vital concern to Australia at present, is the development of atomic submarines and possible radar interception of missiles that may be discharged from those submarines or elsewhere.

It is well to note that according to authoritative publications, the United States of America has atomic submarines that can launch from the bed of the ocean missiles that could be pin-pointed on to targets, and in so doing those submarines would stand little immediate chance of being discovered. I know nothing of Australia’s defence plans in this respect, and I think that the Government has been wise not to yield to the clamour to disclose secrets that should not be disclosed. But whilst I do not know anything about our defence plans, it occurs to me as a matter of common sense that one of the most important factors in any defence scheme will be a form of radar interception, which may divert such missiles and perhaps even turn them back whence they came. Unless some such defence can be successfully developed, the outlook in the event of war is very grim.

Let us consider our vulnerability to attack. In Port Kembla and Newcastle our principal iron and steel industries are situated. Most of the other key industries in Australia are situated in Sydney and Melbourne. Those industries are particularly vulnerable, and surely the planners of our basic defence should take note of those factors. If one refers to the “ YearBook “ for 1954-55- and I know that these figures are now out of date, but they are useful for comparison purposes - one will see that the population of New South Wales was 3,700,000, of which 2,000,000 lived in the capital of the State. Victoria’s population was 2,700,000, of which 1,700,000 lived in Melbourne. So it will be seen that at that time 3,700,000 people, or 40 per cent, of this country’s population, were concentrated, together with key industries, in two of the most vulnerable parts of the country. Approximately 60 per cent, of the population of New South Wales lives in Sydney and 64 per cent, of Victoria’s population resides in Melbourne. In the year about which I am speaking 1,031.000 people were employed in factories in Australia. In New South Wales 1,213 of every 10.000 of the population were employed in factories, and in Victoria 1,393 of every 10,000 of the population were similarly employed. South Australia, which has a tremendous concentration of its population in Adelaide, had 1,01.9.

The point I want to make is this: In New South Wales and Victoria the Value of production from these factories was not less than £1,035,000, leaving £330,000,000 for the rest of Australia. Half a million people are employed in heavy industry, chemicals, and explosives, which are vital to defence. Sydney is so congested, with 308,000 square miles behind it apart from its own area, that people are burrowing underground to travel. They are erecting skyscrapers of glass and steel light walls despite every teaching of even old time bombing experience.

I suggest that the time is overdue to awaken Australia to these dangers to our national survival. In Sweden, which is on the edge of the Soviet Republic, provision has been made for underground shelters, underground factories and underground stores. What have we done? I do not know. I do not think that anybody in this House knows. But we can surmise. Surely it is time, as part of our defence policy, to bring before the people the necessity for the dispersal of population and, in each state, the concentration underground of stores of medical and other essential emergency supplies, as well as factories and civilian centres of refuge. This would seem to be elementary.

I do not think it possible to shift whole cities. But what are we doing? We are concentrating more people and more industries and building more and more huge buildings that give not even the minimum of protection against conventional missiles. I would suggest a study of the experience of Hiroshima. We would then find that buildings which were built solidly provided considerably more protection from the atomic bombing than has been admitted to date.

I believe that the time has arrived for the setting up of an expert committee to report upon methods of decentralization of industry and population, and the provision of underground shelters, factories and stores. The personnel of the committee should include the best persons we can get in finance, industry, transport, construction, taxation - Federal, State and local government - defence, medicine and atomic science.

I put these matters before this House because I feel that when we discuss our defence policy without regard to them, and when we consider that not only our means of survival but our means of communication and government are centralized in a few spots in Australia, surely it is clear that the time is overdue to have a complete and integrated system of defence which will give this country a chance of survival if anything should break loose. We are vulnerable to atomic missiles from the sea. Knowing that Russia has 500 submarines and is far ahead of other countries in some aspects of interplanetary missiles and satellites, we can only assume that the Soviet must have something in the nature of atomic submarines also. I urge the Government not to let go this opportunity to give the people of Australia a chance of survival.


.- Mr. Speaker, the Governor-General in his Speech which is now under discussion, made some brief references to the international scene. The words that he spoke in relation to the matter could well be famous last words for the Liberal party as they refer in a general sense to international affairs. But the implication arising from these words is one of the things that I should like to discuss. The Governor-General said -

My advisers believe that much can be done to promote friendly international relations and bring about closer understanding and co-operation between nations by the exchange of visits of national leaders.

As the result of the visit to Australia of Dr. Subandrio, a complete change in the Government’s foreign policy was encompassed in a few days, against the will of the Australian people. If, a few weeks ago, the Government received the approbation of the electors in what Government supporters declare was an overwhelming way, certainly to-day every Australian realizes the implications of this extremely bad gaffe by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) and the Prime Minister himself in relation to the question of western New Guinea and Indonesia.

There is not an Australian, not an exserviceman of World War II., not a mother or a child or a man, who does not know something about our vulnerability and isolation. Our very Australianism has been wrapped up in the question of the destiny of New Guinea.

The Labour party has not accepted that foreign policy should be bi-partisan, but occasionally it has been able to support what appeared to be proposals of extreme national importance so that there should be unity. But it could not, in any circumstances agree to what has been done now. This volte face by the Government - a sort of international striptease poker in which the Government lost all it possessed - has serious implications. One is the shock to the people of Australia that, almost overnight, the Government has shown a complete reversal of form concerning one of the most important aspects of international affairs.

It is very difficult, as we all know, to get the Australian to believe that his tight little island is not a vulnerable gem, set in a perfect placid pacific sea. But rightly or wrongly what he does believe fundamentally, as the result of the blood, sweat and tears of his service in New Guinea, is that New Guinea belongs to us as a trust territory. He knows that western New Guinea was held, during the war, by our allies the Dutch. When he talks of New Guinea he thinks in terms of a protective barrier of islands. He is not concerned with the new strategy, under which, according, I think, to the Minister for External Affairs, in this age of guided missiles, island possessions no longer matter. That may be so. I do not dispute it, but I do not think anybody knows with certainty. However, we do know that we will cause a grievous concern in the minds of the Australian people - a deep and horror-stricken anxiety - if we do any doodling on the international level because it seems a good thing to do.

This came as a bolt from the blue. We do not approve, as Labourites, in the general sense, as the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) has so clearly explained to this House, of the aspirations of an imperial country in Indonesia or anywhere in Asia, but when it is quite apparent that a deal has been made in which the Dutch are prepared to pay with West Irian for the right to go back into Indonesia, we begin to get extremely worried. As the Leader of this party has said, we have malice towards none. We want to ensure the security of Australia and we realize, as parliamentarians, that we have had put to us a big question which must rise above party considerations. I am sure that all members believe that - even members on the other side of the House, members of understanding and honesty, such as the honorable member for Lilley. I say that quite sincerely and without seeking to capitalize on the statement that that honorable member made last night. Because of his appreciation of this position, he is prepared to place the nation above the temporary needs of his party even when it is really in trouble.

In the few moments at my disposal, there are some points to be made with reference to New Guinea. How can we suddenly get rid of all the suggestions of the United Nations and say that we are going to support a deal between one imperial power or another, or one colonial power and another? How dare any country, in this day and age, after all our protestations, all our signatures, all our blood and tears in two world wars, say that native people, independent people, vulnerable people, can be traded over the counter for a personal advantage? It is going to be a personal advantage to Holland and a personal advantage to Indonesia, and it is not to be borne. Anybody who accepts it breaches every word, spiritually and to the letter, in the United Nations Charter. Those people in western New Guinea, the Papuans or New Guineans, whatever you may call them, are in a primitive stage of development and require a trusteeship, whether it is ours or that of any one else. But just to get two components of this hazardous and difficult problem and say, “ We will swap them over “, is not to be tolerated. It is hard for honorable members on this side of the House to understand how the Government made that terrible decision and fell into the predicament for which it is being thrashed by every newspaper in Australia and as a result of which a worried” community is wondering what will happen next. The Government has to back-track on all these things because, as the Leader of the Opposition pointed out yesterday, there are two lions standing in the path of this shabby deal. One is the responsibility we have as Australians and signatories to the United Nations Charter, and the other is the plight of dependent peoples and the decision throughout the whole of the world that there can be no more colonial deals. That is all this is, in essence.

It is pointed out in one of the placitums of the United Nations Charter just exactly what the responsibility of ourselves and of every other civilized signatory to the charter is in relation to dependent, vulnerable peoples. It certainly does not mean that some other country which has recently received its freedom should come in and take them over as a sovereign right; that it should be sovereign territory of the country concerned. It is obvious that that was never intended. That is the first trap into which the Minister for External Affairs has fallen in this matter. I believe that there are overwhelmingly more Australians, quite apart from their political affiliations, who feel exactly as I do. The Government has to get itself out of this mess. It has to win back its honour; it has to buy back its decency by being courageous enough to say it is not right and that it will not pursue this proposal. This agreement is tentative and even in explaining it, the Minister is weaving from side to side. We cannot pin him down as to how far these decisions reach and to what extent he has been fully and finally committed.

The point to which we return is the peoples of New Guinea. We believe that with the wonderful record of Australians in Papua and New Guinea that, quite apart from our idea of personal safety - and that does actuate many Australians - we have the rights of blood and sacrifice to hold New Guinea, not as a conquest or seizure of territory, but in the interests of the development of the peoples who are in that area. It is quite obvious, on the other hand, that this is just another old colonial deal. So far as the United Nations, which can be invoked in this matter, is concerned, the Australian people and those of other countries concerned in the joint trusteeship can be depended upon to honour their rights, privileges and duties in this connexion.

The second point mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition is the question of fair play in this matter in a general sense. The Australian community, including the returned soldiers who have been most vocal in this matter, and the various organizations which have sent telegrams of protest to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), sees this thing not as an international problem but as one of national safety for Australia. They are people having no inhibitions in their minds who say, “We ought to have New Guinea “. The Opposition cannot go all the way with that sort of statement, but one can see that the basic thinking of these people is something that can be supported by deeper analysis. The analysis is that there is a case - and a very strong case - for the people who are dependent. They are not to have another master. They are to be given a chance, under the United

Nations, to develop as we expect all the dependent peoples of the world to develop.

What will be the outcome? Let us look into the future. If we are going to make a decision as a parliament and not as a collection of parties, we will have to come down heavily on the side of the United Nations and hold that a trusteeship is the only ultimate solution in respect of western New Guinea. We have to remember that there will be an election in Holland within the next few weeks. The Labour party there looks like becoming one of the dominant factors in the fight and its decision is against all colonialism and territorial expansion. It will have a powerful voice in any composite government, and its attitude would be the same as that of the Australian Labour party as expressed by the Leader of the Opposition.

The question then arises, if we think ahead: Is it not better in the long run to have the position that we seek? What sort of a position will we have if this deal is completed and the Indonesians come into West Irian? When we analyse the ethnical, psychological and trading factors and everything else, not much of a case can be made for any of us. Tt is just territory belonging to people who have been not very heavily exploited because of the inaccessability of the territory; but this is just part of an old colonial land grab of the past. In view of the fact that Asia is slowly shelving its colonialism and making a very good job of its new freedom, are we going to put back the clock by making a deal which is a disgrace to Australia and one which is not approved by the Australian people? We have to look at this thing in its sharpest outline, free from party political considerations.

The Leader of the Opposition asked whether we are competent, or have the man-power and personnel and the knowhow, to do a good job for the dependent peoples of western New Guinea. One has only to look at the dedicated men and women, particularly the patrol officers and district magistrates operating in the services in Papua and New Guinea. They are the only cadre of Australians I know of who are completely disinterested. They work for small wages and in tropical conditions. They take a lot of neglect and many other things which would not be tolerated on the mainland. But they do it because they have a considerable regard for the people whom they are caring for there, the natives under their charge. They are dedicated to the development of the territories.

I had one of the greatest thrills of my life in 1944 in going to New Guinea direct from Angau and, on the instructions from the then Minister for Labour, appointing young servicemen from the lines who wanted to be patrol officers and ultimately magistrates in New Guinea. Since then they have had years of experience, and I have the greatest faith in them. They belong to the best segment of the Australian Public Service, and they are devoted to their work for the peoples of New Guinea. If it does come to pass that we are able to settle this hazardous and controversial issue of who shall have western New Guinea and if, eventually, the United Nations becomes the trustee and appoints Australia as one of the three trustee groups, we can have no doubt that its administration will further the interests of the black man in western New Guinea - of the Papuan, the New Guinean, or whatever ethnological group he belongs to. We can be further satisfied that the move towards selfgovernment and enlightenment will continue. We will know that, quite apart from our personal and temporary anxieties about defence, that we are striving for a community of people who will have self-government when they are ready for it. I am sure that this island in its entirety will elect to travel along with the British Commonwealth of Nations when it attains self-government. There is no doubt that the work being done by the men and women in the New Guinea service will be an extremely big factor in the future of New Guinea.

Before I sit down, I should like to reiterate several items which I mentioned earlier in the piece. We have, by some gaffe or some sudden decision, or some tiredness of the mind, been completely outsmarted and made to look ridiculous in the eyes of the world in the negotiations concerning Indonesia and western New Guinea. Once it was a most complex and almost insoluble problem, but now we are going to do a package deal on it. We are going to get back into Indonesia in some trading sense. Mynheer, the trader, has gone forever, but his money and his know-how might be required by the Indonesians. That is all right, as long as you do not trade the natives of West Irian for the purposes of the old colonial trick of double shuffle. Everybody is aware of that. You cannot do it in Asia. Afro-Asian relations with the world to-day are so sensitive and on such a hair-trigger of resistance to any more domination by the white man that the reverberations of this attempt to grab West Irian and hand it to people we had formerly decided we were going to have no truck with would arouse great resentment.

The Indonesians themselves are people of high culture and with a great future, and there would be many in Indonesia itself who would not be dazed by the cry of Merdeka freedom, who would like Merdeka and freedom for the black man in New Guinea as much as they fight for and desire it in their own homeland islands.

In these circumstances I think the Australian Government has made a grievous miscalculation, an error of judgment. The Government should not be stiff-necked; it should admit the error. It will find that this side of the House will approve of that course and will give it co-operation, because this is not a matter for to-day or to-morrow. With regard to the safety of our country no one can afford to make a mistake. In a world of hair-trigger values as regards friend and foe, no one dare make a miscalculation. Nobody in his sane senses would but agree that the Government has made a wicked miscalculation. It must repair the damage, and it must repair it within the next few days, if there is to be real validity in the situation so far as international affairs are concerned.

I think I have said enough to support what the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) has already said. We have this final point to think on. There are plenty of people who can quickly start a war or a skirmish or an outbreak, but it is slow, tortuous and unrewarding work to try to keep the peace. The United Nations is the one organization that we must invoke. It is dreary, it is discursive. It does not have all the glamour of the clash of arms and the communique, but it will give us everlasting peace if we stick to it, and none has been a greater sticker in good times and bad than the Leader of the Opposition, the right honorable member for Hunter.

To-day he gives sane and sound advice. The “ Sydney Morning Herald “ says it is sane. It is useful, down-to-earth, and common sense. It is born of the understanding he derived during his term of office as President of the United Nations General Assembly. He realizes that in matters such as these, when colonialism, colour and conflict are all mixed up in the boiling cauldron of hatreds and misunderstandings, you dare not make a false step. We must look to the freedom of the people in New Guinea, and we must lift up these broken brothers of ours, who have not yet risen out of feudalism and primitivism, and not allow them to sink further down under some other country, no matter what it calls itself, that may come in as a colonial power to stand over these people, who are entitled to their freedom all the more because they cannot ask for it. They are mute in the councils of the world, and we, as a Labour party, feel this most keenly. We demand that the Government change its front and listen to the voice of the Australian community in this matter.


– I think the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) will at least concede that anxiety on the Indonesian issue does not reside solely on the benches of the Opposition in this Parliament. There are many people throughout this country who, even if they take but a casual interest in what is going on around them in the world, are gravely concerned with the turn of events in Indonesia. Not one of us has the complete answer to the Indonesian problem. I propose in a few minutes to give my own views on it, knowing full well that there will be very few in this Parliament who will agree with me. I know that many of my colleagues despise and disagree violently with my particular views in relation to West Irian, but, nevertheless, plain good intention is not, after all, a bad sort of yardstick. It is not a bad sort of characteristic to have, and one can only express one’s views as one comes to them, after having devoted some time and consideration to the problem.

I shall have to think off the cuff and to express my thoughts off the cuff as regards the remarks of the honorable member for Parkes. My recollection is that when the instrument transferring Dutch sovereignty to Indonesia was signed at The Hague, the issue of Dutch New Guinea was left on approximately this basis: the issue of sovereignty would be decided at some time in the future. Indonesian authorities, with their various shades of political belief, have always protested that the settlement of that sovereignty issue should he in favour of Indonesia. I do not agree.

My friend, the honorable member for Parkes, has alluded to the fact that he believes that the solution of the problem of Indonesia, and Dutch New Guinea in particular, lies in placing the territory under a trusteeship of the United Nations. Well, I hope that 1 will be pardoned if I disagree with the honorable gentleman on that count. The issue of sovereignty surely is a matter to be decided by the Dutch, and by the Dutch alone. I know it is quite fashionable to believe that the United Nations Organization, a modern Tower of Babel, is the panacea for all the ills of this world. Have we reached such a perilous pass in history that an international organization can say to a sovereign nation and its sovereign parliament, “ You will do as we say “? There are many advocates of world government in this country, and possibly some in this Parliament. There are some, such as Lord Beveridge, in the United Kingdom, but I have no admiration for the concept of world government and the imposition of international authority, backed by military force, upon sovereign powers. But this does not mean that one should not look at this issue with a degree of sensitiveness and with a realization of the many issues involved.

There are, as I see it, two issues involved. There is the issue of the recognition of Holland as a sovereign nation, and the right of Holland to decide in her own way how this issue should be settled. Then there is the other issue concerning the people of Dutch New Guinea and the people of Papua and New Guinea. We have come a long way, but I think we are all as one in making it quite plain that we are concerned with the future and the welfare of those people.


– No, you are not!


– My honorable friend from Hindmarsh may protest that we are not concerned with them, but I have no doubt that he is using his own yardstick in this matter, and when we say we are concerned with the problem, surely we are entitled to say so as a simple statement of fact no matter how much he may misjudge our intentions. It always intrigues me to find that the honorable member for Hindmarsh, who rime and time again advocates from the stump free speech and the need for people to be able to stand on their own two feet and express their own thoughts, is one of the many on that side of the House who are prepared to try to shout down someone who tries to put his own point of view. May I say to the honorable gentleman, without any malice, that I am quite capable of expressing my own thoughts, no matter how violently he may disagree with me.

I return now to the question of the United Nations and the trusteeship concept. I understand that within the next few weeks, if it is not doing so at this very moment, a United Nations trusteeship council’s committee is to visit New Guinea to investigate the manner in which Australia is administering her trust. There have been many illustrations, within the last few months or the last few years, of similar committees wanting to set a fixed time-table for countries to move towards self-government. This has always seemed to me to be a strange and unwelcome business. No matter what the critics may say about the British colonial system, it has demonstrated to the complete and utter satisfaction of the world its efficiency, and the main and dominant feature of the British colonial system has been the absence of any endeavour to set a fixed time-table for the movement of a colonial country towards self-government. That is the basis of my criticism of the idea of a trusteeship with regard to West Irian.

I do not want to confine my remarks entirely to this issue. I simply say of Dutch New Guinea that I have long believed that we should emulate the Americans in what they did with Alaska - buy Dutch New Guinea and then at the appropriate time the peoples of the territory would be given selfgovernment.


– What do you-


– That is my view. 1 am not asking the honorable member to accept it; I am simply expressing it.

I agree with my friend, the honorable member for Parkes, that there are vast differences between the Indonesian people and the people of Dutch New Guinea. One is of a particular origin; the other of an entirely different origin, and it is very difficult to reconcile in one’s own mind how the Indonesian claim to Dutch New Guinea is balanced on the issue of background or of general interest. So much for Dutch New Guinea. I do not leave it because I do not regard the issue as one of importance; I simply conclude by saying to the honorable member for Parkes and to every honorable gentleman opposite that many honorable members on this side - I would say all honorable members - have a common anxiety with Opposition members on the question of Dutch New Guinea. Please do not be childish and say that we are not agreeing about it. Even though we may disagree on this particular point, I think we can quite fairly and honestly say that we share a common anxiety with the honorable gentlemen opposite.

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate you upon your re-election to the Speakership of the House. I would like to extend a warm welcome to those on both sides of the House who have come to sit in it. I can vividly recall the occasion three years ago when I came here. As I said at the time, many honorable members on both sides of the House extended a warm welcome to me. No doubt to-day if the hat were to be passed around to pay my fare back to Brisbane, it would be filled by three or four honorable members on the other side. Still, it is one of the odd twists of political fate that I am back here again.

I am particularly delighted to see a number of new members sitting on the Opposition side, because the need for a strong Opposition in a Parliament is a very real need. I hope I will be forgiven for talking in this vein, but if I were asked what was the great weakness of this 23rd Parliament, I would say that it was that the Parliament has a weak Opposition. One has only to look at honorable gentlemen opposite, to observe the pattern of their behaviour during the course of the last three years, to observe the pattern of their behaviour during the election campaign, and to call to mind the events of Monday of this week to realize that there sits a weak Opposition. The great weakness of this Parliament is that it has such a hopelessly weak and divided Opposition. I sincerely hope that the new Opposition members who have made their entry into the Parliament will effect something of a rehabilitation and form a strong Opposition.

Many people have said that the result of the last election was caused by the leadership of the Australian Labour party. I do not agree with that view. It is not a question of personalities; it is not a question of some particular individual. It is a question of policies and of thinking; and the thinking of the Australian Labour party to-day is approximately 50 years behind the times. There, believe it or not, sit the Tolpuddle martyrs.

Mr Curtin:

– Oh!


– One has only to listen to the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr. Curtin); he has this martyr complex that the capitalists are grinding down the faces of the poor. That sort of thinking is hopelessly out of date, and it is high time that there was a move to rehabilitate the old crusading spirit and the old effectiveness of the Australian Labour party. I could not help but recall the events of last Monday. Visualizing the scene in the caucus room. I imagined I was sitting there watching an Elizabethan tragedy. No doubt the words of Marlowe’s “ Edward the Second “ should have passed through the mind of the right honorable member for Hunter (Dr. Evatt) when he watched the vote being taken on the question of leadership -

But day’s bright beams doth vanish fast away, And needs I must resign my wished crown.

Inhuman creatures, nurs’d with tiger’s milk. Why gape you for your sovereign’s overthrow?

My diadem, I mean, and guiltless life. See, monsters, see! I’ll wear my crown again.

May I leave that and turn to matters at least of equal importance? In the GovernorGeneral’s Speech, mentioned by the honorable member for Parkes, reference was made to the issue of peace, the issue of trade and the general problem of development. This 23rd Parliament faces many problems and no doubt the cynical minds throughout the country will have it that we will not face up to them promptly or effectively. Be that as it may, I believe that there is a general goodwill in this House to settle some of the great problems that confront this nation. But dwarfing all other problems that face us is the question of peace. I shall not give a rehash of something that no doubt some honorable members will say I have given time and time again, but this afternoon I again want to address myself for a few moments to the question of peace in this world. After all, in the final analysis, unless there is peace in this world, there will not be happiness in this country and this country will not gain the prosperity that is its desert.

Some people will have it that the Soviet Union has changed its -mind, that there has been a softening of attitude, that there has been a willingness to compromise and that there has been an indication that the fundamental objectives that we all identify as those of the Soviet Union have now been abandoned. We see now the image created of Mr. Khrushchev being almost a very great, benign and fatherly individual. That is the image created in our minds by the international cables. Mr. Macmillan, accompanied by Mr. Selwyn Lloyd, is to go to Moscow. That is regarded by many people as another illustration of a change, of a softness, of a willingness to compromise and to come to grips with the general problem of world peace.

At the risk of getting some dull answers, I should like to pose this question: Where is the solid evidence of any fundamental change on the part of the Soviet Union? I have looked in vain at the theses and the report of the Twenty-first Congress of the Communist party of the Soviet Union to find any evidence of change. On the contrary, one does not find any evidence of change; one finds a re-affirmation of the fundamental principle of world domination. Even though some people believe that there has been a change, I believe that that is a kind of hoping for world peace that stems from a rather abject sort of cowardice, a cowardice that simply will not face up to the principal issues and the essentially honest issues of the conflict between the West and the Soviet Union. I have mentioned the Twenty-first Congress of the Communist party of the Soviet Union.

Mr Cope:

– Were you there?


– No, I was not there, but I would have been delighted to be there and ask some questions. I think I would have posed more pertinent questions to Mr. Khrushchev than did Mr. Walters of the Melbourne “ Herald “.

Mr Curtin:

– We will take the hat around to send you there.


– That would be wonderful. I have always identified you as being one of the most kindly and charitable souls in this House, despite your looks. About the middle of last year, the American Bar Association presented a report.

Mr Cope:

– Which bar would that be?


– The American Bar Association. Your mind only recognizes one bar, I know. A committee of this association was appointed to study the tactics, the strategy, and the objectives of communism. May I impose on the patience of the House to read but a brief extract from the report of that distinguished committee, lt is in these terms -

The greatest asset Communists have at the present time is not the hydrogen bomb, and certainly not the Soviet satellites, but the world ignorance of their tactics, strategy and objectives.

I think that that is essentially true, Sir. It is a very simple matter, I know, for one to be a constant and, I suppose, possibly, carping critic, but nevertheless I am bound to say that nothing has disturbed me more in recent times than seeing editorial after editorial appear in many newspapers, and hearing expression after expression from the lips of many distinguished people, on the issues of world peace and the objectives of international communism, and trying to dissect what has been written and what has been said, only to come to the realization that the minds that have lent thenweight to the formulation and dissemination of those sentiments have been completely untutored on these issues.

The war that I have mentioned has possibly taken a new course, Sir. The proceedings at the twenty-first congress of the Communist party of the Soviet Union make it quite clear that it has possibly taken a new course. The greatest weapon that the democracies are now called upon to face is the weapon of trade - the weapon of economic warfare. One looks for any evidence that there is a complete realization of the significance of the use of this weapon, and one looks in vain. As a consequence, one becomes greatly concerned. Some people have the idea that trade with Communist countries is not very important, but if one looks at the report of the proceedings at the twenty-first congress of the Soviet Communist party, one finds the clear-cut statement by Mr. Khrushchev that, over the next seven years, the Soviet Union will outstrip all western countries. May I give the House a few excerpts from the theses of Mr. Khrushchev’s report to the congress.


– Give it to us in Russian.


– I do not think that the honorable member would get the point if I carved it in granite. The cardinal point made in the summary of the theses of Mr. Khrushchev’s report is this -

The pivotal problem in the coming 7-year period (1959-65) is that of accelerating economic advance towards communism, of gaining the utmost of time in the peaceful economic competition between socialism and capitalism.

The summary states also -

The international importance of the seven-year plan the theses point out, lies in the fact that its implementation will mean a further increase in the strength of the world system of socialism.

Have not those words a precise meaning, Sir, or must one identify them as being the waffling of some nongle-headed and weakminded individual? Those words have a precise meaning, and, as the American Bar Association has indicated, it is simply because they are not understood that we are lumbering on from one crag of crisis to another. We shall reach the summit all right, but we shall not reach it in the way that we want.

In the remaining few minutes at my disposal, I want to address myself to the matter of trade. The present Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) is a man for whom I have a very real affection and a very real admiration. I mention that because I want to say to him that the present tendency in the Department of Trade, as evidenced by the apparent softening in its attitude towards trade with Communist countries fills me with deep resentment. I believe that trade with Communist countries represents the politics of despair and the economics of disaster. If we are to enter into full, unbridled trade with Communist countries, we may yet be faced, at one time or another, with the realization that servitude will be the consequence of our crime and the punishment of our guilt. Some people believe that a trade agreement with a Communist country can be policed and kept under surveillance and operated in such a way as not to inflict injury upon one’s country. I do not subscribe to that attitude at all, and I remind the House, if I may be permitted to do so, Sir, that, since World War I., the Soviet Union has broken ten non-aggression or neutrality pacts, has broken up or smashed fourteen military alliances, and has brushed aside 40 agreements made at a foreign minister or summit level. Has the age of innocence now reached that peak at which we are to regard a trade agreement with a Communist country as something that has taken on some new and previously unknown form of pristine beauty that it will be kept and highly regarded by the Communists? If that is the age of innocence that has overtaken us, Sir, our plight is a serious one.

Mr Curtin:

– What about Billy Graham?


– If the honorable member went to hear Billy Graham, he would possibly understand some things better.

In conclusion, Sir, may I simply say this: Some people look upon trade as being merely a materialist issue. I do not think it is a materialist issue at all. I think it is fundamentally a moral issue. In this country, society imposes the sanction of its authority on any person who breaks the law, but apparently a group of nations - a power on an international level - can go ahead and outrage humanity in the most violent way and we are expected to facilitate this display of international gangsterism. I say, Sir, that to trade with tyrants is not merely to deal in material things; it is to discount every scrap of integrity.

West Sydney

.- Mr. Speaker, I have read the GovernorGeneral’s Speech carefully page by page, and I can see, reading between the lines, that the defence of Australia, as it should be, is considered to be paramount. On the first page of the printed copy of the Speech, there is reference to relations with Asia. They will cost Australia a mint of money, but I think it will be well spent. As honorable members are aware, I have recently attended a conference at Rio de Janeiro. While I was overseas, I visited the United States of America, London, Ireland and other places, and I say here and now that there is no country as good as Australia, with the possible exception of Ireland. The Governor-General’s Speech indicates that Australia will continue to support the South-East Asia Treaty Organization, but that support will gain us no cheap bargain. The Speech indicates also that more money will be spent at Woomera, which many honorable members have visited. So it goes throughout His Excellency’s Speech.

I thank those who framed this Speech for indicating that social services for the people will not be forgotten. I will deal with that subject later.

I want to discuss now my impressions as a member of the Australian delegation to the Rio de Janeiro conference. I do not think any conference has done better work. Unrest was prevalent at the time. In Lebanon, people were being killed. I was offered the freedom of a city there, but I dodged it, because two or three people were being shot every day. Conditions were not much better in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, or in other places that we visited. Sputniks were going up and nuclear weapons were being prepared in various parts of the world. But we can be thankful for the easing of tension all over the world to which the discussions at Rio de Janeiro contributed. The people of that city claim to have the finest harbour in the world, but possibly we in New South Wales would debate that with them every inch of the way. The delegates to the conference were entertained most lavishly by their hosts in Rio de Janeiro, and I should like particularly to congratulate Australia’s Minister there on the fine work that he is doing. I am sorry to say that in some of the countries that we visited the workers are living in terrible oppression, although the conditions of the higher classes are good. A tram driver in Rio de Janeiro, who is supposed to have a very good job by local standards, is paid £15 a month.

After leaving that city, the Australian delegates proceeded to New York, where they were very well looked after by Australia’s Consul-General. Subsequently, I had the pleasure of visiting Washington and Boston, and I should like to express my appreciation of the treatment that we received from Australia’s diplomatic staff in Washington. Anybody who goes to a country in which he has no friends makes his first port of call in that country - whether the government in office in his own country be Liberal or Labour - the legation, where he can meet his own country’s representatives and obtain any help he requires. I must say that the utmost kindness was shown to me and my colleagues by Australia’s representatives in the countries we visited. Even Sir Eric Harrison in London treated us royally. 1 am sorry to say, however, that when I crossed over to Ireland from the United Kingdom, and did the decent thing there by going to the Australian Embassy, I found that the door of the building was closed. I was told that Australia’s representative in Ireland would be back in a short while. I suppose we must thank the Minister for External Affairs for saving money for Australia, because he has saved the expenditure of £4,000 or £5,000 by having no Australian Ambassador in Ireland.

If the Minister for External Affairs has any good reason for not sending an Ambassador to Ireland he should be candid enough to give us that reason, and withdraw the alleged reason for his refusal to send an Ambassador. I do not want our position in relation to Ireland to be similar to our position in relation to Russia, in regard to diplomatic representation. I think that in the circumstances it would be more decent of the Minister for External Affairs to be frank about the whole matter, close the door of our legation in Ireland, and leave a first-rate clerk in charge of our representation there.

I recall that when the Liberal party had its back to the wall it sent men to Queensland, who told the Irish people there, “ If you vote for us in this election it will not be a second-rate man that we will have in Ireland. We will send over there one of the best men we have.” The man who made that promise is not here now. When I was in Ireland, I was asked, “ Can’t Australia afford to send an Ambassador here?” I said, “ Yes.” They then asked me who Australia’s Minister for External Affairs was. I said, “ Casey.” They said to me, “ For God’s sake give the job to someone called Cohen. We could not get a worse deal from him than we have had from Casey.”

Now T turn to a subject nearer home. The Government has said, per medium of the Governor-General’s speech, that it will not forget the needs of people in receipt of social services. I come from West Sydney, where we have no farmers, cockies, wheatgrowers or woolgrowers although, let me point out, if it were not for the City of Sydney some of our wheat would be stacked in the fields and some of our butter would not be eaten.

Mr Turnbull:

– Why, we keep you alive!


– You keep us alive all right. The point I want to make is this, that while we have 100,000 people out of work in this country the Government is boasting every day about how it is running the country. I should like every man in Australia to stand four-square behind the measures for the defence of this country, mentioned in the Governor-General’s Speech, because, I tell you, it is a country worth defending. But when I go back to West Sydney on Friday night and show them this Speech outlining the Government’s policy, what satisfaction will it be to the man out of work and homeless to be told about the South-East Asia Treaty Organization and the amount of money we are giving away under the Colombo plan? A man who is hungry in Sydney can be as hungry as a man in Asia, and certainly there are in Sydney many people out of work and hungry.

Last Friday, I visited the premises of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, in Young-street. Sydney. I was told that every day in the week 600 people come to the society’s doors for meals. The manager told me that 250 of these people are strapping young men who cannot find jobs, and have to get a feed from somebody. He said. “ We average about 300 pensioners a day, but just before pension day the number goes up sharply “. Should such a state of affairs be allowed to continue under the regime of a Government that is so fond of telling us how many millions of pounds it is spending here, there and everywhere? The Government should be doing all it can for people who are unable to help themselves.

Now I turn to the housing position. The Government is continually telling us that housing is the direct responsibility of the States. But since the Government has brought 1,000,000 people into this country under its immigration programme, is it not its responsibility to see that these people are housed? I tell the Government straight out that if it were not for the Cahill Labour Government in New South Wales, many thousands of people there would be in a pretty sore condition.

The Commonwealth pays an age or invalid pensioner £4 7s. 6d. a week, but many of the expenses that have to be met on behalf of pensioners are met by State governments. When a pensioner dies, the State government has to bury him, because the amount of Commonwealth funeral benefit provided - £10 - is ridiculously small. The Government insists that that is enough to pay for a pensioner’s funeral, and refuses to increase the benefit. I hope and trust that the Cahill Government will be returned to office at the coming election in New South Wales so that it can help to keep people alive until such time as the Commonwealth Government realizes the injustice that it is doing to the poor people of the community.

Now I wish to deal with the subject of repatriation. I shall mention a case similar to that mentioned yesterday by the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Dean). There is in Sydney a repatriation hospital, the Yaralla Hospital, which is a good hospital. It is to that hospital that an exserviceman naturally looks for treatment if he is not able to get into another hospital. The case 1 shall refer to now concerns a man whom I have known for 35 years. He was a soldier in World War I., and served in France and Gallipoli. He was sent back to Australia after having had thirteen operations overseas as a result of a gunshot wound in his ankle. He was operated on also while returning to Australia by sea. On his return to this country he spent two and onehalf years in the Prince of Wales Hospital at Randwick, which was then the big repatriation hospital in Sydney, and he was on crutches- for all of that time. He spent another nine months in the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. Over a period of 40 years he had to go to work with a stick. But he received from the Commonwealth a pension of only £3 a week for his gunshot wound. He worked for 35 years for a tobacco company, and time and time again had to give up work because of his disability. He applied for the totally and permanently incapacitated rate of pension, or for an increase of pension in any event. His wife was an invalid and was unable to help him in any way. That man is now dead and at peace.

This is the manner in which a hero of World War I. has been treated! Incidentally, his widow’s two brothers were killed alongside him in the trenches. Because she has not yet reached the age of 60 years, she is unable to qualify for an age pension or any pension other than a widow’s pension, which is the lowest of all. The point I want to make is that it is unfair to have this case decided by only one doctorreferee.

Twelve months ago I raised in this House the case of a blind soldier from World War II. He was struck by a mortar-bomb splinter and lost the sight of his eye. He was in company with two other men at that time. I applied for a pension for him, because the sight of his remaining eye was failing and he was scarcely able to tell whether it was night or day. Four Macquarie-street specialists stated that in their opinion his condition was caused by the mortar-bomb splinter which had struck his other eye, but the medical referee said that this was not the case. Although four Macquariestreet specialists gave it as their opinion that his injuries were war-caused, he was denied a pension. Only after I spoke of the matter in this House was the case reconsidered, and he was then awarded a blind pension.

Reverting to the case I am now raising, I do not think the widow would mind if I mentioned her name, but I shall refer to the returned soldier as Mr. “ A “. He was a returned soldier of World War I., wherein he served at Gallipoli and in France. During that service he suffered wounds in the knee and underwent thirteen operations, the last of which was performed on his way back to Australia. Mr. “ A “ was for two and a half years an inmate of Randwick Military Hospital. He then had to walk with crutches. Later, he spent about nine months in Prince Alfred Hospital. After 1917, he could get to his place of employment only with the aid of a stick. As recently as six years ago, he underwent an operation in Sydney.

The point I want to stress is that Mr. “ A “ was in receipt of a pension of approximately £3 a week, as the result of gunshot wounds suffered in World War I. He applied several times for the pension payable to totally and permanently incapacitated ex-servicemen or, alternatively, for a rise in his pension, but he received no consideration. I direct attention to his failure to obtain treatment in a repatriation hospital, which refused to admit him during his last illness.

Mr. “ A “ became violently ill some three or tour months ago. His wife made application for his admission to Yaralla hospital as a returned soldier of World War 1. She was told that he was suffering from cerebral thrombosis. The finding of the repatriation board was that, after full consideration of all the evidence, it was unable to accept this disability as being attributable to his war service. His wife then applied to the Repatriation Department to have him placed in a repatriation hospital. His doctor managed to have him admitted to the Homoepathic Hospital at Glebe, which is not a repatriation hospital. After Mr. “ A “ had been two months at this hospital, his doctor had to find a convalescent hospital for him. Having a doctor’s certificate, his wife engaged an ambulance to take him to the Castlereagh Convalescent Hospital at Drummoyne. Two hours after he had been admitted, his wife was told that she would have to take him elsewhere, and finally she had to hire an ambulance again to take him back home.

On Monday, 26th January, which was the Australia Day public holiday, for three hours I rang different hospitals seeking his admission. Included amongst these was the Home of Peace at Marrickville. The authorities at this hospital said that they were very eager to help and that they would possibly have room for him two days later. This woman was charged for four ambulance trips, involved in taking her husband from one hospital to another and back to his home.

At last I rang the Hospice for the Dying at Darlinghurst. A sister there said that I would have to get a letter from a doctor. I said, “ It is easier to get into hospital than to find a doctor to-day “. I said that the man was dying and that she should do something about it. She said, “ You are always the same “. Later she sent an ambulance to his home, and he remained in the hospice for a week, until he died.

Surely it is a shocking state of affairs that the Repatriation Department should tell a man, 40 years after the war in which he served, that his illness is not caused by war service. I do not think that it should be left to a charitable organization, such as the Hospice for the Dying, to admit war heroes, while the Government fails to do the right thing. It is to be hoped that the

Government, at this late hour, will see that this man’s widow is not treated as he was treated. I hope also that the Government will give to every returned soldier of World War I. the benefit of the onus-of-proof provision, so that he may be admitted to hospital instead of being carted around in an ambulance day after day. lt is a shocking state of affairs for a man who did so much for his country to be treated in that way. We are here talking, and very often not doing the right thing, while men and women who have served their country are left to die without being permitted to enter hospital.

I hope and trust that the Minister for Repatriation will do something about it. After all, why should it be left to the sisters of the Hospice for the Dying, who work for 24 hours a day without pay? Why should we leave it to them and to other charitable organizations while we talk so much about what we are doing? It is a standing disgrace, and I hope that the Government will act in a humanitarian manner to ensure that these people who are short of homes, food, and hospital accommodation and treatment, will at least be able to live and die in peace.


.- All who listen to the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Minogue) will appreciate that he has sincerity, if not logic. From time to time he raises in this House cases which investigation proves to have been quite one-sided in their presentation. After an investigation has been made, they do not appear to be nearly so bad as he has made them out to be.

The address by His Excellency the GovernorGeneral is always of great interest to Parliament and the nation, portraying as it does hopes and plans for the future based upon the achievements of the past.

Honorable members on both sides of the House will agree with me in expressing regret that this is apparently the last time that His Excellency will open an Australian parliament. If I may comment on the impending change in his honorable office, which has been filled so capably and with such distinction by an outstanding man, I would say that I trust that whoever is appointed to the office, whether he is an Australian or comes from another British country, will create the same goodwill and show the same interest and co-operation that we have had from the present GovernorGeneral.

In the early days of this 23rd Parliament there is a common link of satisfaction between all honorable members on being elected to the Parliament. 1 suppose there is always a struggle between a personal desire to accept election as a compliment to one’s own ability and the more broadminded viewpoint that the policy of the party may have had more to do with it. Without wishing to rub salt into any one’s wounds, perhaps I might say that the variation in the composition of the Opposition has had something to do with the policy of the party they support.

Honorable members receive the Governor-General’s Speech on each occasion with great interest. They are always matters of political controversy. As the representative of an electorate which has some rural development and extensive secondary industries, I listened with interest to the following statement by His Excellency -

My Government proposes to meet the additional cost to unions of court-controlled ballots.

That is very gratifying, and even honorable members opposite will agree that it is consistent with the policy of the Government that has been in office for the last decade. Soon after its election to office, the LiberalCountry party Government announced the development of a formula to meet additional costs of court-controlled ballots for trade unions. Those of us who were here in 1950 will remember the violent and bitter attacks that were made on this far-reaching legislation which has had such a marked effect on industrial relations in Australia. When the secret ballot legislation was debated in 1951, the Opposition said that the unions would rebel against it and that its effect would not be beneficial. The legislation was described as an attack on the unions. The Government was said to be taking the unions over. The debate raged for many days on that point. But time has a habit of putting these things into their true perspective. As the years went by, the trade unions which were hag-ridden by red officials and wanted to break away from them, applied for court-controlled ballots which freed them of red domination. That legislation brought about balanced and harmonious relationships in the industrial field. It was the first acceptance by the unions of the fact that this Liberal Government was working in their best interests. Secret ballots cracked the red stranglehold on the unions. It allowed the unionists to put the officers they wanted in control of their affairs. But we know that the Communists never stop infiltrating, and that leads me to a sore point with the Opposition. Before the last general elections, undertakings were given on behalf of the Opposition that the matter of unity tickets would be adjusted. It was said that those who stood for union elections on unity tickets would be expelled from the unions or called to account. That undertaking was given by the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt), but it was frustrated. In fact, the right honorable gentleman was defied. No action has been taken and, up to a point, the effect of the court-controlled ballots has been nullified by the return to office of reds through the unity ticket. The Opposition does not want a homily on how to run its affairs, but as one who is in close touch with industrial people, I can tell the Opposition that it should look at that matter from a national viewpoint. So long as the present situation continues, the Opposition will have dissension in its ranks. For years Australia was held up as a bad example because of the industrial disputes engineered by irresponsible people. We have earned stability at present, but it is impossible to estimate how far back Australia was held industrially during that period of red domination in the unions. It did extraordinary harm to our people and was a matter of ridicule overseas. Australia became known as a place where strikes occurred on the most trifling excuses.

A bad reputation is easy to acquire and difficult to live down, but I believe we have lived it down because the picture has been altered for quite a long time. If we do not take into account those two bewildering industries - coal-mining and waterfront employment - where normal logic and common sense so seldom seem to apply, we find that average time lost in Australia for each wage and salary earner over the last seven years has ranged from .108 to 2.855 days with an overall average of .173 days. This improvement over the last two years and the fact that the movement has been that way over the last seven or eight years have been responsible for the tremendous confidence that industrialists and overseas investors have shown in Australia. That has been very helpful to us at a time when we have been suffering from lower prices for our exports. This position has come about because of the consistency of the relationships between this Government and the workers.

My assessment of these reactions is based on observations of the people among whom I move. Geelong has some huge industrial concerns. It has become a centre of secondary industries. In the early days of its industrial expansion when I addressed meetings at those places, any reference to the Liberal Government was treated by the workers as a bad taste in their mouths.

Mr Curtin:

– It still is.


– Only by a minority. That was shown by the results of the last general elections. The ballot-box told the story. At one time any reference to the Liberal party was greeted, to say the least, with some lack of restraint by the workers, but within a few years it was a different story. Then, whenever one spoke to workers and pointed out the legislative action that had been taken by the Government and the results obtained, the workers accepted without reserve the truth regarding this Government’s accomplishments. Australia’s progress depends very largely on the co-operation of workers in industry. That is of vital national importance, and it applies in all walks of life. If an athlete is attempting to run a mile in good time he runs even and regular lap times. Jerky laps - slowing down and spurting - do not produce a 4-minute mile. The same thing applies to industry. The losses caused by stoppages can never be made up.

Management has realized this. We on this side of the House do not deny that there has been some pig-headedness and stubbornness on both sides. Of course there has been, but to-day each side has a greater appreciation of the views of the other side, and is prepared to go to greater lengths for the sake of industrial harmony than would have been dreamed of years ago. In my own area one of our largest automobile companies - the Ford company - has introduced an incentive plan. This plan is based on attendance, consistent work, and other factors that are collated at the end of each month. The result is that the employee who works efficiently receives an extra award. This incentive plan works in the interests of the employee as well as the employer. Insurance schemes of an extremely reasonable nature have also been instituted by this company. Throughout Australia to-day other large companies are very conscious of such responsibilities towards their employees. 1 must commend the Government on its latest move to meet the cost to unions of court-controlled ballots. The Government recognizes that the unions want courtcontrolled ballots, which have proved very successful. Honorable members opposite have said that the unions would condemn those ballots, but, in fact, the unions are still seeking them and want them to continue. The precise manner in which unions will be reimbursed for the cost of courtcontrolled ballots has not been finally decided, and in fact the difference in cost between a court-controlled ballot and a ballot conducted by a union without court control may not be very great. It is well known that some unions, particularly the Amalgamated Engineers Union, conduct ballots quite cheaply. It could be that some unions would be faced with increased expenditure if they held court-controlled ballots. Therefore, the Government, anxious to maintain the system of union elections, and anxious not to impose extra hardships on the unions, is making a very realistic approach by inquiring how the extra cost of officially conducted ballots can be met by the Government. That is one indication of this Government’s enlightened approach to industrial affairs, an approach that has had for its effect, among other things, a marked improvement in the industrial record of Australian workers.

The Liberal party has never shown anything but a strong desire to co-operate with the unions. The Government’s frequent consultations with industrial leaders on matters affecting industry in general, and its encouragement of migrants to join unions appropriate to their calling, shows that the Government is not playing politics in these matters, lt is interested only in the progress and stability of Australia, which, after all, is the statesmanlike way of dealing with the situation.

One aspect of His Excellency’s Speech which interested me was the reference to migration, and to the fact that this Government will endeavour to maintain the present rate of migration. I was also interested to see that the Government will abandon certain procedures under the Nationality and Citizenship Act, and will do away with registration under the Aliens Act. This country has been blessed with a long succession of very able Ministers for Immigration. In particular, 1 pay tribute to the Minister who inaugurated the immigration scheme - the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell). All the Ministers for Immigration have been sympathetic, tolerant, patient and hardworking in administering their department, and their department has exhibited the same qualities. One might think that, after a scheme such as our immigration scheme had been operating for a number of years, all possible problems that could arise would have been encountered, and that nothing new could crop up. Nevertheless, every so often something fresh happens, but I have always found the department patiently endeavouring to sort out the individual difficulties of the migrants. The department has not become blase in its approach to immigration, despite the fact that the intake of migrants has remained at a constantly high figure for many years.

The first Minister for Immigration - the honorable member for Melbourne - would be quick to admit that party pressures of the past few years would have disintegrated the immigration scheme if Labour had remained in power, just as the Labour party itself has disintegrated. To illustrate my point I shall refer to certain statements that have been made by honorable members opposite regarding immigration. For example, the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) has attacked the Government for not bringing to this country sufficient Italian migrants. He did that purely for political aggrandisement in his own electorate. But at federal conferences in other parts of Australia the same party to which the honorable member belongs has reproached the Government for bringing out too many migrants from Italy and not enough from Great Britain. That indicates a variation of opinion. Those conferences of the Labour party show that despite the fact that the immigration scheme was commenced by Labour, the Labour party to-day has lost enthusiasm for the scheme. The Labour party’s political outlook is no longer stable, and it has lost its appreciation of the importance of migration to this country.

Approximately 10,000 migrants live in my own electorate of Corio. All nationalities are represented, including Lithuanians, Estonians, Italians, Dutch, Germans and British. There is a mixture of languages and a contrast in trades, but all the migrants look to this country for a free, progressive and profitable life. After seeing many of them and speaking with them, and after attending naturalization ceremonies, one tends to disregard the fact that they come from many different nations and speak many different languages. One judges them by their character and by their performances. Those migrants, who have come from all over the world to Australia in the last ten years, have been invaluable to this country, but we who have lived here all our lives must not expect the newcomer to put on the cloak of citizenship and fit into our way of life without some difficulty.

In many cases, they are skilful people, they are sensitive and proud, and they are conscious of the scrutiny that we have given their actions.. We have compared their work with that of our own Australians. Occasionally their conduct has been the subject of inquiry, but ultimately it has always been admitted that their record is to their credit. This statement can be supported by statistics. Yet we have discussed them in newspapers and in this Parliament, at times, as though they are not human beings at all; - as though they were completely insensitive to all that we say; and as though they were a new breed of cattle, oblivious to human feelings. Sometimes T wonder that they do not betray more resentment at the parochial treatment that they encounter from some people in this country. I wonder why they have been so patient and why it is we who have been asked to be patient with them.

The Government has been very conscious of its responsibility to them. I know that all honorable members, as well as Australian citizens and settlers, will await with great interest the details of these new bills which are to be introduced by the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer). The fact that the Government plans to introduce this legislation is just another indication of the concern of all Australians that our new settlers, particularly those from Europe, should really feel that they are part of this nation of ours.

I come now to naturalization and here I know that my view is contrary to that expressed through gallup polls. It is true that the majority of Australians say that immigrants should understand our language before they are naturalized. But it is also true that with many migrants, particularly elderly people, it is most difficult to grasp the English language and speak it fluently. If their attitude is such that they wish to become citizens of this country, and if they are wage-earners and taxpayers, I believe that they should be allowed to become Australian citizens, irrespective of whether they can speak our language or not.

Their children will speak our language. They are going to our schools, they are eating our food, they are wearing the same type of clothes as we are wearing, and they are taking the oath to the Throne. They are first generation Australians. Let us bring our consideration of this matter down to earth. My own grandfather came from Germany and when the first war broke out his son did not think of himself as belonging to Germany or that his sympathies and loyalty should lie with Germany. He joined the Australian forces. It happened too, in your State, Mr. Speaker, where thousands of first generation Australians had German parents.

So I say that if immigrants desire to become Australians it does not matter very much whether they pronounce their words correctly or put them into the correct sequence. Let them become Australians and belong to Australia. We are endeavouring to make them feel that way. It is in this light and in the context of legislation already enacted by this Parliament that we should see the legislation foreshadowed by the Governor-General .


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

Debate (on motion b> Mr. Curtin) adjourned.

page 132


Motion (by Mr. Osborne) agreed to -

That the House do now resolve itself into a committee to consider the Ways and Means for raising the Supply granted to Her Majesty.

page 133


Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 1). In Committee of Ways and Means:

Minister for Air · Evans · LP

.- I move- [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 1).]

That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1958 be amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals, and that on and after the twentieth day of February, One thousand nine hundred and fifty-nine, 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. **Mr. Chairman,** Customs Tariff Proposals No. 1, which I have just introduced, propose to amend the schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1958. The alterations will come into operation at 9 a.m. to-morrow morning. Most of the amendments now being made are based on recommendations made by the Tariff Board in its reports on buttons; almonds in the shell, kernels, paste and meal; and cotton piecegoods (denims and drills). I will table these reports and other Tariff Board reports at a later stage. Existing duties on buttons and button blanks have been varied to provide increased protection for those which are made wholly or principally of casein or synthetic materials or which are imitations of trochus shell or pearl shell. The new rates on these goods are lid. per gross for each ligne measurement under all columns of the Tariff with a reduction of 12½ per cent. ad valorem when the goods are entitled to British preferential tariff treatment. This12½ per cent. reduction under the British preferential tariff is designed to maintain a margin of preference in favour of the United Kingdom. I might mention that a ligne is equal to one-fortieth of an inch. On metal buttons and blanks, the British preferential tariff has been increased from 17½ per cent. to 22½ per cent., but no change has been made in the most-favoured-nation rates for these goods. No change has been made in the duties applicable to buttons of animal shell, bone horn, or vegetable ivory, other than to reduce the general tariff rate from 27½ per cent. to 22½ per cent. The rates of duties on buttons wholly or partly of gold or silver remain unchanged. Other buttons covered by the tariff proposals now become dutiable at reduced rates of 22½ per cent. British preferential tariff and 35 per cent. otherwise. Protective duties have been varied for both shelled and unshelled almonds. The rates comprise a fixed rate per lb. subject to a reduction of 75 per cent. of the free on board price of the goods. The significant rates are those applying under the intermediate tariff. Using such rates, this type of protection ensures that when almonds are plentiful overseas and the price is low the duty payable on imports into Australia will be higher. However, when the overseas price rises the duty payable will be progressively reduced until, at a price where the free on board price for almond kernels is 7s. 4d. or more per lb., there will be no duty payable on imports. The significant free on board price for unshelled almonds at which no duty becomes payable is 2s. 8d. per lb. in respect of imports from most favoured nations. In regard to cotton piece goods, the two protective items dealing with piece goods of the types principally used and those ordinarily but not principally used for men's or boys' outer clothing have now been amalgamated. This action has resulted in some increase in duties, mainly in the British preferential tariff, and some reduction in the general tariff rates. In the past, the existence of two items for goods identical but for colour has presented serious problems for both importers and customs officers. There are two drafting changes associated with this alteration, namely, the transfer of item 105 (a)(1) (b)(3) to item 105 (a) (1) (b) (1) and the reintroduction of item 105 (a) (5). In the main, the remaining tariff changes are consequent on trade negotiations entered into by the Government. As a result of those negotiations, the intermediate tariff rates on gherkins, on vacuum flasks and on pianoaccordions have been reduced. The final amendment relates to goods which are imported for repair, alteration or industrial processing in Australia and then returned to the country from which they were imported. Experience has shown that the provision in the item requiring the goods to be returned to the exporting country is too restrictive. It is therefore proposed to delete this provision and insert instead a requirement that the goods merely be reexported from Australia. This amendment will simplify administrative procedures. I commend the proposal to honorable members. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 135 {:#debate-34} ### TARIFF BOARD Reports on Items. {: #debate-34-s0 .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr OSBORNE:
LP -- I lay on the table reports of the Tariff Board on the following subjects: - {:#subdebate-34-0} #### Buttons Almond paste and meal, almonds unshelled and almond kernels. Cotton piece goods (denim, drills, &c). 1 table also reports of the Tariff Board on the following subjects: - >Tailors' shears and trimmers. > >Carpets and rugs. > >Deferred duties - Plain tinned iron and steel plates and sheets. > >Whitlock " Dinkum Digger ". > >Ox runners, surgical sutures and sausage casings. These five reports do not call for legislative action. The board's recommendations have in each instance been adopted by the Government. Ordered to be printed. {: .page-start } page 136 {:#debate-35} ### GOVERNOR-GENERAL'S SPEECH {: .page-start } page 136 {:#debate-36} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-36-0} #### ADDRESS-IN-REPLY Debate resumed (vide page 132). Mr.CURTIN (Kingsford-Smith) [4.7].- **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I want to congratulate **Mr. Speaker** on his success in being elected again as the Speaker of this honorable House. But I also wish to express grave concern at the vicious attacks which were made upon him in an attempt to defeat his election to that high and honorable position which he has already held with great dignity. The most disconcerting feature was the association between the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** and certain back-benchers to cause this upset. People who live in Canberra and those who are in close contact with what is on in politics in Canberra know the story, but the people of Australia do not know it and are not aware of the wide split that exists in the Liberal party. I want to put forward my opinions, which I think are very exact. The honorable member for Balaclava **(Mr. Joske),** who is a close personal friend of the Prime Minister, was the vehicle selected for this operation. He had been denied the Attorney-Generalship after his divorce bill was thrown into the limbo of forgotten things and the Prime Minister tried to find a way to compensate him. The post of Attorney-General was beyond the reach of my honorable friend from Balaclava. The big bankers had stepped in because they could not bear any interruption to the re-introduction of the bills now being prepared by the architect of destruction of £700,000,000 worth of the people's assets in our great Commonwealth Bank. This destruction and pillaging of the people's money had to go on, they said, and they gently - or it could have been violently - removed the honorable member for Balaclava from the scene. The Prime Minister became aware that his power was being interfered with. His star is on the wane. The Great One has come to the brink; there is a challenge to his authority. But big business has no friends, and it will bear no interruption to its plans. However, the Prime Minister, who is a very shrewd campaigner, was not to be pushed into the discard, so he had a look around for a way out for his personal friend, the honorable member for Balaclava. It is nice to have personal friends who will go that far for one. But I personally think that the Prime Minister was more distraught over the fact that his control over the Liberal party is slipping. Then the night of the long knives began. That is a favourite expression of the putrid press of Australia when it comments on affairs of the Australian Labour party. {: #subdebate-36-0-s0 .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- The hatchet men were there. The situation was too hot for **Sir Philip** McBride to be associated with it, and he retired. That happened also to a senator in another place. **Sir Arthur** Fadden could see what was coming, and he got out. One of the most able Ministers in the last Government was dumped. Out he went; he was not even asked to get out. He was prepared to fight, so he was just dumped from the Cabinet. When the Foreign Affairs Committee was re-appointed two other Liberal malcontents were dumped as well. The honorable member for Lilley **(Mr. Wight),** one of the Prime Minister's stooges, was appointed to fill one of the vacancies. The honorable member for Deakin **(Mr. Davis),** another man who was prepared to fight, was removed from the Public Accounts Committee. These things were not just accidents, and members on the Government side need not try to laugh them off. In an endeavour to soften the blow for the honorable member for Balaclava, the Prime Minister used very good delaying tactics. He said, " Let us set aside the selection of our candidate for the Speakership until the day before Parliament meets ". He was a very wily campaigner, sparring for time. Of course, the Prime Minister was panicky, as any other honorable member opposite would be if he had held sway over the whole of the Liberal party for ten long years and then realized his grip was slipping. But there is always an ending, and the Prime Minister's star is now on the wane. Being a great tactician, he gathered all his stooges together and told them what he wanted. The thought of his domination being challenged upset his nerves. He gave his orders to his stooges and then moved to Tasmania for what the press so glibly described as a couple of weeks' holiday - a fishing holiday with one of his great press friends. This man, high up in the press world, took our Prime Minister up some quiet river so that they could see whether they could change their tactics to remove the present Speaker and install the Prime Minister's personal friend in his place. If any honorable members on the Government side doubt the authenticity of my remarks, I challenge the Prime Minister and all his stooges who rely on him for endorsement to publish the figures in respect of the Liberal party's selection of its candidate for the Speakership. Those figures were so shattering that the Prime Minister immediately suppressed them. He demanded of the press barons that they refuse to publish them, and they obeyed. The voting for the leadership of the Labour party was widely reported in the press, but what did the newspapers say regarding the elections for leadership of the Liberal party? They said, " The figures were not disclosed ". That is just the difference between fascism and democracy. I am concerned because I know that there are weak members on the other side of the House who crawl and cringe for their endorsement, men who are not prepared to stand up and say what they think, because they will be threatened if they do. Talk about the old gangs from New York or Chicago! The thugs of the past have got nothing on the thugs who are in control of the Liberal party. The Prime Minister might have been brought back to the field, and he would not like it. He does not like to be interfered with. So we have the spectacle of the free people's press, these doughty fighters for freedom, for a voice to be heard, deciding that it is not the right thing to announce that there is a cleavage in the Liberal ranks. 1 would like to know why these people are so silent, and I would also like to know why the passage to Australia was arranged at a moment's notice of a certain gentleman who is the High Commissioner for Australia in London. Any one can fly to Australia from London to-day in three or four days. Why the remarkable organization? Why the fear that this Prime Minister would be displaced? Of course, the bureaucrats in Canberra were previously organizing the weak members of the Liberal party to get in behind the Prime Minister. This gentleman from London was brought out post haste. Being an old friend of the Prime Minister of years gone by, as a reward he was given five years- {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: -- Where, in Long Bay? {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- Not where the Prime Minister should be, in Long Bay, but in London as our High Commissioner. He was brought out post haste. {: .speaker-KDY} ##### Mr Joske: -- On a point of order, **Mr. Deputy** Speaker: I do not know whether you realize that the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith said that the Prime Minister should be in Long Bay. {: #subdebate-36-0-s1 .speaker-KWE} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Timson:
HIGINBOTHAM, VICTORIA -- I did not understand the honorable member to mean that. {: .speaker-KDY} ##### Mr Joske: -- I ask for a withdrawal of the remark, because it is offensive to the whole of the Parliament. {: #subdebate-36-0-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Order! I ask the honorable member for KingsfordSmith whether he said that the Prime Minister should be in Long Bay. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- I said that he should be in Long Bay, which is a big district in my electorate. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Then I ask the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith to withdraw that statement. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- I withdraw it, and I think the electors at Long Bay would be very happy to see the Prime Minister out there for a little while. This split I have been talking about is widening, and the destruction of the Government is in view if the split in the Liberal party is not healed up. The big bureaucrats in Canberra have been canvassing feverishly, and the knights that my friend from Parkes **(Mr. Haylen)** spoke about last night have been pressed into service. The High Commissioner in London has also been pressed into service to intimidate, as I say again, the weak-kneed members of the Liberal party. I want to know why the press of Australia is so quiet, in view of the fact that three days ago they could not spread the news quickly enough regarding the result of the election as leader of the Labour party of the Right Honorable H. V. Evatt. I want to know these things, and' I challenge any member of the Liberal party to tell me. I challenge the putrid press - that is no reflection on the reporters, because they have to live - and the barons who gave the orders that these figures should not be printed. I challenge them to produce the figures showing the shattering defeat that was inflicted on the Prime Minister's personal friend, the honorable member for Balaclava. That is all I want. I now would like to say a few words about another member of the Liberal party, another knight who has recently taken office in this Government over the heads of many other lukewarm and feeble members of the Liberal party. January seems to be the month when all the bureaucrats, super-bureaucrats, long-haired professors, economists, experts of all kinds, the socalled intelligentsia, gather at Canberra. They air their knowledge of current affairs at what is called the Institute of Political Science Summer School. Taking advantage of the occasion, who should honour this assembly with his august presence? None other than this ultra-blue new political fledgeling and recently elected AttorneyGeneral. Mounting the rostrum, he delivered a vicious attack on the great trade union movement. This great trade union movement comprises a work force of 4.000,000 people, good Australian producers. Needless to say, this great AttorneyGeneral of ours has never produced three penn'orth of goods in his life. This ultra-blue Liberal could never claim to be up to the standard of a good Australian trade unionist, but he said, " The time may well be here for the trade union movement to re-think its position ". We will re-think it when the time comes that we are elected to government. He said, " It should review its attitude and philosophy, discard those that are outworn and meet the new day with youthful vigour, penetrating thoughtfulness and wisdom ". I think, for a start, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** that he should have underlined " youthful vigour", because his youthful vigour has long receded into the past. I would suggest also that this great lawyer should do a little research, and then he will discover that the kind of tripe which he advocated was advocated 40 years ago by none other than Billy Hughes. Our new Attorney-General was a surprise appointment, as the honorable member for Balaclava knows. It must have been a sad blow to the honorable member, who is quite a nice fellow in his own little way, but still a minor lawyer, to see the youthful vigour of the present Attorney-General brought into action. This great company lawyer has been acting for big corporations and monopolies which are doing their best, of course, at all times to destroy trade unionism. The trade unions want none of his advice. They are quite able to look after themselves, and I would like to pass that information on to the youthful, vigorous Attorney-General. Referring to trade unions, this mighty atom said - >I would have thought its role in modern conditions, apart from securing the best conditions for its members and policing the observance of industrial laws, was to co-operate in total industrial activity. If he casts his mind back, he will recall that in World War II., a government of the kind that the Attorney-General supports to-day, ran back into the hills and left Australia to its fate at the hands of the Japanese. He will recall also the youthful vigour and the patriotism of the great Australian trade union movement. Before he entered Parliament, this gentleman, behind the scenes, assisted to frame legislation with a previous Attorney-General who stepped up to the position of Chief Judge of the Commonwealth Industrial Court. This legislation came to the House in the form of amendments to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, and will ever remain on the records as the most disgraceful legislation ever to come before this honoured House. I now accuse the present Attorney-General of being the architect of that legislation. It could come only from a puny mind typical of that of the honorable member who is now the Attorney-General. I refer to the pains and penalties legislation. I am a trade unionist of 44 years' standing and proud of every day of it, and I resent the intimidating clauses which force trade unions to obey the will of the Government, on penalty of being sent to Long Bay gaol, in the district of Long Bay, where 1 suggest the Prime Minister should go. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- That is, the Long Bay district. Clauses in this legislation allow the destruction of the lifeblood of the trade unions - their finances. This is a snide and subtle way to destroy them. If a union goes on strike, the penalty is £500, and £10 a day for each member. What will become of the hard-earned funds of these people? lt is not as easy for them to get money as it is for the Attorney-General. It takes the man on the end of a pick four days out of six. or 35 hours out of 40 to earn £10, but because he has joined a union to protect even that miserly pittance, he finds that he is fined £10 for every day on which he is on strike. That position is insufferable. The bill to which I have referred paved the way for the political tainting of the Commonwealth Industrial Court. Did not the previous Attorney-General step straight from the other House into the very cosy position of Chief Judge at a salary of £8,000 a year with a non-contributory pension of £80 a week on retirement? What a nauseating thought! This court of justice has been tainted with politics - and Liberal politics at that. The least said about it the better; it is like the re-opening of a grave. We can truthfully say that this Government has degraded the industrial courts with a smear that will take a long time to erase, lt has lost the confidence of the trade union movement. Any further intimidation or interference with the trade union movement will create trouble. As a man who has been a member of the honoured Boilermakers Society for 44 years, I will give a little advice to the Attorney-General. If there is any interference with the Boilermakers Society in the future, it will have to show the Attorney-General where he gets off. He has suggested that the unions will have to abandon their conservative attitude towards mechanization and automation. That again shows the ignorance of this mighty intellectual. Of course, the word " mechanization " is used to open a channel for an attack on that worthy body of trade unionists, the coal-miners. I think he should take notice of the fact that just a few years ago this Government urged the coal-miners to bend their backs still further and produce more coal for the use of industry and to enable more power to be produced for the use of industry. The miners, patriotic as usual, responded. They rose to the occasion and produced record quantities of coal. What part did the Government play? It froze wages. The previous Treasurer blatantly invited the court to freeze wages in 1952, and the court did so with alacrity. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- What about the Japanese. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr CURTIN: -- The man from the hillbilly party, the Australian Country party, says, " What about the Japanese? " Did the Australian Country party and the Liberal party not leave Australia to its fate when the Japs were knocking at the gate and walk out under the leadership of the present Prime Minister? The Prime Minister, after freezing the wages of the coal-miners, gave the coal-owners an increase of 6s. a ton in the price of coal. So we see that this Attorney-General is a little frog in a very big puddle after all. I want to tell him this, in regard to his remarks on automation {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-36-0-s3 .speaker-JLU} ##### Mr ANDERSON:
Hume .- One of the tragedies of winning an election ls that usually we never know what portfolio leading members of the Opposition would receive. I am not at all sure how Labour, if it were in office, would fit in the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith **(Mr. Curtin).** When the curtain falls on comedy, we have to get back to more serious things in the National Parliament. One important feature of the GovernorGeneral's Speech was the note of courage and confidence with which he referred to the development and expansion of Australia. It was my intention to turn back to " Hansard "' of twelve months ago. However, I remind the honorable member for Bendigo **(Mr. Clarey),** whom I was pleased to see returned to this House, how he prophesied in those days that a great depression would occur in the year 1959. Indeed, the election was fought rather on those gloomy forecasts by the Leader of the Opposition **(Dr. Evatt).** But far from being in that gloomy condition, we are in the throes of very important expansion. Our economy is constantly changing, but one thing that concerns me a great deal is that if we are to progress as we should we must have a balanced economy. A balanced economy means balance between the two great branches of our economy - primary industries, in which I include mining, and secondary industries. I should like to stress the fact that as we progress we must ensure that the balance between these two great branches is maintained, because they are inter-dependent. The Australian Country party is always being accused by its opponents - one does not seek bouquets from one's opponents - of being much more interested in primary industry than in secondary industry. That, of course, is the thing that is usually said by our opponents. We are interested rn both kinds of industry, and for a very simple reason. If we are to hold Australia, we must increase our population. We cannot employ great numbers of additional people in the primary industries, and we shall have to employ the additional workers in the secondary industries. So, if we are to: have a balanced economy, we must see that a balance between primary and secondary industries is maintained. From the defence stand-point, it is necessary for us to increase our population. Therefore, let us maintain the proper balance that is necessary and not let one side of the economy interfere with the other. Only in this way can we progress. This means that primary and secondary industries must receive equal assistance, although I am inclined to think that the primary industries should receive more than equal assistance. The secondary industries rely for the maintenance of their production almost entirely on the import of raw materials and plant, and this requires the expenditure of overseas funds. For the rest of this century, there is no prospect of the manufacturing industries earning the necessary overseas funds. Although we are increasing our exports of manufactured goods, it is certain that, for the rest of this century, the main source of overseas funds will be our primary industries. At the present rate of progress, we shall not be able to produce sufficient to meet the needs of the increased population that we must have. At the present time, we are earning overseas some £900,000,000 a year, mainly from primary exports. However, there is a simple proposition that we can easily understand: As our population increases, we shall consume at home more of the primary commodities that we are now exporting. Also, since the greater part of any increase in our population will be employed in secondary industries, there will be an increasing need for overseas funds. That is the aspect of the problem on which we must inform our minds at the present time. What machinery can we evolve to keep ourselves constantly informed of the needs of both these great branches of industry. We must have what the Army terms an appreciation. All the factors that affect the attainment of the objective must be studied. A continuing appreciation of the situation is what we want. There are some factors that are common to both branches of our economy, and some that are in direct conflict so that the interests of the primary industries conflict with those of the secondary industries. In order to enable honorable members to follow the trend of my thought, I should like to illustrate my argument by reference to the basic wage, which is common to both primary and secondary industries. But tariff protection is a factor in respect of which the interests of the primary industries may conflict with those of the secondary industries. We must maintain a continuing observation of all these factors. The Tariff Board was formed to protect the interests of the secondary industries, and I am sure that honorable members will have nothing but the highest regard for the integrity, intelligence, soundness and impartiality of those who have comprised the board since its inception. This board has done much to enable our secondary industries to make the extraordinary progress that they have made. One of the things that the Tariff Board has always to consider is the interests of the consumers. I think it has done so to some degree, but not sufficiently, so far as the interests of the primary producers are concerned. There are fundamental differences between primary production and the manufacturing industries. The incidence of costs is one. Some are easily controlled, and some are not. In manufacturing industries, some control over costs, prices and profits can be exercised. Those industries are much more flexible than are the primary industries, and a much wider range of action is available. A plant can be closed down and maintained at a very small cost. Production can be increased more readily in a manufacturing industry, and double shifts can be worked. Indeed, there are a hundred ways in which manufacturing industries can influence costs or find new markets, but it is not the same for the primary industries, in which many factors are completely beyond man's control. The weather is one. It does not affect the manufacturing of motor cars and the like, but it seriously affects all production from the land. It affects stock, plant life, and so *on.* Other factors beyond man's control which have an important influence on primary production are diseases, fire, and acts of God such as drought and floods. The problems of the over-production of perishable goods are serious for the primary producer. You cannot shut down primary production suddenly if a thing is unprofitable. Pasture land cannot be neglected, or it will be ruined. Stock must be cared for. The primary producer cannot shut down. In primary production, which is vital to the nation, there are many important factors that are not easy of control, and if we are to have balanced production those factors must be kept constantly under review in order to assess their effect on our economy. The basic wage, as I have said, is a factor common to both primary and secondary industries, and the arbitration tribunals fix the basic wage on an industry's capacity to pay. Any fluctuation in the basic wage affects both primary and secondary industries, but the primary industries may be affected also by lower prices for wheat and wool, and a glut on the European market for primary products. A change in the basic wage in one industry and not in another may cause labour to flow from one industry to another. There should be some form of continuing observation to watch these things. I personally have always favoured higher wages, because you can ensure prosperity and raise the standard of living only by increasing the purchasing power in the hands of as many people a.possible. I have always linked high wages with high productivity. How can we raise the capacity of the primary industries to pay? I do not believe in a negative approach, and I do not think that, if costs are rising, the natural corollary is to reduce wages. However, there may be other methods by which one can reduce costs and increase an industry's capacity to pay good wages. In regard to primary industries, there is one thing that must be watched the whole time - the need to meet competition on an open market. Primary producers have a most important part to play in the national sense. Historically, throughout civilized times, whenever the primary producers of a country have been affluent, that country has been prosperous, and a country has always been poor when its primary producers have been poor. We have only to look to the United States of America to see that this lesson has been learned there, because, to-day, there is a price support programme there. For years now, farmers have been on an excellent wicket in Europe, the United Kingdom and other parts of the world where it has been realized that the primary producers must receive adequate returns for their labour. The honorable member for Wide Bay **(Mr. Bandidt),** in his maiden speech, made a very strong appeal to the Government to see that the primary producers get an adequate return for their labour. " A labourer is worthy of his hire," he said. He mentioned the American price support programme to support hi> argument. I think that it is going a little too far to adopt the principle of price support. In the United States, the price support programme has made the farmers a political pressure group, and I do nobelieve in pressure groups. I mere ' mentioned the American price support programme to illustrate the importance that :< attached by overseas thinkers to the need te maintain the primary industries in a condition of high prosperity. I should like to remind honorable members of the important fact that pr,mar industries have to feed the people. Therefore, I think that the nation should look to the needs of those industries, because, a< the population increases, the demand for overseas funds and for primary commodities for export increases - and the export of primary products provides us with our quickest return in the form of overseas funds. Because of the importance of the primary industries, I consider that a tariff board system of protection should be provided for them. I spoke about this matter in May last year, and suggested the constitution of a tariff board for the primary industries like that appointed for the secondary industries. Such a board could keep a continuing observation on each primary industry. Honorable members will recall that, a few months ago, the dairying industry was suddenly revealed to be in a state of depression owing to low prices. Had such a board been functioning at the time, it would have been able to obtain first-class evidence of the condition of that industry, and by now it would have produced objective reports dealing with it. It is necessary for impartial people who are free from political influence and electoral pressure to keep a continuing watch on the cost structure and the marketing problems of all industries, especially the primary industries. I should expect to see a considerable improvement in agriculture and in the balance maintained by our industries if such a board were brought into being. The financial position of the farmers at present is bad. I think that we have to thank - or, rather, severely censure - the Labour party for that fact. It is the Labour party's fault that we have not got the Development Bank in being. I do not expect that the moment the bank is established all the problems facing primary industry will be suddenly solved. However, after the bank has been established we shall learn as we go along. I am convinced that joint stock banking is not the best form of banking to assist rural production. The honorable member for Bonython **(Mr. Makin)** was reading gossip from the newspapers, ostensibly to show amendments to the legislation to establish the development bank. I suggest that the honorable gentleman should know sufficient about newspapers not to pay a great deal of heed to what he reads in them. The bill will be introduced, so it is better to wait. This country has suffered very severely from the action of the Labour party in holding up the establishment of this bank for two or three years. Had that bank been estab lished when originally intended we would now have a first-class development bank with some experience behind it. Many people do not realize that the great industries of this country have methods of their own of financing their expanding activities. When they want more money they can go to a stock exchange and float a share issue. They also have reserves which they have built up, money which they have ploughed back into the business to allow for development. All modern businesses do that. That is all right for the big corporations; but every single farmer is, in a small way, a duplicate of a big corporation. He has exactly the same financial problems. He has to plough back his profits into his business in order to be able to keep going. But he cannot do what the great corporations do in order to get additional finance. He cannot raise share capital; yet he has to get more capital somehow. Taxation on our rural industries is high, and loans made by joint stock banks to farmers are at fairly high rates of interest and for short terms. What the farmers want is money at low rates of interest for long terms. I have spoken on other occasions about my keenness to see whether we can establish a tariff board to deal with the affairs of the primary industries only. Another subject which has interested me during this debate is Indonesia. The position in regard to that country presents us with a very difficult problem which, I think, the Government has tackled very wisely indeed. I do not agree that the Government has made a mistake. There are three sovereign nations concerned in the Indonesian problem as it touches Dutch New Guinea. To my mind, it is important that Indonesia remain our friend, and we have had here a clear and frank declaration from the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr. Casey).** He has told Indonesia that we believe that the Netherlands is the sovereign state in control of Dutch New Guinea, and that we do not propose - and, indeed, that it would be bad form - to put any pressure on the Netherlands in regard to Dutch New Guinea. He has told the Indonesians that if the Dutch and Indonesians want to negotiate about Dutch New Guinea it is perfectly in order for these two sovereign states to come to a decision on the problem. We know that the island of New Guinea forms an important part of our strategic defence. A look at the map will show anybody that New Guinea lies on our frontiers. But what about the other side? When you negotiate you should look at the others man's point of view. Does New Guinea offer a strategic threat to Indonesia? Of course it does! So what is sauce for the goose is surely sauce for the gander. If Dutch New Guinea were to fall into hostile hands, or even if our own part of New Guinea were to fall into hostile hands, that would constitute a threat to Australia. That is the simple truth, and everybody understands it. But when you ask yourself which offers the greater threat to Australia - Dutch New Guinea in hostile hands, or a hostile Indonesia - I think all of you will agree with me that a hostile Indonesia offers the more serious threat to Australia. A country consisting of 2,000 islands presents a tremendous problem. What is the point of trying to create a hostile territory in New Guinea? What is the Labour party's solution? The Labour party indulges in double talk about the rights of the natives. Let us consider what the intelligent people of Indonesia are thinking. They are a new nation and, consequently, a proud people. The right honorable member for Hunter talks about the rights of the natives in West Irian, and implies thereby that the Indonesians are not fit people to protect native rights. The right honorable gentleman is offering an insult to the Indonesians by implying that, in his view, they are not fit to control New Guinea. {: .speaker-L0V} ##### Mr Wight: -- I do not think they are. {: .speaker-JLU} ##### Mr ANDERSON: -- But why tell them that you do not think they are? There is no need to tell them so. The Dutch have a responsibility towards the natives in Dutch New Guinea. If the Dutch negotiate with the Indonesians over that country, then, to mv mind, it is the Dutch who must decide whether the Indonesians are responsible people to take over the control of its primitive people. Why should we interfere? The point I want to make is that T would rather see the Dutch there, but T think that all this double talk from the Labour party is just a grievous insult to a croud young nation. {: .speaker-L0V} ##### Mr Wight: -- The Indonesians have nor the resources to develop the country. {: .speaker-JLU} ##### Mr ANDERSON: -- That is so, but the way the Labour party puts its argument, it is offering a grave insult to a proud nation. That is the way I look at it. {: .speaker-JPE} ##### Mr Bird: -- It was the Labour party that helped Indonesia to gain its independence. The Leader of the Opposition took a prominent part in the United Nations in that respect. {: .speaker-JLU} ##### Mr ANDERSON: -- Members of the Labour party talk about giving colonies independence, yet they want to make Australia a bigger colonial power. We had the honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Clyde Cameron)** interjecting while the honorable member for Moreton **(Mr. Killen)** was speaking. The honorable member for Hindmarsh said, " We do not care what happens to Indonesia ". Later, we had the honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Haylen)** saying, "We are by far the best people to manage native races ". That means that the honorable member for Parkes has confidence that the Liberal party will be in office for many years to come. I am afraid that I do not agree with the Labour party's attitude towards this whole matter. Australia has said quite frankly to Indonesia: " It is not our concern. It is the concern of two sovereign peoples." We have indicated that we would oppose any duress. Our greatest strategic threat is not from New Guinea, but from Indonesia. We have a responsibility to our Asian neighbours. Do we want friendship with Indonesia? Will we have friendship with Indonesia if we insult that country? Of course we will not! How much better it would be to have good relations with Indonesia, our nearest neighbour, the main stepping stone between us and Communist China. Why cannot there be understanding and frankness between us? **Dr. Subandrio** has returned to his own country knowing that Australia has put its cards fairly on the table. We have not insulted Indonesia. We have told it, as a sovereign nation, what is our view, and that is the best way to get friendship and a proper understanding with Indonesia. Now I turn to another subject. Yesterday, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports **(Mr. Crean)** told us that he opposed the inflow of overseas capital to Australia. I suppose that he is the only economist in the world to express such a thought. We have not in Australia the savings necessary to develop our country properly. The more capital we can get from overseas, the quicker we can develop Australia. The honorable gentleman said that too much capital is coming from overseas. Let us look at the simple economic laws. What happens if capital is short? Are profits and interest rates low? Of course, they are not. When capital is short, interest rates are high and profits are high. The less capital we have, the higher is the interest that we pay. The more capital we attract, the lower are the interest rates we have to pay and the lower are the profits that are earned. That is a simple economic law. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who is the potential Treasurer should Labour attain office, is going in exactly the opposite way to that which is followed by every single thinking person. The only people who do not want more capital are the Eskimos. Their capital requirements are skins and fish hooks, and if they have them they are content. Do we want to act by their standards by not attracting capital? {: .speaker-JAG} ##### Mr Crean: -- Next time, I shall make a speech on wheat-growing. {: .speaker-JLU} ##### Mr ANDERSON: -- The honorable member's arguments may be stronger when it comes to wheat-growing. While every undeveloped country in the world is crying out for capital, he wants to deny foreign capital to us, although the honorable member for Batman **(Mr. Bird)** says that State governments, shire councils, and other local governing bodies cannot get enough money. One does not want capital, while the other demands capital. {: #subdebate-36-0-s4 .speaker-JRJ} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Bowden:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-36-0-s5 .speaker-KDY} ##### Mr JOSKE:
Balaclava -- I desire to express my best personal wishes to the mover and seconder of the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply, to thank them for their thoughtful speeches, and to wish them great success in this Parliament. I should also like to express the great personal pleasure that I am sure we all feel at the fact that Her Royal Highness the Princess Alexandra of Kent will be visiting the Commonwealth this year. The Governor-General's Speech deals with the policy which will be adopted by the Government. Of course, the Government has to act both administratively and legislatively, and therefore the GovernorGeneral's Speech, to a great extent, deals with matters of administration. It is important to remember that it is a Speech which follows upon the successful election of the Menzies Government to the treasury bench for the fifth time. It is a remarkable record that a Ministry should be elected again and again, but what is still more remarkable is that the Government should come back once more with a record majority. That is indicative of the fact that the people of Australia believe that the Menzies Government has produced sound government policy, and that the people of Australia are right behind the Menzies Government and want it to be the Ministry which will govern Australia during the next three years. Consequently, it is quite idle for people to interject that the Menzies Government has not the confidence of the people of Australia. Of course, it has. The Government produced a policy at the elections and amongst the matters referred to was an undertaking that the banking bills would be introduced again. Yet yesterday the honorable member for Bonython **(Mr. Makin)** said that it was strange that the Menzies Government was re-introducing the banking bills and that it was doing so only at the wish of the private banks. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- Hear, hear! That is very true. {: .speaker-KDY} ##### Mr JOSKE: -- A moment ago the gentleman who just interjected said that the banking bills were the only things in the Government's policy. The banking bills were in the forefront of the Government's policy and obviously would be the first matters to be introduced. Those bills having been in the forefront of the Government's policy, the people of Australia have given a definite mandate to the Menzies Government to bring in that legislation and to see that it is passed. The bills will be brought in, not at the behest of any of the private banks. They will be brought in and passed on the basis of a mandate which has been given to the Government and which the Government is bound to carry out. I ask you, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** to notice the words that I use. The Government is bound to carry out that mandate. If we did not do so, we would be guilty of deceit. We have not followed the example of the Government of New Zealand which, during its election campaign, made all sorts of promises and then made no attempt to carry them out. That is the kind of political deceit for which the Menzies Government would not stand for one moment. That is the kind of political deceit which did so much harm to the Australian Labour party at the last elections. What is the sound type of government for which the Menzies Government has been applauded by the people of Australia? It is a government based initially upon the view that there should be a limited general disarmament but that in the meantime the defence of Australia should be properly looked after. It is a government based upon further great production and tremendous industrial expansion. So great has been the success of the Government along those lines that, although there was a great fall in the overseas prices of primary products and the like, nevertheless there was hardly a ripple on the surface of the Australian economy, because it had become so well founded that the Government was able to carry on with probably the lowest amount of unemployment of any country in the free world. The people of Australia realized these things. They realized that the great immigration policy must be continued. They realized that a tremendous amount had been done in the way of housing and they wanted more done for housing. The Government, in the policy speech that it delivered, said that a record amount of money would be spent on housing. In all sorts of other directions the Government is providing for investigations so that expansion may continue. Honorable members have mentioned an investigation into the dairying industry. There are also to be investigations with a view to helping trade and commerce, and investigations into taxation laws, bills of exchange laws, and the question of a decimal currency. I take particular pride in the lastmentioned item, because I had some part in introducing a deputation on that matter to the Prime Minister. In addition, the great Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization research work will be continued. In other words, even the expansion that has taken place in the last few years will be nothing like the tremendous expansion which will take place in the next few years. The Constitution Review Committee will be formed again to consider revision of the Constitution. The financial relationship between the States and the Commonwealth is to be discussed at a conference of the Premiers with the Commonwealth. Another great problem, that of finance for roads, will also be discussed. Commonwealth and State financial relationships and the problem of finance for *roads are* matters which require very earnest attention, and I believe they are to be given very earnest attention. I point out to honorable members that the Constitution Review Committee, which has been probably the most successful interparty committee this Parliament has ever known, dealt, in its report, with the question of Commonwealth and State financial relations. That committee spent a tremendous amount of time in trying to solve this knotty problem. The committee sought to discover a formula which could be placed in the Constitution and which would last for many years as a solution to this problem. The truth is that there is no formula discoverable which is likely to last over a long period of years. The changing circumstances of the Commonwealth and the States, and the fact that no one knows what the future holds make it impossible to deal with matters such as those by laying down some rigid rule that cannot be altered. The founders of the Constitution themselves realized that, and provided only what should be done during the first ten years of the Constitution. Since then, there have had to be constant discussions between the Commonwealth and the States to meet the problems of the moment. Realizing all these things, the Constitution Review Committee has recommended that the only way in which this problem can be worked out satisfactorily in these days is to have conferences between the persons who are vitally interested - the Premiers of the States and representatives of the Commonwealth Government. The committee felt that such persons should be able to work out, when they meet round the table, some method by which, for a period of years at least, financial relationships can be adjusted. In addition, the Commonwealth proposes to implement the Murray Report on universities and to set up a University Grants Committee. In England, there is a universities grants commission, a most impartial tribunal, which has worked very satisfactorily indeed; and it is confidently expected that, by setting up a committee, we shall be able to get fair and just treatment in meeting the needs of our universities. Bankruptcy and copyright laws are also to be dealt with. The Commonwealth has been dealing with the whole of the law of industrial property and bankruptcy over the years, and these matters are to be further considered during this session. A matter of tremendous importance in the Governor-General's Speech is mention of the fact that at last, after many years of struggle, after a great fight, after a certain amount of disappointment, we are to have uniform laws on marriage and divorce. To me, that is as manna in the wilderness. The social services are also to be attended to. No doubt honorable members have read recently with interest the statements by Professor Downing of the University of Melbourne. It is interesting to note that Professor Downing considers that, generally, the present social service payments are reasonable, having regard to world standards; but he does emphasize that the special payment required by the single person is on the low side. As I recall it, that special payment is now £4 17s. 6d. a week. Professor Downing suggests it should be £5 10s. a week. No doubt that matter will be considered by the Minister when he is dealing with social service legislation. Another matter which Professor Downing emphasizes is that the property means test should be abolished. He suggests that where a person possesses property of a value above that which we now regard as the maximum permissible under the means test, that property should be dealt with from the point of view of what income the capital value of thai property could produce. For instance, suppose the pensioner applicant owns p. house property which is returning him £2 a week. If that house were sold and the capital value invested in. for example, an annuity, or something of that kind, it might very well produce £4 10s. a week. It is on that basis that he suggests it should be dealt with when considering the income of the pensioner applicant. As matters stand at present, a property such as that returning £2 a week, if it is not the home of the pensioner applicant, would prevent his receiving any pension al all, but if it is considered on the basis that he could invest the capital value and obtain a return of £4 10s. a week, he would be looked upon as being eligible for a pension of £3 7s. 6d. a week and thus would be enabled to live at a reasonable standard. I emphasize that this Government has supported the ownership of property, as Professor Downing has pointed out, but at present, the man or woman who prefers to keep property, who receives only £2 a week from that property and who, because of that £2 a week, is debarred from receiving the pension, finds life exceedingly penurious indeed. This matter does call for the most earnest and serious consideration by both the Minister for Social Services **(Mr. Roberton)** and the Government. Undoubtedly, the property means test should be abolished. It is only a matter of time before it must be abolished and this Government will undoubtedly win distinction if it is courageous enough to abolish it. I should like now to refer to another matter which has been raised during this debate. I speak of the joint statement made by the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr. Casey)** and **Dr. Subandrio.** It does seem to me that both inside and outside this House there has been a complete misunderstanding of what that statement means. Here, I refer honorable members to the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, and in particular to article 73 which is binding on members of the United Nations which are charged with the responsibility of looking after trusteeship territory. We have at least one such territory of our own to look after and, therefore, are bound by article 73 of the Charter of the United Nations. This Charter provides for the self-government of peoples when they emerge from their primitive state and are well enough able to govern themselves. That is the type of government which we hope eventually to be able to bring about in New Guinea. I say this, I trust, with some authority, because I was a member of the Trusteeship Committee, representing Australia, in the United Nations. That was certainly the view of and instruction which I got from the department, and I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that it is the general international principle, a principle which is accepted throughout the world, and rightly and properly so. It is certainly accepted by the members of the United Nations and, as I say, it is binding upon Australia. That being so, what is wrong with our Minister insisting that all agreements relating to the future of western New Guinea must accord with internationally accepted principles? That means nothing more and nothing less than that the primitive people of western New Guinea must have a government which will aim to bring them out of their primitive state, raising them to a position in which they are able to govern themselves. I certainly would not be prepared to support the Government - which T do support - if I had the slightest doubt that it meant anything else but that. But so far from this binding Australia in a way that is against Australia's interests, in fact it has done the very opposite. Here is a joint statement made by **Dr. Subandrio** and the Australian Minister for External Affairs. **Dr. Subandrio** is part and parcel of the statement. He has accepted it. It means only that he and his country on whose behalf he acted can accept an agreement with Holland only if it provides for all those things which were emphasized by the Leader of the Opposition **(Dr. Evatt)** yesterday. Those are the provisions which are contained in the United Nations Charter. I do not regard this agreement and the statement that has been made by the representatives of the two countries as a retrogressive step but as a step forward. Certainly, it has elucidated the position and has let Indonesia know just where it and we stand. The Indonesians have accepted it through their Minister being a party to it. {: #subdebate-36-0-s6 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- First, I should like to join with other honorable members in congratulating the Speaker upon his re-election. He has proved to be a very good Speaker, and I believe that is the reason why such strenuous efforts were made on the Government side to have him removed from that office. Supporters of the Government would have preferred a Speaker who would be simply a party hack to throw out of the House any person on the Opposition side who di gressed ever so slightly and allow to remain on the Government side those rude individuals who are noted for talking loudly and interjecting ad lib while others are speaking. That would have branded such a chairman as an excellent Speaker in the eyes of Government supporters. In that respect some honorable members opposite had supported the honorable member for Balaclava **(Mr. Joske),** who has just resumed his seat. He was to fill the role that I have just described. I hope that those honorable members were wrong in their assumption that the honorable member for Balaclava would become a party hack, because I have no doubt that before this Parliament is ended, the honorable gentleman will become the first Commonwealth judge in divorce. The person who is to fill such an important role as that ought not to be a party hack. I hope that their judgment of the honorable member will be proved completely wrong when he takes up his high and exalted position in the proposed Commonwealth divorce court. In all seriousness, I say it is a tribute to the honorable member for Balaclava that the Government has seen fit to introduce uniform divorce laws. There is not a shadow of doubt that but for the efforts of the honorable gentleman, Australia would not have seen a uniform law of divorce for many years to come; perhaps for generations or over a century. When the history of Australia is written, particularly its legal history, the name of Percy Joske will be given a very honoured place. I say that in full appreciation of all that he has done in that connexion. I do hope, however, that when the legislation is introduced it will not be as stodgy as was the bill which was introduced by the honorable gentleman himself. I hope that the new bill will follow more closely the recommendations of the Law Society. That organization had agreed upon a draft bill which it understood the honorable gentleman would introduce, but for reasons which I understand - and I do not condemn him - he felt that he would have to tighten up on them. There were three departures from the Law Society's recommendations to which I should like to refer briefly. One was the recommendation of the Law Society that the South Australian law concerning cruelty should be retained in the Commonwealth law. The honorable member for Balaclava, in his bill which, in this respect, I hope will never see the light of day again, made the amazing provision that a person could sue the other party to the marriage for divorce if it could be shown that the person concerned was cruelly beaten regularly for twelve months. It was argued that this applied to the husband as well as the wife, so that if a wife cruelly beat her husband regularly for twelve months he would have as much right as she would to sue for divorce. I think that the deletion from the legislation of the provision for judicial separation was a bad decision, and I hope the Government will include it after consideration. Despite these slight criticisms, if we are honest and prepared to give credit where it is due, we must admit that this move forward in the Parliament of the Commonwealth towards a uniform divorce law is the work almost entirely of the honorable member for Balaclava. I for one would not begrudge him the honour of being the first Commonwealth judge in divorce. I want to say something now about a question which was asked by the honorable member for Stirling **(Mr. Cash)** regarding unmarked ballot-papers. There is no doubt that, for years and years, certain people have made it a practice of going to various polling booths and picking up unused ballotpapers. They have then used them to vote for a particular party. It is a remarkable thing that in certain polling booths the number of informal votes is very low, whilst in others it is very high. I suggest that the number of informal votes is so much higher at some polling booths than at others because, at the former, presiding officers have been honest enough to put in unmarked ballot-papers as informal votes and have taken care to prevent persons from picking up unused ballot-papers and recording a vote on them. Something has to be done along the lines suggested by the honorable member for Stirling so that a ballot-paper that is left in a booth unused can be stamped " unused " and then be put into the ballotbox so that it can be included as an informal or unused ballot-paper. {: .speaker-JSY} ##### Mr Buchanan: -- What would happen if it were picked up before it was stamped? {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- That is the trouble; one cannot eliminate the practice entirely. The only way to do that would be to employ a person to do nothing else but move constantly up and down the booths to see that any ballot-paper which was left unmarked was picked up immediately. Many persons do not understand that when they go in to vote, they have to vote on two separate ballot-papers. They believe that if they vote on one paper, they have done all that is required of them. If they vote on the pink paper, the Senate paper will be left unmarked, and vice versa. I turn now to postal voting. I believe that this can be one of the most corrupt methods of recording votes that has ever been introduced. A person who is not able to go to the booth on election day should be defranchised rather than allow the practice that is now developing, especially in Liberal party strongholds. The honorable member for Moreton **(Mr. Killen)** is knitting his brows because he knows what I am driving at. It is quite clear that he knows what is in my mind when I refer to corrupt practices in postal voting. Have a look at the returns for Sturt in South Australia. I invite honorable members to look at the number of postal votes recorded in the district of Sturt and compare it with the numbers of those recorded in the districts of Hindmarsh and Port Adelaide. You will find that, for some strange and illogical reason, in the district of Sturt there are about three times the number of people eligible for a postal vote as there are in the districts of Port Adelaide and Hindmarsh. The Liberal party has developed all over Australia a technique of- {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- Corruption. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- It is a corrupt technique of the Liberal party. Throughout Australia corrupt methods are being used to build up a large postal vote from people who are not eligible for a postal vote, because the Liberal party organization, through its women's clubs and the like, know that by organizing this form of voting they can control the results. This should be eliminated. I should like to say something about Liberal party funds, and, for that matter, Labour party funds too, because we have nothing to hide. I should like to see the Electoral Act altered to provide that every political party be made to declare publicly the source of all revenue coming into its campaign funds. There are cries of " Hear, hear " from the Government side. I am glad honorable members opposite agree. I hope that when we propose an amendment of the Electoral Act they *will* vote with this side of the House, not with the side on which they are now sitting. I also hope that the amendment of the Electoral Act will go further and provide that candidates for Parliament shall publicly declare the source of all the money donated to them, and that the penalty for a false declaration or for failing to declare the full amounts received shall be forfeiture of the seat of the member concerned, and forfeiture of the seats of all the members of the party concerned in the particular State, if they are found to be guilty. I know that if a law such as that were implemented and every political party had to come out into the open and state clearly where its money was coming from, so that we knew which were the companies financing the parties concerned, we should have a government different from that which we have to-day, and that that government would not be introducing the legislation that this Government is introducing. We should not have the Liberal party supporting a monopoly for Ansett Airlines if it were not for the fact that AnsettA.N.A. had put large sums of money into the Liberal party campaign funds. We should not have these banking bills being introduced if it were not for the fact that the private banks of Australia have put large sums of money into the Liberal party campaign funds. We should not have the specially favoured treatment that is being given to shipping companies in Australia if it were not for the large sums of money put into the Liberal campaign funds by the shipping cartel. We should not have the special treatment meted out to the oil companies - great subsidies given for oil drilling operations in Australia, subsidies being paid to wealthy American companies that have more money than the Government itself - if it were not for the large amounts of money paid into the D.L.P. and Liberal party campaign funds by these organizations. These are things that have to be looked into. We have reached the stage of politics in Australia during the last ten years where we are rapidly drifting into the situation that operates in the corrupt Middle East States. No longer is democracy respected by the people there, because democracy represents corruption of the worst kind. I want to turn, in the time at my disposal, to the remarks of some of the previous speakers. I start off with the easiest of them, namely, the honorable member for Hume **(Mr. Anderson),** who, unfortunately, at the moment is not in the chamber. He stated that the Labour party was responsible for the fact that there is not now a development bank in operation and that, because there is no development bank in operation, many farmers are finding it difficult to obtain finance. Let me remind the honorable gentleman that the Labour party made it quite clear in another place that it would be prepared to pass the bill dealing with the establishment of a development bank, provided the Government did not insist upon the complete destruction of the Commonwealth Bank, as was proposed in the other thirteen bills. Moreover, we also pointed out that it was not necessary to pass special legislation to establish a development bank, because the Commonwealth Bank already had the power to set up such an establishment and to finance it, and all that the Government was required to do was to bring in simple legislation to give the new bank the funds with which to carry out its job. The honorable member for Hume also made the statement that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports **(Mr. Crean)** had criticized the entry into Australia of foreign capital and had spoken as though that was a terrible crime. The honorable member for Hume said that that indicated the unAustralian attitude of the honorable member concerned. Let me read what the honorable member for Melbourne Ports said. Then I shall invite honorable members opposite to join in that criticism, if they choose to do so, or to be courageous enough to stand up and defend the honorable member for Melbourne Ports if they have the ability to understand the case that he presented. This is what he said - >Why should Australia want to get money from the United States, London or anywhere else for the construction of a departmental store in Bourkestreet or a luxury hotel at the top of Collins-street? What we want is bricks, cement, steel and building labour, and we have these things in abundance in this country. {: .speaker-KZP} ##### Mr Wheeler: -Irise to a point of order. Is the honorable gentleman reading from the " Hansard " of a current debate? **Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. John McLeay).Order!** I think the honorable member is in order. I ask him to continue and to pursue his reading carefully. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- Thank you. **Sir. Incidentally,** I think I congratulated you upon your election. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports continued - >What overseas investors are looking for is the kind of investment that gives the quickest and greatest return. American money to-day talks in terms of a return of from 20 per cent. to 25 per cent. on the capital invested. American investors plough back money extracted from the hides of the buyers in Australia and expect to earn 20 per cent. or 25 per cent., not on the original capital, but on what they call the equity of the shareholders. This country in future years will have to pay a very large invisible item in dollars and sterling for dividends and other earnings, not on the initial capital, but on the capital which has been accumulated from the prices taken from the purchasers of the goods in the Australian community. In years gone by, the conquering Romans used to force their victims to pay them tribute each year. However, Australia to-day is being conquered just as effectively by foreign capital, and many future generations of Australians will be committed to the payment of tribute to foreign companies. Now I leave the honorable member for Hume, because that is about all he said, and I turn to the honorable member for Corio **(Mr. Opperman).** The honorable gentleman quoted with pride, he said, from the Governor-General's Speech. He referred to the part that dealt with courtcontrolled ballots and the Government's decision to pay the cost of conducting courtcontrolled ballots. He went on to explain that this was necessary because recently the trade union movement had been captured by the Communist party. I am glad to hear honorable members opposite say " Hear, hear". They do not know how quickly they are walking into the trap that has been prepared for them. The honorable member for Corio said that because of the Australian Labour party's decision to join in unity tickets with Communists, the trade unions are now firmly in the grip of the Communist party. I should like to know whether he really believes that, or whether he believes the second part of his statement. He went on to say he was proud to quote what the Governor-General had said. I will read word for word what the GovernorGeneral did say. This is what the Prime Minister wrote for him - >The remarkable record of freedom from industrial disturbance in 1957 was surpassed by the record in 1958; not for twenty years has there been a period of two successive years in which the record has been equalled. We have the honorable member saying first that the trade union movement is now firmly in the grip of the Communist party as a consequence of our unity tickets, or alleged unity tickets, but in the very next breath he says that during last year and the year before we have had a record period of freedom from strikes. We can only assume from that reasoning that the Communist party union officials are the ones we have to look to in order to have freedom from strikes and industrial strife and that if we want union co-operation with the employers we shall have to have more Communists appointed as trade union officials. ' {: .speaker-KMB} ##### Mr Opperman: -- I rise to order. I have been misrepresented. I said that because of the unity tickets the reds were again infiltrating the unions. I did not say that they had taken complete control. {: #subdebate-36-0-s7 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! There is no substance in the point of order. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- It is the right to strike that distinguishes the free man from the slave. No civilized country should ever deprive the working class of the right to strike. But this Government has done so, because the Conciliation and Arbitration Act imposes savage penalties on anybody who strikes, who exercises the right to prove that he is not a slave. Whilst it is true that every sensible trade union official should try to resolve differences by means of conciliation, as a last resort he must never forgo the right to strike, because at times constitutional means do not give a fair and reasonable settlement of a just grievance. I want to say something about courtcontrolled ballots. It is not much good for this Government to spend thousands of pounds on court-controlled ballots if, immediately after a union election, it allows a coterie within the trade union to sack the man who was elected. Unless you succeed in electing the whole executive at the same time with views in accordance with the challenger, the challenger will just as easily be expelled or suspended from office as if he had never contested the election. A person who was elected by a ballot of the rank and file should be protected from wrongful or capricious dismissal by people in control of the union. Nothing is achieved by court-controlled ballots if the people in control of the union are permitted to sack those who are elected by the court-controlled ballots. Therefore, I hope that the Government, when dealing with court-controlled ballots, will inquire into that aspect of the situation. The honorable member for Moreton **(Mr. Killen)** spoke about Dutch New Guinea. He waved his hands in the air and said that he believed that Australia should pay great regard to the welfare of the people of Dutch New Guinea. But that is not what the Liberal party stands for, and I have a suspicion that it is not what the honorable member stands for. The concern of the Liberal party with respect to New Guinea is not the welfare of the natives, but that of the foreign investors who have sunk their capital in New Guinea. The Government is not concerned with the welfare of the people of New Guinea. If it were it would not have introduced the poll tax. It would not shoot natives down, as was done in the recent disturbance in New Guinea when they refused to pay the poll tax. In New Guinea a man earning £1,000 or £2,000 a year pays £2 a year poll tax, and an ordinary native labourer pays the same amount. Is that the way to win supporters for the argument that Australia is more capable of looking after New Guinea than the Indonesians? Of course it is not. Other people say that Australia is entitled to control New Guinea, including Dutch New Guinea, for reasons of defence. That is a very dangerous proposition to put forward, because if we say that our only justification for occupying New Guinea is for defence reasons, we make out an excellent case for giving West Irian to the Indonesians. We also make out an excellent case for permitting the Soviet Union to retain its cast-iron grip on its satellite countries. I believe that we should try to maintain friendly relations with Asian countries. For once I agree with the honorable member for Hume **(Mr. Anderson),** but the only difference is that I have always advocated friendly relations with Asian countries, whereas the honorable member has only recently adopted that view. I can remember that not very long ago if any honorable member suggested maintaining friendly relations with Indonesia, the honorable member for Hume would have branded him a Communist or an agent of Russia. But at long last the honorable member has come round to the Hobart conference point of view, namely, that you must learn to live with the people of Asia; you must have friendly relations with them. I believe that we must not confine our friendly relations to any one country in Asia. We must try to enter into friendly relations with all countries of Asia, including continental China, red China, or Communist China, call it what you like. China is a country of 600,000,000 people, and it cannot be ignored. We must be prepared either to fight them or to live in friendly co-operation with them. I believe that we should do everything possible to establish trade relations with continental China. We should do what the Government of Great Britain has done. The honorable member for Brisbane **(Mr. Lawson)** reminds me that just as the honorable member for Hume has slowly but eventually realized that we must have friendly relations with Indonesia, so the Minister for Trade **(Mr. McEwen)** has realized that we must establish trade relations with continental China. At last, after about five years of condemnation of the Hobart conference, the Minister for Trade now holds the view - perhaps too late - that we must establish friendly relations and trade relations with continental China. It seems rather humorous to hear honorable members from the other side of the House, such as the honorable member for Moreton, talk about a weak Opposition. Have the back-bench supporters of any government ever been weaker than are those honorable members I see looking at me now? If they were not so weak we would never have had a continuation of the present iniquitous interpretation of the onusofproof provision as it affects ex-servicemen. Most of the back-benchers are exservicemen. They usually wear their exserviceman's badge except when they are directed by Ministers not to do so. I can see only two honorable members opposite wearing badges at the moment. Probably they do not want to show up the Ministers too much. But every time the Opposition seeks to introduce an amendment to the Repatriation Act to assist ex-servicemen with regard to the onus of proof, these Government back-benchers, who have the cheek to talk about a weak Opposition, vote against the proposal. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-36-0-s8 .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr JEFF BATE:
Macarthur .- The honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Clyde Cameron)** is renowned for making stinging speeches in this place. Some of us on this side of the House listen to him with great care and we learn a good deal from him of what goes on in the inner councils of the Labour party. The reports concerning what the honorable member said at the declaration of the poll in Hindmarsh may have been true. The honorable member is alleged to have made an impassioned plea for the Labour party to go more left. The honorable member has not denied that, so perhaps he said it. If he did not say it, he always appears with the extreme left wing of the Labour party - with the honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr. Ward)** and those people who have unfortunately, even if they did not intend to do so, identified the Labour party with the extreme left wing, which is infiltrated with Communists. When the honorable member for Hindmarsh made the charge that funds had been provided for the Liberal party by various big institutions in this country, he did not mention the fact that was brought out in this House that the Communist party gave £10,000 to the Labour party's funds. This information was given by a member of the Labour party in the House, and I think if honorable members cast their minds back, they will recall that a member of the Labour party said that it was only chicken feed. It is clear to most of us here that the Communist party put £10,000 into the Labour party's funds. If it is true that organizations like the oil companies and other great private enterprise institutions have contributed to the Liberal party's funds, I think they were quite right to do so because if they did not, and the Labour party ever came to power, those great institutions would disappear, according to the statement of the honorable member for East Sydney, who recently received 32 votes when he was a candidate for the leadership of the party. He told the people of Sydney, or whoever was watching the telecast, that the Labour party would nationalize the banks, the steelworks, and other great enterprises which have made such a great contribution to the development of Australia. So we see the tactics of the Labour party, which, as was shown by the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith **(Mr. Curtin)** here to-day, brought that party down at the recent election. I think most decent people in Australia would deplore the attack on the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** made by the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith, and the attacks upon the honorable member for Balaclava **(Mr. Joske)** that were made by several members. We can assure the Prime Minister and the honorable member for Balaclava that they are held in great respect not only by the Parliament but by the people of Australia. I believe that in the industrial areas in my own electorate the Liberal vote increased tremendously because of the outofdate, deplorable tactics that were employed by Labour when it used abusive literature, not only towards the Prime Minister, but also towards a great many other people. It shocked and disgusted the respected members of the Labour party who had run the party very well for many years, and these intelligent people turned away from Labour. We have had in the House this afternoon a very clear example of the tactics to which I refer. The vicious personal abuse on a very low level in which the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith indulged was utterly deplorable, and I think that people who were unfortunate enough to be listening to the broadcast when he was speaking would have been disgusted. I am sure that if these tactics are continued, either by the honorable member for Hindmarsh, who wants to turn further left, or the unity ticket members, whom the Labour party has not the courage to expel, and if they are the leaders of the Labour party, that party cannot hope to be entrusted with the reins of government by an enlightened community. We in Australia should be grateful to all these firms, whether they are making motor cars or diesel-electric locomotives or sewing machines, and to the great industries which are coming here. Men who are enjoying good wages and are learning new, exciting techniques in the cement works, and other places, will not be bothered with people who speak as the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith has done. Good gracious, those people like respect, not the kind of exhibition that we saw here this afternoon! If the honorable member for KingsfordSmith and the honorable member for Hindmarsh, who perhaps speaks a little more incisively and succinctly, are going to control the Labour party, of course we will have a weak Opposition, and it will get weaker and weaker while the Government gets stronger and stronger. We have seen in the last few days evidence of the strength of the new members who have come to the House. We congratulate them on their election, we congratulate **Mr. Speaker** on his re-election, and we say to the honorable member for Balaclava that we resent the reflections that have been made upon his character and upon the contributions he has made to the debates in this House. I think that everybody on the Government side regrets very much statements made here which have not been couched in decent terms, and which have not been of the quality that we should like to be observed in Australian politics. The Labour party should advance from the pick-and-shovel era in which the honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Haylen)** is apparently still living, and abandon the bitter class struggle and the tactics that it used in the last election. Until the Labour party acknowledges the competence and intelligence of highly qualified Australian technicians - the men who are proud to run the big machines in the coal industry and the metal industry, some of which are worth £200,000 each, and who are possessed of a higher intellect than those we have heard here this afternoon, and who despise such tactics - the Labour party has no future. I think that Liberal, Country party, and Labour supporters alike deplore the fact that this Parliament is cursed with this type of tactics, when it means that the Government, wanting to do something useful, must ask itself, " What will the Labour party say? Will it say that we are doing something at the behest of the banks or that we are involved in a class struggle against the workers?" This Government is engaged in giving the workers of Australia the best wages, the best conditions, and the best hope that they have had in their lives of owning their homes. There are some members of the Labour party here, men of dignity and highly respected, who do not engage in bitter personal abuse. Of course, it is clear. I say to the honorable member for Melbourne **(Mr. Calwell),** who is interjecting, that Labour has not got the guts to deal with its members who appear on unity tickets with the Communists. That is one of the reasons why Labour is in Opposition. Nobody knows that better than does the honorable member for Melbourne himself. The Governor-General made reference to the proposed appointment of a committee to investigate the complex problems of the dairying industry, which is probably one of the greatest industries in Australia. About 600,000 people are engaged in it, and the invested capital is about £750,000,000. The retail sales of the industry average about £300,000,000 a year. The Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. McMahon),** when Minister for Primary Industry in the last Parliament, said in a very fine speech he made on the Dairy Produce Research and Sales Promotion Bill on 30th September last that this industry provides the basic prosperity of nearly all the towns in Australia, except the capital cities and a few other cities and towns in industrial areas and sugar regions in the north. The dairying industry provides the financial prosperity of the bulk of the towns and cities, particularly in the coastal belts of Australia. So if this industry encountered adverse times, a severe blow would be dealt to the economy of Australia. I suppose that in the last six months more has been done for the industry than ever before. The Government has taken into consideration the international problems which confront the dairying industry. The fall in the price of butter in the United Kingdom was reflected in a very low interim or advance price to Australian farmers in July of last year. A great deal has been done to stabilize this industry. Subsidies amounting to £138,000,000 have been paid since this Government came to office in 1949. Taxation concessions are given to the primary producers. Dairy efficiency grants and extension grants, each of £250,000 a year, have been given to the industry. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- They were given by the Labour government. {: .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr JEFF BATE: -- The honorable member was responsible for the administration of the dairying industry during a part of the time the Chifley Government was in office. Do not let us forget that the Chifley Government was giving a price of ls. 7d. per lb. and refused a well-based appeal for a higher price because it said, through the Prices Commissioner, that there were going to be good seasons. So, members of the Labour government became weather prophets. They also said that there would be plenty of men back from the war and plenty of equipment and machinery, so, they refused the request for an increased price. Two years later, when another appeal was made, the Labour government again refused it, but for a different reason. It was refused not because of good seasons but because the cost of production had been based on bad seasons and a dry period of two years. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- Ananias was a gentleman compared with you. {: .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr JEFF BATE: -- If the honorable member for Lalor had his way, the dairy industry would be out at its elbows and down at heel so that his supporters could get cheap butter and cheese. But that is not so under this Government because a fair price has been given. I am glad to say, in spite of the typical interjections from the other side, that there has never been greater activity on behalf of the industry than there has been in the last six months. The committee which I had the honour to form and of which I am an executive, has been very active in that regard. The industry itself asked for a sales promotion and research committee and one has just been appointed. It is a very distinguished committee which will render great service to the industry. The problems are very complex. Not only are we confronted with high cost of production in certain areas, notably towards the north, but we are confronted with the inroads made by margarine, and with a lack of advertising of butter and cheese. Margarine was allowed to make inroads into the dairying industry by two State Labour governments - the Cahill Government in New Wales and the Queensland Labour Government. Two distinguished gentlemen in this Parliament, the Attorney-General **(Sir Garfield Barwick)** and the honorable member for Werriwa **(Mr. Whitlam),** as barristers, asked the New South Wales Government to produce the file showing the allocation of margarine quotas-. The State government could not produce the file. Its action in increasing margarine quotas was entirely corrupt. {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: -- What is wrong with that? {: .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr JEFF BATE: -- I am surprised that the honorable member for Grayndler should ask what is wrong with a corrupt decision to issue margarine quotas - a decision which could not face the light of day. The dairying industry has been hindered at all points by people who represent Labour. Recently, the Cahill Government, which is so dear to the heart of the honorable member for Grayndler, betrayed the industry by refusing to bring in a bill to regulate or ban the manufacture of filled milk which is such a deadly enemy to the dairy industry. Action has been taken by the Governments of Victoria, South Australia and Queensland, but not by the Cahill Labour Government. So we can say definitely that any Labour government, Federal or State, is a deadly enemy of the dairying industry. I am proud to say that the industry has developed to the point where it can be put on a sound footing; where all its problems can be examined, and where long-term research into the feeding of the underprivileged and under-nourished people of Asia can be undertaken. We have reports that could go to the new committee which will investigate the whole of the problems of the industry. This committee is to be appointed on the highest level, from the most distinguished men available. It may be a shock to this Parliament to know that, before the war, half the people of the world were eating less than the basic nourishment of 2.200 calories. To-day, only one-third of the people of the world are getting a diet which can give them full vigour, full health and happiness. So we have a task to try to help these people. Sirring suspended from 6 to 8 p.m. {: .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr JEFF BATE: -- His Excellency, the Governor-General also said - >My Government proposes very shortly, in association with the States, to appoint an impartial committee of inquiry to investigate and report on the complex problems of the dairy industry. Before the sitting was suspended, I was pointing out to honorable members the enormous ramifications of the dairying industry throughout Australia. I reminded honorable members that virtually every city and town outside of the industrial areas and the northern sugar areas was dependent for its prosperity upon the dairying industry, that the industry had an enormous effect upon the Australian economy and that it was therefore of great national importance. There is also the fact that it contributes to the diet and nourishment not only of Australians but also of people beyond our shores. We have lately become aware of the potential market that exists in the under-nourished nations of Asia. Already these are taking a small proportion of our output. We hope that later their purchasing power will increase and they will be able to take much more. In the last six months the industry has come up against problems that are common throughout the world. I refer in particular to what has happened on the London market. The dairying industry had to get down to basic facts and reorganize itself on sounder lines. I do not wish to imply that it is not already sound; indeed, it is probably one of the soundest in Australia. It is loyal to its member organizations and has made important contributions in every field of national life. However, it has had to face the fact that in July the price in London dropped to 205s. a cwt. Fortunately, it has since recovered to 289s. During that testing period, the industry decided to ask the Government to impose on butter and cheese a tax of from one-eighth to onesixteenth of a penny per1b. to provide funds for a sales promotion and research campaign. It sought, further, the appointment of the committee of inquiry which has been referred to by His Excellency. A number of honorable members represent constituencies in which dairying is a very important activity. The committee is to be appointed in consultation with the States. We ask that it should be appointed at the very highest level, that it should realize its responsibilities, and that it should have not only a short-term research problem but a long-term one also, the latter to take into account the prospect of marketing our products in various countries. The short-term problem would be to look not only at the presentation and marketing of all our products - including the use of the new and exciting methods of inducing impulse buying - but also ways of reducing costs - especially in the north. In the last few years, we have been most fortunate. We have virtually overcome the rabbit scourge. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization is now experimenting with plants that are quite different from those that were brought here by chance in the early days. These new plants will be scientifically produced with the aid of the phytotron. They will compare with the plant which was recently found in Peru, near the equator. It is a legume which improves the nitrogen content of the soil to a surprising degree. It is already being tested at Deniliquin at temperatures of more than 100 degrees. I am told that it produces 70 per cent. more nitrogen in the summer than does the Hunter River strain and probably twice as much in the winter. The new plant will be tested in the phytotron which can, as everyone knows, simulate various climatic conditions. We must seek answers to such questions as, " Does the plant stand up to high temperatures, high evaporation and other climatic conditions not encountered on the continent but prevalent here?" I venture to say that the new lucerne will make a tremendous difference to our fodder output, and that it will give us sufficient know-how to improve all our plants. As is well known, many of our plants were introduced by chance. We also brought out European plants which were not suited to our climate. From now on every new plant will be thoroughly tested, will produce a higher nitrogen output and. through higher protein value, will create better stock, wheat, milk, butter, cream, cheese and so on. All of these things are important elements of our diet. We see not only an industrial revolution of the kind that is of such interest to the honorable member for Bendigo **(Mr. Clarey),** but also an agricultural revolution which will improve our production enormously and will enable us to sustain a population of 100.000.000 such as is envisaged by the chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, whose remarks on the subject were reported in this morning's press. There is now a chance, through the efforts of the Government, of honorable members from dairying constituencies, and of the committee which I founded - and on which I have the honour to serve - to bring real prosperity and solidity to the industry. Honorable members will be watching intently the choosing by the Government of the distinguished men who will be charged with seeking the short and long term solutions of the complex problems associated with the dairying industry. {: #subdebate-36-0-s9 .speaker-JUP} ##### Mr CLAREY:
Bendigo .- I should like first to express through you, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** my congratulations on **Mr. Speaker's** re-appointment to his high office and my personal conviction that his reelection, unopposed, was a tribute to the esteem in which he is held by all honorable members. I should also like to express to the mover and seconder of the AddressinReply to the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General, my congratulations upon their most excellent speeches. I sincerely look forward to hearing more from them in the future. I wish to begin by expressing disappointment at the contents of His Excellency's Speech. It contains many historial statements, some opinions on current events, and gives some idea of past and present events. However, it gives very little indication of what the Government proposes during its three-year term of office, or what legislation we may expect from it during this session. One would expect that after a general election in which a government has been returned for three years the contents of the Governor-General's Speech would give, in pretty broad terms, an indication of the Government's plans for that period. One would expect to learn the proposals for development and expansion, the financial conditions that would obtain, and whether money would be tight or relatively easy. One would also expect to learn what was to be done in the way of public works, and in the important field of social services. The community might be pardoned for expecting some hint of what conditions were to be like during the forthcoming three-year period. If we are to get the best results. State governments, semi-governmental bodies, industry, and the community generally must know what is happening so that they can plan development and expansion. Unfortunately, in this we have been disappointed. We have had no information concerning the kind of legislation that is to be brought down or, indeed, of any positive policy that the Government might intend to pursue. I suggest that this shortcoming is expressed most clearly on page 6 of the Governor-General's Speech, where the question of housing is dealt with. A short paragraph there reads - >This financial year a record amount of approximately £80,000,000 is being provided by my Government for housing. This will enable the normal current demand to be met and, in addition, will permit a substantial reduction in the already diminished arrears. My Government will continue to encourage home ownership. Because of the importance of the housing position I propose to devote the remainder of my speech to a study of Australia's housing problem and to discuss what can be done to solve it. His Excellency's Speech gives only a brief statement of a certain amount of money available. It is hoped that certain things will result from the expenditure of that money, but there is certainly no indication of any positive plan to bc carried out over the next three years to overcome the housing shortage. I submit that the greatest social problem we have in Australia to-day is that of housing. It is a problem that has become more and more serious during a period of nearly 30 years. It first appeared during the depression, when the building of homes practically ceased. In the latter portion of the '30's a spurt began in home building, but the outbreak of World War II. caused a cessation of those activities because of difficulties caused by war requirements. It is only since the end of 1945 that the Australian people have had an opportunity to try to wipe out an evil that has been causing both psychological and physical difficulties for them. At the end of the last war it was estimated that there was a shortage of nearly 250,000 home units in Australia. Since then, from a variety of causes, the housing accommodation that was previously available to the people has been considerably reduced . Honorable members know verywell that in the cities demolitions have taken place so that factories could be extended. Houses in residential portions of all the cities have been torn down so that warehouses and offices could be built, because of the shortage of that kind of accommodation. I invite attention also to the demolition of houses that has taken place in practically every country town, as well as city areas, so that service stations could be built. All these occurrences have combined to result in a position with regard to housing that must be corrected within the next four years. If it is not corrected, we will find, by 1964 or 1965, a fresh problem that will require all the ingenuity of governments and much finance to solve. I remind honorable members that since 1945 there has been a very sharp increase in the population of Australia, partly because of immigration, with regard to which the policy at present is to bring into this country a number of immigrants equal to 1 per cent, of the population per annum. It is also partly due to our increased birthrate. The population of Australia is now increasing by at least 200,000 persons yearly. This in itself means that a constant demand for housing must be felt year by year. The estimate of the number of new houses required to accommodate our house-hungry people varies in different areas and centres. Various estimates have been given, ranging from 80,000 to 100,000. **Sir Douglas** Copland in a recent address indicated that in his opinion the lag at the present time amounts to 90,000 houses. The annual demand, apart from, the lag, is 55,000 per annum. As each year goes by, and our population increases, that demand will increase beyond 55,000. We can expect that by 1961 the annual requirement, apart from any lag, will be 60,000. By 1965 the annual requirement will be 65,000 houses per annum, and by 1970 we will require 80,000 houses a year, apart from any lag there may be. The question we have to ask ourselves is this: Are we, as a community, and is the Government, as a government, pursuing any positive plan designed to reduce this housing shortage, so that when 1965 comes around we will have the building industry geared to the stage at which it will have overtaken all the lag and, at the same time, be able to provide annually the increased number of houses that will be required? There is hardly any need for me to remind honorable members of the prob lems which they find confronting them daily in respect of the housing of their own constituents. I know that in my own electorate never a day passes but people call at my office because of a housing problem, either having received a notice to quit, or being threatened with an ejectment order, or because the conditions under which they live have had such an effect upon their family life or their health that they are compelled to seek accommodation elsewhere. The honorable member for Batman **(Mr. Bird)** spoke last night about people living in rooms, in sheds and in caravans. I know that in my own electorate there are people living in these conditions and also in condemned houses. They find it necessary to do so because, try as they will, they are not able to rent houses, and those who are eager to purchase cannot raise the deposit necessary to enable them to buy homes. One thing that we people of Australia claim is a high standard of living, and we claim the right for every family to live under conditions that accord with our high standards. Unfortunately, however, throughout Australia there are thousands of people living under conditions that do violence to our belief regarding reasonable requirements for the citizens of Australia. The problem falls upon the shoulders of the governments of Australia, and they must find a solution. It is a strange fact, and possibly due to the advance in our standards of living, that during the last 30 or 40 years there has been a complete change in Australia's type of housing requirements. In the beginning of the 'twenties considerably more than half the houses occupied in Australia were rented. The remainder were owned by the occupiers. From then until the present time there has been a change taking place in respect of house occupancy. No longer do we find the majority of houses rented. The majority now are occupied by home-owners, and that tendency is growing. On the other hand, there is still a large portion of our population who, for a variety of reasons which time will not permit me to elaborate, are compelled to live in rented houses. The responsibility of finding rented houses for these people falls upon the State governments. This is because investors no longer desire to put money into houses for rental purposes. This is not because of rent control, because in all States rent control does not operate so far as new houses are concerned. It has happened because our standards have changed, and the building regulations that were in force in the days when terraces could be built on small blocks of land, and when semi-detached houses could be built on a block suitable only for a single house, have gone. Municipal building regulations now provide that there shall be a specified minimum area of land upon which houses shall be built. But those are not the conditions which induce people to invest in building for rental purposes. Investment for rental purposes is taking place to-day in luxury flats only. In these circumstances it is necessary for the State governments to provide the houses which are required for rental purposes and the money for them must be made available by the Commonwealth Government. I now want to deal with the question of home-owners and how their difficulties may be overcome. Houses for home-owners are at the present time being erected by various types of builders. First, there is the speculative builder who builds for sale. Then there are large building firms which build settlements of fine types of houses. In addition, the co-operative housing societies, I believe, provide the best method of overcoming our housing difficulties. These societies flourish extensively in New South Wales and Victoria, but they find themselves unable to carry out the part for which they are admirably fitted because of the difficulty of obtaining finance. Like other honorable members, I am associated with the co-operative housing society movement. I am associated with four of those societies in the city of Bendigo. As fast as we form a co-operative bousing society, its membership is filled. Quite a large number of people are seeking membership. Recently, we completed the formation of our fourth society, and at present there is a waiting list of between 50 and 60 persons who are anxious to become members of one of our societies. But our difficulty is finance. I pay tribute, at this stage, to the wonderful work that is being done by the Commonwealth Savings Bank and the State savings banks in the various States, which have lent to the limit of their capacity to assist the co-operative housing society movement. To a limited extent, money is being made available for home-building by the savings bank departments of some of the private trading banks. But the great problem is to secure sufficient money to enable a society to function economically and satisfactorily. The societies are receiving loans to-day of £50,000, but these involve high management costs, a feature which is not desirable in housing schemes. No co-operative housing society can function economically and efficiently unless it has a capital of at least £100,000. It seems to me that the only way in which the necessary finance can be obtained is for the Commonwealth Government to make a much greater advance for housing out of its revenues than is being done at the present time. I stress that, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** because, as I said before, a great problem will confront us in 1965. In that year a large age group will require houses. I refer to the age group which will be between 20 and 29 years and which will exert the greatest pressure for housing accommodation. It will be much larger in 1965 than it was in 1955. This will mean a fresh demand for housing accommodation, and unless the current lag is overtaken it will create a greater problem than exists now. Because of this, I strongly urge that a plan should now be formulated so that during the next four years we can concentrate upon this greatest of our social evils. Nobody can say to what extent improper, insufficient, unsatisfactory or no housing accommodation is the cause of juvenile delinquency. No one can say to what extent it is responsible for breaking up marriages, separation of families and circumstances of that description, all undesirable social features which it should be the first business of a government to prevent or minimize as much as possible in the future. I wish to direct attention to the seeming satisfaction that some people have gained from the publication of recent figures which, in my opinion, are illusory. In the quarter ended 31st December, 1958, it was estimated that some 20.632 houses were completed. A statement like that leads some people to believe that the housing problem is now under control. But when one looks at other figures which were released by the Statistician one finds no cause for such satisfaction. It is true that last year 75,329 houses were completed, but that is more than 4,000 fewer than were completed in 1952. It is also fewer than the number completed in the years 1953, 1954 and 1955. But worse still, the figures show that the number of houses under construction at the present time - that is in the quarter ended 31st December last - is the lowest recorded during the last seven years. Only 48,362 were under construction, whereas the figures going back to 1952 show that in each quarter the number of houses under construction varied from over 51,000 to more than 81,000. This indicates that we will have great difficulty in attaining the quota needed next year. I believe that a positive plan should be placed before the House in respect of this matter. Therefore, I make some suggestions which I hope will be considered by the Government and adopted as a means of dealing with this problem on a satisfactory basis, First of all, the Commonwealth Government, within a period of two years, should take up the housing lag now existing in providing finance under the War Services Homes Division. Next, a committee consisting of representatives of the Commonwealth, States and building organizations, including trade union building organizations, should be established to formulate and supervise a plan to overtake the housing lag within four years. Further, I suggest that Commonwealth finance for housing purposes should be substantially increased. A further proposal is that the States be advised of the annual amounts to be allotted to them for housing for each of the next four years. Finally, I suggest that additional moneys be made available by banking institutions for housing purposes by releases from special deposit accounts and be ear-marked for housing loans only. I believe that finance is the only bar to overcoming the housing problem. Men and materials are available; it is only necessary for the finance to be provided to enable this problem to be tackled and, I believe, satisfactorily settled. The statement in the Governor-General's Speech that £80,000,000 is being provided this year for housing is likely to mislead not only members of this House but also the public of Australia. One might think that this was a vast increase in the amount of money provided for housing, but, in actual fact, it is an increase of only £3,000,000 over the sum of £77,000,000 allocated for housing last year. During the period from 1951 to 1957, the average annual amount made available by the Commonwealth Government for housing was approximately £64,000,000. That indicates that a much greater effort must be made by the commonwealth if we are to deal with this problem positively and bring relief to the househungry people of Australia. If the plan that I have outlined is followed, something constructive will have been done, the Government will have indicated its preparedness to tackle the problem, and within four years the difficulties of Australia's house-hungry people will have been overcome effectively and efficiently. {: #subdebate-36-0-s10 .speaker-JOA} ##### Mr BARNES:
Mcpherson **.- Mr. Deputy Speaker,** it is with some regret that I realize that my presence here is the result of the severance of a very long association with the Parliament of a most vigorous, able and courageous political personality, and a very fine man. I refer to **Sir Arthur** Fadden. Nevertheless, I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve the electorate of McPherson. I have been informed that it is usual, when delivering a maiden speech, to refer to the electorate that one represents. Since, because of the variety of soil and climatic conditions, most of the rural products that are vital to Queensland grow in the electorate of McPherson and, incidentally, since the very well known playground of Australia, the Gold Coast, is in that area, I believe that the problems of my electorate really concern the whole of Queensland and that I can best serve my subject by speaking of Queensland as a whole. It is generally accepted that Queensland enjoys world-wide fame because of the tremendous attempt that has been made by the white race to establish itself in tropical and sub-tropical areas within the borders of that State and at the same time preserve a high standard of living. Because of our meagre propulation in the north, I believe it is vital that we should fill that area with people of our own choice. I think I can best indicate where our problems lie by giving a summary of settlement in Australia since the middle of the last century, when the discovery of gold at Bendigo and Ballarat brought many settlers from Europe to try their luck on the goldfields. As we all know, many of the settlers turned to agriculture and pastoral pursuits to supply those who were engaged in the profitable gold-mining industry. It can readily be understood that that southern climate was very similar to that of Europe from which, as I said, many of these people came. Those early settlers discovered that the climate suited their methods of agriculture and the crops that they sought to raise. The result was that when the mines were eventually exhausted a very prosperous and thriving agricultural industry and pastoral industry survived to sustain a very much greater population than did the original mines. In our review, let us move further north through New South Wales. I cannot call to mind a mineral-producing area in New South Wales that had as suitable a rainfall for other pursuits as did Bendigo and Ballarat, but wherever minerals were found in a favorable area a prosperous agricultural industry was established. We move up to Gympie in Queensland, where there was the first major gold discovery in a summer rainfall or sub-tropical area in Australia. Most of the people who had come from Europe moved there. Of course, they had benefited to some degree from their experience of conditions at Bendigo, Ballarat and elsewhere. They found that the local soil was excellent and that the annual rainfall of approximately 40 inches was suitable for dairying and beef raising; but they discovered that they had to import their flour, as wheat could not be grown in those conditions. The history of the coastal areas of Queensland discloses that squatters who brought sheep to those areas met with disaster because of parasites and diseases that are peculiar to sheep in humid summer conditions. To-day, although the mines at Gympie are no longer producing, the dairying industry, the cattle-raising industry and the timber industry sustain a much greater population in conditions of greater prosperity than did the original mines. It was in this area, as I indicated earlier, that it was discovered that summer rainfall area was not suitable for agronomy. Of course, the dairying industry suffers disadvantages, but I shall touch upon those later. We move further north to Mount Morgan, the site of the richest gold mine in the world. To-day, it produces not only gold but also copper and a valuable byproduct in the form of pyrites. The local terrain is very rough and is quite unsuited to agriculture. It is interesting to note, however, that Mount Morgan lies alongside probably one of the greatest black coal deposits in the world, which extends from the Callide area right up to Blair Athol. Indeed, 1 do not think the boundaries of this deposit have ever been defined. It has been mooted in the press that a company is to be formed to manufacture sulphate of ammonia in order to supply nitrogen for Queensland's soil, which very much lacks that commodity. It is expected that that local company will use pyrites from Mount Morgan as well as exploit those coal deposits. As we travel further north still we come to Charters Towers, which between 1873 and 1930 produced £70,000,000 worth of gold. A magnificent town was established there; in fact, in those days it rivalled the City of Brisbane. But to-day Charters Towers, with its reefs exhausted, and despite a very fine climate, a good rainfall and favorable soil conditions, supports a very small population. It has considerable fame in north Queensland as a fine educational centre, but the population is supported by the local industry of cattleraising. The production of the industry, compared with our southern production, is rather small. The carrying capacity would be in the neighbourhood of fifteen to twenty beasts to the square mile. Nevertheless, the soil conditions are favorable and there is a great potential for water storage and irrigation, because the famous Burdekin River runs close by. Although, no doubt, the will was there, the people who came from the south were unable to adapt their European methods of agriculture to that northern climate. I can go still further north and point to a remarkable instance of a community which did its very best to establish itself in the far north. I refer to the town of Croydon, about 300 miles north-west of Charters Towers, about 100 miles from the Gulf of Carpentaria, and about 2,000 miles by sea, round the Cape York Peninsula, to Brisbane. As you will appreciate, **Mr. Speaker,** that was a very isolated community, cut off by rugged terrain from the sea ports of the east and south-east. Nevertheless, because of the very rich reefs of Croydon, the people who were there were spurred, by opportunities for handsome rewards, to great efforts to reduce the disadvantages of isolation. A foundry and an engineering works were constructed. The miles of mining machinery that line the reefs of Croydon to-day - air compressors, steam engines, boilers and winding gear - were mostly made in that far northern, isolated foundry. Unfortunately, the great Golden Gate reef, which was the main supplier of wealth to Croydon, many feet wide and yielding many ounces to the ton, suddenly faulted, and searchers have never been able to find any trace of the rest of it. So, the history and the prosperity of Croydon ended. It is tragic, **Mr. Speaker,** that that mineral wealth did not have the endurance of such ore-producing areas as Mount Isa and Broken Hill, because 1 have no doubt that those people, with their application and their desperate attempts to reduce the geographical disadvantages that they suffered, would have established, had they been able to exist in the area, an industry which would have supplied very rich mineral ores to the east and south-east. They would have built up their industry on local coal and iron deposits. But that was not to be. Instead of the many thousands of people who were in Croydon during the 90's of the last century - a considerable number when it is realized that at that time the total population of Queensland was under 400,000 - there are now only a few dozen. It is an area of well laid out streets, stone-faced gutterings, and aged buildings, mostly deserted. Strange to say, there are lamp posts made in the local foundry and patterned on those of London's gas-lit era. I mention that, not for any poetic significance that it might have, but to indicate the hopes and the spirit of the people who were there. They felt that they could establish a community, and had they been able to do so it would have been an outpost in the far north. They could obtain only beef locally; everything else had to be imported. They had incentive to produce foodstuffs, but their knowledge of agricultural conditions in a summer rainfall area was too meagre to enable them to make a success of the venture. It was not so long ago that the Darling Downs area was considered to be too far north to be a successful wheatgrowing area. Yet, to-day, with new strains of wheat to suit our particular conditions, we grow some of the finest wheat in Australia. To-day, wheat is successfully grown north of the Tropic of Capricorn, in the Peak Downs area. I think that that indicates the possibilities that we have for our future. We have seen the successes achieved by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organzation in its endeavours in the north-west of Western Australia, in the Kimberleys area - I think on the Ord River - and also at Katherine, in the Northern Territory. We have seen the success of ricegrowing in the region of Darwin, and I am sure that vigorous experimentation will find fodders and grains suitable for those areas. The scientists no doubt will find fertilizers that will give optimum productivity and, what is most important, a legume which will give fertility to our soil. If they evolve such a legume, they will break the barrier to t. successful agronomy for northern Australia. Queensland is on the verge of a great awakening. There has been tremendous discoveries of vast mineral resources. I mention Mount Isa, Mary Kathleen and Weipa, and no doubt there will be many more. The ores from these new discoveries will be processed and refined in the north. That will bring there a new population, and the mere fact of those communities being developed will result in the establishment of greater communities to serve those people. T can visualise eventually many new jobs being created of a very high standard in north Queensland, but we still have quite a way to go. It is of no use exhorting the people in those areas to grow more sorghum and more beef until we can find markets to absorb the increased production. But we must be ready to take advantage of those markets when they eventuate. We have one great problem in most of Queensland, and I think that it covers most of northern Australia as well. I refer to the scourge of the cattle tick. The tick was introduced to the Northern Territory, at Port Essington, early last century by buffalo imported from Indonesia. It spread right round the coast of the Gulf to north Queensland, and in 1897, spread right down the coastal area into northern New South Wales. Only adverse climatic conditions from the point of view of survival of the tick limited it to those areas. In most of the areas affected by the tick, two-thirds of the cattle herds were decimated by the organism of red water carried by it. The few cattle that remained were immune. As honorable members will appreciate, the tick is a parasite of very considerable blood-sucking capacity. To-day, it takes great toll of weak cattle at the time of year when the pastures are very poor in those areas. Consequently, the average life expectancy of beasts in those areas has diminished considerably, and more of the natural increase, the calvings, of each year is needed to maintain the herds of the individual stations instead of it being sold as beef to the meatworks. I believe that this scourge will be overcome, and when it is, beef production in Queensland will increase tremendously. Despite improvements in the cattle areas by the construction of windmills, fences, dams and so on, cattle herds have never recovered sufficiently to reach the numbers that they had before the tick invasion. If the tick is eliminated or successfully controlled, the number of cattle in Queensland, which now holds more than half of the cattle in Australia, will be increased by at least 25 per cent. We have a wonderful area in the Channel country of Queensland. It holds many thousands of very high quality cattle and. in the main, is not subject to tick. However, this country suffers a great disadvantage in that it has a very meagre rainfall and depends mostly on the flooding of several very shallow rivers, which have their sources in higher rainfall areas. Unfortunately, every few years the rains and the floods fail, and many thousands of cattle are lost to Queensland and to Australia. I have very good reason to believe that these difficulties can be overcome. Two well-constructed roads from the railheads in western Queensland into this area and several small abattoirs built in the area would save the loss of condition of cattle in travelling to the railheads. The cattle could be slaughtered and processed on the spot and sent by refrigerated transport to the railheads in western Queensland. We have a Snowy River scheme, which means a lot to Australia. I believe that there is no reason why we should not have a Channel rivers scheme. Such a scheme would return equal benefit, or even greater benefit on a proportional basis, to the whole of Australia. We have seen what the sugar industry has meant to northern Queensland. With small assistance from the south, we have established many thousands of people with a high standard of living in the tropical areas. We have provided markets for southern manufacturers. Australia was the first country to grow sugar successfully without black labour. I believe that we have another opportunity with our dairying industry. I have heard honorable members speak of the bad position of the dairying industry in the south, but the dairy farmers of the tropical areas of Queensland have the added disadvantage of tick and poor pasture conditions. I feel that assistance from the south is desperately needed. {: #subdebate-36-0-s11 .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON:
Port Adelaide -- I congratulate the honorable member for McPherson **(Mr. Barnes)** on what I term a positive speech. He has told us how flourishing centres have almost disappeared because of the exhaustion of the resources that built them, and, as a country member, he has dealt with country matters. I congratulate you, **Mr. Speaker,** on your reelection to your high office. I congratulate, too, the Chairman of Committees and Deputy Speaker on his elevation, and also the honorable members opposite who have been elevated to ministerial posts. I am sure that they will all endeavour to give of their best in the interests of the country. I say " welcome " to the various new members; first, to the new members on my side of the House, practically all of whom are men with a great experience of our views on the government of the country. They are keen to play their part, not only for their own section of the community but for Australia generally. I also extend my good wishes to the new members on the Government side. I trust that they will not be disappointed with their positions in Parliament but will be able to do much in the interests of Australia. I must say that I am not very happy to-night in speaking in this debate on the Address-in-Reply. Before the dissolution of Parliament, we on this side of the House expected the people to change the government and to put the Australian Labour party on the Treasury bench. We felt that we had a policy that was better for the country generally than the policy of this Government. However, I am a true democrat and believe in the right of the people to exercise their franchise and to elect those persons whom they think most suited to govern the country. I bow to the decision of the electors and say that the government in office has every right to try to give effect to the policy that it put before the people. To-night, I do not intend to let recriminations enter my speech, nor will I say harsh things about any one. But I shall try to put forward something that will influence the Government in the implementation of its policy. Some of the new members on the Government side chose to refer to matters affecting their electorates, and although the honorable member for McPherson said that the practice for new members was to speak about the individual electorates, I was pleased that he went far beyond the boundaries of his electorate. However, generally speaking, the new members have spoken more about the section of the community that they represent than about broad issues. I commend the honorable member for Bendigo **(Mr. Clarey)** on his speech, in which he dealt with housing. He dealt with a subject that is of great moment to honorable members on this side of the House and to the people with whom we feel we are intimately connected. I do not wish to speak at length on housing. I shall not go over the ground that has been covered by the honorable member for Bendigo, but I do say that housing is one of our biggest problems. It is linked with out immigration programme. The dissatisfaction amongst migrants is almost entirely due to want of suitable housing. Some people may be disgruntled1 because they find that this is not a place where they can pick up gold, as it were, whilst walking along the street, but generally the dissatisfied migrant to-day is the migrant who has come here with very little capital, has gone into a hostel and ;.s unable to obtain a home in which to live. If he does obtain a home, he has to pay such an exorbitant rent or such a high purchase price that the burden becomes more than he can bear. The provision of housing is a very pressing need. In his Speech the Governor-General said that the Commonwealth Government will make approximately £80,000,000 available to improve the housing position in Australia. To my mind that amount of money is not nearly sufficient to solve the problem. Each State government says that it could build more homes for the people if it had the means at its disposal. The Governor-General also referred to the Constitution Review Committee. That committee, when appointed, was expected to submit proposals to the House for amendments to the Constitution that could be placed before the people without delay. Unfortunately, the committee report was not presented to the House until the day prior to the dissolution of the last Parliament. I hope that the Government will take immediate steps to give effect to some of the suggestions contained in the report. Mention was also made by the GovernorGeneral of a conference to discuss financial arrangements between the Commonwealth and the States. Necessarily, the provision of sufficient money to meet the housing needs of this country is linked up with any discussion on Commonwealth-State relations. For the last two or three years the Commonwealth, as underwriter of the loan programme, has made special loans to the States out of Commonwealth revenue amounting to approximately £100,000,000 a year. Some agreement between the Commonwealth and the States is necessary whereby the States will be given straightout grants of a fair share of the revenue collected by the Commonwealth, and not loans on which the States have to pay interest. The problem of CommonwealthState relations will not be solved until this Government is prepared to work on that basis and to say to the States, " If you cannot carry out the works that should be carried out, we will help you ". The annual loans to the States of £100,000,000 have really constituted a capital levy upon the people, because the Commonwealth has said, " You are not prepared to invest in Commonwealth loans to the extent necessary to permit Commonwealth and State works to be carried out so, in order to get the requisite money, we will impose a little extra tax upon you ". To my mind that policy is entirely unjust. In effect, the Commonwealth collects money from the States, lends it to the States and then charges the States interest on their own money. I shall never sit quietly in my place and allow that policy to be implemented without raising my voice in protest. Although the Commonwealth Government boasted previously about the number of homes it had built as compared with the number built when a Labour government was in office, the honorable member for Bendigo **(Mr. Clarey)** to-night produced figures which showed that the greatest number of homes were built in 1952 - the direct result of the Labour Government's policy up to the end of 1949 of helping building interests to increase their output of homes. Since this Government has been in office the number of homes built has been below the minimum number required. The Labour government of the day set up a commission of which I was a member - at that time I was a member of the State Parliament - to look into the matter of housing in Australia. In 1944, over fourteen years ago, we submitted a report in which we suggested that the Government should institute a policy whereby 50,000 homes would be built, or put in the course of construction, during the year in which the war ended, and that the figure would be stepped up to 80,000 homes a year within three years. At that time the present immigration programme was not in existence, and we felt that at the rate of 80,000 homes a year ten years would elapse before Australia caught up with the back-lag which resulted from the years of depression during the 'thirties, and the Second World War, when housing construction was practically at a standstill. If this Government had faithfully carried out the suggestions made in 1944, we would be in a far better position to-day. The target of 80,000 homes was approached in only one year. The honorable member for Bendigo has also stated that the great proportion of homes now being constructed is for purchase and not for rental. We on this side of the chamber have been accused in the past - I am pleased to see that the accusation has now been dropped - of being opposed to people owning their own homes because they would become little capitalists. That is not our policy. We want people to own their own homes because I, and my colleagues, believe in the old adage that an Englishman's home is his castle. We amend the adage to read that an Australian's home is his castle. We must help people in their effort to own their own home. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt: -- If the honorable member continues to talk about castles, he will find himself believing in honours. {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON: -- I have never said that I do not believe in honours. The great difficulty to be overcome in owning one's home is the amount required as deposit. If one approaches a State housing authority to ascertain the deposit necessary to own a home on the credit foncier system, one is faced with the immense difficulty of finding the amount required. But the State governments, particularly the government of my own State of South Australia, have failed to keep the price of land within reasonable limits. During the period after the First World War I had a home built by the State government on payment of a deposit of £25. At that time it would have been impossible for me to pay the £1,000 deposit that is now required. In fact, the completed home cost only about £700. The price of the land upon which the home was built - a standard block of 50 feet by 150 feet- was £75. If one were able to find a vacant allotment in the same locality to-day one would feel he had obtained a bargain if the purchase price of the land were under £600. How can the ordinary individual under present-day conditions obtain that home which is to be his castle? Private enterprise to-day will not invest money in building homes for renting purposes, so each State government, or some semi-governmental authority, must build homes and make them available for renting. I am pleased to say that in my own State of South Australia homes were built on a big scale for letting by the government on a long-term basis. A Liberal and Country League government was responsible for that move. People from all parts of Australia tell us what a wonderful job the South Australian Housing Trust has done. For about eight years at least, the trust built homes only for renting and not for purchase. Honorable members will understand from what I have said, that Labour's policy is a solid policy. I hear people say, at times, "The Labour party to-day is not like it used to be. It is not the same party." Despite the accusations made by Government supporters and other people that members of the Australian Labour party play with communism and are like Communists, the fundamental principles of the Labour movement are just the same to-day as they were in 1890 when the movement began. We said then - and we say now - that the first fundamental requirement for every individual - and it should be recognized and met - is sufficient food to satisfy the needs of the body. That is what we want to-day. We do not want to see soup kitchens like the one in Sydney that the honorable member for West Sydney **(Mr. Minogue)** mentioned, where 600 people are fed daily, many of them young men who are able to work and who want jobs but are unable to get work, and are dependent on the handing out of a little soup to keep them going. That is not the sort of thing that the Australian Labour party wants, **Mr. Speaker,** and it is no wonder that we on this side of the House perhaps get a little bit worked up when we think of these things happening. I admit that they get me a bit worked up. It makes me boil inside to think of young men, many of them with a wife and some of them with a couple of children, being unable to get jobs and not having enough food for themselves and their families. The first fundamental requirement of the Australian Labour party has always been sufficient food for a man and his wife and family, regardless of their walk of life. There is another thing that we say should follow. We say that the next fundamental requirement is that the people should have sufficient clothing to keep their bodies warm, especially in winter, and to protect their health. We say that they should have suitable clothing. The third fundamental requirement to which we hold is that the people should have adequate shelter. No Government supporter and no newspaper editor or anybody else outside this Parliament would dare to say that the fundamental requirements of food, clothing and shelter in which Labour believes are not desirable. Honorable members must admit that they are desirable, and it is wrong to adopt a policy that will not provide those requirements for the people. My allotted period of 25 minutes does not allow me to say enough, **Mr. Speaker,** and I must skip from subject to subject, but I want to say, with reference to the three fundamental requirements that I have mentioned, that, during the last sessional period. we discussed the position of people who were dependent solely upon pensions. The Government promised that they would be paid 10s. a week extra if they paid rent, but it turned out that a couple who both received a pension would not receive the benefit of this rent allowance. Recently, I visited an old people's home which is conducted by one of the churches in an Adelaide suburb. On my arrival, I met an old lady who told me where I could find the gentleman that I wished to see. After I had seen him, when I was on my way out of the home, I saw the same old lady, with a letter in her hand. She appeared quite worked up, and was talking to a number of other old ladies who were seated nearby on some of the chairs provided for the use of the old people in the home. I asked her what was the matter and whether there was anything wrong. She told me that she had just received the letter that she had in her hand, and said that it informed her that she did not qualify for the 10s. a week rent allowance. I asked whether she had any other income and she said that she had not. She paid the home £4 a week for her board and lodging, and that left her 7s. 6d. a week for clothing and the little extras that are necessary. She said that that was all she had. I asked her whether she had a husband and she said that she had and that he also lived in the home. Because the two old people were both in the home and were both receiving the pension, they could not get the rent allowance of 10s. a week. Widows or widowers in the home who were otherwise in exactly the same position, and who paid £4 a week to the home and were left with only 7s. 6d. a week, received the 10s. a week rent allowance. I do not blame the Minister for Social Services **(Mr. Roberton)** for the administration of the act, because it was passed by this Parliament in a form that imposes this restriction. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- But the Minister was responsible for it. {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON: -- I do not know who was responsible. The Minister may not have been able to get any more money from the Treasurer or from the Government or whoever it was that laid down this restriction. But I do say that the Government is responsible, and that the honorable members who sit on the Government benches, also, are responsible. I said at the time when the rent allowance was introduced that many people would not be entitled to it. A question was asked as to the number who would benefit. I do not know how many will receive the allowance, but it will be a long way short of the number that some Government supporters prophesied when the allowance was introduced. This concerns one of the three fundamental requirements in which the Australian Labour party believes - a requirement of which many pensioners are being deprived. If one goes to the grocery store for food, one cannot get it without the money to pay for it. Neither can one get meat from the butcher or vegetables from the greengrocer unless one has the money to pay for what is bought. Exactly the same thing applies to clothing. Without the necessary money, one cannot get it. If a pensioner has to pay an exorbitant rent and he is left without sufficient money for food and clothing - two of the fundamental requirements that I have mentioned - we are not doing what we should be doing to meet the needs of the people. I have only a few minutes left, and in my remaining time I should like to deal with a matter on which I said last year that I would not let up until the Government did something - and I will not let up, **Mr. Speaker.** Whether or not the Government realized what it was doing, it did a dreadfully harsh thing when it refused to increase the allowance paid to the wives of invalid and age pensioners who are not able to work. What do they get, Sir? A man and wife who are over the respective qualifying ages receive £4 7s. 6d. a week each. A man who is not fit enough to work and whom a government doctor has certified as being at least 85 per cent, incapacitated is given £4 7s. 6d. a week. The Government allows his wife £1 15s. a week. In many instances, the wife of an invalid pensioner has to nurse him as well as look after the home, just as the age pensioner wife of an age pensioner may have to look after the home. If the Government failed in anything in dealing with social service legislation, it failed to do the right thing by the dependent wives of invalid pensioners and, in certain circumstances, of age pensioners. I appeal to the Government, the Minister, and the Department of Social Services to look more deeply into this matter and to do something to give justice to these people. Perhaps I should say " mercy " rather than " justice ", because even if the allowance were increased by £1 a week - an increase that I sought when I moved an amendment to a measure in this place some time ago - it would be only a little mercy that was being given and not justice. I think that the dependent wives of invalid pensioners should be paid at least as much as the invalid pensioner husband receives. We on this side of the House say that certain sections of pensioners need more, and particularly the section that I have mentioned. I was interested to hear the honorable member for Balaclava **(Mr. Joske),** earlier to-day, mention something that a Melbourne professor had said about pensioners who own property. The professor said they would lose their pension if they owned a house in which they were not living and had money put by as well. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable gentleman's time has expired. {: #subdebate-36-0-s12 .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wakefield **.- Mr. Speaker,** I am fully aware of the honour of addressing this House this evening, particularly since I follow **Sir Philip** McBride as the member for Wakefield. **Sir Philip** resigned his seat at the end of the last Parliament, and it is fitting that I should pay tribute to him in this place. I know that all honorable members will agree that **Sir Philip** did a very fine job not only in the electorate of Wakefield but also in this Parliament and in the Government. The House will miss his wise counsel and his kindly cheerfulness, and if I am able to give but a small measure of the service that he gave, I shall be happy. I should like to mention two other former honorable members for Wakefield - **Mr. J.** G. Duncan-Hughes and **Mr. Charles** Hawker, particularly Charles Hawker. His indeed was a shining example. His name is remembered with love and affection throughout my electorate. It is no small challenge to be asked to follow in the steps of three such men, but, in all humility, I promise the House that I shall do the best I can to not lower unnecessarily the high standard that has been set. I intend to confine my remarks in this debate on the Address-in-Reply to our balance of payments problem. I make no apology for doing this because the problem is vital to our whole economy and it simply must be faced. Honorable members will know how our London reserves have fallen since prices for our exports have slumped. Moreover, it seems that the drain on those reserves will become heavier as our population grows, and all must agree that the London funds must be maintained at an adequate level if our whole economy is not to be jeopardized. The question is not whether we need to balance our trade; it is imperative that we must do so. The whole matter is simply a question of how we are to balance our trade because it is still a hard economic fact that imports can be paid for only with exports. This is not an academic problem; it is a problem that concerns not only the Minister for Trade **(Mr. McEwen)** and the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** but all of us. If the problem is serious now, will it solve itself? Will we wake up in ten years' time to find that the difficulty has gone? According to an article published by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics in April, 1958. if our rate of immigration stays at 50,000 a year - I am sure that the Minister for Immigration **(Mr. Downer)** will expect no less a number - and if our natural increase remains as at present, our population will be 12,900,000 by 1976. If the terms of trade remain as they were at April, 1958 - they have certainly worsened since that date - we will need an increase of 62 per cent, in our primary production to feed and clothe our increased population and to produce enough exports to pay for the imports which that increased population will need. If we cannot increase our export production by this 62 per cent., then one of two things will happen. Either our standard of living will fall or our rate of immigration and development will slow down. The issue is as clear as that. As I see it, there are only two alternatives. This, then, is our problem. Unless we can correct this balance of trade position, our whole economic health will suffer now and our future advancement as a developing nation will slow down. Either we reduce imports or increase exports or the whole nation drops back a gear and we all suffer accordingly. What can we do about it? It is of no use my standing up here and prophesying dis aster if I cannot make any suggestion. Shall we cut imports? This was thought to be the answer some years ago, but I am glad to think that we have taken a tremendous step forward in our economic thinking in the last few years and that we all now realize that this is not the way. You can cut imports by imposing higher tariffs or by imposing import restrictions, but such a measure automatically increases the costs of our exporting industries and makes their competitive position in the world markets more difficult. In any case, we now realize that 75 per cent, of our imports come in to service our own local industries and the remaining 25 per cent, comprise mainly consumer goods. If we cut those off, we tend to block a channel of trade through which some of our exports flow, and we antagonize those countries which would buy our exports. No, imports are what we need, and, what is more, the cheaper we can buy what we have to buy the better for us all. Let it be clearly understood that there is nothing to be ashamed of about having to import goods. We can produce grain, meat and wool cheaper than other countries because we have peculiar advantages in these directions. Other countries have peculiar advantages in connexion with other goods. Are we to say to a country that produces, say, tools of trade, cheaper than we do that we will not buy its cheaper tools of trade, and then expect it to buy our wool? No. We all realize that the only way to attack the problem is not by decreasing imports but by increasing exports. How is this to be done? There seems to me to be two problems here - that of the actual production of the increased volume of exports and that of selling them after we have produced them. We can turn to secondary industries to see whether we can expect that they will play any large part in this drive for increased exports'. They certainly have not done much in the past, and I suppose there is no reason why they should not do more in the future. I know that the Minister for Trade had this in mind when he appointed the committee headed by **Sir John** Allison, but I still feel that too many heads of industry are too busy sheltering behind the tariff wall, and I suggest to them that they climb up on the wall now and again and have a look around. The wind of world competition might be keen, but it could also be invigorating. After all, the country thinks nothing of appealing to its farmers to do more and, as a farmer, I say that surely secondary industry can meet world competition also. Or are we farmers the only people in the country with initiative and ability and brains? It is to the primary industries that we must look in the future to shoulder the main burden of increasing our exports, just as we have often looked to them to do this before. It seems to me that two problems arise here - that of increasing the volume of our production and that of selling it when we have produced it. As to increasing the volume of rural production, I know I am correct when I say that we farmers can do far better than we are doing. All my public and private life up till now has been spent in trying to help in connexion with this particular problem. As our scientific knowledge and technical ability expand, as we learn to invest in even more machines, as we learn to conserve more fodder and so on, so will our production continue to expand. We have the country, the climate and the ability. We are getting the knowledge, both scientific and technical. What we must have is the incentive to produce. We must be able to produce at a profit, and, to do this, we must be able to get our costs down. This is something every one agrees upon with a wonderful chorus of approval, but it is also something about which we do very little. We are urged to cut costs and a higher tariff is placed on the goods we buy; we are urged to cut our costs and the basic wage rises; we are urged to cut our costs and a sales tax of 161 per cent, is placed on motor trucks. We all know that we have to keep our costs down, but they are steadily rising. If I were a cartoonist, I would draw a picture such as this: A cow called " primary production " is jammed in a bail called " balance of trade ", and is being milked by two men seated on stools on either side of her. On one of the stools is a man with a bowler hat and a long and strong cigar. He is labelled "trade union secretary " and he is seated on a high stool called " high wages ". On the other side - I must admit that I am not sure which man should actually sit on the wrong side of the cow - is another man with an even bigger bowler hat and an even bigger and longer cigar. He is labelled " manufacturer " and he is sitting on a very high stool called " high costs ". The stools of both men are so high as to enable them to quarrel very conveniently over the back of the cow, but make it very difficult for her to give them any milk. Round about 1950 she was eating quite greedily from a manger called "export prices". About 1958 the manger was getting emptier, and in 1959 her coat was getting stary. In 1960 she suddenly collapsed into the ample laps of both milkers. This is a fanciful picture, but there is more than a germ of truth in it. We, as farmers, know that we must get our costs down. The Government knows that costs must come down, and the manufacturer is absolutely certain of it; but costs climb slowly. There has certainly to be a greater effort by all the community. We must make sure that we, as farmers, do all that we can, and I know as well as any one how much better we as farmers can do. But the rest of you must do all that you can to ensure that you do not place an unnecessary load on our shoulders, because you must realize how heavy a responsibility we carry. Farmers have always felt that they were the backbone of the country. Fifty years ago it was obvious that the whole economy depended on us. Now we find that, although secondary industry produces so much more of the total wealth than does primary industry, and employs so many more people, it still depends on us even more than ever before, because 90 per cent, of our exports are still the products of primary industry. So, **Mr. Speaker,** with all the knowledge at our disposal and given a proper incentive to produce, the nation can look to us with confidence to increase the export production, as we must. We look to the Government for proper assistance to help us sell what we grow. I should like, at this stage, to pay a very warm tribute to the Minister for Trade **(Mr. McEwen)** for the clear-sighted way in which he has worked to do this very thing, that is, to help us sell what we produce. No one could have done more, if as much. The last few years have not been easy, and the next few will certainly be worse. So much depends on the action taken by other countries. We are all apt to be critical of the part played by the United States of America, for instance, in selling her surplus export production at prices which make it difficult for us to compete. Let us make sure that we are doing all that we can before we become too critical. Do our own restrictive trade practices not make it more difficult for other nations to trade with us? The trade treaties with Japan and Malaya were steps in the right direction, but we still watch with a jealous eye lest Japan sells us too many cheap toys. How can we expect Japan to buy our barley if we will not buy her toys? I believe that the free flow of world trade is the best hope we have of raising the standard of living all over the world. That is not the problem before us to-night, but the solution is the same. When we negotiate with other countries, let us be quick to say, " We will buy more from you, because yon produce more cheaply than we do ", rather than try to drive too hard a bargain. Let me take an example of the kind of thinking of which I think we must beware. Since the fall in the price of wool, there has been a demand in some quarters that we refuse entry to Australia of synthetic materials such as terylene, because they are competing with wool, lt sounds so logical and so harmless, but the position really is that we in Australia use about 12 per cent, of the wool we produce. With a little bit of luck - if I may use a popular phrase - we may be able, by cutting off these imports, to increase that figure to 13 per cent., but the chances are that we would do far more damage to our wool market by blocking a channel of trade and antagonising the countries from which we buy these synthetics. This bias in our thinking in these matter » is exemplified again by the mistrust we have shown of the new European Economic Com munity. Here is a tremendous experiment by six European countries which have made a really valiant effort to make trade freer amongst themselves. Yet we watch them with suspicion, lest some small sectional interest in Australia be harmed, and we fail to see that if the people in these countries are more prosperous we too will benefit. The whole world1 stands to gain from a freer flow of world trade, but Australia stands to gain more than most, with her export industries in particular. This, then, is our problem. The magnitude of it is easy to see, but it is far harder to find an easy solution. But let us remember that other countries have tackled a similar problem with courage and conviction and have won out. Britain faced exactly the same problem in the eaI h 1950's, and so did West Germany. They both came through with flying colours. So too can we, but we shall need clearsightedness to see the goal towards which we must aim, and courage to attain it. lt is not just the Government's problem. It is mine as a farmer, and it is mine as a member of Parliament. It is yours also. {: #subdebate-36-0-s13 .speaker-KID} ##### Mr LUCHETTI:
Macquarie .- The honorable member for Wakefield **(Mr. Kelly)** has just delivered his maiden speech. To deliver a maiden speech is a very great ordeal, and I offer congratulations to the honorable member. I wish him well in his parliamentary life and I express the hope that he will be able to bring to this chamber new ideas and, by his contributions, strengthen the fabric of our parliamentary institutions. The honorable member has come to this place with deep-rooted convictions, ideas, and ideals which are very dear to him. It is not my purpose to-night to cross swords with him or to enter into any debate, for this is his night: He has made his maiden speech. The Parliament has heard a number of maiden speeches in the last few days. May I offer congratulations to those new members who have expressed themselves, for I believe that the general tone of the maiden speeches has been of a very high order, which augurs well for the strength of the national Parliament. On whatever side of the House we sit, we ought to be dedicated to the ideal of building up our parliamentary institution, making it work, and making it a living instrument of the people of this country. If, in the course of our debates we can hear the points of view of honorable members from the various electoral divisions, consider their party point of view, and then engage in general debate, I feel that in the long run we will all profit considerably. There is no doubt that the Parliament is a great leveller which helps to rub the rough corners from us all. The dismal record of the Government was mirrored in -the Speech of the GovernorGeneral to the Parliament. I listened in vain for proposals to be advanced for the betterment of Australia in the future. During the election campaign, the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** went to the electors without a programme, without a policy. All that he had to say were some vague generalizations about " Australia Unlimited ". The mass of the people of Australia, therefore, could expect little from His Excellency's Speech, and that is precisely what the House and the nation has been given. I must say that I feel gravely concerned that at this time, when we should be building up the nation and going forward with the majestic thought of Australia unlimited, no plan, no policy or no programme has been submitted for building up the nation. There was no word of hope for those people requiring homes, nor for those who hm , become unemployed. I think we all are gravely concerned at the growing unemployment in Australia at the present time. The number of people out of work is somewhere in the vicinity of 100,000, but this Government continues to bring in new settlers without making adequate provision for their employment, housing, schooling, amenities and social requirements. It is disturbing indeed that we have in power in Canberra, by the grace of the electors of the country, a Government which fails to face up to its responsibility to deal with these important matters. I had hoped that in the GovernorGeneral's Speech there would be a reference to a legislative programme proposed by the Government, but all I heard in that connexion was a reference to the dismemberment of the Commonwealth Bank - to the proposal that the banking legislation which was before Parliament last year will be re-submitted. That legislation will be fought in this and another place, but its success on this occasion seems to be assured. Despite the faults and failings of the legislation, I hope that the Government will not be stampeded by the paid agents of the private trading banks and vested interests to further amend the requirements of those who have not the interests of Australia at heart nor its well-being as their concern, but are concerned primarily with profits, dividends, their own advancement and the advancement of their financial empires. That is a serious statement to make, but I say to the House that the position must be faced. It is disturbing to realize that there are some honorable members opposite who are not satisfied with all the steps that have been taken by the Government to deal with the Commonwealth Bank. This grand institution has a wonderful record of service. We recall how it was able to serve Australia in the early days of growth and development, its help in the building of the Transcontinental Railway, its services to the nation in the First World War and the period immediately after that war, how it was stultified during the recession, and its great and wonderful services during the Second World War and in the post-war period. It is tragic that such a wonderful institution is again to fall a victim to those who want to divide it and prevent it from fulfilling its functions on behalf of the whole of Australia. I have not time, of course, to deal with all the matters with which I should like to deal. The growth of employment is a matter of the utmost concern to me. It affects my own electorate and coal-fields in other districts. Men in these districts are losing their employment by the thousand, but no practical plan is proposed to deal with their needs. Apart from some temporary measures to provide them with relief work of some kind, they have been abandoned. I look back over the promises made by the Prime Minister during the 1949 election campaign, when he guaranteed full employment for those engaged in the mining industry. It disturbs and annoys me to think that these men, who gave so much to the nation by providing the fuel necessary to carry on a full-scale war effort, should now be thrown to the wolves and abandoned in this shameful, sorry and shoddy manner. The problem does exist. I can only hope that the Government will try to solve it by establishing new industries in our country towns on a permanent basis. What happened in Yallourn and Morwell in Victoria could well be repeated by the Commonwealth Government on the coal-fields of New South Wales and elsewhere. We know that mechanization has displaced men by the thousand. The only way in which the mining communities can be preserved is to establish new industries. I have not time this evening to go into detail about the type of synthetic industries that could be established, or the industries for the production of oil from coal and shale. I content myself by saying that the job can be done and that it ought to be tackled by this Government. I put forward two propositions that deserve serious consideration. Firstly, I suggest that if industries are to be established in country centres, particularly in mining centres, to solve this problem, one of the first considerations should be a tax concession to the new industries. That should apply to new industries anywhere. It should apply to decentralized industries in country districts which are facing problems such as those which face certain industries in Tasmania. The cost of transporting their products to the mainland by sea is certainly a burden on some Tasmanian industries. Another matter that deserves consideration is that of freight assistance. With regard to rail freights, we all know that the State railways could not carry the full burden of freight concessions. During the war their services were made available wholly to the nation, and now those railways are burdened with a great debt. I believe that the national Government should accept its responsibility to give such assistance to the State railways as would enable them to grant freight concessions and so permit the expansion of industry in country districts. That would be a practical approach to the problem. There are many other problems that could be dealt with, but I feel that this suggestion should meet the case. I believe that it is a sound and reasonable proposal. The Speech of the Governor-General dealt in a light and sketchy manner with the problems before us. I point out that, whilst the voice was the voice of His Excellency, the words were undoubtedly the words of this Government, and in offering a criticism of the Speech I am naturally criticizing the Government, for whom the Governor-General spoke. I looked through the Speech for a ray of hope for any section of the people - for the families, for the recipients of social services. Ts there a word of hope in it for the aged and the infirm, for the widows and for the families? There is not one word of hope there, nor any suggestion that social service payments of anv kind will be increased. There is not one suggestion that the children of this country who should be given additional opportunities for education to meet the needs of this challenging new atomic age will be given those opportunities. There is no hope at all of additional assistance to families by way of increased child endowment so that they may be kept at school and be able to continue their studies to the university stage. There is not one suggestion in the Speech of anything of that kind. We know the story of the present time. We are well aware of the unfortunate and unhappy fact that when the children of working people reach the age of sixteen, when the parents should he receiving additional aid to keep them at school, child endowment ceases and the children, although they may be brilliant, are compelled to leave school and go out to earn their living. May I suggest, also, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** that the Commonwealth Government has a duty to find additional funds in order to provide more Commonwealth scholarships. What has been done in this field is firstrate, but much more requires to be done. We certainly have advanced in this connexion in comparison with the conditions that obtained previously, but if this country is to hold its position in world affairs we must definitely develop a race of skilled, educated people, people of quality, people of capacity who, without being in great numbers, will be able to match their intellects against those of people of other countries. I put that forward as an urgent need at the present time. I make a plea to the Government for additional child endowment. But, so far, the Government has promised nothing, and we can expect precisely that. Now let me say a word or two regarding social services, a subject on which I shall touch only in passing. I refer now to the supplementary assistance for pensioners, which is generally known as the rent allowance. I have had people come to me about the anomalies that attend eligibility for this supplementary assistance. One, in particular, is an ex-service pensioner who receives 10s. 3d. a week as a repatriation benefit. Because he receives 10s. 3d. a week in repatriation benefit he is not entitled to the surpplementary assistance. I know of a lady who was paying off her cottage, who was forced to borrow £400 in order to complete the purchase. She had paid the rest of the purchase price by using all her life savings for that purpose. In order to pay off the mortgage in a reasonable time she is called upon to make a payment of £3 ls. 3d. a week. In addition, she has to pay rates and taxes. Yet she is not entitled to supplementary assistance because it is alleged that she owns her home. In fact, that lady does not own her home. She is in the process of buying it, but she is treated as a home owner, denied the right of supplementary assistance and is penalized thereby in a scandalous fashion. I put it to the Government this evening: Please correct that anomaly without further delay. To-day I asked the Minister for Social Services to look into this matter, and I received from him the type of reply to which we have become accustomed from that honorable gentleman - one of off-handedness, one of aloofness, one of " It is the Government's business. The Opposition should not be worrying about it at all." I make no apology for raising the matter again. I come to this place to voice the views of the people of my electorate. I come here to fight for their just claims. I come here to see that they receive fair treatment, and in these matters, and in others, I sincerely trust that a new attitude will be shown by the Minister for Social Services. Another matter to which I desire to refer in passing is the failure of this Government to see to it that local government is provided with adequate funds to carry out the essential services that are its responsibility. I put it to the Government that there is a need for adequate funds to be provided to local government authorities, by grant in addition to loan moneys, so as to supplement the revenue that they raise from the heavy rates levied by them. Let it be clearly understood that local government has not been backward in levying heavy rates. The rates imposed by local government bodies have increased by some 333 per cent, in recent years, which indicates quite clearly that the people engaged in local government have genuinely sought from local resources the money necessary to carry out the additional work cast upon them by the increasing population. The increase in the population of this country necessitates the provision of addi tional roads, footpaths, water supply and sewerage connexions, and the like. Local government has faced up to this problem. But one of the most outstanding matters in this connexion, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** is the fact that local government is not permitted to borrow the money that it wants to borrow. And that is all that local government asks for from the Government - the right to borrow its financial requirements. The question of whether it could succeed in borrowing the amount of money approved for borrowing is entirely another topic. I want to deal only with the central matter - the right to borrow. In 1952-53 local government in Australia was given authority to borrow £127,900,000. For the current financial year local government and semi-government authorities were permitted to borrow only £95,000,000. This is the way in which we are advancing Australia Fair, or Australia Unlimited, as the Prime Minister calls it. I repeat, the amount approved for borrowing by local government authorities fell from £127,900,000 in 1952- 53 to £95,000,000 in the current financial year, at a time when all the services that local government has to provide - services connected with health, national fitness, the treatment of poliomyelitis and diphtheria, and all the rest - continue to expand. These burdens are falling heavily on the shoulders of those engaged in the affairs of local government. Last year, local government authorities in New South Wales sought to borrow £39,000,000. The State authorities cut that loan programme down to £24,000,000, and when that figure reached the gilded halls of Canberra it was further reduced to £14,800,000. These moneys are required for the building of roads, the provision of water supplies and sewerage, and the extension of services to provide opportunities for our new settlers, and our old settlers also, to live as civilized people. I have here some comments from a local government association in New South Wales on the present position regarding loan money for local government, which include the following statements: - >And there is a strong case for local government being given the extra allocation. Community amenities - water supply, sewerage, electricity - are just as essential - if not more so - as the development of private enterprise. As a matter of fact, it matters little purely from the borrowing angle whether these services be provided by private or public enterprise. It is a question of essentiality. If private enterprise wanted money for a water supply scheme or for electricity development, or for the making of roads, there would be no restriction of borrowing for such a purpose. In fact, private enterprise would be encouraged to do so, on the ground that it is doing something for the development of the country and providing employment. But when local government wants money to do precisely the same thing for the development of Australia the cry is that no money is available for those purposes. I think the time has long since passed when we should tolerate such a situation in a young and growing country. Sitting on the other side of the chamber is the Attorney-General **(Sir Garfield Barwick),** who represents one of the oldest cities in Australia. Yet, it is a ci.y of which vast areas remain unsewered. Surely, it is time that the Government did something to make more money available to local government bodies so that they could carry out their essential work. If time had permitted I would have referred to a number of other matters. I wish to refer briefly to the report of the Constitution Review Committee. I pay a tribute to the committee for the knowledge and rich experience that was brought to bear by it in the compilation of its report. With regard to the Senate and the deadlocks that do occasionally occur, I feel that the question of the Senate's retention should be submitted to the people and they should be given an opportunity to determine the matter. There are many other aspects of the committee's report that I wanted to deal with. I know that I cannot go into great detail. Many of the matters touched on in the report could not receive full consideration in a sketchy debate of this kind, but I hope that when this committee's work is being considered by the Parliament, honorable members will be given an ample opportunity to examine the very valuable recommendations made in the report. I wish to make a plea that is somewhat removed from the broader issues dealt with in the committee's report. Since federation, Australia has surely come of age. We have passed our jubilee year. We are now an adult nation, and it is time that these vital matters should be considered as national questions. With regard to the type of new authorities that might grow up in this coun- try, whether they be States, provinces, regions, or local areas, those matters should be given the consideration they deserve on the basis of the ability of the people of a particular area to serve the nation as well as their own particular area. One matter that concerns me vitally is the provision of relief for people who have been badly hit in recent years by flood, fire and tempest. I understand that to do something on a national basis, such as was done under the war damage insurance scheme, would require an amendment of the Constitution. If that is so, then I think it is time some amendment was made in order to institute some form of national insurance. Then, places like northern Queensland, which is at present suffering heavy damage, would not have to receive charity but would be helped from a fund established for that purpose. That would be a small detail in the broad issue of a review of the Constitution, but in many respects it would be of major importance. I leave those matters this evening with the thought that, perhaps, one day the Parliament will get around to some serious consideration of the constitutional issues facing this country at the present time. {: .speaker-JRJ} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Bowden: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-36-0-s14 .speaker-KDT} ##### Mr FAIRBAIRN:
Farrer .- As this is the first occasion on which I have spoken in this new Parliament, I want to commence by congratulating the Speaker on his re-election to office, and by commiserating with the honorable member for Balaclava **(Mr. Joske),** who at least has had the consolation of knowing that his private member's bill dealing with divorce has been accepted by the Government. His bill is one of the first private member's bills that has been accepted for a long time. I also congratulate the mover and seconder of the Address-in-Reply, particularly on the standard and the excellence of their speeches. It is a long time since honorable members have heard two such excellent speeches on the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply. The honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. Luchetti)** pointed out that honorable members are allowed a very short time in this debate in which to cover a multitude of subjects. He, I am sure, had many more subjects that he wanted to cover, and I find myself in similar difficulty. One can either say a lot about a little or a little about a lot. I have not the time to deal with the subject discussed by the honorable member for Macquarie, but I know that it is a subject ot particular importance. I refer to the provision of funds for local government, and I must congratulate the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** on his announcement earlier this week that the Australian Loan Council has agreed to increase by £4,000,000 the borrowing power of local government authorities. I leave that subject and get on to the first subject thai I have selected as being one of great importance, and that is the announcement by the Governor-General in his Speech of the meeting at Broadbeach in Queensland of the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East. That body, which is sponsored by the United Nations organization, inquires into the economic development of the Far East. Many of the people who will be present at the meeting of Ecafe at Broadbeach will be people with whom I served on the second committee at the United Nations. I want to remind honorable members of the action that I had to take at the United Nations. As a delegate from this Parliament, I found myself a member of a committee that had decided to set up a special fund for the assistance of under-developed countries. The fund was not to be a complete capital development fund for under-developed countries but one that would help them to develop their countries and obtain technical assistance to get certain developmental schemes under way. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the United Nations, I was told that the Australian Government had decided that if and Then that fund was set up, this Government would not be in a position to contribute to it. I found myself in a rather humiliating situation. Many countries that were much smaller than Australia, did contribute to the fund. One of our near neighbours to the north, Laos, which is a tiny country compared with Australia, made a contribution. Perhaps, it was only a token contribution, but at least it was a contribution. The New Zealand Government, which had only recently succeded in bullying the Australian Government into lending it £10,000,000, made a token contribution. New Zealand's financial position at that time was far worse than ours. Our sister dominion of Canada, as well as contributing in a major way to the Colombo plan, gave 2,000,000 dollars to the special fund. One can realize the position in which Australia was placed. I consulted the Minister for External Affairs and the head of the Australian mission to the United Nations and they said that I, as the Australian delegate, should not speak about the special fund at all. They said that if I did, other countries might ask how much Australia was contributing. It was a most invidious position for me. I know the Government's attitude about it. I have discussed this matter with the Treasury. The Government's attitude was that it was making a large contribution under the Colombo plan towards under-developed countries. The Government said that the funds allocated under that plan were earmarked as coming from Australia whereas countries receiving funds from the special United Nations fund would only know that the money was coming from the United Nations. They would not know what particular countries had contributed the money. Well, by all means, I say that we should keep up our contributions under the Colombo plan. But I do hope that before the United Nations meets next year Cabinet will reconsider this decision and will make a contribution even if only in a minor form. I point out that I was the only member of the 84 members at the pledging conference who got up and made a flat denial and said that Australia was unable to contribute. Admittedly, the representatives of a number of other countries were not game to contribute, but they had no instructions from their governments and said, " We are considering the matter, and we will let you know later ". I had to get up and say that Australia was making no contribution! I do hope that this matter will be reviewed by Cabinet and that action will be taken. I cannot think of any better action than for the Governor-General, when he opens the conference at Broadbeach shortly, to indicate that Australia is prepared to make a contribution along these lines. I pass to the next topic that I have decided to talk upon in the short time available to me. It is the reference in His Excellency's Speech to the fact that the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization is achieving considerable success in research to enable wool to maintain its competitive position with manmade fibres. My recent trip to America enabled me to see and to evaluate the threat to wool by synthetics. Let me give the House some examples of how synthetics have replaced the use of wool in the United States. In the blanket industry alone there has been a replacement of something like 20,000,000 lb. of wool annually by synthetics. There are the wash-and-wear suits that now account for about 17 per cent, of all suits that are bought in America. These suits are not made of wool. They are made generally of dacron and cotton. They can be thrown into a Bendix washing machine, hung out to dry, and worn again without pressing. They have a ready sale. There are combinations of dacron and wool, which account for something like 20 per cent, of the total sales of suits in America and so again the sale of Australian wool has been reduced considerably. There are replacements for wool in carpets, such as nylon and acrylon and various things of that nature. There are expected to be at least five more synthetics, all competitors to wool, that will come into the market in the coming year. So we have no cause for complacency at all about the future of wool. We have to fight very hard indeed if we are to retain that market and to regain some of the lost ground. What has brought this about? First of all, there are enormous resources behind the synthetics. The Du Ponts and Imperial Chemical Industries are interested in synthetics and can spend enormous amounts of money on developing the industry. Last year they spent between 50,000,000 and 60,000,000 dollars in the United States on research, publicity and advertising. By comparison, the figure for wool was 2,041,000 dollars. I suggest that is not adequate. I do believe that the Wool Bureau in America has got reasonable value for its money, but obviously it cannot compete successfully against those who are spending vastly more. In Australia, the Wool Bureau has considerable funds at its disposal. It has a capital account of something like £4,000,000, but at the present time it is just living on its income. I feel that it is a bit like the position of a hermit who dies in poverty and when some one goes along to clean up his affairs thousands of pounds which he has not touched are found in a secret hiding place. We cannot afford to see the wool industry die on its feet while the bureau has those funds. I say that we should get into it while we have the funds available,, and when those funds need replenishing, the graziers must be prepared for a considerable levy per bale for publicity and research. At the same time I think that the Government, which has a very lively interest in the sale of wool, must be prepared for a considerable increase in the funds available for research and publicity. The second thing that has led to the undoing of the wool industry in America is the inefficiency of the American wool industry itself. I do not know whether any other honorable members have been there, but wool and mutton in America are on the way out. The number of sheep in America has dropped in recent years from about 50,000,000 to 25,000,000. The bulk of these are grown, not for wool, but for mutton and fat lambs. The industry itself is remarkably inefficient. The classing consists of just getting the whole fleece, wrapping the belly, neck and crutchings together, tying it up with a piece of string and putting it in bags; then some one comes along and makes an offer for it. I forget the number of classifications we have, but there would be a few thousand. So, we are paying the price for an inefficient industry in America while we have probably the most efficient wool industry in the world. Unfortunately, to support the American industry the Americans have placed this severe tariff of 25 cents per lb. against Australian wool imports. As a result, of course, we are hit. But in actual fact the tariff is not supporting the American woolgrower; it is supporting the synthetics. I feel that the strongest representations should be made to the American Government by our Minister for Trade **(Mr. McEwen)** for the removal of that tariff. It is equivalent to from one-third to one-half of the value of our wool. Because of it, our wool is not on a competitive basis with synthetics. Not only is this so in relation to our natural wool; there is a strong tariff placed against imported made-up tops by America. At the moment 5 per cent, of the local manufacture has been imported, and there is a very steep increase in tariff which makes the importation of made-up cloth almost prohibitive. I ask the Minister to take up this matter very strongly indeed. We have a severe adverse balance with the United States, and I think we could bring pressure to bear by saying, " We will not buy from you unless you buy from us ". The United States tariff applies not only against wool. In recent months, it has been increased on lead imports, resulting in a decline in our exports of lead by 50 per cent. Great strides, His Excellency said, have been made in improving wool as a textile. There has been permanent pleating or crease resistance, which is probably the greatest discovery in wool that has been made for a decade. There has been developed a new cold-dip process by which wool is dipped cold and dyed in ten seconds instead of the old process in which the whole thing had to be boiled together. Unfortunately, it is not completely clear from the laboratory yet. There is more work to be done on it, but the effect on the sale of our wool abroad will be tremendous. There is a new method designed to increase, by using a surface-active wetting agent, the recovery of wool from the carbonization process. When I asked about this in the United States I was talking to the biggest buyer in Boston, the centre of the wool trade in America. He told me that he had not heard of this process. The same thing applied to permanent pleating. I found that not one firm was using permanent pleating although, in the last week before I left, one firm started it on test - years, not months, after the process had been cleared in Australia. We cannot afford the luxury of wasting so much time between finding and clearing a process from the laboratory at the C.S.I.R.O. and bringing it to real use in the trade. I feel that that is one breakdown in our research activities. Our research plan itself is excellent, but from the time a process is cleared by the laboratory until it becomes a common practice nearly always a year or so elapses. Surely we can have men standing by ready to catch the first plane to the wool centres of the world and explain to the wool manufacturers how these processes can be implemented. Many other improvements could be made, but there is no need for me to go into those. I only want to say that the C.S.I.R.O. has done a great job and is doing a great job. As the Wool Bureau pointed out in its latest report - >As in most industries, a gap exists between the scientific research work and its practical application to the finished product. We have a government member's wool committee and we are doing our utmost to study this problem. A number of leaders in the industry have spoken to us on measures that could improve wool either by way of research, sales promotion, or marketing. We intend to carry on that activity. We hope to be able to report back to the Government towards the end of this autumn session and to make some recommendations which we feel may be of use. I do no want to say any more about wool now because I shall have quite a lot to say about it at a later date. During the short time remaining to me I want to get on to another of my hobby horses - civil aviation. I apologize to the House for bringing this matter up again but I had the opportunity while abroad of making some further study of the subject and I feel that, after all, if the House sends me abroad I should report back and tell honorable members some of the things that I have seen. The Governor-General announced in his Speech that this year would see the introduction of new air services and new aircraft in Australia. I had the opportunity, while in America, England and France, of visiting a number of aircraft factories. I went to the Lockheed works at Atlanta, the De Havilland works at Bristol and the Sud works at Toulouse. I must say quite bluntly that, although I disagreed with the Government's policy on aircraft buying before I went abroad, I have come back disagreeing with it even more strongly. The Government has made four decisions which have affected the purchase of aircraft by Australia. Every one of those four decisions was made at the expense of British aircraft and in favour of American aircraft. Let me detail them to the House. The first decision related to the intention of Qantas to re-equip with Boeing and Electra aircraft. Honorable members will recall that, at the time I pointed out in the House, that there was a tremendous cost in dollars to Australia in implementing the Government's decision and, secondly, that apart from the cost of purchasing the aircraft, there was the cost of making runways for them. Honorable members may know that the Boeing and the larger American jet aircraft require about 10,700 feet of runway to take off, whereas the Comet requires only 6,500 feet and can operate from any normal aerodrome. In fact, it has a much lighter loading on its landing wheels than has the Electra. So we find, now, that we are up for £20,000,000 to build a new aerodrome at Melbourne. At Nandi, in Fiji, the airport which was adequate at 6,700 feet for a Comet, has been extended to 10,200 feet and is still not adequate for a Boeing to take off. In other words, the Boeing will have to take oft underloaded in either freight or passengers because it requires 10,700 feet. When I brought this matter up the answer of the Government was, quite rightly perhaps, that the board of Qantas had made a decision, and that Qantas being an excellent airline, the Government supported the decision. What was the next decision? The board of TEAL spent about two years in visiting every factory engaged in the production of aircraft which might be suitable for the New Zealand-Australia run. I hesitate to use the term " expert " in regard to these men because some one recently said to me that the definition of an expert was that X was an unknown quantity and that a spurt was a drip under pressure. So shall I say that these technicians decided, after seeing every possible available aircraft, that their company should buy Comets? Immediately that decision was made, officials of the Department of Civil Aviation and the Minister flew to New Zealand and put the utmost pressure on the board of TEAL to rescind its vote and to take American aircraft which it had not asked for and which it did not want. The next decision of the Government related to an application by Trans-Australia Airlines to buy two Caravelles. The Caravelle is a beautiful plane. I flew in one in France. It has a speed of about 515 miles an hour and has two Rolls Royce Avon engines. It would have been ideal for the Australian run but the Government said, " No. Although you, the experts, have said that you want Caravelles, you cannot have them. You must take Electras." So, TEAL was forced to take Electras, although it had not asked for them. May I say that this was an anti-British move? I discussed this matter in England with the director of the Society of British Aircraft Contractors. He was not unreasonable. He said to me, " The British aircraft industry believes that it could not sell a British aeroplane to Australia even if it had a diamond in every rivet hole." Of course, he was not alluding to the Viscount, because there is absolutely no competitor for that aircraft, but in every case in which there has been an American competitor, the Government has forced airlines which wanted to buy British or French planes to rescind their decision and buy American ones. In the case of France, we must remember that not only has she produced an excellent aircraft, but that she has a very adverse trade balance with this country. France is the third largest purchaser of our wool and, over all, purchases about ten times as much from us as we purchase from her. In the fourth case, **Mr. Butler** applied to buy some Caravelles and a quite spurious argument, to my mind, was put to him. The Civil Aviation Department said, "We are sorry, but the aerodromes will not be able to take Caravelles before 1962 or even 1965 ". If the department wishes to keep certain aircraft out, it should say so and not offer a completely spurious argument. There is no aerodrome that I know of which can handle Viscounts or Electras and which cannot handle Caravelles. They use the same fuel and have a similar performance on the runway. So why should the department say that it will not be possible to use a Caravelle here until 1965? We know that Boeings which take 4,000 feet more of runway than the Caravelle will operate in Australia before 1965. This shows that what the Director of the Society of Aircraft Constructors in Britain said to me to the effect that British manufacturers believed they could not sell a British 'plane to Australia even if there was a diamond in every rivet hole has some strength in it. I do not say that we should always buy British aircraft. All I ask is that if things are even we should lean to Britain rather than to America. A number of British firms have established branches in Australia and are employing Australian workmen. American aircraft companies have established no factories here as the De Havilland and Bristol companies have done. We have been buying about 80,000,000 dollars worth of aircraft from the dollar area although in my opinion we could have got similar aircraft from the sterling area. British workmen are being laid off from British aircraft factories. The Bristol company has said that unless orders eventuate very shortly it will have to put 10,000 workmen off. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Cope)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 178 {:#debate-37} ### COMMITTEES Messages received from the Senate intimating that the senators named had been appointed to serve with the following committees: - >Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting. - The **President (Senator the Hon. SirAlister McMullin), Senator Arnold** and **Senator Marriott.** > >Public Accounts. - **Senator Benn, Senator Wade** and **Senator Wedgwood.** > >Public Works. - **Senator Anderson, Senator Maher** and **Senator O'Byrne.** {: .page-start } page 178 {:#debate-38} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-38-0} #### Social Services Motion (by **Mr. Hasluck)** proposed - >That theHouse do now adjourn. {: #subdebate-38-0-s0 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I want to raise a matter concerning the Department of Social Services and therefore I am glad that the Minister for Social Services **(Mr. Roberton)** has responded to my call and has come into the chamber to listen to what I haveto say. {: .speaker-KZE} ##### Mr Roberton: -- I can easily go out again. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I think you probably will beforewe have finished with you because we have now got you in a position that we have not had you in for quite a few weeks. I want to tell the Minister some facts about his administration. In all the long history of social services - 58 years now - no government has ever previously selected any one so completely unsuited for his task as is the Minister, who now sits at the table smiling away and not caring very much whether we say anything good or bad about him. Throughout his political career the Minister has made it obvious that he has absolutely no sympathy for the person who, by force of economic circumstances, is compelled to accept social service payments. Writing in his capacity as Peter Snodgrass he has repeatedly made it clear that if a person cannot save enough money during his working life to become independent of the pension, so far as the Minister personally is concerned, he can starve. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- Who is Peter Snodgrass? {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- That is the name that the Minister uses whenever he writes letters to his little local rag. Recently, the honorable member for Sturt **(Mr. Wilson)** hit upon the happy idea of advising persons in his electorate who had more money than they were entitled to have to qualify for an age pension - having regard to the property test - to divest themselves of the excess by purchasing from a friend, relative or insurance company, an annuity. I applaud him for having discovered that loophole in the act. I followed his example. I have fixed up several of his clients who, having received advice from the honorable member, eventually came to me to check up and ascertain whether this good news was in fact true. In the course of the last few months I have succeeded in explaining to quite a number of people - some hundreds I would think - that the proposal of the honorable member for Sturt ought to be adopted. I advised them to give their money to their children so that they could qualify for a pension and thus beat the iniquitous property test which this Government has continued in operation for ten years now. Nothing was said about the matter by the Minister until after 22nd November. Hundreds of people were led to believe that the Government was prepared to allow them to invest their money in annuities with relatives, sons or daughters, but when the election was over a directive went out from the Minister to the various branches of the Department of Social Services to the effect that they were not to grant pensions to people who purchased annuities through their sons or daughters, unless certain strict provisions were included in the proposal. There had to be what the Minister was pleased to call " securities ", which had to take the form of a lien, caveat or encumbrance on their property, house and the like. What the Minister was really doing - I believe deliberately - was working in cahoots with the insurance companies of Australia. He had decided that he was going to make it so tough for the sons and daughters of pensioners to take out the annuity that those seeking to benefit would be compelled to go to the insurance companies. The South Australian branch of the department, in striking contrast to its Minister, is most sympathetic to pension applicants. Except possibly the Department of Immigration, no department stands in higher esteem in that State. I know of none more capably run. That is not because of, but in spite of, the Minister. Those in charge of the branches have been directed that in future people applying for pensions are to be told that they have to give their money to an insurance company. What happens? An old couple with, say, £3,000 in the bank could' give it to an insurance company and receive in return an annuity of, say, £7 a week. They would qualify for a full pension, but the moment that the annuitant died the insurance company would be able to keep the balance of the £3,000. If a man purchased an annuity to-day and died to-morrow the whole of the £3,000 would go to the insurance company. »'he annuitant would not have received one penny by way of annuity. Therefore, old people say, quite justifiably and understandably, " If we have £3,000 we will give it to our son or daughter ". who may owe £3,000 on a house or other property, and1 are doubtless anxious to establish themselves. That was quite permissible in the beginning. Many of these people were fixed up by the honorable member for Sturt. I would say that some hundreds were fixed up by myself and **Senator Toohey** in South Australia. Not only has the Minister decided to issue, subsequent to the election, this instruction in respect of cases not finalized before the election, but I have a feeling - I have not checked on it - that in one case which had been finalized before the election there is to be retrospective application of the new directive. In that case the pension would be cancelled and the whole of the money paid over in the purchase of the annuity will be lost to the poor old pensioner couple concerned. {: .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr Killen: -- Has the honorable member seen a copy of the directive to which he refers? {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- Of course I have not. One does not need to do that when one can see dozens of letters on the subject from the Department of Social Services telling people that their applications for a pension have been rejected because the amount paid to the son or daughter as the purchase price of an annuity is to be taken into account by the department in assessing the value of property held. The honorable member for Lilley **(Mr. Wight)** brought this matter up, and was given an assurance in this Parliament by the Minister that this kind of thing would not go on. I give full credit to the honorable member for Lilley for bringing the matter forward. It must come as a surprise to him to find that now, with the election over, the solemn undertaking given him by the Minister has been broken, and that these old people, who thought they could purchase an annuity from their sons and daughters have been told that such a transaction is completely illegal so far as qualification for a pension is concerned. {: .speaker-L0V} ##### Mr Wight: -- I am sure that that cannot be true. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I say that it is true. I remember very well the honorable member bringing this matter into the Parliament. He sought an assurance from the Minister and he received it. I was pleased to see the honorable member bring up the matter because I felt that at least the Minister would honour an assurance given to a member on his own side of the chamber. However, we find that that is not the case. The unfortunate people to whom I have referred have now to overcome these difficulties: The son has to encumber his home to the full value of the annuity. Some sons and daughters are in difficult circumstances. Properties may have been bought by them jointly with their wives or husbands and the son or daughter cannot always get the permission of wife or husband to encumber the property as they would like. A daughter may have to say to her mother, "I am sorry, Mum, but you will have to lose the pension because Jack does not feel inclined to give a life encumbrance over his half of the home. We will have to forget all about the pension." {: .speaker-L0V} ##### Mr Wight: -- Is there not a difference of approach as between an annuity purchased from an insurance company and an annuity purchased from a relative? {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- There is. That is the whole point of the matter. The Minister approves of annuities purchased from an insurance company, but will not allow a poor old couple to give the same sum of money to a daughter or son who may be struggling financially. I say that this is a cunning device by the Minister to channel this money into the pockets of the wealthy insurance companies, when the sons and daughters of some of these people are badly in need of money and would be glad to honour an undertaking to their parents. At the same time, the parent would have the pleasure of giving the sons or daughter some financial assistance. I hope that the honorable member for Lilley will have a look at this matter, that he will look up " Hansard " and remind this no-hoper Minister of the undertaking that he gave to the Parliament. {: #subdebate-38-0-s1 .speaker-KBH} ##### Mr WILSON:
Sturt .- As the honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Clyde Cameron)** has chosen to use my name in this debate, I feel obliged to make a statement about this matter. First, I would like toinform the honorable member that at no time have I given such information as he suggests. Such information as I have given to the aged has been advice on their rights under the Social Services Act. Such aged persons as I have been able to assist have in all cases received the utmost courtesy from the Department of Social Services and have received the full pensions to which they were entitled. The honorable member for Hindmarsh has got himself into difficulty because, for the purpose of trying to win votes for himself, not of helping the aged people, he had some 10,000 copies of a circular distributed throughout his electorate, suggesting that if any person wanted a pension he could come to the honorable member for Hindmarsh, who would, virtually, obtain it for that person. Unfortunately for the honorable member, this has rebounded upon him, because apparently he did not study the act. He was not aware of the repeated statements made by various Ministers for Social Services dealing with this matter. There is nothing new in this at all. The honorable member suggests that something new has arisen all of a sudden. The act itself permits a person to dispose of his capital, and it permits him to purchase an annuity. Provided it is a real and proper business transaction, and the annuity is adequately secured so as to enable the aged person to receive the benefit of that security, it is open to the aged person to secure a pension consistent with the provisions of the Social Services Act. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I have a copy of a letter written by you to these people in which none of these stipulations is set out. {: .speaker-KBH} ##### Mr WILSON: -- If the honorable member has a copy of a letter written by me on this matter, all I can say is that if he had followed the terms of that letter instead of writing the foolish circular that he distributed in his electorate, he would have been all right. The difficulty has arisen because in almost every hotel and every house these circular letters have been distributed, giving entirely false hope to the aged people. The Social Services Act is perfectly clear, and the procedure is clear. Provided the property is sold on a business basis and an annuity purchased on an actuarial value and adequately secured, there is nothing the Minister can do to take a pension away, because it is in accordance with the act that this Parliament has passed. The Social Services Act, properly interpreted and administered, as it is, is capable of providing tremendous benefits for the aged people. If, for example, an aged person has been living in his or her own home and is suddenly forced to go to hospital, he or she is able to sell that home and use the money so obtained for the purchase of an annuity from an insurance company or from any person who provides adequate security and makes it perfectly certain that the aged person will get the full benefit. There must be no mere evasion of the legislation which may have the effect of depriving the aged person of the property. I suggest that if the honorable member for Hindmarsh studies the act and tries to help the aged people, without simply using this question for political purposes, he will be doing a service to the community and not a disservice. {: #subdebate-38-0-s2 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD:
East Sydney .- Honorable members of this Parliament who were here before the recent election must be amazed at the speech they have just heard from the honorable member for Sturt **(Mr. Wilson),** because if there has ever been an honorable member in this Parliament who has been on the back of the pensioners for the purpose of gaining support with his crying speeches of sympathy for them, it has been the honorable member for Sturt. However, on every occasion when he has had an opportunity to do something of a practical nature to help them, he has always lined up with the Government against the Labour party. I had hoped that the Labour party would have won the last election. Had we won it, we would have removed all these anomalies from the social services legislation. But when we lost the election we were hopeful that the Government or the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** would have had the good sense to appoint a Minister who would make at least a sympathetic approach to the problems of these unfortunate people. I wish to refer to another aspect of social services legislation. I may say that I regard the present holder of this portfolio as probably the most tricky Minister we have ever had in that position. {: .speaker-KDY} ##### Mr Joske: -- On a point of order, **Mr. Deputy** Speaker; the statement made by the honorable member, that the Minister is a tricky Minister, is objectionable, offensive and contrary to Standing Orders. I ask that it be withdrawn. {: #subdebate-38-0-s3 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Any imputation against the honesty or integrity of a member or a Minister is out of order. The word " tricky " is definitely out of order. The honorable member will withdraw his remark to the effect that the Minister is a tricky Minister. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD: -- Very well, 1 withdraw it, and I shall say that he is a completely unsatisfactory Minister for Social Services. Although the Standing Orders and **Mr.** **Deputy** Speaker's ruling will not permit me to describe the Minister as I would like to describe him, let me say that I have evidence to prove that what I originally said and was forced to withdraw is accurate and true. Let me turn to the matter of the supplementary allowance, which is called a rental allowance. If ever there was a trick put over an unfortunate section of the community, it was this supplementary allowance. How many pensioners get it? For a start, the only persons eligible are single pensioners. Then there are other conditions that must be satisfied. The pensioner must be paying rent. Then there is a means test. Let me give one or two illustrations of the way in which the means test operates. If a pensioner has a miserable income of 10s. a week or more above his pension, no rental allowance is paid. If he has assets of £200 or more, no rental allowance is paid. Let us examine the position of the people who are denied the allowance. Pensioners who own their own homes are obliged to find money for repairs and the payment of rates. Every one knows how valuations have been increased in recent years, resulting in greatly increased rates that have to be paid by these unfortunate people. They do not get the supplementary allowance because they are not paying rent. I have a case to cite to the Minister regarding a widow who was left in a will a small property at Smithtown, in New South Wales. It has been valued by the department at £250. That gives some idea of the kind of property it is. But its value is over the £200 mark. The woman in question does not get any income from it, because there are. aged relatives, in impoverished circumstances, who occupy it and are unable to pay any rent. All they do is to meet the rates and keep it in repair. But- because this unfortunate person has been given that property as a legacy, she is denied the supplementary allowance of 10s. a week. Many of these people reside in industrial areas where property owners wish to dispose of the dwellings in which these people have lived for a life time and are giving their tenants the opportunity to purchase them. Many of them are pensioners who have to take the hat around to gather from their relatives enough money for a deposit because they cannot provide it themselves. But as soon as they become purchasers - and they buy the property only because they are afraid it will be sold to some one else and they will be faced with eviction - they find that the instalments they have to meet are much higher than the rent they previously paid. They also find themselves in the position that they cannot own the property in their own lifetime. They undertake to purchase it on terms only because in that way they get some security of occupancy. But because, legally, they become owners of the property they aredenied the supplementary allowance. I have before me the case of a widow who receives a war pension of 17s. 9d. a week, but no supplementary allowance. Another war widow is purchasing a home through the War Service Homes Division. She receives a war pension of £3 lis. a fortnight, and her blind daughter receives an invalid pension. That is their total income except for the earnings which this widow receives when she takes casual employment. But she receives no supplementary allowance. But the gem of all these cases is that of an ex-serviceman who is in receipt of an invalid pension and also a war pension of 10s 3d. a week. Because his total pension is 3d. more than the permissible income he is denied the supplementary allowance. Unlike the honorable member for Sturt, I try to give some practical advice and assistance to these people. When this ex-serviceman came to me and explained hrs problem he told me that he could not work.' He is dependent entirely on his invalid pension and a small war pension and he is obliged to pay £2 5s. a week for a room. Honorable members can soon calculate how much he has left on which to live. I suggested that he should apply to the Repatriation Commission for a reduction of 3d. a week in his war pension; and on my advice he did so. Honorable members can recollect case after case in which attempts have been made to secure an increase in war pensions and the Repatriation Commission has fought strenuously against such requests. But when this ex-serviceman asked for a reduction in his war pension, the Commission replied that a matter of policy was involved and it would advise when a decision was reached. This ex-serviceman made his application away back in November last. The repatriation authorities in Sydney said that it was a matter of policy which they could not decide but would have to refer to the Repatriation Commission in Melbourne. No decision has yet been received. Several times the Sydney office has told me that I would receive early advice as to a decision, but the repatriation authorities find themselves in the predicament that they are unable to face up to the situation. Why should not this ex-serviceman, who is living on a miserable income, be able to enjoy the benefit of this legislation? If the Labour party had been returned to office this would have been one of the tricks perpetrated by this Government that would have been rectified. We were determined to give ex-servicemen some relief from anomalies of this kind. Whenever members of the Opposition raise matters of this nature the Minister sneers and suggests that we do it only for party political purposes. I have heard honorable members say that they do not blame the Minister; but I do blame him and I will give the reason. I was a Minister in two governments. Any one knows that the Minister in charge of a department is the person who makes recommendations to Cabinet for its consideration. The Minister now administering the Department of Social Services has never at any time believed that these social services should have been provided at all. He always talks about the necessity for people exercising thrift during their working lives in order to provide for the time when they are too old or too ill to work. That has always been his attitude, and it is a crying shame and a disgrace to this Government that we have a Minister so unsympathetic to the needs of these people. He always says, " I have no discretion; this is what the act says ". Why does he not recommend to the Cabinet amendments to the act? Or does every member on the Government side share the opinion of the Minister that only a few of these people should benefit as a result of this amendment of the act while the many other deserving people to whom I have referred should be deliberately denied this benefit? T feel that what the former honorable member for Indi **(Mr. Bostock)** said in this chamber described the general attitude of the Government. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-38-0-s4 .speaker-KZE} ##### Mr ROBERTON:
Minister for Social Services · Riverina · CP -- The honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr. Ward)** is trading, politically, on the fact that the public memory is notoriously short. It is my sad and melancholy duty to revive the public memory, so far as social services are concerned, in reply to the foolish allegations that have been made by the honorable member for East Sydney and, before him, by the honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Clyde Cameron).** It is my duty to remind the House and the community in general that in 1949 the total expenditure on social services, after nearly nine years of socialism, was confined within the limits of £80,000,000. I have said this before, almost from day to day, and honorable members opposite should know that £80,000,000 was the maximum amount provided in the final and last year - I speak in the historical sense of the term - of the previous socialist government. The honorable member for East Sydney was a Minister in that Government, and the age and invalid pensions at that time stood at 42s. 6d. a week. When representations were made to the honorable member for East Sydney and the socialist government of that period, all that the then Prime Minister and Treasurer could do was to wring his hands in utter despair and say that not another single penny could ever be made available for social services or for any social welfare purposes. He said that it was beyond the financial capacity of this country to pay a penny more than 42s. 6d. a week. When the pensioners, the invalids and the widows applied for an increase of 2s. 6d. a week and then, successively for increases of 2s., 18d. and ls. a week, the honorable member for East Sydney supported a government which said that it was financially impossible to grant their request, that it could not be done. From that moment the people of our country rose up and revolted politically against the socialist government of that period and, in 1949, elected a government represented by the present Government parties. Since that moment, year by year and Budget by Budget social service payments have been increased until to-day they have reached unprecedented levels. Not only have payments been increased, but also the means test, with respect to both property and income, has also been liberalized year by year and Budget by Budget to an unprecedented degree. To-day, measured against the circumstances of the aged, invalids and widows of 1949, an individual who qualifies for the age, invalid or widows' pension receives £4 7s. 6d. a week. He or she may have a permissible income of £3 10s. a week, and property to the value of £200 without prejudice to their pension. From that point, as their property exceeds £200 their social service payment is reduced by £1 a year for each £10 worth of property and is not exhausted until the value of property reaches £2,250 for a single person or £4,500 for a married couple. I take no great pleasure from reciting these details to a House that is composed of honorable members who ought to know them as well as I do. I have no doubt that there are honorable members on both sides of the chamber who, indeed, do know them as well as I do. In spite of all that the honorable member for East Sydney has said about me personally and about the administration of the Department of Social Services, it was only yesterday that I received a succession of honorable members opposite who congratulated me personally on the administration of the department. I am forced to say that to a man who, in his own interest, is unwilling to make disclosures of that kind. If I may revert to the allegation made by the honorable member for East Sydney, let me say that the supplementary allowance that was introduced by this Government for the first time in the history of our country was a most courageous piece of legislation that was designed to fill a gap in our social service programme which had been consistently ignored for more than 50 years by the socialist party. When that party had opportunities to introduce innovations of that kind, it ignored them. It remained for this Government, consistent with its action in progressively improving social service benefits, to introduce a supplementary allowance designed for no other purpose than to relieve hardship and to improve the circumstances of those who, be they single persons or married couples, were dependent on a single pension and were required to pay rent. The value of homes possessed by pensioners is not taken into consideration; thu pension payments of those people from week to week are not prejudiced. Therefore, they get a tremendous advantage over the age, invalid and widow pensioners who own no property at all. It was believed by the public in general, by the Government members social services committee - a committee that has been conceived only by this humane Government - and by people who had made all sorts of investigations that there were hundreds of thousands of persons, be they married or single, who were dependent on a single pension and were required to pay rent. To meet that special circumstance, this Government, I repeat, for the first time in the history of this country, introduced a supplementary allowance. I am bound to say, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** that the state of perfection would have been reached for the first time in this country or in any other country that may have introduced a social service measure of that description if no one was eligible for a supplementary allowance as a result of being dependent on a single pension and having to pay rent. As I said earlier, after exhaustive investigations made by the Government members social services committee and a wide variety of other people interested in this subject, it was believed that there were hundreds of thousands of people in Australia who were dependent on one pension and required to pay rent. So this Government, alone of all governments in the history of the Commonwealth, introduced this new measure. I am proud and happy to be able to say that up to this point of time some 71,000 out of 500,000 pensioners have qualified for the supplementary allowance. As the Minister responsible for the administration of the Department of Social Services, I received considerable satisfaction from the fact that such a small proportion of the people were eligible for the allowance. (Extension of time granted.) I thank honorable members for granting me an extension of time. I have been replying only to allegations made by the honorable member for East Sydney. I still have to deal with the allegations of the honorable member for Hindmarsh, but they can be dealt with very briefly. In the course of his stupid allegations, the honorable member for Hindmarsh brought up a spurious directive that was alleged to have been issued by me and the Department of Social Services since the last election. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- I rise to a point of order. I admit that I could not quite understand what the Minister said, but it sounded to me to be objectionable, and I ask that it be withdrawn. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order! What is the remark to which the honorable member refers? {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- The Minister referred to certain remarks of the honorable member for Hindmarsh as being spurious. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- If the honorable member for Hindmarsh does not object, the Minister may proceed. {: .speaker-KZE} ##### Mr ROBERTON: **- Mr. Deputy Speaker,** honorable members opposite will prevent me from making this explanation if they can. What I want to say and to say slowly so that every honorable member, no matter how dull-witted he may be and no matter how strangely I speak, will understand exactly what I mean is this: No directive on the question of annuities has ever gone out from me or from the department since the last election or at any other time since I took over the administration of thisportfolio. Any directive that is in existence has been in existence for many years and is precisely the same instruction that was given to the department by the socialist party when it was in office. If that is not clear, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I have no idea what I can say. It has always been competent for an age pensioner to buy an annuity without prejudice to his pension rights. I hope that it will always be competent for an age pensioner to do that. In the time still at my disposal, let me give a complete and simple explanation. There is nothing to prevent a pensioner so arranging his affairs as to enable him either to qualify for a pension or to receive a pension at a higher rate thanwould otherwise be payable. As honorable members are aware, many elderly people invest their savings in the home in whichthey live and thus qualify for a pension subject to any other means. Similarly, a few others purchase annuities. The question of deprivation of property arises only where the transaction is not bona fide or where the consideration involved is inadequate. The capital value of an annuity has been disregarded as property since 1946, when the socialists were in office, so that only the income is taken into account. The situation which is now receiving a certain amount of prominence is, therefore, not a new one. An annuity may be purchased from one of! the recognized insurance companies or from individuals, including relatives. In determining eligibility for pension, the department has regard to the following features and factors: First, whether the amount of the annuity represents a reasonable return in view of the purchase price; secondly, whether the transaction is bona fide and the pensioner's right to receive the annuity is properly established; and thirdly, the financial standing of the person or company from whom the annuity was purchased and the likelihood of him being able to honour his obligations. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order! The Minister's extended time has expired. {: #subdebate-38-0-s5 .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL:
Melbourne -- This debate has served a very useful purpose. It has forced the Minister for Social Services **(Mr. Roberton)** for the first time to say something publicly on the question of annuities. None of the questions that we directed to him in the last Parliament on this subject was ever answered. What he has said to-night appears in no public document. We have never been able to chisel any of this information out of him, until to-night. There was an amendment of the act in 1954, and what the Minister is talking about now deals with that particular matter. What the Minister says conflicts with what the honorable member for Sturt **(Mr. Wilson)** has said, and the qualification that he mentioned on the question of annuities purchased from relatives being properly secured is fallacious. No regulations have ever been made. Until to-night, we have never known just what the position really was in the mind of this Government. This debate has proved successful in another way. We have the Minister for Social Services posturing before this Parliament to-night as if he had been a lifelong advocate of social justice for the people. Everybody knows that when the 1946 amendment of the Constitution was put forward by the Chifley Government - a socialist government, and we are proud of our record - every member of the Australian Country party was pledged to oppose it. Everybody who sat in " Hillbilly Corner " of the Parliament *opposed* vigorously all that we proposed to do. Yet we find the present Minister trying to mislead himself and his colleagues into the belief that they had something to do with putting on the Statute Book legislation which is of benefit to the Australian people. Under that 1946 amendment of the Constitution, which the Liberal party opposed and which only the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** supported with a personal recommendation, this Commonwealth Parliament was empowered to pass valid legislation in regard to hospital benefits, widows' pensions, pharmaceutical benefits and a long range of other social service benefits, and we introduced all the legislation to make the powers effective. We were not able to implement the law because the British Medical Association ganged up on us. At a later period it surrendered to the former Minister for Health, the right honorable member for Cowper **(Sir Earle Page),** and agreed to conditions that it would never have agreed to with us. The anti-Labour people of this Parliament have a shocking record in regard to social service benefits. They were blackmailed into introducing the age pension in 1908, and even then they did not give effect to it. It remained for the Fisher Government, that came to office in 1909, to make the legislation effective. The honorable member for Bonython **(Mr. Makin)** knows that story very well. Now, we find the Minister telling us to-night that no fewer than 71.000 people, out of a total of half ti million, are eligible to get a miserable allowance of 10s. a week to enable them to pay their rent. I tried to prise that information out of the Minister before the recent general election, but I could not get an answer. I got an evasive reply from the department, and I read between the lines that the Minister had told the department to give no information at all. to allow the people to be fooled into thinking that something really great and generous was being done for them. Now we are told that at least 71,000 people out of half a million are setting the benefit - 14 per cent, of the pensioners. I have tried to get this Minister to tell me how many pensioners are dependent on their pension for their continued existence and for their physical well-being, and he cannot even give me the figures. They do not know. Of course, they do not want to know. When our government came into power just as the Fadden Government collapsed, when the Japanese were about to advance on Australia, and we had to pull this nation together and marshal its full material and physical resources in order that it might survive, the total amount being paid in pensions was £18,000,000. When we went out of office, it was £84,000,000. If honorable members will take the trouble to dissect the annual payment in respect of pensions and calculate the totals over the years from the time that the provisions were introduced, they will see that the Australian people are the beneficiaries, not of anti-Labour legislation or administration, but of the work of Labour governments. {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: -- When was child endowment last increased? {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- In 1948. The mothers of Australia are the forgotten people of this nation so far as the Government is concerned. If this Government had not been able to exploit the legitimate fear of communism in the minds of the Australian people, with the aid and support of the Democratic Labour party and other forces in this country, it would not be the Government of Australia to-day. Perhaps when the Government has to measure up to the question of Dutch New Guinea, the Australian people will realize that it is as incompetent to handle that matter as a former Menzies Government was incapable of handling the situation that developed during the war of 1939-45, and they will change their minds and change the government too. I heard the honorable member for Sturt in silence. I have a great respect for the honorable gentleman, but I should like to say. **Sir, that** nobody looks more like and sounds less like Malcolm Muggeridge than the honorable member for Sturt. I wish that he had the heart and the feeling of a Malcolm Muggeridge for the underprivileged people in the community. This skinflint Government, this Government that looks after the interests of the boodlers and big business, this Government that greases the fat pig and neglects the mass of the people, has a shocking record in regard to the initiation of social service legislation. The honorable members for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Clyde Cameron)** and East Sydney **(Mr. Ward)** were, as usual, perfectly justified in their protests and want a reply. The meandering, ineffective and ineffectual reply of the Minister for Social Services did not even convince the purblind honorable member for Hume **(Mr. Anderson),** one of the most stolid members in this Parliament. {: #subdebate-38-0-s6 .speaker-KDY} ##### Mr JOSKE:
Balaclava .- It is well known, **Sir, that** the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** has to fight for his place in the Australian Labour party, and it is because of that that he has made the kind of speech that we have heard to-night. The people of Australia know that there is nothing in it, because they have heard that type of thing from him for years and years, but have not returned to office the party which he represents. The people inside and outside this chamber know that the statements made by the honorable member to-night have no substance. They are not the kind of statements we usually hear from him and which we usually disregard. We know that he made them to-night only because he realized that two members on the front bench beside him were prepared to claw him down from the position he holds as Deputy Leader of the Opposition. His attitude to-night was purely a facade - nothing else. I, with every other decent member of this House, deeply resent the cruel, harsh and wicked statements that have been made to-night about the honorable member for Sturt **(Mr. Wilson).** I venture to say that no other honorable member of this or any parliament of Australia has done as much as he has for the underprivileged people of this country. I disregard the interjectors on the hurdy-gurdy opposite. We on this side of the chamber have become used to it. It is now rather rusty, but we must put up with it. The honorable member for Sturt is a gentleman whom I hold in the highest esteem. (Several honorable members rising in their places) - Motion (by **Mr.** Hasluck) put- That the question be now put. The House divided. (Mr. Deputy Speaker - Mr. G. J. Bowden.) AYES: 52 NOES: 33 Majority . . 19 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Original question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 11.28 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 19 February 1959, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.