House of Representatives
13 May 1959

23rd Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. John McLeay) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

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Mr. BRYANT presented a petition from 1,200 citizens of the Commonwealth praying that the Government win make provision, by means of a referendum, for the alteration of certain sections of the Constitution which relate to the aboriginal people of Australia.

Petition received and read.

Petitions in similar terms were presented as follows: -

By Mr. CAIRNS from certain citizens of the Commonwealth.

By Mr. L. R. JOHNSON from- 1,100 citizens- of the Commonwealth.

By Mr. LUCHETTI from certain citizens of the Commonwealth.

Petitions received.

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Minister for Trade · MURRAY, VICTORIA · CP

– I should like to inform the House of the departure from Sydney to-morrow of the Minister for Immigration on a visit to the United Kingdom and Europe, where he will examine on the spot the work of Australian migration offices and the methods adopted. He will also discuss migration policy with the authorities in the countries which he will visit. The Minister will be away until about. mid-July, and the Minister for Air will act as Minister for Immigration during his absence.

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– I desire to ask the Acting Prime Minister a question on a matter which has been raised in the Opposition party room this morning and to which my colleagues, the honorable members for the Australian Capital Territory, Shortland, Newcastle and Parkes, and many others including particularly the honorable member tor Paterson, have devoted special attention in a recent debate. It concerns the probable reduction, perhaps of a drastic character, in the number of amateur bands available, which is proposed by the Postmaster-General’s Department for adoption at a forthcoming Geneva conference. As the right honorable gentleman knows, the number of Australian amateurs has more than doubled since the war years and, in situations of emergency they give services of considerable importance to the public. Their scientific work, especially in tracking satellites, has become most important. They are amateurs; they are not professionally engaged in this essential undertaking.

The wide feeling amongst them is that not only their interests but the public interests will be injured, and I ask the Acting Prime Minister to look into this matter. I know that the PostmasterGeneral has given his view, but it is mainly a departmental- view. The details of the proposal and the concern that has been created were explained by the honorable member for Paterson, who is an expert in this field. I ask the Acting Prime Minister to confer with the Postmaster-General to see whether some protection can be afforded to the amateurs. The matter should not be handed over to some group of subordinate officers, who might decide on a serious reduction in the available bands. We all regard this as a matter of great urgency.


– I regret, as the right honorable gentleman will regret, that my colleague, the Postmaster-General, who has been handling this matter, is somewhat indisposed and in the care of a doctor to-day. He is not seriously ill but he is unable to be present. The right honorable gentleman and I have common ground m this matter and I assure him that my colleagues in the Government parties have also devoted themselves to this problem. We all concede that it is of very considerable importance and that the interests likely to be affected are not only those of the amateurs. The interests of the amateurs, who have worked with great value to the community and with satisfaction to themselves, must be reconciled with the broadening public demand for the allocation of bands. I have in mind such essential services as rural fire brigades and taxi cabs which require the allocation of a band. There- are real technical problems with regard’ to- allocation.

My colleague, the Postmaster-General, has arranged for two of the most senior officers of his department, who are in fact his advisers on this matter, to be in Canberra to-day and to-morrow. On behalf of the Postmaster-General I can say that those officers will be available for consultation with members of the Parliament who have a particular interest in this matter and who regard themselves as having sufficient knowledge to be able to form a judgment upon it. Those officers will be available not only to members on the Government side of the House but also to members on the Opposition side. I am also able to say that my colleague, the Postmaster-General, has arranged that a representative of the organized amateurs, chosen by themselves from their own ranks, will be recognized as an observer at the Geneva conference so that his view, if not his vote, shall be present at the critical stage.

Finally, my colleague has intimated to me that he recognizes that there is so much general interest in this matter and such legitimate grounds for considering the public interest against the technical problems that are revealed, that he has said that he would prefer the final decision to be made by Cabinet rather than by himself.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Supply. I understand that the Jindivik target aircraft is still the most important target in use at Woomera and at the British missile test centre in Wales. Will the Minister therefore please inform the House whether there has been a progressive development of the Jindivik and whether the limit of such growth has been reached in respect of the present model? If so, and in view of Australia’s leadership in this field, is consideration being given to the design of a new target of supersonic performance?

Minister for Supply · PETRIE, QUEENSLAND · LP

– In reply to the honorable member, I would inform him and the House that there has been constant development of the Jindivik target aircraft since it was first flown in 1952. Further design improvements have been made to it, and as a result it will be possible to fly the aircraft at an operational altitude of 60,000 feet, which is regarded as the maximum for this sub-sonic aircraft. At the same time, I would indicate that further design improvements are being considered in order to ascertain whether it would be possible to produce a supersonic model. When a report is received by me on that matter 1 shall consider the implications of the report in relation to further production and development.

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– I ask the Acting Prime Minister a question without notice. In view of the attitude displayed by sections of the metropolitan press of Australia to the institution of Parliament in recent times, and in view of the monopolistic growth that has occurred and is occurring in the ownership of newspapers, radio stations and television stations, will the right honorable gentleman have prepared for the information of honorable members a memorandum on the establishment, membership and terms of reference of the British Press Council, which I understand is a government agency, together with a review of the activities of that council since its inception?


– If the information sought by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is available to and at the command of the Government, I will see that it is assembled and made available to him and to the House.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Health. In view of complaints made by certain aged people and persons suffering from chronic illness to the effect that they have not been able to get fund hospital benefits to which they believed they were entitled, and: in view of representations that have been made to the Minister by Government supporters, will the honorable gentleman discuss the matter with the Cabinet in order to find a solution to the problem?


– The operation of the special accounts procedure, which is designed to make hospital fund benefits more widely available, has revealed a certain number of anomalies, which are under active consideration by the

Government at present, and I can assure the honorable gentleman that careful attention is being given to possibilities of removing them. I should tell the honorable gentleman, also, that, although a comparatively small number of anomalies has been discovered, and although the special accounts procedure has operated for only three months, it is known that several thousand people are now able to secure, and have secured, fund hospital benefits, whereas, before the introduction of the special accounts procedure, they were unable to obtain any fund hospital benefits at all.

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– I desire to ask the Acting Prime Minister a question without notice. I desire to know whether, in view of the apparent y very healthy state of the Commonwealth’s finances, as evidenced by the adoption of all the major recommendations of the Richardson committee’s report on parliamentary salaries and allowances, the right honorable gentleman will initiate immediate action to remove the means test associated with the Pensioner Medical Service, which was introduced by this Government and which debars pensioners from benefiting if they have an income of £2 a week in addition to their pensions. If the Acting Prime Minister is not prepared to act as desired, will he state the reason for not doing so?


– The honorable member for East Sydney is experienced enough to know that the matter which he has raised becomes a matter of policy for consideration annually during the framing of the Budget. The Government clearly apprehends and understands this issue, and no service is done to the people whom the honorable member apparently wishes to aid by his mixing this matter up with the controversial subject with which he seeks to mix it up - a subject which is controversial in the honorable member’s own party as well as generally.

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– My question is directed to the Acting Prime Minister. I ask the right honorable gentleman: Can he give any indication of the results of trade negotia tions which are reported to have been conducted between Australia and Canada in Canberra last month?


– It is correct to say that there were trade negotiations designed to attain the objectives of both the Australian and the Canadian Governments by achieving a revised Australia-Canada trade agreement. A trade agreement between the two countries was first devised at the time of the old Ottawa Agreement in 1931. A not very extensive revision of that agreement was made in 1937, but there has been no new look at the agreement since then. An important delegation of officials from Canada came to Canberra after discussions at a ministerial level which I had at the time of the Montreal conference in September of last year. The visiting delegation was led by Mr. English, who is the permanent head of the Canadian Department of Trade and Commerce. I myself had a short discussion with the Canadian officials but their talks were conducted principally with official groups. A report on the negotiations is now before both the Australian and the Canadian Governments. So soon as both governments have reacted to the report and the suggestions made, it will be revealed whether there is a basis for agreement on a new trade treaty. I conclude by saying that I am optimistic that a revision of the treaty will be agreed to and that this will be of mutual advantage both to our trade and to Canadian trade.

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– I ask the Minister for Works: Can he confirm that within the last few hours fire has destroyed two pavilions of the Capital Hill Hostel, which is controlled by the Department of Works, destroying the accommodation occupied by 32 workers and consuming all their clothing and personal possessions? Will the Minister say what steps can be taken to provide temporary accommodation for these men, assistance towards the re-establishment of their wardrobes, and recoupment of their losses?

Minister for the Interior · FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– Just before I came into the House I received news that there had been a fire and that the extent of the damage was approximately as suggested by .,- honorable member. I have not had time to examine further details, but 1 shall let him know the position as soon as possible.

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– When the Budget is being framed, will the Treasurer give consideration to allowing donations to the Marriage Guidance Council to be reckoned as an allowable deduction for income tax purposes?


– I shall confer with my colleague, the Attorney-General, on the very important subject matter raised by the honorable member. ‘Having regard to the other claims upon the -Government in respect -of the forthcoming Budget, the honorable member may be assured that ‘full consideration will be given to what has been proposed.

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– I preface a question directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport by stating that last year, of the road grant of £24,000 for the upkeep of the Port AugustaWoomera road, only £17,000 was used. I am given to understand that the total amount, including the carry-over, available this year for upkeep will be £22,000. How much of this amount of £22,000 has been used to date?


– An amount of £15,000 is being provided this year by the Commonwealth Government for the maintenance of the Port Augusta-Woomera road. The work is being carried out by one of the works authorities in South Australia. In addition to the £15,000 which is being provided this year, there is a carry-over from last year of some £7,000, and a carry-over from previous years. The total amount available for expenditure this year is £35,700, and it is estimated that the expenditure by the end of June this year will amount to £30,700.

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– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, in regard to the fitting of seats facing backwards on aircraft operating under the control of the Department of Civil Aviation. Is it a fact that the United

Kingdom Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation announced to the House of Commons this week that, :in the interests of safety, the British authorities had tried to enforce a regulation requiring rearward-facing seats, but were not prepared to place their own airlines at a disadvantage while international competitors were not compelled to adopt the same course? ‘Is it true that Australia is classed as one of those international competitors who are not prepared to enforce adoption of this extra safety measure? If this is not so, why does the Department of Civil Aviation not enforce this requirement on our own Australian interstate airlines, where there is no international competition?

Minister for Defence · DENISON, TASMANIA · LP

– I shall refer the question ito <the Minister for Civil Aviation in another :place. My own recollection is that this question of rearward-facing seats goes back about five or six years to a time when the Department of Civil Aviation made an intensive study of this matter and came to the conclusion that there was quite a lot of .merit rearward-facing seats, because statistics showed that in the event of accidents those people who occupied rearwardfacing seats got off much more lightly than others. Then the Royal Air Force Transport Command introduced rearward-facing seats in all its passenger-carrying aircraft, and we in Australia thought at that time that it would be a good idea if they were introduced here. At that time we took up the matter with the International Civil Aviation Organization but we could not get much support. We thought that it would not be much use Australia pushing on with all the modifications that would be necessary to turn our aircraft around - because it means more than just turning the seats around - until there was a more general acceptance of the principle. Fortunately, here in Australia we have had a remarkably good run. I do not think any lives have been lost in a commercial aircraft accident in this country during the last five years.

These provisions for rearward-facing seats were thought of at a time in the history of civil aviation when accidents were much more prevalent than they are to-day. That does not mean that we can relax or that we must not follow up the particular sort of suggestion which is implied in the honorable member’s question. What the British Government has decided to do, frankly I do not know. I have not read the report to which the honorable member refers. However, I will place his whole question before the appropriate Minister and see that the honorable member gets a reply.

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– I ask the Acting Prime Minister: Is it a fact that, due to the latitude extended to the Japanese Government and manufacturers in connexion with the Japanese Trade Agreement, imports of rubber footwear into Australia are causing retrenchment of several hundreds of workers employed in the rubber footwear industries here? My information, Sir, is that the employment capacity of one of these industries in Australia is 1,100 but the number of employees is now down to 700 and further dismissals are pending. No doubt the Acting Prime Minister is aware that under the treaty Japan is permitted to export to Australia 1,000,000 pairs of footwear per annum and because she concentrates on producing rubber footwear and no other, this is having the effect on employment in Australia which I have mentioned. Can the Acting Prime Minister do anything to remedy this serious situation?


– The Government has acted in this matter by limiting the total quantity of footwear - particularly rubber footwear - which may be brought into the country. This is done within the arrangements made and the consultation provided for and contemplated under the Japanese Trade Agreement. Practically from the outset a group has been provided by the footwear industry for the purpose of consultation with the Government. So soon as the Australian Council of Trade Unions asked me whether the industry could have a consultative group, this was brought into being. It happened quite a long time ago.

All the information that comes into the possession of the Government in respect of impending imports - and it is received long before the event because of the records of import licensing - is made freely available to these consultative groups. When the view was expressed, on the basis of this information and experience, that the Australian industry was endangered, I imme diately referred the matter to Mr. M. E. McCarthy, the former chairman of the Tariff Board, for examination and report. He is the authority for consultation and advice on this matter. I speak now from memory but I think I am right in saying that it was following upon Mr. McCarthy’s public examination and recommendation that some restriction was imposed. In the course of his study it came out also that whatever threat exists to Australian footwear manufacture does not by any means come exclusively from Japan. I understand that a substantial volume was coming in from Hong Kong and other areas. There is, concurrently, a reference to the Tariff Board and the report upon it will, without any avoidable delay, come before the Government so that an improved permanent form of protection, can if the Tariff Board judges this to be necessary, be established for the Australian industry in the form of tariff duty.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry. In view of the large crops of maize and sorghum now being harvested in Queensland, are permits available for the export of maize?

Minister for Primary Industry · FISHER, QUEENSLAND · CP

– Since the shortage of these crops passed there has been no restriction on the export of maize. In other words, the department is prepared to facilitate all exports of maize while the present condition of plentiful supply lasts. The honorable member can be assured that since the restriction was lifted there has been no need to have an export licence for maize.

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– Is the Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Trade aware that a group of Melbourne, Sydney and Newcastle businessmen is preparing to visit Japan to try to negotiate an agreement with a Japanese stainless steel firm, which is a subsidiary of a similar American company, to import light gauge Japanese stainless steel for the manufacture of commercial and domestic refrigerators and other commercial goods? This steel is reported to be very cheap and would most certainly undercut any Australian product. The following statement is made in the annual report for 1957 of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited: -

Commonwealth Steel Company Limited had been somewhat affected by a heavy inflow of imported stainless steel and this has necessitated local production being temporarily reduced to approximately 50 per cent, of capacity.

Is the right honorable gentleman aware that, at the present time, the Commonwealth Steel Company Limited in Newcastle has substantial stocks on hand of this light gauge stainless steel - up to 22 gauge - and is, in fact, looking for orders and that when the–


– Order! I think the honorable member is giving information. He should ask his question. The honorable member is entitled to obtain information; he will be out of order if he gives it. I suggest that the honorable member ask his question.


-I desire to know whether the Minister is aware that when the Port Kembla plant comes into production in October it and the Newcastle plant will be able to supply all Australia’s needs for stainless steel of up to 30 gauge? Will the Minister assure this House that no import licences will be issued for this type of steel in view of the uncertainty of employment in this industry and the poor quality of Japanese stainless steel previously imported?


– I find the honorable member’s question very educational. I have never heard so much information packed into a question before. I am not aware of the mission to Japan to which the honorable gentleman refers but I can say this: When Australian stainless steel becomes available - and I gather from the honorable member’s question that it will become available in additional quantities in the near future - it will be competent for the manufacturers producing it to apply to the Tariff Board for permanent and appropriate tariff protection. That is the correct and normal course to follow. Import licensing is not used, as the Government has announced many times, as a normal means of giving protection to Australian industry. The Tariff Board is the body from which to secure that. But where there is an availability of an Australian product that is comparable or better in quality, and com parable in landed price, then, not for the purpose of saving the industry, but for the purpose of saving Australian exchange, Mr. Speaker, import licensing does operate to curtail imports. Those are the policy considerations that will be applied to the situation described by the honorable member.

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– My question is addressed to the honorable and learned AttorneyGeneral. The honorable gentleman will be aware that in its report of October, 1958, the Constitution Review Committee stated, in paragraph 171, that because of the time factor it had not been able to report on many of the matters that had received its earnest consideration. A resolution was adopted in the House the other night, at the instance of the AttorneyGeneral, to reconstitute the committee, and the committee was directed to present a report explaining the reasons for the conclusions reached in its report of October last. I ask whether that directive confers power to include the matters that were considered by the committee, but which were not reported upon by it because of lack of time, so that when the Parliament is discussing these matters it will have available the material which was considered by the committee. If the directive does not so empower the committee will the Attorney-General expand its powers so that the material will not be lost?


– The resolution that was adopted by the House a few evenings ago was designed to confine the committee, at this stage, to supplying reasons for the actual recommendations which it made. It is not wide enough in its terms to enable the committee to go into matters to which it gave some consideration but as to which it had reached no conclusion at the time of the drawing up of its recommendations. The whole question of what will be done when the committee does furnish its reasons for the existing recommendations is an open one.

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– I direct to the Minister for Labour and National Service a question which I preface by referring to a statement made by his predecessor at the 1958 conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers, that the Government intended to launch an industrial safety campaign on a national basis.I ask the Minister: What action has been taken by himself or the Department of Labour and National Service to give effect to proposals that were outlined at that conference?

Minister for Labour and National Service · LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

-Yesterday, Mr. Speaker. I referred to what had been done in connexion with the waterfront and shipping industries. I am not able at this moment to give complete details of the consequential action taken by the department to carry out the policy laid down by the conference that was held last year. I shall obtain full details of what has been done and convey them to the honorable gentleman.

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– I should like to direct a question to the Treasurer concerning depreciation rates, allowed for taxation purposes, on shipping. 1 preface my question by saying that it has been claimed that the limitations applicable in relation to the depreciation impose a severe financial burden on the shipping industry in making adequate provision for funds to meet the high cost of replacing vessels as they become due for replacement. I ask the following questions: First, is it not a fact that the shipping industry in Australia is hampered by the annual depreciation allowance prescribed under the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Act? Secondly, will the Treasurer confirm that in the United Kingdom 40 per cent, of the construction cost of a ship is relieved of tax in the first year, whilst the full cost is still allowed for depreciation purposes, thus allowing for tax purposes 140 per cent, rather than 100 per cent, of the original cost? Thirdly, would not the Australian shipping industry derive similar benefit if the Government approved the adoption of a procedure similar to that adopted in the United Kingdom?


– The question put by the honorable member directs attention to a problem which certainly exists in the shipping industry, but which is common also to most other Australian indus tries that are faced with the necessity to replace equipment as it becomes obsolescent. The matter has been examined, and it will continue to be examined, by the Government in the light of our financial circumstances. I do not think an exact parallel is drawn by citing the situation in the United Kingdom with regard to this matter. The historic and unique position of the shipping industry in the United Kingdom is, I think, well known. The Government of the United Kingdom has seen fit, as the honorable member has indicated, to take some special steps and to make quite remarkable financial provision to enable United Kingdom shipping to maintain its proud position on the seas of the world. It is a fact that, in the result, because of an investment allowance arrangement, depreciation totalling about 140 per cent, of the total purchase cost can be written off a particular vessel. This concession has been extended, I think, not merely to enable replacement of existing shipping, but also to discourage the practice which had developed in. the United Kingdom of transferring ships from that country to what have been known as “ flags of convenience “. I appreciate the importance of the question raised by the honorable member, and I can assure him that it will continue to receive consideration.

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– Can the Attorney-General advise the House of the position that results from the decision of the High Court in the Boilermakers’ case, to the effect that persons exercising judicial functions must be appointed for life, in view of the fact that the War Pensions Assessment Appeal Tribunals, which hear appeals against war pension assessments, and the War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunals are composed of persons appointed only for short periods or until they are 65 years of age? Having regard to the High Court decision I have just mentioned, can the Minister say whether these tribunals have been properly appointed and whether they are exercising their judicial functions in a constitutional manner?


-I have not had occasion to consider, in the manner in which the question warrants consideration, the regularity or irregularity of these tribunals. I do not wish the House to think, however, that I entertain any doubt as to their regularity. Let me give this short explanation. These tribunals, whilst they must act judicially in the sense of observing those standards that are required of a court, are not, or probably are not, exercising the judicial power of the Commonwealth as a court does. The requirement that courts shall be composed of persons appointed for life is limited to those tribunals that do exercise judicial power. However,I shall look into the matter for the honorable member.

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– I address a question to the Minister for Trade. At the time of the recent conference of the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East at Broadbeach, the leader of the Indonesian delegation was reported to have stated that there were prospects of trade talks between Indonesia and Australia at an early date. Within the last few days there have been press reports that negotiations have commenced. Can the Minister advise the House whether there is any truth in these statements?


– It is a fact that up to the present time no trade agreement or arrangement has existed between Australia and Indonesia. Some discussions took place a couple of years ago with the object of arriving at such an agreement or arrangement, but those talks were adjourned. At the time when Dr. Subandrio was in Australia, I myself, following discussions with my colleague, the Minister for External Affairs, had some talks with the Indonesian Foreign Minister on trade matters. It was agreed that we should try to negotiate an arrangement of advantage to both countries. Following further exchanges, talks took place at the time of the Ecafe conference, as a result of which Australian officials commenced talks in Djakarta about a week ago. These discussions are proceeding, and as they develop a more senior Australian official will go to Djakarta to try to bring the matter to a point at which it will be worthy of reference to governments. For our part, we have extensive trade interests, particularly in flour, in Indonesia, and Australia is an important market for a variety of Indonesian products. On the physical basis of trade that exists, I believe there is ground for a trade arrangement of advantage to both countries, in order to consolidate and ensure a predictable level of trade.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for Trade. Is it a fact that, due to local conditions, Argentina has curtailed exports of hides and calf skins to the United States of America, and that, as a result, American buyers have made an extraordinary demand on Australian suppliers? Has this circumstance resulted in substantial increases in the price of Australian footwear, reliably reported as ranging from 10s. to 30s. a pair? Since these prohibitive prices are causing hardship to Australian families, will the Minister, with a view to stabilizing Australian footwear prices, consider placing an embargo on the export of hides from Australia until local needs are fulfilled?


– I do not know exactly from what causes the situation flows, but I am aware that in recent times world values of hides and leather have substantially increased, and that this has, in the normal way, been reflected in values of these commodities in Australia. The Government, as a general matter of policy, would need very strong grounds for taking a special step to curtail the opportunities of a particular section of primary producers to enjoy the results flowing from higher values of products. It is notorious that primary products are subject to quite violent fluctuations in value, and when prices are down no one comes along and says that the Government ought to take special steps to increase the returns to the primary producers. We think that, as a general proposition, they should have a chance to pick up on the swings what they lose on the roundabouts.

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Minister for Air · Evans · LP

– by leave - At approximately seventeen minutes past eleven o’clock on the morning of Wednesday, 4th February, 1959, a Neptune maritime reconnaissance aircraft of No. 1 1 Squadron of the Royal

Australian Air Force, based at Richmond, New South Wales, crashed on a bank of the Hawkesbury River 2 miles north-east of the R.A.A.F. station at Richmond, and was totally destroyed. All eight members of the crew were killed instantly.

The aircraft had taken off from Richmond at 23 minutes past 10 o’clock that morning on a properly authorized flight for the dual purpose of making a test flight after normal servicing routines and to carry out homing procedures with two Sabre fighters and another Neptune exercising in the area. This aircraft was to have left next day for New Guinea in order to give navigational assistance over the northern approaches to Australia to a squadron of Sabre fighters about to begin a ferrying flight from Richmond to Butterworth in Malaya. The flight test and homing exercises were in preparation for this operation.

The homing trials were completed by six minutes past eleven, and between that time and 11.14 the propeller feathering systems were tested. At 11.13, the aircraft called the control tower at Richmond and made a routine report that it was overhead at 5,000 feet. At 11.16, the aircraft, whose call sign was JDH, reported that it was on fire. Richmond tower, the authority controlling air traffic in the vicinity of the airfield, asked JDH for his position and he replied at once, “ Five miles north of the field”. Richmond tower then ordered all aircraft flying in the area to clear the circuit area, and alerted crash and rescue facilities.

At 11.17, JDH reported that he was crash landing north of the airfield and about half a minute later, while coming in low across the Hawkesbury River burning very severely from the vicinity of the starboard engine, the starboard wing was seen to fold back and the aircraft rolled over, crashing upside down on the river bank.

In accordance with Air Force practice, a preliminary inquiry was immediately instituted by the Director of Flying Safety and his staff, and a court of inquiry under the Air Force Act was set up. The court consisted of a wing commander pilot and a squadron leader pilot, both of whom have considerable experience in flying Neptune aircraft, and a highly qualified technical officer of wing commander rank.

The court, after the most painstaking and searching inquiries, has brought in its finding in a long and detailed technical report. In addition to evidence from a number of members of the R.A.A.F. concerned with the servicing of the aircraft and its preparation for flight, the authorizing of the flight and the control of the aircraft in the air, the court had the benefit of the accounts of a large number of eyewitnesses of the crash and of the aircraft’s flight prior to the crash.

As is generally the case in the collection of evidence from eye-witnesses of aircraft accidents, there were many contradictions and inconsistencies, but after much sifting of evidence and interpolation of times the court has presented a sustained and logical narrative of evidence from which the following facts appear.

The aircraft was over the R.A.A.F. Richmond base at 5,000 feet at 11.13, and feathering tests of the propellers were completed at some time prior to 11.14. At 11.14), the aircraft was in the vicinity of Scheyville Migrant Centre trailing a little white smoke, and a change in the engine sound was reported by eye-witnesses. The aircraft was otherwise flying normally and descending in a turn to the left. At about 11.15 a loud report was heard and eye-witnesses saw a large ball of black smoke. A small amount of flame was seen at this time from the starboard engine. The court is of the opinion that an explosion occurred in a rear section of the starboard engine space which blew out a fireproof wall between the after part of the engine and the wheel well. At 11.16, JDH reported to Richmond tower that he was on fire. In the court’s opinion, the fire had been burning for approximately a minute and a half prior to that. However, it was most probably the explosion at 11.15 which gave the captain his first warning of any trouble.

During the period of about a minute which elapsed between the explosion and his distress call, the captain had probably diagnosed the trouble as fire in the engine area and carried out the appropriate emergency drills. He then advised Richmond tower of his intention to land on the airfield. However, at 11.17, the fire had developed to a stage where it became obvious to the captain that he would not be able to reach the airfield and he advised Richmond tower of his intention to crash land on the river flats immediately to the north of the airfield. Following this transmission from the captain of the Neptune, the pilot of a Meteor aircraft which had positioned itself close behind the stricken aircraft advised the Neptune captain to get down quickly as his aircraft was well alight. This officer, in his evidence, described the flames from the burning engine as “ fierce “, in the later stages. It is apparent that the intensity of the fire burnt through the metal structure of the starboard wing until it collapsed.

The court has been unable to determine with any certainty what was the cause of the fire. Two different hypotheses were advanced. One is that the turbine wheel of a power recovery turbine in the starboard engine collapsed, and that the flying metal had cut the main fuel line thus releasing vapourising petrol into the engine space, which was ignited by exhaust gases and flame escaping from the damaged turbine, and caused the explosion which blew out the fire wall. The other hypothesis is that petrol leaked from a loose joint in a fuel priming line and was ignited by an arcing terminal on a generator.

The first theory is supported by the condition of some parts of the power recovery turbine which were subsequently found. The second is supported by the fact that a union on part of the petrol priming line recovered from the wreckage was found to be only finger tight. This could have been caused by the fire or the crash. However had this union become loose in flight it could have allowed fuel to drip down onto the generator which is below the union. The generator terminal block was burned in a manner which suggested that high resistance heating could have taken place. If so, this might have been of sufficient intensity to ignite fuel from a leaking union. Action has been taken on the assumption that either hypothesis might be correct, and every effort is being made to render impossible a repetition of this accident.

I turn now to the question of parachutes, the fire warning system and the fire extinguisher system. All members of the crew were equipped with parachutes and the court considered the question why the crew did not attempt to abandon the aircraft. It came to the conclusion that by the time the captain had completed his immediate emergency drills, prior to his distress call at 11.16, the relatively low altitude of the aircraft, the invitingly close proximity of the airfield, and the past safety record of the Neptunes influenced the captain in his decision to crash land rather than to order an attempt to abandon the aircraft. In the circumstances, the court is of the opinion that his decision was correct.

The aircraft was fitted with a fire warning system covering the area behind the engine. This system would have been tested as a matter of routine and found satisfactory immediately prior to the aircraft’s take-off. The court considered that this system would have been destroyed by the explosion which occurred at 11.15, and that it would have given only a momentary indication before this. If the explosion preceded any fire then it would have given no indication to the pilot at all.

The Neptune aircraft used by the R.A.A.F., known to its makers as the P2V5, are the same as many hundreds which have been in service with the United States Navy. Engine fire extinguishers are not fitted to these aircraft. The court considered that in this instance, even had engine fire extinguishers been fitted, it is doubtful whether they would have been successful in controlling a fire of this magnitude. However, the practicability of fitting such a system is being investigated.

The court found that there was no evidence of negligence by R.A.A.F. or other servicing personnel. It also found that, so far as can be ascertained, the action taken by the captain under the rapidly changing circumstances was correct in all respects and no blame for the accident can be attributed to pilot error.

On the day of the accident. I expressed the sympathy of the Government with the families of the crew of the lost aircraft, an expression in which I am sure all members of this House would wish to join. I lay on the table the following paper: -

Royal Australian Air Force - Neptune Aircraft Accident at Richmond, New South Wales - Ministerial Statement - and move -

That the paper be printed.

Leader of the Opposition · Hunter

– I want to say only a few words at this stage, and then to ask for leave to continue my remarks. We join with the Minister for Air (Mr. Osborne) and all honorable members in expressing sympathy with the families of the eight men who lost their lives in this dreadful disaster. I suggest to the Minister that instead of having this summary of the finding of the court of inquiry, we should have the full report containing all the evidence that was availableto the court. It is very difficult to understand how an accident of this kind could happen without some omission or neglect. I suggest that we be supplied with full information to see whether discussion, especially amongst honorable members who are conversant with aircraft, will help to throw expert light on the disaster. I ask for leave to continue my remarks.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

page 2105


Motion (by Sir Garfield Barwick) agreed to -

That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act relating to bankruptcy.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Attorney-General · Parramatta · LP

– by leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

This is a short bill designed to achieve two objects namely -

  1. to make adequate provision for a seal for the Federal Court of Bankruptcy and for a seal for use in bankruptcy districts; and
  2. to strengthen the validating legislation introduced in this House by the Bankruptcy Bill 1958.

Whilst considering a bankruptcy matter, I had occasion to examine Commonwealth legislation with respect to the provision of seals for Commonwealth courts and I came to the conclusion that the whole of the legislation in relation to seals needed recasting except, perhaps, in the case of the High Court. I propose as opportunity offers to recommend to the Government that legislation be introduced making what

I consider to be more appropriate provision for the establishment, use and custody of seals for all Commonwealth courts.

Meanwhile, it seemed to me that the legislation relating to the seal of the Federal Court of Bankruptcy needed urgent attention. The bill now before the House establishes a seal for the Federal Court of Bankruptcy and provides for a stamp embodying the design on the seal to be used in the registries in the various bankruptcy districts. The bill, in clause 3, provides for a seal to an approved design which will include the Commonwealth Arms and the title of the court. It is not proposed to have more than one such seal or duplicates of it. For the daily administration of the court where sealing of documents is required, I have provided for rubber facsimiles or stamps to be used in the several registries of the court.

The bill includes the machinery provisions necessary to make a document stamped with the registry stamp as valid and effectual as if it were stamped with the formal seal of the court and for other courts, whether exercising federal jurisdiction or not, to take judicial notice of the stamp.

I have also included in the bill a provision that a seal or stamp in use at any time in the Federal Court of Bankruptcy or in a Registry of that court which has been used for the purpose of sealing documents in proceedings under the act shall be deemed to be or to have been a valid seal of the court. I have done this for the reason that it appears to me that, in recent times, the seal in use in the court or Registrar’s office has not been duly authorized by law or has been defective in form or ineffectively prescribed. It is proper that proceedings upon which the court has already adjudicated should not be invalidated for this formal and unmeritorious reason.

The second object of the bill is to strengthen the validating legislation introduced in this House by the Bankruptcy Bill 1958. In its present form that legislation makes provision for validation only in those cases in which the Registrar purported to extend the time limited by the Bankruptcy Act for doing an act or thing in relation to a debtor, his estate or affairs and that act or thing was done within the extended time, lt was found that there were numerous important cases which should be validated where the act or thing was not done within the extended time. This clause extends the existing legislation so as to include this latter class of cases. I commend the bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Whitlam) adjourned.

page 2106


Motion (by Sir Garfield Barwick) agreed to -

That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Judiciary Act 1903-1955.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Attorney-General · Parramatta · LP

– by leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill is to put residents of all the Territories of the Commonwealth on the same footing, in respect of the right to sue the Commonwealth in contract or in tort, as residents of a State. The bill will enable the Commonwealth to be sued in the Supreme Court of a Territory as well as in the High Court of Australia. The Government’s intention to extend in this way the judicial remedies against the Commonwealth was intimated by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) towards the end of the last Parliament.

At present, section 56 of the Judiciary Act provides that “ any person making any claim against the Commonwealth, whether in contract or in tort, may in respect of that claim bring a suit against the Commonwealth in the High Court or in the Supreme Court of the State in which the claim arose “. This means that a resident in a State who has a cause of action against the Commonwealth that arose in his State may sue the Commonwealth in the Supreme Court of the State, or if the cause of action arose in another State then he may sue the Commonwealth in the Supreme Court of that other State.

The Judiciary Act contains no provision, however, for bringing suits against the Commonwealth in the courts of the Territories. In some Territories this right is given by the legislation relating to territorial courts, as, for example, by Part III. of the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court Act. The position is the same in the Northern Territory. In the principal external territories, however, no such provision exists. Up till the present, a claimant against the Commonwealth in one of these territories has been left to pursue his claim as best he can in the High Court.

The bill seeks to remedy this position by extending section 56 of the Judiciary Act so as to provide that a person making a claim against the Commonwealth in contract or in tort may bring a suit against the Commonwealth in respect of that claim in the Supreme Court of the Territory in which the claim arose - or, if there is no Supreme Court, in the principal court of the Territory.

The new provisions being of a procedural character, they will apply - subject of course to the relevant periods of limitation - not only to future causes of action but to causes of action that have already arisen. To give effect to this amendment, the bill adapts the various provisions of the Judiciary Act dealing with the procedure to be followed in suits in which the Commonwealth is a party, and the rights of the parties in such a suit, so as to make them operate in the Territories. Amongst these provisions is section 64 of the act, which provides that in any suit to which the Commonwealth is a party, the rights of the parties are to be as nearly as possible the same, and judgment is to be given and costs awarded on either side, as in a suit between subject and subject. Other sections that are adapted and made to apply in the Territories are sections 79 and 80, which at present provide, in effect, that the local law of the State in which a court exercises federal jurisdiction shall govern the procedure for that court. The bill adapts these sections so as to provide that the local law of the Territory in which a Supreme Court or principal court of a Territory exercises jurisdiction by virtue of this amendment will govern the procedure for that court in its exercise of that jurisdiction.

The bill will also make certain subsidiary amendments to the act in relation to the Territories. These consist of amendments to certain sections of the act governing the localities in which proceedings for the recovery of penalties and taxes under Commonwealth laws may be brought, so as to make them operate in the Territories as well as the States.

The remainder of the provisions of the bill are of a drafting or machinery nature, and I do not propose to refer further to them here. I commend the bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Whitlam) adjourned.

page 2107


Motion (by Sir Garfield Barwick) - by leave - agreed to -

That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Australian Capita] Territory Supreme Court Act 1933-1958.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Attorney-General · Parramatta · LP

– by leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

Mr Calwell:

– The Minister has been doing a little work lately.


– Yes; it is unusual.

The purpose of this bill is to repeal Part III. of the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court Act, which gives a right to sue the Commonwealth, in contract or in tort, in the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory. The bill is purely consequential upon the amendment to the Judiciary Act to be effected by the Judiciary Bill 1959. That bill will amend the Judiciary Act so as to give a right to sue the Commonwealth, in contract or in tort, in the Supreme Court of any Territory of the Commonwealth or in the principal court of any Territory where there is no Supreme Court. It covers all the ground that Part III. of the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court Act covers in relation to the Australian Capital Territory, and Part III. will accordingly become superfluous upon the coming into force of the Judiciary Act 1959. The Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court Bill will therefore repeal Part III. and make one or two consequential and drafting amendments which I need not mention here.

I commend the bill to the House.


.- Mr. Speaker, the Opposition supports the bill. As the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) has said, it is completely consequential on the Judiciary Bill 1959, which preceded it. These bills, read together, have the advantage of permitting Australian citizens wherever they reside - in States or in Territories - to find in the Judiciary Act their rights to sue the Commonwealth in the same way as they would be able to sue any private citizen. Secondly, this particular bill has the advantage of amending the quite diffuse legislation dealing with the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court in a bill which bears the same name. Learning that this bill was to be introduced to-day, I thought it wise to get a copy of the legislation which it was amending. I find that this legislation is embraced in bills which bear the following names: - Seat of Government Supreme Court Act 1933, Seat of Government Supreme Court Act 1935, Seat of Government Supreme Court Act 1945, Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court Act 1955, Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court Act 1956, Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court Act 1957 and Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court Act 1958.

Mr Hasluck:

– The honorable member has been busy, too.


– I have merely given the acts which bear names which one might expect to have a bearing on this subject. There is a considerable number of other acts which deal with the salaries and pensions of the judges who sit in the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court, with the re-naming of the act, or with other purely machinery matters. I take the opportunity to point out, Sir, that it is difficult enough for members of the legal profession, and it is practically impossible for lesser breeds without the law, to find the legislation dealing with the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court in any convenient form. It is true that if one had a copy of the Commonwealth acts from 1901 to 1950, one could eliminate reference to the first three acts which I mentioned. But, nevertheless, there have been half a dozen since 1950 which one would have to find.

I have already mentioned two advantages of this bill. I now refer to a third advantage. This does not concern the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court so much, but it certainly concerns the Supreme Courts or principal courts - I think there is not a Supreme Court on Norfolk Island - of the Territories for which the Commonwealth is responsible and which are not on our mainland. Hitherto, the Commonwealth could be sued by residents of those Territories only in the High Court of Australia. I have previously expressed the view - the last occasion was the consideration of the estimates for the honorable and learned gentleman’s department last year - that the High Court should be free of matters which would not come to it in the case of litigation originating in a State; that is, I think it would be reasonable to have litigation in the Territories and that in the States following the same gradations as far as possible. I would go further and express the hope that an appeal from a judge of the Supreme Court of a Territory might be heard by the Full Bench of a Federal Supreme Court instead of going directly to the High Court as at present.

This legislation, Sir, has the advantage of tidying up the law for procedure as regards residents of the Australian Capital Territory. And the residents of the Territory have shown a commendably litigious character as the years have passed. I now ask the Attorney-General if he proposes to introduce a bill to amend the relevant legislation for the Northern Territory Supreme Court in the same way as the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court Act is being amended. In his second-reading speech on the immediately preceding bill, the honorable and learned gentleman said that there was a Part of the Northern Territory legislation similar to Part III. of the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court Act, which is now being repealed. I have not had an opportunity to look up the Northern Territory Supreme Court Act. I should like to know whether the Minister proposes to bring in a similar machinery bill for the Northern Territory consequential on the Judiciary Bill.


Mr. Speaker. I ask the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) to assure me that no litigant, or possible liti gant, will be put at a disadvantage if this bill, to which we now proposeto give a rapid passage, receives the royal assent before the Judiciary Bill 1959, which has yet to be debated and passed by the House, receives the royal assent.

Sir Garfield Barwick:

Mr. Speaker, I have just spoken to the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam) and–

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. John McLeay).Order! I remind the Attorney-General that he will close the debate if he speaks now.

Mr Whitlam:

Mr. Speaker–


– Order! The honorable member for Werriwa has already spoken.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Clyde Cameron) adjourned.

page 2108


Motion (by Sir Garfield Barwick) - by leave - agreed to -

That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act relating to Statutory Declarations.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Attorney-General · Parramatta · LP

– by leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill is to repeal and re-enact, with certain amendments, the law relating to statutory declarations. The present Statutory Declarations Act was passed in 1911. It has been an act of great practical utility. Indeed, I doubt whether a day ever passed that a declaration under the act is not made for use in a Commonwealth department or in respect of some Commonwealth law.

The act, as it stands, applies only within the mainland of Australia and in Norfolk Island. It has not been extended to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, which has its own ordinance similar to this act. Outside Australia and its Territories the act as it stands can have no application, and consequently its facilities cannot be used in overseas countries.

It has been found that the occasions on which it is necessary or desirable for a person outside Australia to make a statutory declaration under the Statutory Declarations

Act, that is to say for the purpose of Commonwealth administration and of Commonwealth law, are increasing with the number of Australians living or travelling overseas. It has, therefore, been thought desirable to amend the act to give it extraterritorial effect.

It is appreciated that there will be difficulties in taking criminal proceedings against a person who makes outside Australia a false declaration under the act. However, should such a person come to Australia, it will be possible to take proceedings against that person in Australia, and1 it is hoped that the fact that such proceedings can be so taken will in most cases be a sufficient sanction against the making of a false declaration outside Australia.

The act at present provides a penalty of four years’ imprisonment for making a false declaration, which means that all proceedings for offences against the act must be taken on indictment. Section 16 of the Crimes Act, which permits a fine to be imposed in lieu of imprisonment, applies only to offences under that act. It is considered desirable to enable proceedings for offences under the Statutory Declarations Act to be taken in a court of summary jurisdiction, and to permit the court to impose a fine in lieu of imprisonment.

The drafting amendments which were necessitated by these two amendments were such that it has been considered desirable to repeal the existing act and re-enact its provisions with these amendments in a new act. Clause 5 of the bill provides that the act applies within and without the Commonwealth. This is the provision that will give the act extra-territorial effect. Clause 8 prescribes the classes of person before whom a statutory declaration may be made, and the existing classes in section 5 of the present act have been extended to include certain officers of the Department of External Affairs and the Department of Trade serving in overseas posts. Clause 11 provides the penalties for making a false declaration: If the offence is punishable summarily, the penalty is a fine not exceeding £100 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both, or, if the offence is prosecuted upon indictment, the penalty is imprisonment for a term not exceeding four years.

The remainder of the bill substantially follows the present act. There is, however, one matter to which I would draw the attention of honorable members. The form of statutory declaration prescribed in the schedule at present contains a footnote which is in the nature of a warning of the penalty for making a false declaration. In this bill the form of statutory declaration has been recast to include the warning in the body of the form, so that a person who makes a statutory declaration will actually declare that he makes it subject to the penalties provided by the act for the making of false statements in statutory declarations. I commend the bill to honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Whitlam) adjourned.

page 2109


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 12th May (vide page 2091), on motion by Mr. McMahon -

That the bill be now read a second time.


.- The debate on this bill last night showed that there are two separate issues before the House. The first relates to amendments suggested in the annual report of the President of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. The second relates to amendments to the machinery provisions for conducting court-controlled ballots. I am surprised that honorable members opposite have expressed opposition to the latter amendments, because they are amendments for which members of the Opposition asked in this House not many months ago. I should have thought that this would be one of the historic occasions on which members of the Opposition would say, “We congratulate the Government on having adopted our recommendations- “. The Opposition will remember that these alterations had their origin on that historic evening when the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) agreed with the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward). I refer the House to the “ Hansard “ record of the proceedings of 27th August, 1958. The honorable member for East Sydney, speaking to the vote for the Attorney-General’s Department during our consideration of the Estimates, said -

The Government should at least bear any additional expense incurred by a union above the normal cost of a union-conducted ballot.

So this amendment was actually asked for by the Opposition, and I am therefore surprised that not one member of the Opposition has risen to say, “ This is something which we applaud. We are glad that the Government is. putting this provision into effect.” I was particularly amazed by the following statement last night by the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison): -

I never imagined that I would see legislation presented to any free British Parliament suggesting that a. trade union should make application to a Minister for the cost of a trade union ballot.

A little later, he said -

Whatever difficulties we face in the trade union movement, I hope that I will never live to see the day when any Minister will receive a cringing letter from a trade union secretary asking for payment of the extra cost of conducting a ballot.

Yet, only a few months ago, on 27th August, 1958, the honorable member for Blaxland said in this House, in a very firm manner -

I put it to the Minister that it is time that a decision was made that the Government should bear the whole cost in cases in which courtcontrolled ballots are ordered.

Mr Snedden:

– Where is the honorable member who said that?


– The honorable member for Blaxland is always accusing members on this side of the House of being absent during debates of this nature. It is a pity that he does not spend more time reading his own speeches instead of accusing us of not always ringing true. He seems, in this debate, to be completely off the beam. The speeches of members of the Opposition, generally, have not conformed with the sentiments on courtcontrolled ballots that they expressed in the House only a few months ago, when they asked the Government to do something which it is now doing.

Let me pass on now to a matter which, to my mind, is more important. I refer to the recommendations for amendments made in the report of the President of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Before dealing with them in detail, let us have a look at some of the comments made last night by the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey). First, he complained of the large number of amendments that had been necessary in the principal act since 1904. The fact that this act has been amended so frequently is not a bad thing, as he would suggest, but an extremely good thing. Surely the whole matter that we are. discussing is: one of human problems -of the all-important relationships between. employers and employees. Throughout the whole of the 50 years that the act has been in force there have been continuing changes in the environment of industrial relations. This is a dynamic system, something which is altering all the time, and surely it is right that the Government should be prepared to amend the act from time to time in the light of the continually changing environment. This change is completely dynamic and we should be keeping pace with it. I am glad, therefore, that the Government: has, from time to time, sought to amend the act in the light of changing conditions.

The honorable member’s next objection was that the effect of the amendments in the 1956 act had been to make the machinery of arbitration cumbersome, tedious and a brake on industrial harmony. These were some of the things he stressed, but I cannot see at all how the strictures which the honorable member made conform to the facts as they have been since 1956. I will come back to that in a moment.

I thought the most remarkable thing that we heard the honorable member for Bendigo say - this leader of the Australian Council of Trade Unions for many years, the real advocate of arbitration machinery and one of the people who helped, over a number of years to support this unique system of arbitration that we have in Australia - was, “ Let us scrap the whole system of arbitration and go back to the Victorian wages board system.” I was amazed when he said that, but I notice that no other member of the Opposition has supported him. I wonder whether that is just a Victorian attitude or an idea that is supported by all members of the Opposition from the other States?

Let us examine the background of the industrial relations resulting from the operation of the 1956 amendments. What is the first object of the principal act? Surely, above all it is to promote industrial peace in Australia. Secondly, it is to facilitate the prompt settlement of disputes in the best interests of all parties, including the national interest. This is something which the arbitration system is much better able to carry out than the Victorian wages board -system. I cannot see .how the wages board system can really take into account all factors affecting the whole national interest -rather than those which are important only between the principal contestants in a particular wages board determination.

I believe that if we judge the 1956 act on the two main objects that I conceive it >to be endeavouring to carry out, we must agree that it has certainly promoted those aims. This has happened in spite of the warnings given in this House in 1952 by the honorable member for Bendigo and in 1956 by the honorable member for Batman (Mr, Bird). There has been a continuous improvement in industrial relations throughout the whole of that period. There :has been no better period in our industrial history in this century than, I believe, the first quarter of the current year. I do not subscribe, as other honorable members might, to the suggestion that this state of affairs can be attributed entirely to the operation of the 1956 act but I say that that act has operated beneficially in spite of the warning of the honorable member for Batman in 1956 when he said that if the then proposed amendments were carried there would be a spate of industrial troubles in this country. That certainly has not happened.

The next important point is that the whole pattern of industrial life in Australia to-day is vastly different from what it was in 1900. It is vastly different also from what it was in 1949. I think the honorable member for Bendigo should realize that changes in the environment which have taken place necessitate the regular amendment of the act.

Let us look, in closer detail, at the working of the 1956 act. The first amendment it effected dealt with the working of arbitration. In spite of the strictures of the Opposition, I say that there has been a steady improvement in the tempo of hearing -cases listed before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. The backlog has been steadily overcome. Prior to 1956, there was a heavy backlog but since that time there has been a gradual diminution of it. I venture to suggest that there is no inordinate delay at the present time except in those cases dealing with the white collar workers, the professional engineers and the bank officers. It is in relation to these particular cases that the amendments to the act as foreshadowed in this bill are being made. I think it is important to quote a passage from the report of the president of the commission which has not yet been mentioned. On page 7 he had this to say -

I repeat the comment I made in last year’s report that the general work of the Commissioners under these assignments is up to date.

That is a very fair comment. There are no delays in the general work of the commission at the present time. Certainly, such delays as may exist are very much fewer than was the case two years ago.

Another very important aspect is that as a result of the amendments contained in the 1956 act an ever-growing band of people has come into existence in Australia who have dedicated themselves to the cause of arbitration. Better than all the laws that we make here is the fact that there is an assembly of people who consciously believe in the benefits to be derived from this unique system of handling industrial relations. To an extent, this is a product of the 1956 act. At this stage we should pay tribute to all the people who are consciously dedicating their lives to the task of making this system of arbitration work. I think of the judges, the commissioners, the conciliators, the counsel - in which my colleague the honorable member for Bruce (Mr. Snedden) is playing an important part - the representatives of the employers and the union representatives, all of whom are trying to make this system work even more smoothly that it has done in the past.

I think that the annual reports of the president of the commission have demonstrated that this is taking place. He has gone out of his way to try to show how the system has improved in its operation. He has also drawn the attention of the Government, from time to time, to certain ways in which small amendments could be made to improve it still further. I think it is also a tribute to the Minister in charge of this department that, in each case, the Government has endorsed the recommendations of the president and has sought to enact the new amendments as promptly as possible. The recommendations before us at the present time aim to speed up the process to a greater extent.

I think that nothing that has been said by the Opposition in this debate, so far, takes away from the fact that there will be an acceleration in the hearing of these cases. Particularly will this amended procedure speed the hearing of those cases in which there has been delay over the last year and to which I have referred - the cases of the white collar workers, the professional engineers and the bank officers.

I do not think the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Clarey) fully appreciated the fact that, under the bill, it will be possible for evidence concerning a whole gamut of people to be heard at one time and that the two authorities concerned will then be able to go away and give their separate judgments in the light of the factors that guide them generally in the making of such determinations. I think there is great value to bs gained from these amendments and I cannot see that any of the arguments advanced by the Opposition, so far, do anything to take away from the value and wisdom of effecting them as rapidly as possible. Therefore, I commend them to the House and hope that they will be speedily approved.

I should also like to look at the other factor that is important in this bill and that is the factor of conciliation. I am glad that the honorable member for Bendigo referred to it, but he said that he thought there was not enough conciliation going on and that even at further stages some of the work of the commission could be referred, again, to conciliation. I think it would be wise to quote again from the report of the president of the commission for this year. On page 10 of his report he said -

I stressed in my last report the fact that conciliation was an important partner with arbitration in the Commission’s work and this is sul the position. Commissioners make extensive use of conferences between the parties as a medium for obtaining agreement and almost invariably the first step taken by a Commissioner after a dispute has been notified to the Commission is to get the parties into conference with each other. In addition the services of the Conciliators appointed under the Act are of course an important aid to conciliation.

A little later in the report, he said -

On balance it would be fair to say that each of the Conciliators . . . has made a very valuable contribution to the success of conciliation and also to the process of arbitration.

As the president says in his report, almost invariably the process of conciliation is used in the first place. I cannot see, in the light of that report and what is taking, place in the commission at the present time, that the strictures of the honorable member for Bendigo are valid. Conciliation, I am glad to say, is working more smoothly, according to the report of the president, than it has done before. This is something that we should like to see continue. I know that both sides of the House will agree on that. This was the main object of the 1956 act as was stressed on more than one occasion by the former Minister for Labour and National Service who is now the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt). 1 think we should pay a tribute to him because it was as a result of the amendments that he made in the conciliation process that it is now working smoothly and effectively.

I have stressed conciliation. I hope that I shall often do so again in this House. From time to time, I have been chided by the Opposition, especially by the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam), for emphasizing the importance of the reduction that has taken place in the number of industrial disputes and the time lost through strikes. On more than one occasion, the honorable member has asked why I did not think, instead, of some of the other important industrial problems that face us at the present time. My reason is solely that I believe sincerely that if the processes of conciliation and arbitration can be made to work smoothly they can contribute to a better understanding of all the problems that engage the attention of those in industry. This understanding of the problems by all authorities is, I think, emerging even more than it did a few years ago. I think that the industrial problems of the 1960’s will not be the same as the problems of this decade, the 1950’s.

I hope, with the honorable member for Werriwa, that such things as industrial safety will be given a prominent place in discussion in this House in the next few years but I think that many other problems will also be important. We should look, from time to time, at all the factors that will be involved if there is to be increasing mobility of labour in the industrial life of Australia. If we are to have automation and a change in industry, this question of mobility will be increasingly important. We must look at all the factors. Em- ployers should give a greater warning of changes that are to take place in the industrial pattern. We must look too at the problem, possibly, of the severance pay that may become necessary if people become redundant because a new process is brought into operation.

If large numbers of employees have to change from one industry to another, there should be special ways in which retraining in new skills can be carried out. Probably, employees will have to change not only their jobs, but also their place of living. Therefore such problems as housing in new communities become important. As changes take place, there may be a time when we can think of recommending transferability of superannuation benefits in private enterprise. In the next decade we should look also at problems concerned with the employment of old people. All these matters will be vital to all of us who engage in the industrial life of this Commonwealth.

I think that we shall be much better equipped to discuss them and improve industrial relations generally as a result of the improving harmonious environment that is being engendered throughout Australia at the present time. This improvement is, I think, arising from a number of factors. Not the least of those factors are the benefits that are accruing to industry generally from the working of the 1956 act and its subsequent amendment, such as those we are discussing now.

In the light of those remarks, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I certainly commend the bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Clyde Cameron) adjourned.

page 2113


Customs Tariff Amendment (No 4); Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 5); Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 6); Excise Tariff Amendment (No. 2)

In Committee of Ways and Means:

Minister for Air · Evans · LP

.- I move- [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 4).]

That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1959 be amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals, and that on and after the fourteenth day of May, 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 1933-1959 as so amended. [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 5).] That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1959 be amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that on and after the fourteenth day of May, 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 1933-1959 as so amended. [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 6).] The the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1959 be amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals, and that on and after the fourteenth day of May, 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 1933-1959 as so amended. [Excise Tariff Amendment (No. 2).] That the Schedule to the Excise Tariff 1921-1959 be amended asset out in the Schedule to these Proposals, and that on and after the fourteenth day of May, One thousand nine hundred and fifty-nine, at five o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Australian Capital Territory, Duties of Excise be collected in pursuance of the Excise Tariff 1921-1959 as so amended. **Mr. Chairman,** the Tariff Proposals which I have just tabled relate to proposed amendments of the schedules to the Customs Tariff 1933-1959 and the Excise Tariff 1921-1959. Where not already in operation, the alterations will have effect as from to-morrow morning. The amendments proposed in Customs Tariff Proposals No. 4 are based on recommendations made by the Tariff Board concerning printed silk piece goods, bathing hats and bathing caps, towels and towelling, and woodworking chisels. At a later stage I shall table the board's reports dealing with these matters together with other reports. Protective duties are being provided for printed piece goods which are wholly or predominantly of silk. The new rates are 101/2d. per square yard under the British preferential tariff,1s. 3d. per square yard under the intermediate tariff and1s. 5d. when the goods are entered at general tariff rates. In regard to bathing hats and bathing caps, protective duties of121/2 per cent, ad valorem under the British preferential tariff and 221/2 per cent, otherwise are being imposed on those hats and caps which are wholly or predominantly of rubber. No change in the rates is being made in respect of other bathing hats and caps. In its report on towels and towelling, the Tariff Board stated there was no justification for any major revision of the rates applicable to towels, towelling and bath mats. However, the board has proposed some rationalization of existing provisions relating to these goods, and this involves some changes in the tariff structure with a consequent slight reduction in duties, mainly in the intermediate and general tariffs. Bevelled edge patternmakers' long thin paring chisels have until now been classifiable under item 219 (c) (2) (b) (1) at rates of free, British preferential tariff, and 71/2 per cent, ad valorem otherwise. In consequence of the Government's implementation of the Tariff Board's recommendations on chisels, these goods now become subject to protective duties of 20 per cent. British preferential tariff, 271/2 per cent, intermediate tariff and 321/2 per cent, general tariff. No change in the rates of duty is proposed in the Tariff Board report in respect of other wood working chisels. Customs Tariff Proposals No. 5 provide for the entry free of duty of imported stores for use in aircraft which are engaged on an international service or flight. These provisions, as honorable members may recall, were first introduced into this House on 1 1th September last, in Customs Tariff Proposals No. 6. This present action merely re-introduces the provisions. The amendment proposed in Excise Tariff Proposals No. 2 is complementary to the amendment being made in Customs Tariff Proposals No. 5, and provides for exemption from duty on certain aircraft stores which are of Australian origin. Among the Tariff Board reports which 1 will table shortly is one dealing with woollen goods, including wool tops. Customs Tariff Proposals No. 6 give effect to some of the recommendations made in this report. The principal change is a reduction of 4d. per lb. in the effective duties on wool tops. The reduction in the intermediate tariff is somewhat less than that recommended by the board, because of preference commitments accepted by Australia in the 1957 trade agreement with the United Kingdom. A further recommendation made by the board in this report was for the amalgamation of items 105 (f) (1) and 105 (f) (2). These items cover woollen piece goods. The amalgamation is recommended by the board to overcome classification problems, and not because it considers that the present general level of tariff protection should be varied. The Government has accepted this recommendation in principle. However, amalgamation of the items would at present involve a breach of commitments accepted under trade agreements with other countries. The Government has therefore commenced negotiations for the modification of these commitments and expects to amend the tariff along the lines recommended by the board at a later stage. 1 commend the proposals to honorable members. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 2116 {:#debate-28} ### TARIFF BOARD {:#subdebate-28-0} #### Reports {: #subdebate-28-0-s0 .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr OSBORNE:
LP -- I lay on the table reports of the Tariff Board on the following subjects: - >Bathing caps and bathing hats. > >Paperboards (Industries Preservation). > >Printing of silk piece goods. > >Timing units. > >Towels, towelling and textile articles made from towelling. > >Woodworking chisels. > >Woollen goods. In the case of the report on paperboards I should like to state that although the Tariff Board found that certain paperboards from New Zealand have been sold to Australia at export prices below their fair market value in New Zealand, and that detriment has thereby resulted to the Australian industry, the Government is satisfied that the extent of detriment is not sufficient to occasion serious hardship to the Australian industry. New Zealand is supplying only about 1 per cent, of the total Australian market and the Government noted that imports from certain other countries are landing in Australia at lower prices than the New Zealand product. The imposition of dumping duties on New Zealand paperboards would most likely have the effect of excluding New Zealand suppliers from the market but would not materially improve the position of the Australian manufacturer. In fact, it is conceivable that New Zealand's small share of the market might go to other overseas suppliers. For these reasons it has been decided that paperboards from New Zealand should not be gazetted under section 4 of the Customs Tariff (Industries Preservation) Act 1921- 1957. Ordered to be printed. {: .page-start } page 2117 {:#debate-29} ### CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION BILL 1959 {:#subdebate-29-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed (vide page 2113). {: #subdebate-29-0-s0 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- The Opposition has stated quite clearly that it opposes this bill, and honorable members on this side of the House who have spoken so far have given the reasons why the Opposition takes this stand. The reasons can be summarized, I think, in this way: First of all, the Opposition agrees with the trade union movement that there ought not to be the kind of interference in the conduct of union ballots that is permitted under the existing legislation. It was this Government which altered the law with respect to trade union ballots in a way that has provoked so much criticism from the Labour Party. it will be recalled that the Chifley Labour Government introduced legislation dealing with court-controlled ballots, but that legislation differed in a very important respect from the legislation subsequently introduced by this Government, which we are now seeking to amend. The Chifley Government decided that if members of a union could establish a prima facie case of malpractice or corruption of any kind in connexion with a union ballot, they should be given the right to have such a ballot conducted by the court. The important point was that the persons concerned had to prove that malpractice had already occurred. Under the Government's proposal it is not necessary to prove that malpractice has occurred or is likely to occur. All that is necessary, under the legislation introduced by this Government, is for a given number of members of a union, or of a branch of a union, to petition the court for a court-controlled ballot. Then, without any evidence having been produced of malpractice on the part of the union concerned or in connexion with the conduct of the ballot, the union is subjected to interference by the court with respect to the ballot. I do not believe that we will ever eliminate malpractice in an election of any kind, whether it be a union election or a parliamentary election, so long as we permit the system of postal voting to continue. All of us in this Parliament know, and will admit if we are honest, that even in parliamentary elections malpractice does occur in connexion with postal voting. It is well known that all kinds of people call at hospitals, collecting postal ballot-papers from patients. In many instances the elector does not even record the vote himself, but allows the person collecting the paper to do it for him. If he does record the vote he frequently records it in accordance with the directions, or the advice, if you prefer a milder term, given to him by the person collecting the ballot-paper. I repeat that, no matter whether we talk of trade union elections, parliamentary elections or any other elections, the system of postal voting inevitably lends itself to malpractice, unless very careful steps are taken to see that it does not occur. Even the steps taken in this direction in a parliamentary election are not 100 per cent, foolproof, as we all know, but they must be far less effective in the case of a trade union election, when, of necessity, it is necessary to extend the conduct of the postal voting over a period of two, three or sometimes as many as six weeks. Ballot-papers have to be sent to all parts of the State, to persons whose addresses are constantly changing, and I think it is absurd to expect to achieve a vote that is free from malpractice. In trade union elections, as we know, the Registrar posts out the ballot-papers to the union members. Then persons belonging to various union factions, and who call themselves commandos, call at the homes of members who have shown themselves to be apathetic in the matter by failing to register their votes. These commandos usually say that they represent the industrial groups, or the militants, or the unity tickets, or some other particular faction that they think will appeal to the members whose vote they are trying to secure. They say, " Have you voted in the election yet? We understand from the records that you are a member of the union." The number of people who vote quickly and willingly and enthusiastically in a union election, as in a parliamentary election, is fairly small. Generally, or at least very often, the commando is told, "No, I have the ballot-paper here somewhere. It came yesterday, or last week, and I have not bothered to vote yet. I do not know all the candidates. It is not compulsory, is it? " " Oh, yes ", says the commando, " It is compulsory, and you will be fined if you do not vote ". The member will probably then say, " In that case you had better give me a hand ". Sometimes he says, " I do not know the candidates. You take the ballot paper, vote for me and post it away." If the member does not make the offer readily, the commandos make certain that the offer is eventually made. They say, " We will help you in this matter. We know the candidates. It is very important for our union that this man should win. If you have not yet voted and would like us to help you we will be glad to take your ballot-paper and1 fix it up for you, and we will guarantee that it is posted in." These things are inevitable, and they cannot be eliminated under the system of postal voting that is now the order of the day with court-controlled ballots - unless, of course, there is some strict prohibition on, and severe penalties are provided for. people who canvass the homes of members and collect ballot-papers in the way I have mentioned. These prohibitions and penalties do not exist at the moment. It is an open go for any one who likes to collect the ballot-papers, and unless these restrictions are introduced it is certain that corruption will occur. I have always believed that the only way to get an absolutely pure vote is to make the voter go to some particular place and register his vote in person, as is done in a parliamentary election. {: .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon: -- The Federated Storemen and Packers Union follows that practice. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- There are some unions that already require this to be done. The Minister mentions the Federated Storemen and Packers Union, and I am obliged to him for the information. I know that the miners federation, by its own rules, makes it compulsory for every member to attend at a particular place on a given day and personally register his vote, in the same way as electors are compelled by law to register their votes at parliamentary elections. {: .speaker-KZE} ##### Mr Roberton: -- But there is provision for a postal vote in parliamentary elections. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- Of course there is, and if the Minister had come into the chamber earlier he would have heard me say that with postal voting there are all kinds of corruption, even in parliamentary elections. People call at hospitals and pick up ballot-papers from patients, at the same time advising them how to vote. There are all kinds of malpractices in connexion with postal votes in parliamentary elections. That was the point I made before the Minister came in. The rules of the Waterside Workers Federation also compel members to go along and register their votes in person. My point is that you cannot have a union election or any other election that is absolutely free from malpractice unless you cut out this system of postal voting. Let me remind honorable members that there has never yet been an occasion when any person has said, much less been able to prove, that the ballots conducted by the Waterside Workers Federation or the miners federation have been subject to any form of malpractice. Whatever you may say about those two unions, however much you many criticize them for their rules or for their actions industrially, no one has ever pointed the finger at either of them with regard to their methods of conducting elections. I simply say that only by adopting the practices of these unions will we have a ballot that is absolutely free from malpractice. Now let us turn to the question of courtcontrolled ballots generally and look at it from another angle. A court-controlled ballot is an absolute waste of time if the law allows the union executive concerned to sack the man who is elected at the courtcontrolled ballot. And the law does that! At. the moment, the law says, " Yes, you can have a court-controlled ballot, but your executive can sack the man elected. The law does not provide any safeguard for the elected official against capricious action by the ruling clique in the executive concerned. The union can have a rule saying that any breach of the rules will render the person committing the breach liable to expulsion. One of the rules may be nothing more than that a union official, in writing out the membership ticket of a member, shall write the member's name in block letters. The union official who has, let us imagine, just been elected at a court-controlled ballot may, by some chance, have missed this little paragraph in a thick book of rules and may not have been told by anybody that he was obliged to write the name of the member in block letters. If he were to write the name quite legibly in longhand the union executive, under rules registered by the court, would have the right to say, " You have now committed a breach of these rules, and the rules say that any breach of them renders you liable to expulsion ". If something not as trivial as that is used as the basis for the dismissal of the man, some other point that is of a similar character will be brought up against him. It is almost impossible for a union official to comply with all the rules of his union. Very often, the unions spend thousands of pounds paying Queen's Counsel to interpret the rules, yet they expect some poor wretch who has just been elected as the result of a court-controlled ballot to understand them! If he does not understand them, he can be dismissed. Unless the Government is prepared to protect the rights of those f.3486/59.- [si] elected by court-controlled ballots, it will never achieve any lasting results. Union executives are in a position to say, "Let the members elect the officials; we will sack them ". That position must be carefully considered. {: .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr Killen: -- Has it ever happened? {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- It has happened quite frequently in the executive of the particular union I am discussing. If the leader of the executive is opposed to a person who is elected, it is not very long after the election before a star-chamber trial is arranged. The head of the union will charge the poor wretch concerned with some trivial or technical breach of the rules. The executive will assemble and those conducting the trial, knowing that their heads will come off if they do not find the charge proven, will solemnly declare the poor wretch guilty, and expel him. If he is not expelled, he will certainly be suspended or dismissed from his office, which is the important thing from the executive's point of view, and the union is back where it started from before the ballot was held. Having suspended or dismissed the man elected at a court-controlled ballot, the union executive looks to the rules which this Government, and other governments for that matter, have allowed to be registered and says, "We have got rid of him although he was elected only a fortnight ago; now, what do the rules say?". It is found that the rules provide that in the event of any person being removed from office for misconduct - a word which is as wide as the world itself - or for any breach of the rules, or for any other act which in the opinion of the executive is contrary to the best interests of the union, the vacancy so created shall be filled by the executive which suspended the poor wretch who was elected at the court-controlled ballot. If in the opinion of the executive, it is not practicable to hold another ballot within the unexpired portion of the period for which the man was elected the executive may elect a new man to hold office for the unexpired period, and that may be three years. These are serious matters. If corruption inside these unions, which are, of course, in the minority, is to be tackled properly, the Government is only wasting its time and the taxpayers' money in taking the trouble to hold court-controlled ballots while it allows to be registered union rules which give the executive the right to sack men who are elected at the court-controlled ballots. As a matter of fact, it is not much in the interests of the rank and file members to say that this protection will be given only to persons elected at courtcontrolled ballots; it is a protection to which officials are entitled whether they are elected at ordinary ballots or at court-controlled ballots. I want to deal now with the opposition which we have to the Government's proposal to meet the cost of conducting these ballots. One honorable member opposite said that he could not understand why some Opposition members had asked the Government to meet this cost when the Opposition intended to oppose the proposal once it was introduced by the Government. I can explain it in this way: If we were to support the amendment now put before us in this bill, which proposes to reimburse the unions for the additional expense involved, our support would be tacit endorsement of the principle that, in the conduct of court-controlled ballots, a union's rules governing its elections can be superseded by the court. We do not believe that they should be superseded by the court. We say that when the Registrar registers the rules of the union as being in accordance with the law, there ought not to be any right vested in any authority to declare subsequently that the method registered as being in accordance with the law should be superseded, presumably on the ground that it is not in accordance with justice. {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden: -- This is a statutory provision in aid of the rules that are registered with the court. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- What is the point you are trying to make? {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden: -- It is something in addition to the rules and in aid of the rules. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I do not see the point you are making now. {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden: -- That is obvious from what you have said. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- It is quite clear that it does not matter whether the law is in the form of statutory rules or of an act, for that matter. It is the law. I am simply trying to make the point that if the Registrar, whether by statutory regulation or by act of Parliament, is given the right, and in fact exercises the right, to register a rule as being in accordance with the law, it is rather silly, once that is done, for some other body - or perhaps the Registrar himself - to say, in respect of the rule that has been registered as being in accordance with the law, that it is not in accordance with justice and will now be superseded. The Chifley Government, by introducing the legislation dealing with court-controlled ballots, made an admission that malpractices can and do occur in trade union elections. I have no doubt that malpractices occur in elections of all kinds. They may occur in elections of company directors, if such elections are ever held. Plebiscites in the Liberal Party, or perhaps in other parties, are subject to all kinds of malpractice. It would be silly for anybody to say that things that are common in all other walks of life could not possibly occur in a trade union. I will go so far as to say that I know that in respect of one trade union - a very big one at that - nearly every official of one branch of the union would lose his job to-morrow morning if a ballot could be conducted of the rank-and-file members of the union in such a way that malpractices could not be perpetrated, thereby enabling the rank-and-file members of the union to express their opinion of their officials through the ballot-box. Such union officials are detested, loathed and distrusted by the rank and file, but because malpractices are so rife in the union, there is not the ghost of a chance of getting rid of them. They have fastened themselves on to the union and they know that because of malpractices they can ignore any attempts made to shift them. They know that they can remain in office year after year. They are so confident that when their terms of office expire they do not bother to notify the members of the union of the opening date or closing date for nominations of officials for a new term of office. The members of the union know about the elections only when they read the union paper, which invariably pays glowin? tributes to the union officials by saying that they have been elected unopposed for another three years. The Government would be rendering a far greater service to the rank and file of the trade union movement if it dealt with these problems rather than tinkered at matters such as are contained in the bill. I am more concerned with the rank and file and their rights than I am with the officials of unions. I believe that the officials of trade unions should be elected under a system that will compel them to be responsive to rank-and-file viewpoints and will not allow them, by malpractices, to be in a position, as the branch I am speaking of is, of being able to ignore completely the wishes and the views of the rank and file, even to disaffiliating from the Australian Labour Party. Union officials should not be able to have themselves elected to office unopposed as a result of not letting the rank and file know when nominations are called for or as a result of other malpractices. {: #subdebate-29-0-s1 .speaker-K6T} ##### Mr COSTA:
Banks .- The purpose of this bill is *to* amend the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. It is very closely related to another bill which is to be debated later, namely, the Public Service Arbitration Bill, If it is permissible, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I propose to deal with those two bills together. {: #subdebate-29-0-s2 .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock:
LYNE, NEW SOUTH WALES -- Does it suit the convenience of the House for the two bills to be debated together? There being no objection, the honorable member may proceed. {: .speaker-K6T} ##### Mr COSTA: -- The honorable member for Fawkner **(Mr. Howson)** has apparently had very happy industrial experiences, because he thinks that everything in the industrial garden is beautiful and peaceful. I admit that there has been a great improvement in the conditions of workers in industry over the years as a result of conciliation and arbitration measures. But the peace in industry that we all desire should not be a peace at any price. It is very nice for people to enjoy good conditions in industry, but the honorable member said nothing about the unfortunate unemployed who are unable to enjoy the conditions that have been brought about by conciliation and arbitration. I am sure that the great permanent army of unemployed persons would like to enjoy those conditions. The system of conciliation and arbitration should be geared to keep a friendly and careful watch on that situation. The honorable member for Fawkner also said that the hearing of industrial disputes had been speeded up and that any delays that do occur are not as protracted as was formerly the case. So, the honorable member admitted that there are delays in the hearing of applications to the court. The procedures of the court should be speeded up and streamlined so that no delays occur. The honorable member referred to the white collar workers' case and the cases covering certain engineers engaged in the Public Service, in the service of semi-government bodies and in other industries, and professional workers, such as draughtsmen and surveyors employed in the Public Service and in private industry. I take it that the second of the two bills before the House is designed to meet the particular situation that has occurred as the result of the claim on behalf of the white collar workers. The honorable member referred to the expenses that are to be paid to unions involved in a court-controlled ballot. The Labour Party does not consider that part of the bill offensive. We on this side of the House think that it is only right and proper that the Government, if it forces a courtcontrolled ballot on a union, should reimburse the union for any expenses incurred. We oppose the legislation in principle because it contemplates a change in the functioning of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and the Commonwealth Public Service Arbitrator. The bill provides for joint sittings of the commission and the Public Service Arbitrator. The Australian Council of Trade Unions, which is the highest authority in union matters, does not want such an amendment to the act, and for that reason we oppose the bill on its behalf despite the fact that the legislation contains some worthwhile provisions. However, if the Opposition is not successful in having this bill withdrawn and redrafted in an acceptable manner, it will gladly accept the benefits that are provided by it. The honorable member for Fawkner mentioned that delays in the hearing of cases are brought to the notice of the Parliament by the president of the commission. In his last annual report the president suggested that an additional commissioner should be appointed. The Government realizes that delays occur under the present system. Reference has been made to the large number of amendments that have been made to the principal act. Because the legislation affects most of the people in the community, governments have found it necessary to amend the act from time to time. The legislation brought down in 1947 by the Chifley Labour Government represented the greatest step forward that this country has taken towards achieving better relations between employers and employees and securing peace in industry. Labour then took a step forward of a kind that had never previously been envisaged. I believe that the peace and contentment which the Government emphasizes as existing in industry to-day rest on foundations that were laid by the Chifley Labour Government in the 1947 act, under the terms of which sufficient conciliation commissioners - I think about eleven - were appointed to end the delays that were then occurring in settling industrial disputes. Under the 1947 act, particular industries were allotted to special conciliation commissioners. As a result, a better spirit of conciliation was seen. Those conciliation commissioners knew that conciliation meant getting together in a friendly atmosphere round a table and discussing the problems of the industry concerned. The 1947 act enabled this to be done, and we were able to have a conciliation commissioner almost standing by, as it were, to deal with any dispute and resolve it very quickly. So I believe that the 1947 act is responsible more than any other measure adopted by this Parliament for the promotion of peace in industry. I believe that, since 1947, we have been going backwards, and that two of the amendments of the principal act which have most contributed to the backward trend were those embodied in the acts passed in 1952 and 1956. I believe that, until 1952, we were moving towards greater industrial peace, but we are not moving towards it to-day. I had proposed to deal with a number of matters which I shall now skip, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** because I know that the House is trying to expedite its business. However, I should like to mention the effect of this bill upon arbitration for Commonwealth public servants. I worked in the Public Service before it had an arbitration system at all. In those days, public servants had to get before the general court as best they could, and I have known delays of up to two* years. Even when we reached the court, perhaps after lengthy delay, the judge who heard the case may have had no knowledge or experience of the problems that were? put before him. Indeed, I recall an occasion when my own circumstances were involved. At the time, I was a junior, living away from home, and receiving £2 a week. Out of this, I paid 25s. a week board, and I had to clothe myself and provide for all my other needs on the remaining 15s. a week. Our association took the matter before the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, as it then was - not before a special tribunal dealing with the Public Service - and the judge who heard the case rejected our claims, which we had considered were well justified. He said, in effect, "When a young man goes away from home to live in a country town, plenty of families are happy to take him in and give him cheap board, and they will arrange to do his washing for him ". I mention that just to indicate how far removed from knowledge of the personal circumstances of those involved was the judge who heard the claim. It should have been heard by some one who was fully aware of the circumstances of the public servants concerned. I believe that we made a great step forward when the Public Service Arbitrator was appointed, because we then had our own arbitrator, who was thoroughly versed in every aspect of conditions in the Public Service, and who presided at the hearing of claims made by the various Public Service unions. Great steps forward towards industrial peace were made in the Public Service after the Public Service Arbitrator was appointed. I think it was a backward step to remove final jurisdiction over public servants from the arbitrator in 1956 and make his decisions subject to appeal to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. I have in mind what happened with respect to the last decision made by **Mr. Castieau** when he was Public Service Arbitrator. That was a very just decision which gave great benefits to Commonwealth employees, and particularly to Post Office employees, with whom I am most concerned. Because the decision was so favorable to the employees, the Public Service Board appealed against it - something the board would have had no right to do under the earlier Labour legislation - and **Mr. Castieau's** decision was upset by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission as a consequence of the legislation introduced by this Government in 1956. Public servants had formerly been very happy under their own arbitrator. Final jurisdiction over them should be returned to the arbitrator and the matter should not be further complicated, as it will be, by the provisions in this bill relative to the Public Service Arbitration Act. That is one reason why I oppose the bill in toto, although, if we are not able to reject it entirely, we shall be happy to accept the benefits that it will give. I should like to deal with one other matter before I conclude. It concerns the Australian Labour Party's attitude on this matter which was stated in its policy for the last general election in these terms - >The trade unions and the Australian Labour Party both regard excessive legalism and procedures of punishment and penalties for contempt and injunction cases as calculated to interfere with the basic approach to mediation and conciliation. I believe that there are in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act provisions that are vicious and provocative, and that while they remain we shall not get the peace and happiness in industry that should be achieved by the settlement of problems by conciliation and arbitration. I notice that the Government has made no provision in the bill with respect to this matter. I therefore suggest that the Government consider it at some time. The penalty provision in the Public Service Act, I suppose, is as severe as any in existence in any legislation. I refer to the provision that if a public servant stops work or strikes, notwithstanding the fact that only extreme provocation would move him to do so, he shall be subject, not to a fine stipulated in the act, but to the penalty of automatic dismissal. That is a very serious thing, because, after all, any man with real spirit can be provoked. I do not think that such a severe penalty should continue to be provided for in the act. It deprives a man who may have served in the Public Service for many years not only of his job but also of the various benefits that he may have accumulated as a result of his service, such as superannuation, recreation leave and long service leave rights. Such a provision in any act is too severe, and it should be repealed. I bring this matter to the notice of the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. McMahon)** and of other Ministers in the hope that they will remove some of these drastic penalties which, in my opinion, do not promote the peace and harmony that we want under our arbitration system. I propose to vote with the rest of the Opposition against this bill on the motion for the second reading, and also, at the committee stage, in support of an amendment designed to omit clause 8, which will be moved by the honorable member for Bendigo **(Mr. Clarey).** Question put - >That the bill be now read a second time. The House divided. (Mr. Deputy Speaker - Mr. P. E. Lucock.) AYES: 58 NOES: 36 Majority . . . . 22 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. In committee: Clauses 1 to 7 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to. Clause 8 (Joint sessions of Commission). {: #subdebate-29-0-s3 .speaker-JUP} ##### Mr CLAREY:
Bendigo .- I move - That the clause be omitted. It is not my intention to cover again the ground that I covered last night. I ask the committee to consider the submissions I made last night in relation to this clause as being made again now. Deletion of the clause would render impossible a dual or joint sitting of a presidential commission under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act and a presidential committee under the Public Service Arbitration Act. I stress the points of view that I stated to the House last night. I want to correct some rather extraordinary statements made by Government supporters. I suggest that the honorable member for Bruce **(Mr. Snedden)** should listen when I say that at no time have I said or implied that the court should or must take into consideration whether or not the community can pay the cost of a particular award. I feel sure that the honorable member for Bruce was rather confused when he referred to my submission. I said that the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission takes into consideration whether or not the community can pay, whereas on the other hand the Public Service Arbitrator does not take into consideration the capacity of the Commonwealth Government to pay. I want to make that clear. I do not want statements wrongly alleged to have been made by me to be quoted at some time in the future. I do not want to traverse again the question of how cumbersome the legislation is, and how especially cumbersome this clause would make it. I want to remove any misapprehension in the mind of any honorable member, and I refer particularly to the honorable member for Fawkner **(Mr. Howson).** I have at no time said that the Commonwealth arbitration system should be scrapped in favour of the Victorian wages board system. I said that the Victorian wages board system provided a speedy, simple, and inexpensive method of settling industrial disputes, and I suggested that requirements to those ends might well be featured in all Commonwealth legislation. I believe that this is a bad clause and that the committee should reject it. {: #subdebate-29-0-s4 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMAHON:
Minister for Labour and National Service · Lowe · LP -- The Government will not accept the amendment suggested by the honorable member for Bendigo **(Mr. Clarey).** Before 1 give my reason for rejecting his suggestion, however, may I say to him that I had no doubt about what he meant in his comment concerning the wages boards in Victoria and also the functions of the Arbitration Commission and of the Public Service Arbitrator. I had taken notes of what he said and I agree that the statement he has just made is a correct interpretation of his statements in the second-reading debate. In regard to the amendment concerning the consolidation of proceedings, my own view is that this is one of the very sensible suggestions which was made by the president of the commission. May I make this clear: There were nineteen cases before the commission involving the engineers and white-collar workers. Some were proceedings under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act and others under the Public Service Arbitration Act. Common grounds were involved in most of the cases and the president himself thought that in order to have a speedy hearing of the evidence it would be best to consolidate the hearings and then, prior to the time when a decision had to be made, the commissions would separate and give independent decisions. The president pointed out that joint hearings could not take place or joint decisions be given because the benches were constituted under two separate acts. He said in his report - >The benches could not be constituted by the same members for all of the 19 cases because of the different requirements of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act on the one hand, and the Public Service Arbitration Act on the other hand. In view of the similarity of the cases in this group it is unfortunate that there is no statutory power to consolidate the hearing of any two or more cases coming before the Commission irrespective of the Act pursuant to which the cases come before the Commission. Consideration might, I suggest, be given to an amendment of the legislation to permit this. What we are doing is to carry out the suggestions made by the president of the commission. It has been suggested by the president that because there were cases presented on similar grounds the argument would be much the same and, in fact, the decisions would be interlocking. I think there is good reason for one hearing of what would be evidence common to all applications. Last night the honorable member for Bendigo mentioned that there were three essentials for the success of conciliation and arbitration proceedings. They must be simple, speedy and inexpensive. The clause now before the committee would satisfy each of those three objectives. The hearing would be simple - much more simple than having a multiplicity of hearings - it would be speedy because it would avoid a multiplicity of hearings and most certainly it must cut down the expense involved. Consequently, for all the reasons that have been put to me by the president and, in fact, in most of the arguments of the Opposition, the amendment must be rejected. I wish to state, however, that last night my colleague rightly pointed out that the honorable member for Bendigo might have thought that the determinations of the awards would be made at the consolidated hearing. {: .speaker-JUP} ##### Mr Clarey: -- No, I had no thought of that. {: .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMAHON: -- I think that is the only case where I misunderstood the honorable member's purpose, but since he says he did not intend that, it is not necessary for me to develop the point. Nonetheless, all that will be done here is that the evidence will be presented to the consolidated commissions and argument will be heard by them. Then the commissions will separate and make up their own minds on the cases brought under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act and those brought under the Public Service Arbitration Act. Personally, I think that no harm, but rather great benefit, will come from the consolidation of the hearings. For that reason the Government rejects the amendment. {: #subdebate-29-0-s5 .speaker-KNM} ##### Mr E JAMES HARRISON:
Blaxland -- I think the last statement of the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. McMahon)** underlines the reason why the committee should agree to the amendment moved on behalf of the Opposition. The Minister, in his concluding words, went to some pains to explain that after the joint hearing the decisions would not necessarily be given conjointly. What is the use of a joint hearing if there are to be different decisions arising out of the same evidence? The Opposition is keenly opposed to the proposal contained in this provision. It will tie down the Commonwealth Public Service once and for all to ordinary industrial arbitration principles. It was to avoid this very thing that the position of the Public Service Arbitrator was originally created. But in this provision the Government is setting back the industrial clock 40 years for Commonwealth public servants. This provision is the final nail in the coffin wherein reposes the freedom which was gwen to the Public Service Arbitrator in 1920, and which was regarded as so desirable in handling Commonwealth Public Service matters. What will he think of what the president of the commission had to say? The president has asked for a carrying out of the original purpose of the legislation which established the office of the Public Service Arbitrator in 1920. The trouble is that this Government has cluttered up the lists of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission with Public Service matters. This is because various amendments to the industrial legislation have made it possible for these matters to come before a conciliation commission instead of being confined to the Public Service Arbitrator's court. If any honorable member cares to look up the records he will see that I predicted, in this place, that that would happen. All that the president is asking is that the commission be relieved of the situation which the Government has created by allowing a right of appeal to the court from the arbitrator's decision. The Government, instead of doing the right thing and observing the purpose for which the position of Public Service Arbitrator was created, is only aggravating the position which has developed. The Minister knows that during this session members on both sides of this chamber have been asking when certain Commonwealth Public Service matters, which have been listed for hearing for two years, will be dealt with by the commission. The Minister cannot get around the situation because now that other Public Service matters have been listed for hearing by the commission, the Public Service Board has raised the question of public interest. As soon as that question is raised the president is almost bound, by reason of the precedent created, to bring the matter to the full bench of the commission. I think the Minister has stated the weakest case ever in respect of conciliation and arbitration. I am sure that neither the honorable member for Bendigo **(Mr. Clarey)** nor I ever believed that we would live to see the day when a government would bring down legislation which would allow two different arms of the industrial courts jointly to hear evidence and argument in respect of various cases and then separate to make individual decisions. It is a sheer fallacy. One of two things will happen. Either the two authorities will go away and make the same decision or they will give separate judgments. If they do, the whole of the industrial arbitration system of this country will become a laughing stock. How can two authorities arrive at different decisions after hearing evidence on what has been regarded by the president of the commission as being on common grounds? But that is not the issue with which my colleagues and I are concerned. We are concerned, as we were in 1952 and in 1956, with the amendments that have been made in the industrial arbitration legislation affecting Commonwealth public servants. The Minister need not think he can get away from delays in the bearing of Commonwealth Public Service cases merely by means of this legislation. This will not help in the long run. He has seen what has happened this year. The number of matters before the full commission has mounted from three to 25. If it had not been for this Government's legislation, none of them would have been there. The Government deliberately provided the type of legislation which permits the court to be cluttered up. {: .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon: -- Where is the evidence of cluttering up? {: .speaker-KNM} ##### Mr E JAMES HARRISON: -- The report itself. Surely the Minister understands what the president said. He said that the bench could not be constituted by the same members for the whole of the nineteen cases. There were only three cases last year; this year, there are 25 - all because of the type of legislation that has already been passed. In this legislation, the Government is taking another step along the road of incapacity to meet the requirements of those who are presenting cases. This is not an answer to the problem. The Government is merely trying to cover up the damage that has already been done. In twelve months the number of cases listed has jumped from three to 25. The president has rightly said, in blunt terms, that the commission cannot handle the 25 now with the type of machinery already provided. The Government has tied the Commonwealth public servants into this. Surely the Commonwealth Public Service organizations must appreciate where they are going in relation to this final step that has been taken by the Government. This legislation should be opposed by every honorable member who has any regard for the way in which public servants should be handled, for the way in which custom has decided over the years that they should be treated, or for the contentment which existed in the Public Service from 1920 to 1950. All of this is cast to the winds first because of the right of appeal against the Public Service Arbitrator's decisions and, now, because of the cluttering up of every matter vital to the public interest in the Public Service case. Every Public Service case, although there is no definition of " public interest ", must have some public interest attached to it. Under the type of legislation all Public Service cases, including those of Postal Department employees, could finish up before the full commission. Honorable members supporting the Government have spoken about the need for streamlined legislation and for conciliation. I have never heard so much eye-wash being stated about a matter that is as clear as crystal. The Government has fallen down on the job and is now attempting to stop the rot by further legislation. In the final analysis, this will only intensify the position that has developed. {: #subdebate-29-0-s6 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN:
Bruce .- The honorable member for Bendigo **(Mr. Clarey)** said that the words he used last night were that the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission ought to consider the capacity of the community to pay. I made a note of his words at the time because of my amazement that the statement should have come from the honorable member for Bendigo. I have not checked this with " Hansard ", but the note I made was that the honorable member said that the commission must be satisfied of the capacity of the community to pay. To-day, he has said that he did not use the word " must ". Apparently the honorable member made an error in the choice of his words last night. {: .speaker-JUP} ##### Mr Clarey: -- I made no error. I know what I said. {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN: -- I readily accept his statement that he did not mean to say " must ", but, on the other hand, that the commission " ought " to do that. The honorable member for Blaxland **(Mr. E. James Harrison)** has clearly demonstrated that he, certainly, is under the misapprehension which we thought that the honorable member for Bendigo was under last night. The honorable member for Bendigo, to-day, has said, " No. I was not under that misapprehension. I do not believe, nor did I believe, that the decisions in relation to the consolidated hearing must be given at the same time ". The honorable member for Bendigo said, " I am not under that misapprehension". But then the honorable member for Blaxland rose and said, " I am ". That is what he has put - that the same people hear the evidence in the consolidated hearing; that they might then go away, but they will reach the same decisions. Let us look at the facts. There are nineteen disputes before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission which are generally referred to as the " white collar workers' case ". Of that nineteen, fifteen have emanated from the commissioners and four from the Public Ser vice Arbitrator. This point must be made perfectly clear. All these nineteen disputes were referred by the President on the application of the employee bodies. Also, the Public Service bodies went to the arbitrator and said, " We want this matter referred ". In other words, the employee organizations have recognized the value of the reference constituted bench and have sought it. When the references were made, the President of the court, in relation to the conciliation and arbitration provisions, was bound to appoint at least one presidential member and, where possible, the commissioner who initially heard the dispute and from whom the reference came. The President also had the limiting factor that all these matters were similar. He said in his report that the matters were matters in common. Under the Public Service Arbitration Act he had to have at least two presidential members and the: arbitrator. The final result was that the president regarded this matter as of absolute public importance and, obviously, in his opinion, the bench ought to be constituted as it would be in a basic wage case, with three presidential members. A situation emerged in which **Mr. Justice** Kirby nominated himself, **Mr. Justice** Gallagher, and **Mr. Justice** Wright, **Mr. Chambers,** one of the commissioners from whom many of the disputes came, and **Mr. Portus,** the other commissioner from whom the disputes came. This was a bench of five, at that stage, for the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission matters only. Then the Public Service arbitration matters came before the commission and the president was obliged to have two presidential members and the arbitrator, **Mr. Galvin.** The consequence was that, while fifteen of the matters were being discussed, **Mr. Galvin** had to sit in a back room. I was there and saw and heard what happened while the lists were being called. While the first fifteen matters were being called, **Mr. Galvin** was sitting in a back room. This was while they were trying to set their programme to decide the quickest, simplest, and most convenient way to hear th° case. When the first fifteen were called, the president of the court adjourned the case while he walked off the bench. Having walked off the bench, he shed **Mr. Chambers** and **Mr. Portus,** picked up **Mr. Galvin,** and walked back onto the bench so that that reconstituted commission could proceed to mention the other four matters that had come from the Public Service Arbitrator. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- That was a fine set-up. {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN: -- That was a fine setup. I am sure that the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith **(Mr. Curtin)** thinks that that should not have occurred. It most certainly should not have occurred, lt is the very thing that this legislation is designed to prevent. It will operate from 14th August, 1958, so that, in fact, it will prevent it. Here is the opportunity to consolidate matters. What the honorable member for Blaxland completely overlooks is that even if they were not consolidated, at least two of the presidential members who sit in the conciliation, and arbitration references would then have to sit in the references from the Public Service Arbitrator. Suppose it was the president himself and **Mr. Justice** Gallagher: They would sit in this matter with **Mr. Justice** Wright, Commissioner Chambers, and Commissioner Portus, and hear all the evidence in a case which has already been going on for a great number of months. When it was all over, would the honorable member for Blaxland or the honorable member for Bendigo expect the president and **Mr. Justice** Gallagher to gather unto themselves **Mr. Galvin** and proceed to have the same thing all over again? As for the allegation by the honorable member for Blaxland that we are setting the clock back twenty years - that we are abandoning Public Service arbitration - nothing could be further from the truth. The two compulsory members on the reference bench have to be two presidential members who, in any event, must outvote **Mr. Galvin,** and most members have already heard the evidence in relation to the earlier conciliation and arbitration proceedings. So to object to this clause - I apologize for using the word, **Mr. Chairman** - is nothing more than humbug. {: #subdebate-29-0-s7 .speaker-JUP} ##### Mr CLAREY:
Bendigo -- I feel that after the outburst of the honorable member for Bruce **(Mr. Snedden)** some things ought to be said in order to emphasize the viewpoint of both the Opposition and the trade union movement. All that the honorable member said in his speech clearly and amply demonstrates the validity of the charges that we have made about the arbitration system becoming cumbersome, unwieldy and unable to function properly. Indeed, that is borne out by the hypothetical example which the honorable member himself gave of no fewer than five people being recalled to hear a cass. The suggestion in this legislation is to make it necessary for six persons to hear a case, which indicates that we have got away from the whole system of speedy arbitration and simple arbitration. Look at the matter from this angle: From 1904 to 1952. whilst amendments had been made to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act from time to time, the court had been able to function, for that period of close on fifty years, dealing with industrial disputes right throughout Australia, gradually laying down the principles for the settlement of industrial disputes, and gradually working out a code whereby those disputes could be dealt with promptly. From the original position of having a president of the court, and subsequently also a deputy president, the stage was reached where it was decided that only the basic wage for males and for females, and standard hours, must be dealt with by a trinity of judges. As a consequence of that we had three judges who, because of their association with the bench and their continued experience of arbitration, were able to bring to bear judgment, profound knowledge and experience in the administration of the act, and were able, in addition, to discharge their duties in respect of the settlement of industrial disputes, occurring not only in industry as such but also in other places. In 1952 this system, which had worked so successfully for some fifty years, and which was enabling industrial disputes to be handled promptly, was changed, and we had brought into the conception of arbitration the legal attitude to the matter rather than the human attitude to the matter. I am not using the word " legal " in anything but a proper sense. The whole idea in the 1952 legislation, which has been carried on since, seemed to be to erect a superstructure of legal authorities who would, all the time, be casting a legal eye, as it were, on those who make arbitrational decisions. Under the 1952 legislation the decisions of the conciliation commissioners, appointed in accordance with the 1947 legislation, could be appealed against. In subsequent legislation a very wide field of reference was introduced which enabled persons to escape from the conciliation commissioners and get before the commission or the court itself. The result was that employers were very anxious to have a matter referred to the full bench if that meant delaying a decision on an application which might concern an increase of wages. If, on the other hand, a reduction of wages was possible as a result of an application, the trade union movement would use the machinery in order to prevent or delay that. What we need in this legislation is something that will enable industrial disputes to be settled quickly. We do not want them to drag on. If they do drag on they cause a further problem in industry. As a consequence of growing frustration, irritation and impatience, we have all sorts of industrial disputes developing. As a person who has had considerable experience in the handling of men and women in industrial disputes I want to say that men and women in the mass, when they meet at a general meeting, are impatient of delay, and when they feel that they cannot get a hearing they are inclined to take direct action straight away in order to enforce their claims. If we can make our arbitration system a system so simple that we can readily have decisions made in respect of any dispute, whether large or small, we will bring about the maximum in improved industrial relations. It is all right for those who have had no experience in the handling of people who have been engaged in big industrial disputes, to regard these statements as of no consequence. If you want to have better industrial relations I suggest that you should take into consideration the views and the advice of people who, over many years, have had very great experience in industrial relations and who understand the psychology that underlies industrial disputes. I cannot accept the statements made by the honorable member for Bruce. I feel that he does not understand the industrial relations position. If the type of legislation that now exists, and of which he so heartily approves, is to continue, then I can assure him that the present relatively good industrial relations are likely to break down. Question put - >That the clause be agreed to. The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. G. J. Bowden.) AYES: 59 NOES: 37 Majority . . 22 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Remainder of bill - by leave - taken as a whole. {: #subdebate-29-0-s8 .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH:
Mackellar -- **Mr. Chairman,** I approach clause 9 of this bill with a heavy heart, because it marks the parting of the ways for myself and the honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr. Ward).** I am sorry to think that what has been described as the WentworthWard axis is finally broken. When this matter was last before the House I found myself in agreement with the honorable member for East Sydney. On 27th August, 1958, when dealing in this chamber with the matter of payment of extra costs of court-controlled ballots, the honorable member said - >The Government should at least bear any additional expense incurred by a union above the normal cost of a union-conducted ballot. Many of the unions have suffered considerable financial loss as a result of court-controlled ballots. I think it must be the Government's intention that they should suffer such losses, because the Government has worked very closely, I regret to say, with certain elements in the trade union movement. I am pleased to say, however, that those elements constitute only a minority in the movement. Nevertheless, they evidently have been able to conduct a campaign to harass trade union officials by trying to prevent them from doing their work effectively and, at the same time, trying to embarrass them by imposing upon the unions the financial burden represented by the cost of court-controlled ballots. I find that proposed new sub-section (6.) in clause 9 of the bill, does exactly what the honorable member for East Sydney suggested at that time the Government should do. Yet we find that the honorable member and his colleagues have now turned around and are opposing the proposition that was put forward at that time. What is the explanation of this remarkable change of attitude? Why has the honorable member for East Sydney ratted on me? Why, **Mr. Chairman,** has he seen fit to stab me in the back? I cannot claim to be one of his friends, and I cannot see why he has seen fit to stab me in the back. Unfortunately, the explanation is apparent when one looks for it. At the time that I was referring to, August, 1958, the Communist Party was conducting one of its periodic campaigns against courtcontrolled ballots, and as a means of exacerbating indignation against them it put forward, in its publications and other propaganda, a proposition to the effect, " Court-controlled ballots are terrible because they are running the unions into financial loss". That was then the line of the Communist Party. It was not an honest line, because the Communist Party did not want to save the unions from financial loss. What it wanted to do was to get rid of court-controlled ballots because the Communists believed that if they could return to the law of the jungle they could again corrupt the ballots and get more of their colleagues into office. It is important to realize that this was the Communist line at the time, because it was the line followed by the honorable member for East Sydney. Now the Government has legislated in the way that he wanted at that time, but for reasons completely different from those that really actuated the Communist Party at the time of which I have spoken. We now find the honorable member, as I have said, ratting on me, changing his course and opposing this very wise provision that the Government now proposes to insert in the legislation. {: #subdebate-29-0-s9 .speaker-JUP} ##### Mr CLAREY:
Bendigo .- It is not my intention, **Mr. Chairman,** to debate the remainder of the bill. All I want to do is correct a statement made in the course of this debate, which I think arose from some confusion of thought on the part of the honorable member for Bruce **(Mr. Snedden).** The portion of the bill now under discussion deals with courtcontrolled ballots. It does not deal with secret ballots. At no time has the Opposition, nor have I personally, maintained any attitude opposed to secret ballots. In the trade union movement throughout Australia secret ballots are used, recognized and adhered to. The legislation now before us refers only to court-controlled ballots. Remainder of bill agreed to. Bill reported without amendment; report adopted. Bill - by leave - read a third time. Sitting suspended from 5.59 to 8 p.m. {: .page-start } page 2130 {:#debate-30} ### PUBLIC SERVICE ARBITRATION BILL 1959 {:#subdebate-30-0} #### Second Reading Consideration resumed from 7th May (vide page 1997), on motion by **Mr. McMahon** - >That the bill be now read a second time. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted. Bill - by leave - read a third time. {: .page-start } page 2131 {:#debate-31} ### CELLULOSE ACETATE FLAKE BOUNTY BILL 1959 {:#subdebate-31-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 5th May (vide page 1806), on motion by **Mr. Osborne** - That the bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-31-0-s0 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor .- This bill provides for the payment of a bounty of 10d. a lb. on the production of cellulose acetate flake. The Minister for Air **(Mr. Osborne),** in introducing the bill, made a very brief speech. I commend him for that, but his speech did not indicate the real importance of this industry to Australia. However, a vast fund of information is available in Tariff Board reports which have been compiled since 1954 as a result of applications made by the companies engaged in the production of cellulose acetate flake in Australia. Cellulose acetate flake is the raw material for the production of rayon and of most of the moulded plastic products available in Australia to-day. In addition, aspirin and other pharmaceutical goods are derived from a by-product of the processing of cellulose acetate flake. When considering bills which provide for the payment of bounties - and they are fairly frequent in this Parliament - I find it hard to divorce myself from the thought that it is comparatively easy for powerful combines and monopolies, which produce goods essential to the welfare of Australia and in demand by the people, to persuade the Tariff Board and the Government to pay bounties which enable them to overcome successfully the initial difficulties of establishing the process. This may be necessary, but it highlights the fact that these very large organizations are given preference over individual entrepreneurs who, of their own volition and initiative, enter private industry as individuals or as members of small companies. The history of the production in Australia of cellulose acetate flake is interesting. From 1935 onwards, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited had been producing from molasses, which is a byproduct of the sugar industry in Queensland, a chemical known as ethyl alcohol. If mixed with water, this is a very potent and dangerous drug, but it has a varied and very important industrial use. Apparently about 1935, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited, which was engaged in the production of ethyl alcohol from molasses because it was refining Queensland sugar, decided, with its progressive outlook, that there was a potential in Australia for the production of chemicals and other products from ethyl alcohol. It decided to produce cellulose acetate flake, which is obtained by the processing of ethyl alcohol with either cotton linters or wood pulp obtained from countries in the northern hemisphere. As a powerful combine, controlling the production of molasses and ethyl alcohol, it was in a very favorable position to undertake the manufacture of cellulose acetate flake. Cellulose acetate flake is used in the production of rayon. This fibre is obtained by forcing cellulose acetate flake through small orifices and is suitable for the production of yarn for motor tyres and even for clothing. In addition, cellulose acetate flake is used in the moulding of plastics. There is not an Australian housewife who does not know the value of moulded plastic products. They are used in the kitchen and indeed in other parts of the household. The plastic toys used by children are produced by the combination of ethyl alcohol and cellulose imported from Canada, North America and northern European countries or alternatively by merging cellulose with the product of cotton linters imported from South America, Egypt and other cottonproducing countries. This great and highly efficient company decided that it would go into this business. Before it went into the business it realized that it would, in the course of the manufacture of cellulose acetate flake, also produce those pharmaceutical products and chemicals that I have previously mentioned. The company realized also that if the venture was to be a success it was essential, as far as possible, to endeavour to secure an assured market. Therefore, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited first formed an alliance with British Distillers Limited, of the United Kingdom, which knew the essential chemical process necessary in order *to* produce this material. Is addition, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited made sure, by virtue of an association with Courtaulds (Australia) Limited - a world-wide combine, British in the main, if not entirely, which was a spinner of cellulose acetate flake - that it would have in Australia under certain circumstances a market for the combined efforts of both companies. On the one hand the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited formed itself into C.S.R. Chemicals Proprietary Limited. On the other hand, Courtaulds of Britain formed itself into Courtaulds (Australia) Limited, with a 60 per cent. Australian and a 40 per cent. United Kingdom capital holding. So there we have the combination of two very powerful instrumentalities in this country for the turning out of this important product, rayon, which is used in the manufacture of tires and clothing. These two firms are a powerful combination. I do not deny their efficiency. They have great capital resources and know-how at their disposal - in the case of Courtaulds (Australia) Limited from its British associates and in the case of Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited from its German associates. But, unlike the private individual who goes farming, or who buys a delicatessen or a grocery business, or the engineer who decides that he can make a product that the people may or may not buy, these companies seem to have at their disposal the resources of the Government of the Commonwealth in order to ensure that in the initial stages of their development there will be no risks and no losses. I do not disagree with that state of affairs if in the final outcome some substantial benefit is conferred on the Australian people. I remind those who are always extolling the virtues of private enterprise that while private enterprise, in the larger field, is not prepared to take risks, it is prepared to allow people in business in a small way to do so and is even prepared to see many of them go to the wall and lose their life's earnings. I make those initial remarks to highlight the difference between the people on the one hand who, through the press and the Parliament, amply protect themselves, and the people on the other hand who are not powerful enough to protect themselves in the society in which they live. The Minister in charge of the bill looks astonished at my analysis of the position. {: .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr Osborne: -- 1 wonder whether the honorable member would have rejected the Tariff Board's advice. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- The Minister wonders whether the Opposition would have rejected the Tariff Board's advice. The Australian Labour Party has always been realistic. We on this side of the House know that you cannot destroy an unjust society over-night. You have to coast along with it and endeavour to reform it gradually until the people realize that there are better states of society that can bc reached by an evolutionary process. The Minister need not disturb himself, because the plain fact is that the Chifley Labour Government was largely responsible for the establishment of the cellulose acetate flake industry. That government encouraged the establishment of the great enterprise at Rhodes, which now produces cellulose acetate flake for the Australian community. We on this side of the House are realists, and that has ever been the case, but we are not unaware of the preferential treatment that is meted out under certain circumstances to some sections of the community. The magnitude of that preferential treatment is very great. Nobody will suggest that the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited is a poor concern, yet it is one of the many that hold out their hands for socialistic assistance in the form of bounties provided by this Parliament. For the year ended March, 1958, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited received £313,728 by way of bounty on the production of cellulose acetate flake. That means that the citizens of Australia - the taxpayers - have paid their meed to assist the company to establish this industry and to provide this essential commodity for the people. The Government does not suggest that the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited and ils associate company, British Distillers Limited - another wealthy concern - should, in the pioneering stages, be prepared to meet any losses incurred in establishing the industry out of the profits that they have made in previous years. Those are the facts and I place them frankly before this Parliament. Capitalistic enterprise, as it is known to-day, is not prepared to operate at a loss. Therefore, as it is desirable that this country should produce the raw materials used in the spinning of rayon fibres for the manufacture of motor tires and the production of woven goods of many kinds, we are prepared to assist these companies to produce these raw materials. They have the know-how and the basic materials, and in those circumstances we have no alternative but to accept the proposal that they should be assisted in this way. However, we are justified in pointing out the economic facts relating to the industry.If these materials were not produced here we would have to import them from the United Kingdom and, possibly, from America, which would involve a huge expenditure of sterling and dollars. We realize that if C.S.R. Chemicals Proprietary Limited did not produce this material, in an emergency this country would not have the raw material essential for the manufacture of many very valuable pharmaceutical products. So we bow to the inevitable and, being a party of realists, we are prepared to accept the recommendation of the Tariff Board to continue, as is proposed in this measure, the payment of bounty at10d. per lb. for a further two years. In order that members of this Parliament may have no doubts about this situation and the attitude of the people concerned, let me refer to the report on cellulose acetate flake made by the Tariff Board on 7th October, 1955.I should like to say here and now that, in my view, the board renders a mighty service to the people of Australia and this Parliament. In the report that I have just mentioned the board makes the following comments: - {: .page-start } page 2133 {:#debate-32} ### TARIFF BOARD COMMENTS {:#subdebate-32-0} #### Previous Tariff Board Reports The Board's first report on the plastics industry, published in 1946, stated that in Australia, cellulose acetate moulding compound was the most used thermoplastic moulding material. At that time, all requirements were being imported, but the Colonial Sugar Refining Co. Ltd. was considering the question of manufacturing it in Australia . . . In its report dated 16th March, 1950, on Plastic Intermediate Materials, the Board again discussed cellulose acetate and its recommendations in that report concerning cellulose acetate and cellulose acetate butyrate were implemented in the new Tariff Item 369 (e) (1) which is set out in full under the heading " Existing Duties ". In its report of 16th March, 1950, the Tariff Board examined the economics of the situation very thoroughly. It did not consider that the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited had put a satisfactory case for the payment of bounty, and it recommended to the government of the day that no such bounty be paid. We are indebted to the board for its keenness in conducting an investigation that led it to believe that the suggestions and estimates of the applicant company did not justify the granting of assistance. Subsequently, the company pulled its head in. to use rather crude parlance. Eventually, it came to the Tariff Board with a very greatly modified request, which included some suggestions as to how the company might make a do of it without calling on the people of Australia for the payment of a bounty that was unjustified. In those circumstances, the board recommended the payment of a bounty of10d. per lb. As I read the Tariff Board's report - it does not say so in plain words - that highlights the fact that even a company like the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited, which is regarded, at least in some circles, as being of high repute - and its off-shoot, C.S.R. Chemicals Proprietary Limited - was prepared, if it could get away with it, to mislead the board and put up a case for a bounty that was unjustifiable. However, the board protected the people of this country and rejected the company's application. The company then came along with a much more modest proposal, as a result of which a bounty of 10d. per lb. has been paid for some years. The new recommendation, which is the genesis of the bill, is that a bounty of10d. per lb. be paid on the production of cellulose acetate flake not for moulded products, but for the spinning of yarn. The Opposition concurs with this recommendation and with the Government's action in introducing this measure in order to provide for the payment of the bounty of 10d. per lb. for a further two years, fully seised, of course, of the fact that the Tariff Board has suggested that prior to the expiration of that period the matter be further examined. The Parliament has before it at least three valuable reports on cellulose acetate flake, which were made by the Tariff Board in 1954, 1955 and 1958. In these circumstances, **Mr. Speaker,** the Opposition supports the bill. We hope that as a result of this measure the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited, on the one hand, and the rayon spinning company on the other, will so improve their methods of production as to permit the removal, at the end of two years, of this impost which is being placed on the Australian people in order to encourage the growth of this industry in Australia. I should like to say one final word. 1 do not know what attitude my friends in the corner who belong to the Australian Country Party will adopt towards this measure, which they may think will prop up an artificial fibre although this country produces from the sheep's back a fibre" which is second to none for the spinning of yarn for the weaving and knitting of fabrics for clothing for the Australian people. For myself, I take the view that, although this artificial fibre competes to some extent with wool, it probably competes to a far greater degree with cotton, and I realize that as time goes on rayon, nylon and other materials may prove a very valuable adjunct which will promote the increased use of wool throughout the world and thereby help to sustain the Australian economy generally in more advantageous conditions than would otherwise be the case. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate. {: .page-start } page 2134 {:#debate-33} ### RAYON YARN BOUNTY BILL 1959 {:#subdebate-33-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 5th May (vide page 1806), on motion by **Mr. Osborne** - That the bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-33-0-s0 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor **.- Mr. Speaker,** this bill is very closely related to the Cellulose Acetate Flake Bounty Bill 1959, which immediately preceded it. This measure provides for the payment of the bounty on rayon yarn to be extended by proclamation to a date not later than 31st December, 1959. The bounty may be terminated at such earlier date as the Government may think fi:. We realize. of course, that something is wrong when the Government seeks power to amend an act simply to enable it to extend the payment of a bounty by proclamation in this fashion, because, invariably, bounty measures provide, as was the case with the previous bill, for the payment of bounty for a specific period, and put the proprietors of the manufacturing establishments concerned in the satisfactory position of knowing exactly how they are situated for a reasonable period of time ahead. The Government now proposes this measure, which will do nothing more or less than place the industry in a position of uncertainty as to its future after December, 1959. Either the Government has been negligent in referring the matter lo the Tariff Board in sufficient time for the board to deal with it, or the board is overloaded. This bounty of 6d. per lb. on the production of rayon yarn is obviously intended as encouragement to the industry while the Government awaits the board's report. The Government has referred to the board the question whether a continuation of this payment is necessary. We have not yet received a report. We have reached a stage to-day where, because of the Government's unsatisfactory economic policy, applications to the board are so numerous that the board simply cannot cope with them. This is an illustration of the adverse effect of the Japanese Trade Agreement. {: .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr Osborne: -- Come off it! {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- The Minister says, " Come off it ". My remarks are not very palatable to the Minister. But they are factual. We know that various Australian industries are in dire distress. More and more applications are being made by industries to the Tariff Board for protection against the inroads that are being made into their markets by the cheap labour products of China, Japan and other places. The Tariff Board is overwhelmed. It is utterly tragic that such an important industry as C.S.R. Chemicals Proprietary Limited, which is spinning the raw material for use by Courtaulds Proprietary Limited, will not know where it stands until, probably, 31st December, 1959. Here is a very large industry with a capital investment of about £3,000,000. A large factory is established r.t Tomago. New South Wales, which employs hundreds of men. They are suspended like Mahomet's coffin until such time as the Tariff Board produces a report. They will not know until then whether the 6d. per lb. bounty on the production of yarn will continue for two years, three years, five years, or some other period. The Minister may try to laugh it off, but it is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs. This Parliament is rushing into recess to-morrow night. If we were to remain on the job a little longer, possibly the Tariff Board would produce a report within a few days and we could pass legislation which would ensure that for two, three, or four years, this industry would bc secure under the present bounty of 6d. per lb. The industry made application to the Tariff Board some years ago. The board examined its proposals and finally was satisfied that the industry was deserving of some protection. It recommended to the Government that a bounty of 6d. per lb. be paid on rayon yarn produced from cellulose acetate. Since October, 1954, about £250,000 has been paid to this industry to enable it to survive. The industry has preferred a bounty to tariff protection. I also favour bounties. If heavy protective duties were imposed, the spinners of cellulose acetate into rayon yarn would increase their price to the Australian public and no doubt to those industries that produce rubber tyres. The payment of a bounty from Consolidated Revenue assists in the development of a great basic industry, and the burden is spread evenly over all members of the community in accordance with their ability to pay. The Opposition supports the measure. I repeat that it is marvellous how big concerns are never prepared to carry losses in the initial stages of development, as the small private entrepreneur frequently has to do. An individual or a small association of individuals can invest life savings and go to the wall, but right from the jump these big shows say, " We do not play ball unless the Australian people are prepared to meet our losses in the initial stages of development ". We support the bill. We hope that before further similar measures are presented to the Parliament these industries will have so improved their technique and efficiency as to enable the removal of the burden and to permit them to stand on their own feet in this Australian community. {: #subdebate-33-0-s1 .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr OSBORNE:
Minister for Air · Evans · LP -- in reply - I did not want to provoke my friend, the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** into further discussion and for that reason I sat silently through the speeches that he made on the earlier measure. However, there are some things that I should say, in reply. He said that it was curious how large combines had managed to persuade the Tariff Board and the Government to provide bounties. I point out to him, first, that this Government has been meticulous in regarding the Tariff Board as the proper advisory body in these matters and the initiator of protection to developing Australian industries, either by tariff or by bounty. The Government has been meticulous in first requiring the Tariff Board's advice on these matters. The Government considers the board's advice and follows it or rejects it to the extent that it deems proper. Generally, it follows the board's advice. The honorable member for Lalor made some careless remarks about only large combines or great entrepreneurs getting protection. He has for a very long time regarded himself as a supporter of the small primary producer. I point out to him that growers of flax, who are not large entrepreneurs or members of large combines, have received bounties on their product. The cotton growers of northern New South Wales and Queensland, who again are not large combines or great entrepreneurs, have received bounties on their product. The sulphuric acid bounty, which we shall discuss later, is received by ten different producers and not by any single combine. I do not want to belabour this point,- but I think it is clear that the honorable member's remarks need not be taken very seriously. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- They are true, though. {: .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr OSBORNE: -- I thought 1 had just disposed of them. When this bill was introduced a fortnight ago, I said that the Tariff Board's report on this matter had not been received. This bill was introduced to extend the payment of the bounty for a period ending not later than 31st December of this year in order to enable the Tariff Board to make its report and the Government to consider that report. I now inform the House that since I introduced the bill two weeks ago the Tariff Board has made its report to the Government, but there is not sufficient time left in this sitting for the report to be considered and for effect to be given to any decision upon it. It is therefore necessary, in the interests of the industry and of the economy, that this bill should be passed. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. In committee: The bill. {: #subdebate-33-0-s2 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM:
Werriwa .- Now that the Minister for Air **(Mr. Osborne),** who introduced this bill, is at the table, I should like to ask him- {: .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr Osborne: -- I have been here all along; you have not. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- Well, now we are here together, let me ask him when this matter of continued protection for the rayon yarn industry was referred for the advice of the Tariff Board. I ask him that question because the former Treasurer, **Sir Arthur** Fadden, in his Budget speech last year, stated that the question of continuing assistance for the cellulose acetate flake, sulphuric acid and tractor industries had been referred to the Tariff Board, but he did not mention the rayon yarn industry. Earlier this session I asked a question of the relevant Minister and on 7th April I was given a list of the subjects which were referred to the Tariff Board during 1958. The question of rayon yarn bounty was not mentioned among those subjects. Tt is quite obvious that this subject was referred to the Tariff Board only this year and I think that that clearly indicates the Government's lack of foresight and preparation in these matters. lt is futile to blame the Tariff Board tor the delay. In respect of the companion bill which extends the bounty for cellulose acetate flake, we find that the matter was referred to the Tariff Board on 24th July, 1957, and it was reported on by the Tariff Board, fifteen months later - on 24th October, 1958 - and that the Government communicated its decision to the House seven months later, which was last week. The Government knew that the Tariff Board had taken exactly fifteen months to deal with that matter. If the Tariff Board is overburdened or dilatory, these facts are quite well known to the Government and its excuse for bringing in this stop-gap measure to extend the payment of bounty on rayon yarn from 30th June next is by no means convincing. Everybody knew when the act was expiring because it was amended only last year and extended until 30th June next. The Government knew that it would have to consider the question of continuing or discontinuing the bounty on rayon yarn before the end of June. Now we are presented with a stop-gap measure to continue the payment of this bounty until 31st December next. There are more members of the Tariff Board now than ever before and two such boards can now be simultaneously constituted. I hope that honorable members will not have the impression that the Tariff Board is at fault in this matter; it is quite clearly the Government that is in the wrong. Not only has the Government waited to bring down this legislation till the last week of this sessional period but also it presented the question to the Tariff Board for examination only in this calendar year - not this financial year - well knowing that it was impossible for a hearing to be held, a report obtained from the Tariff Board and a decision made by the Government within the requisite time. Although we cannot object to the bill in any sense, the procedure followed by the Government is another example of its belated and sluggish actions. Bill agreed to. Bill reported without amendment; report adopted. Bill read a third time. {: .page-start } page 2136 {:#debate-34} ### CUSTOMS BILL 1959 {:#subdebate-34-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 12th May (vide page 2057), on motion by **Mr. Osborne** - >That the bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-34-0-s0 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor .- The Opposition offers no objection to this bill. It has been discussed in the Senate and we are prepared to let it pass. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted. Bill - by leave - read a third time. {: .page-start } page 2137 {:#debate-35} ### SULPHURIC ACID BOUNTY BILL 1959 {:#subdebate-35-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 12th May (vide page 2057), on motion by **Mr. Osborne** - >That the bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-35-0-s0 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor -- Again, the second-reading speech of the Minister for Air **(Mr. Osborne)** on this bill is commendable for its brevity, but the purpose of the measure is much more important than the brief speech of the Minister would indicate. The bill is designed to authorize an extension of bounty under the Sulphuric Acid Bounty Act 1954-1957 for one year only. At this point let me say again that something is radically wrong. The production of sulphuric acid in Australia is infinitely more important than the production of cellulose acetate flake or cellulose rayon yarn. The availability of sulphuric acid is the very basis of the major processes of many industries throughout Australia. There can be no rubber goods such as tyres without sulphuric acid. There can be no uranium production. There can be no textile production, at least not of a satisfactory character, without sulphuric acid. More important still, in all probability there is no substitute for sulphuric acid in the manufacture of superphosphates for the phosphate-hungry lands of Australia. After all, superphosphate has, at a modest estimate, increased primary production in Australia in the last quarter of a century four-fold and, thereby, it has immeasurably increased Australia's wealth and standard of living. Yet, at this late hour, a day off recess, this Government comes along with proposals to increase by one year the period for which the sulphuric acid bounty shall be payable. The history of the provision of bounty on sulphuric acid goes back many years. It goes back, in fact, to 1923. Later on, with the advent of war, the bounty became unnecessary. It was not until about 1954 that it became necessary again to pay bounty in order to encourage the production of sulphuric acid within the confines of the Australian continent. During the war we found ourselves largely dependent upon imports of the raw materials from which sulphuric acid is produced, to wit, sulphur, or brimstone as it is commonly known. Why sulphur is called brimstone I have never been able to determine. But this had to be imported from America, the Mexican Gulf, Algeria and various other places at a period when our shipping services were limited. If we had not been able to obtain these raw materials from overseas our capacity to produce for the war effort would have been seriously crippled. Every government since that time, whether Labour or Liberal, has realized that if this country is to be able to defend itself and sustain its industrial capacity in peace or war it must endeavour, to the maximum extent, to produce sulphuric acid within Australia. Consequently, in 1954 the present Government brought down legislation to pay a bounty on the production of sulphuric acid. It surrounded the payment of that bounty by some reservations, and rightly so. There was a reservation as to the amount of bounty that could be paid. The legislation provided that the amount of bounty should be fixed in accordance with the cost of imported brimstone. There was a reservation that bounty would not be payable to Australian producing companies whose profits reached a certain percentage of interest on their capital. I think that the rate fixed was 10 or 12 per cent., but the Minister for Air will have a more adequate knowledge of it than I have. That was a very desirable limitation. However, with the encouragement of the bounty provided earlier, these companies have increased production from the raw materials that are available in Australia. In the first instance, the bounty was limited to the production of sulphuric acid for the processing of superphosphates. Later on, under further legislation, the Government removed this limitation and made the bounty payable on the production of sulphuric acid for any usage in Australia. I believe that that action was to be commended. The big industrial and mining companies of this country, encouraged by the bounties, and having at their disposal one of the raw materials from which sulphuric acid is produced, to wit, pyrites, spent millions of pounds in the establishment of suitable plant for the processing of pyrites and the production of sulphuric acid. My earlier remarks on the earlier bounty legislation hold good on this bill. Overdrafts of millions of pounds for the establishment by private companies of plant to produce sulphuric acid from pyrites were guaranteed by the Government. Government supporters are great believers in community finance in the non-profit era. But in the profit era, which, everybody hopes, these companies will reach later on, they will want the unrestricted right to exploit the Australian people in order to obtain the maximum possible dividend. {: .speaker-JTP} ##### Mr Bury: -- You can get it back in taxation. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- The financial geniuses on the other side of the House say that you can rip it back in taxation. Thank goodness there is a weapon such as the taxation weapon! Whether it is a member of Parliament or a sulphuric acid producing company, anything that the Government gives with one hand it can rip back with the other, if it is so disposed, for the benefit of the community generally. So, the disadvantages of this bounty process are, to some extent, mitigated. Over the years since this bounty became available these companies which have spent millions of pounds and which have had their expenditure on plant guaranteed by the Commonwealth Government of Australia - or the ordinary taxpayer of Australia - have improved their techniques. The big companies, including big mining companies such as the Broken Hill Proprietary, have received, according to my rough calculation, nearly £2,800,000 in bounty. Perhaps it has been worth it. They have at their disposal very great technical resources in personnel and equipment. They have the know-how and they are prepared to use it and they are entitled to be paid for their services. But likewise, the Australian community is entitled to some protection and, as my friend on the back bench on the Government side points out, the Government always has recourse to the taxation weapon to obtain some recoupment of the assistance previously given, if the Government feels so disposed. After all, £2,712,000 is not a big sum to pay to make this country absolutely secure in time of war or even in other economic circumstances, to free it from dependence on supplies of raw materials from other countries. The payment of this bounty to these people will enable the continuous employment of thousands of Australian workers, from the labourer to the highly skilled technician, in the laboratories of these companies. One cannot, perhaps, give a better illustration of the importance of this legislation than the position of Mount Morgan in Queensland. Here is a great mine; no longer a mine of the kind that is commonly known, but an open cut; a whole mountain removed for its gold content and other minerals of value. In the course of a great period of years, in the processing of raw ores for the extraction of gold, silver and other valuable mineral products, Mount Morgan Limited has accumulated vast reserves of pyrites. Recently things reached the stage that unless some outlet was provided per medium of the utilization of pyrites for the profitable extraction of sulphuric acid, the people of Mount Morgan and the adjacent port of Rockhampton were faced with the dreary prospect of seeing the Mount Morgan mine close down. If, by paying a bounty, we keep in employment thousands of people in an important town or group of towns in Australia, producing a valuable commodity, ensuring greater security for Australia's secondary industry, and providing a raw material - sulphuric acid - for processing into superphosphate, which is essential to rural producers, we confer a blessing on the Australian community generally. Whilst, normally, I find myself in conflict with my friend, the Minister, on such things, the Australian Labour Party gives second place to nobody in its loyal support for every reasonable method of promoting and expanding Australian industry and increasing the prosperity of those who are associated with industry, from the humble labourer to the highly skilled technician, be he an analytical chemist, an engineer or the executive brains of the organization concerned. {: .speaker-KWE} ##### Mr Timson: -- Is this concerned with sulphate of ammonia? {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- No, this is concerned with sulphuric acid. {: .speaker-KWE} ##### Mr Timson: -- Is not that what is wanted in Queensland? {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- Sulphate of ammonia is somewhat different from sulphuric acid, but I shall be prepared to hold forth on the former at some later date during this Parliament, because I know that this Government, with its flair for buttering up private enterprise, is on the very eve of selling the sulphate of ammonia plant that the Labour Government established at Deer Park, near Albion, in Victoria, and the ammonium sulphate plant at St. Mary's, out of Sydney, and the great plant at Ballarat, owned and controlled by the Commonwealth Government for the people of Australia, which was established during the war for the extraction, I think, of nitrogen from the air for the manufacture of explosives, and was converted by the Chifley Government to the more useful purpose of producing sulphate of ammonia. That plant is now in course of being processed - a word commonly used these days - for its handing over, in all its profitability, to private enterprise for private enterprise to wax rich and fat on. Somebody mentioned here to-night that Australian flax producers were the recipients of a bounty. As the Minister himself mentioned that industry, let me tell him something about it and about the flax bounty. When the war ended the great spinners of this country were given the opportunity of purchasing the flax factories of Australia, but, in a memorandum to me, as Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, they said, "They are not profitable. We do not want anything to do with them." Good old private enterprise is interested only in paying projects! The Government can have the rest and, after they have been brought to the stage of making a profit under a Labour government, a conservative government hands them over to private industry to conduct for the profit of a few people instead of, as is the case under a Labour government, their being conducted for the profit of the nation. I leave the matter at that, **Mr. Speaker.** I realize that I have strayed from the subjectmatter of the bill slightly but I have been treated with some tolerance on your part. {: #subdebate-35-0-s1 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM:
Werriwa .- In this Sulphuric Acid Bounty Bill, which is once again an interim measure, we find that the Tariff Board was asked to report on the matter on 6th May, 1957, that the board reported on 18th September, 1958, and that this report was tabled in the Parliament yesterday. Here again, **Sir, we** find the extraordinary delay that the Government shows in making a decision on matters which have been brought before it. From 18th September last until this week the Government has had plenty of opportunity to decide whether it would accept this report or whether it would take the course it has now taken of saying, " We are not satisfied with this report. We are going to refer it back." I think that that is a thoroughly unbusinesslike way of preparing legislation. It is a thoroughly unbusinesslike way of looking after the economy of the country. There is one particular matter that I rose to deal with in regard to this bill. It is a matter which I mentioned when similar legislation was last before us two years ago. This legislation very clearly shows the difficulties of encouraging production in Australia where the cost of raw material or the cost of transport or the cost of processing varies from one part of the continent to another. The difficulty arises from the provision of the Constitution - section 51, placitum (iii) - that the Commonwealth Government may make laws with respect to bounties on the production or export of goods, but so that such bounties shall be uniform throughout the Commonwealth. Now, **Sir, in** successive bills we have therefore had to provide that the bounty on the production of sulphuric acid from indigenous material shall be uniform throughout the Commonwealth. We have tried to moderate that to a certain extent by always providing that the bounty shall cease to be payable if the companies which receive the bounty make more than a certain percentage of profit. It used to be 10 per cent., on their capital, then it was increased to 121 per cent, on their capital. The Tariff Board is aware that the bounty is lavish in respect of many companies that would produce sulphuric acid from indigenous materials without any bounty at all, but that in respect of other companies the amount of bounty we allow is not sufficient to make production of sulphuric acid attractive. It is a very hit or miss affair to impose a limitation of payment of bounty where a company makes more than a certain profit. The Tariff Board has consistently recommended - and in its last report, which we are rejecting, it has recommended once again - that the limitation on profit should be removed from the legislation. We, as a Parliament, have consistently rejected that particular recommendation contained in successive Tariff Board reports. Two years ago I made a certain suggestion, and I believe a helpful one. It has never been tested but, more materially, I do not think it would be likely to be tested, and therefore we might as well try it. That suggestion was that this Parliament should make, under section 96 of the Constitution, a grant to those States where sulphuric acid is produced from indigenous material, so that they themselves would be able to pay a bounty. It is true that section 91 of the Constitution prohibits a State from paying a bounty on the production or export of good's unless both Houses of this Parliament give their consent by resolution to such State bounties. My proposition two years ago was that this Parliament should make grants to the States which would be adequate to encourage the production of sulphuric acid in those States from indigenous material, and that we should pass a resolution permitting those States to pay a bounty. I am informed bv the Clerk that no resolution under section 91 of the Constitution has ever passed through both Houses of the Parliament and none has passed through this House. No one can say categorically that this arrangement would hold water if it were challenged, but, on the other hand, I would submit - and it is the only sure principle that one can enumerate in constitutional matters - that our legislation is valid until challenged. Who is going to challenge it? There would have to be some company or individual placed at a disadvantage. I hardly think any company or individual would challenge legislation of this character, because it is within this Parliament's competence to say whether it will pay a bounty at all. If the legislation were challenged the Parliament could very well say to the company making the challenge, " No one will get any bounty at all ". I hardly think, therefore, that any company is likely to challenge it. A challenge can be made also to legislation of this character by a State, because the High Court has said that the AttorneyGeneral of any State, acting on behalf of the State, can challenge anything which is an infringement of the federal compact. I state the proposition, of course, in quite rough-and-ready terms. But here again I feel it is unlikely that any State would challenge the legislation, because obviously it would be to the advantage of the States that the production of sulphuric acid from indigenous materials should be encouraged in the States. Let us give an illustration of the differences in costs in this matter. Two years ago, after the debate on this subject, I asked a question of the then Minister for Defence Production, **Mr. Beale,** who was in charge of the legislation, concerning the sources of supply of the pyrites being processed by various Australian companies. **Mr. Beale** gave me the answer on 22nd May, 1957. The same information is largely given in the last report of the Tariff Board which we have received and which we are rejecting. First of all, it takes the cost of the pyrites. The board states that the prices at which pyritic concentrates are supplied throughout Australia vary considerably, from as low as about half the average of all prices charged for concentrates, to almost one and a half times the average. Then the board deals with the cost of freights. It points out that concentrates which go from Kalgoorlie and Norseman by rail to Cuming Smith and Mount Lyell Farmers' Fertilizers Limited and Cresco Fertilizers (Western Australia) Limited in Perth are subject to very considerable rail charges. Then the board deals with the various customers of Mount Morgan, such as the Sulphide Corporation Proprietary Limited at Cockle Creek, near Newcastle, Australian Fertilizers Limited, at Port Kembla, and the Phosphate Co-operative Company of Australia Limited, at Geelong. These establishments are situated at increasing distances from Mount Morgan itself, and it has only one customer in Queensland, A.C.F. and Shirleys Fertilizers Limited, in Brisbane. The board draws a comparison between the distances that concentrates have to travel from Captain's Flat to Australian Fertilizers Limited at Port Kembla and from Mount Lyell, 18 miles from Strahan, *to* Yarraville, where Commonwealth Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited has its plant. Finally, the board gives the distance from the Gibraltar deposit, operated by Nairne Pyrites Limited, to Birkenhead near Port Adelaide, a mere 35 miles away. It will be seen that the distances that pyrites has to travel by ship vary from a couple of hundred miles to 1,000 miles. The distances that the material has to travel by rail range from eighteen miles to about 400 miles. Although the board does not mention the matter in this report, it has in earlier reports directed attention to the differing costs of processing the pyrites in the different plants. The only other indigenous material from which we produce sulphuric acid is lead sinter gas, which is produced only at Port Pirie by Broken Hill Associated Smelters Proprietary Limited. I think I have quoted sufficiently from the board's reports to show that the cost of the pyrites varies very greatly, and the cost of transport by rail, sea and road varies very greatly. It is quite obvious, therefore, that the benefit of the bounty will vary considerably from State to State. This is a problem which is quite well known to the board and quite well known to the Commonwealth departments concerned. I remind the Minister that I made this suggestion tentatively a couple of years ago, and I ask the Government to consider, during the interval between now and the time when the board will once again be considering this matter, the possibility of adopting the co-operative scheme that I have suggested under sections 91 and 96 of the Constitution, so as to provide that all the companies in Australia which produce sulphuric acid from indigenous materials shall have an equal bounty and an equal incentive to produce a material which everybody realizes is a basic necessity for Australian industry and agriculture. {: #subdebate-35-0-s2 .speaker-JTP} ##### Mr BURY:
Wentworth .- The suggestion put forward by the honorable member for Werriwa **(Mr. Whitlam)** seems to be designed to increase still further the burden on the Australian economy flowing from the production of superphosphate and sulphuric acid from domestic pyrites. This problem has arisen in a serious form because a few years ago there happened to be a temporary world shortage of sulphur, as a result of which many countries panicked, including the United Kingdom. It was evidently assumed that because sulphur was in short supply for a time throughout the world that that position would continue indefinitely. The proposition that we should encourage the production of sulphuric acid from pyrites did make sense at the time, but there is clearly a limit, from the point of view of the national economy, to the burden which can be carried in this way, because unless indigenous materials can hold their own in open competition with sulphur, the added cost in the production of sulphuric acid must be borne by the Australian community, and this must contribute towards the lowering of our standard of living. The honorable member suggested that firms producing sulphuric acid from indigenous materials should be encouraged equally, no matter where they are situated. Surely if we are to encourage the use of pyrites in the production of sulphuric acid within Australia, it is sensible for us to take the attitude that the material should be produced in places where this can be done at the lowest cost. The profit limitation, itself, has a deleterious effect on efficiency, but if we adopted the suggestion of the honorable member for Werriwa, as I understand it, we would not only be encouraging the production of sulphuric acid here at greater cost than would be the case without this bounty, but we would also, within this general framework, be encouraging its production in parts of Australia at greater cost than that at which it could be produced in other parts. It seems to me. therefore, that the suggestions put forward by the honorable member had very little, if anything, to commend them. {: #subdebate-35-0-s3 .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr OSBORNE:
Minister for Air · Evans · LP -- I want to reply to the suggestion of the honorable member for Werriwa **(Mr. Whitlam)** that bounties could be paid at a differential rate by having recourse to hitherto unused constitutional provisions which allow the States to pay bounties, in effect, with federal approval. I am not at all sure that any government would wish to pay a rate of bounty to one producer at a different rate from that paid to another. I doubt very much whether the States would adopt this expedient to pay a differential rate, a course which the Constitution expressly forbids to the Commonwealth, and I doubt very much whether it would be constitutional. The honorable member suggested that nobody would wish to challenge it, but that is not much of a recommendation. The suggestion is then that the Government should knowingly embark on an unconstitutional course, relying on the fact that nobody would wish to challenge it. In any event as the honorable member for Wentworth **(Mr. Bury)** pointed out, this discussion does not go to the issue because of the changed nature of the problem of the production of sulphuric acid in Australia. This bounty has its origin in the acute shortage of sulphur some years ago. My colleague, the Minister for Trade **(Mr. McEwen),** pointed out quite clearly in the statement he made when tabling the Tariff Board report yesterday that the problem is no longer to encourage the production of sulphuric acid in Australia but to honour the Government's obligations to those who co-operated in the past when there was a shortage of sulphur. The honorable member for Werriwa also criticized the Government for what he said was an unbusinesslike attitude in taking six months to consider the Tariff Board's report on this industry and now extending the payment of the bounty for another year as an interim measure. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: -- Eight months. {: .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr OSBORNE: -- Very well, eight months and not six months. That criticism again entirely overlooks the background stated yesterday by the Minister for Trade, who made clear the reasons for the situation in which the Government finds itself now and the reasons why it has referred the matter to the Tariff Board again to report from a different stand-point and in different circumstances. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. In committee: The bill. {: #subdebate-35-0-s4 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM:
Werriwa .- Apparently I did not quite make myself clear to the Minister for Air **(Mr. Osborne)** and the honorable member for Wentworth **(Mr. Bury)** in the suggestion I made this evening and also two years ago. I am not advocating that any greater total sum should be paid by way of bounty for the production of sulphuric acid from indigenous materials than is at present paid. I am not advocating that we should increase the production of sulphuric acid from indigenous sources when it can be more economically produced from imported brimstone which is now in adequate supply. What I am pointing out is the wasteful and inequitable nature of the present bounty. We are paying the same bounty on the production of sulphuric acid from pyrites which has to be transported less than 200 miles from Captains Flat to Port Kembla or about the same distance from Mount Morgan to Brisbane as we are paying for the production of sulphuric acid from pyrites which has to be transferred over a very inadequate railway line from Norseman to Perth or by sea from Mount Morgan round to Geelong. **Sir, without** spending any more money, in fact by spending less money, we could get just as much sulphuric acid, but we could get is equitably from all those factories which we have encouraged to set up the plant to process sulphuric acid from indigenous sources. It is true that, if we discontinued the bounty, we would still get sulphuric acid produced in sufficient quantities from indigenous materials in Brisbane or in Port Kembla or in Port Pirie; but we would no longer get the pyrites from Norseman being converted into sulphuric acid at all and it is very likely that there would be a very great diminution in the production of sulphuric acid from pyrites from Mount Morgan. Now, the proper thing for this Parliament to do is to consider the development of the whole continent and not just those portions of the continent which are already well developed. No bounty is required to keep up production in Brisbane. Port Kembla, or Port Pirie, but the bounty is require J to use any pyritesproduced at Norseman or to use all the pyrites produced at Mount Morgan. In order that we may see thai all *m:* pyrites at Mount Morgan is used and that any pyrites at Norseman is used, we have to give a bounty which is far in excess of what is required to procure the processing of pyrites at the points which are close to the source. This is not a wasteful suggestion at all. I would have thought that it was a suggestion whichwould permit the Commonwealth's money to be used equitably in every place which produces pyrites or which processes pyrites. It is something which would help to maintain employment, and useful employment, in some of the outback parts of Australia and it would mean that the Commonwealth's money was not lavishly spent in parts which did not need it and inadequately made available in parts which needed still more. It would ensure that the present sum was economically and justly disbursed to preserve the use of pyrites which are already produced in various parts of Australia. {: #subdebate-35-0-s5 .speaker-JTP} ##### Mr BURY:
Wentworth .- The remarks of the honorable member for Werriwa **(Mr. Whitlam),** which we have just heard, do not establish that I misunderstood him but rather indicate that he may have misunderstood me. The burden of his comments seems to be that, because the production of pyrites is more expensive in some places than in others, the subsidy should be greater in the areas where production is expensive than it is in the areas where production is cheap. If we are to produce sulphuric acid, it makes sense from the overall viewpoint to produce it at those points where this can be done at lowest cost. The fact that the cost is raised by high transport charges in the instances given by *the* honorable member surely is a sound argument for not producing it at those points but for producing it at other places -where it can be produced more cheaply. If his intention is to encourage employment in the outback and other places irrespective of costs, he is right. But if we want to produce sulphuric acid from our native materials at the lowest cost, the burden on the economy is kept at its lowest if we do everything we can to encourage production where costs are low and not where costs are high. For that reason I cannot agree with the honorable member for Werriwa that it makes sense to offset the greater costs of some producers by applying heavier subsidies to them and to pay smaller subsidies to concerns that can produce sulphuric acid cheaply. Bill agreed to. Bill reported without amendment; report adopted. Bill read a third time. {: .page-start } page 2143 {:#debate-36} ### TRACTOR BOUNTY BILL 1959 {:#subdebate-36-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 12th May (vide page 2059), on motion by **Mr. Osborne** - >That the bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-36-0-s0 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor .- The measure before the House is another bounty bill which authorizes the payment of bounty on certain kinds of tractors for a period of seven years. We have had a marked variation in the periods of time for which bounties are to be payable. It is interesting to note that in this case the bill authorizes the payment of bounty for seven years on certain kinds of tractors. {: .speaker-JYO} ##### Mr Cleaver: -- That is a very good thing. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- It is a splendid thing, and it shows that for once the Government has mended its ways. The Minister for Air **(Mr. Osborne),** who is in charge of the bill, revealed in his second-reading speech that in 1958 the Government adopted the same expedient as it has adopted in regard to the payment of bounty on the production of rayon yarn this year. In 1958 the Government brought down a bill authorizing the payment of a tractor bounty for a limited period - again waiting for a report from the Tariff Board. We now have the report of the Tariff Board. It is a most interesting report which gives a very thorough outline of the situation regarding tractors. The bill will authorize payment of the bounty on a sliding scale in accordance with the horse-power of the tractor. In the main it applies to what are commonly known as agricultural tractors. The bounty has beep payable from and including the year ended June, 1956. In order to encourage the production of tractors, the taxpayers of this country have, since that time, paid bounties amounting to £772,000. Nobody would mind that if the end in view had been achieved, but from my reading of the Tariff Board's report I understand that our production of tractors is now very little higher than it was in 1955. In the first eight months of the current financial year 1,145 tractors of 90 per cent. Australian content were produced. In the previous twelve months a bounty of £358,000 was paid on the production of about 2,000 tractors of 90 per cent. Australian content. When we consider the fact that Australia's tractor requirements over the last few years have run into something like 18,000 units, it would appear that the bounty has not achieved its purpose. That is unfortunate, to say the least of it. A brief scanning of the Tariff Board's report reveals that the Tariff Board itself is rather alarmed that more satisfactory results have not been achieved. In the last few years some firms formerly producing tractors with a large Australian content have given the game away. Over the last few years only about three firms have produced tractors with a reasonably high Australian content. That situation is deplorable and the question naturally arises: Are we unreasonably at the mercy of the importers? I ask that question very seriously, because in recent months I have discovered that a firm that invented the harvesting machine - it is now operating under another name - is importing for sale in this country harvesters of a type that was formerly made here, sold on the local market and even exported to Argentina. I am wondering what is going wrong. Imagine a firm like MasseyFerguson (Australia) Limited - formerly H. V. Mackay and Sons, and later Mackay Massey-Harris - importing harvesters from America for sale to Australian agriculturists! That serves to illustrate how the Australian tractor industry has declined. Has something gone so wrong that a powerful overseas organization has been able to eat into the vitals of our Australian production capacity to such an extent as to make it almost impossible for Australians to produce and sell a good Australian tractor at a reasonable profit? If that is the situation, something more than a mere bounty is required, because, after all, in this modern age, it is no longer economic - even if it were humane - to use horses instead of tractors. Incidentally^ I myself witnessed and took part in the transition from the horse-drawn age to the tractor age. I carried a red flag - not the sort of red flag that remains the obsession of the honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth)** - in front of one of the first tractors imported into Australia from America back in 1913. In those days the law stated that no person could drive a tractor in the metropolitan area of Melbourne unless it was preceded, some 20 yards ahead, by a person carrying a red flag, ready to assist to rescue people whose horses may take fright and bolt. I preceded a tractor from a farm at Werribee to a factory in South Melbourne for repairs. It is on record that in those horseage days a municipal employee in Collingwood carrying a red flag in front of the municipal roller, became so blase about his job, or the driver of the roller became so sleepy, that the employee carrying the flag was actually run down by the roller and flattened out like a pancake. However, this is not a matter for frivolity; it is a matter for very serious consideration. The tractors produced by enterprising Australians in the last ten or fifteen years have been good machines. Chamberlain Industries Proprietary Limited, of Western Australia, the International Harvester Company of Australia Proprietary Limited, Howard AutoCultivators Limited, A. H. McDonald and Company Proprietary Limited and a number of other manufacturers have turned out good Australian tractors. Unfortunately, Australian manufacturers do not seem able to overtake the very strong lead that importing firms have had for a great many years in the servicing and advertising fields and in the availability of spare parts. I do not know whether the proposals for extending the bounty for seven years, and for raising the limitation of profits from 5 per cent, to 10 per cent, will do the trick. Whether or not they do, there is a real need, not only in regard to tractors, but also in regard to harvesters, to see that the requirements of Australian agriculturists are manufactured in Australia. The extension of the bounty for seven years may be an effective bait, and it may induce the potential producers of increasing numbers of Australian tractors to undertake the capital expenditure involved in the installation of a production line which makes for more efficient production. I hope that the producers of the mighty but moderate-sized Ferguson tractor will manufacture it in this country, and put into it materials as good as those used in the country where it is now manufactured. I hope, also, that the International Harvester company, which already manufactures tractors in Australia, will put into its Australian-made machines the first-class materials that should be used. I often think, when the Parliament is considering bounty and tariff bills, that too little attention is given to the need for the Tariff Board, or perhaps some other authority yet to be established, to have at its disposal the means to ensure that goods or machines which are protected by bounty or tariff and which are supplied to the Australian customer are up to standard. I have great pride in Australian engineering products, but all too frequently one finds them lacking in accuracy and quality. There is a crying need to help and encourage the manufacturers of engineering equipment and machinery to turn out articles of better quality than some of them at least have been turning out up to the present - articles that will compare much more favorably with imported equipment. That is not to say that imported machinery of various kinds does not have defects. I notice, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** that this bill makes some desirable changes in the conditions under which bounty will be payable. In the existing act, the prevailing rate of bounty begins at £80 on a tractor exceeding 10 belt pulley horse-power, and rises, according to the horse-power, to £240 at 70 horse-power. Tractors of this horsepower are not frequently used for agricultural purposes in Australia. Consequently, not many tractors attract a bounty of £240 under the existing act. This bill provides that the bounty shall commence at the higher rate of £269 for tractors of 20 belt pulley horse-power. A tractor of this horse-power is suitable for the average small, one-man farm, but it would not suit a large wheat farm, where a tractor of 35 to 40 belt pulley horse-power would be needed. Payment of the full bounty will be made where the tractor has an Australian content of 90 per cent, or more. If this condition is satisfied, the manufacturer of a tractor of 20 belt pulley horsepower will collect from the taxpayers of Australia a bounty of £269. The bounty will increase by £2 for each unit rise in horse-power to £389 for a tractor of 80 belt pulley horse-power. That does not mean much, for there are not many tractors of 80 horse-power used on farms, although many are used by road contractors and for industrial purposes. The stipulation of an Australian content of 90 per cent, for the payment of the full bounty is desirable. The bill generally is reasonably good. The maximum rate of profit that may be earned where the bounty is paid is to be reduced from 10 per cent, to 5 per cent. I am not so sure that this is altogether desirable. I am aware that, as the Tariff Board has stated in earlier reports, the International Harvester Company indicated that it did not want bounty. Yet we have been informed by the board in its latest report on tractors that this company, which previously indicated that it could produce profitably without a bounty, has recently been collecting bounty. And it is no doubt prepared to collect bounty in the future. Perhaps the Government's willingness to reduce the permissible profit- {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- It is not being reduced, lt is being increased. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- Unless I am very wrong, it is to be reduced from 1 0 per cent, to 5 per cent. {: .speaker-JYO} ##### Mr Cleaver: -- No; it is to be increased from 5 per cent, to 10 per cent. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- Then I am wrong. I thank the honorable gentleman for his correction. The proposal to raise the limitation is desirable. A company which indicated that it did not want bounty, and which may be making up to 10 per cent, profit, and therefore does not need a bounty, may be excluded from payments of this bounty. To this extent, the proposal is desirable, as I understand it. {: .speaker-JYO} ##### Mr Cleaver: -- The company has had the benefit of some bounty. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- It has been collecting it. That is admitted. The Opposition, **Sir, can** only express the hope that this measure, the provisions of which are somewhat different from those of the existing act, will result in an increasing proportion of our tractor requirements being manufactured in this country. But this is where the element of doubt creeps in. In its recent report on tractors, the Tariff Board stated - >The Board would envisage a complete review of the industry before the end of seven years. Notwithstanding its present confidence that the industry can be soundly developed, if at the end of seven years the industry had not expanded considerably from its present position the Board has grave doubts at the present time whether further assistance by bounty should be given. For my part, I think that assistance should always be given for the production of essential requirements for Australians by Australians. If such assistance is not given, we shall always be exploited by the importers - whether it be one importer or a dozen in combination - who, in the absence of local manufacturers, will extract the maximum possible price from local consumers. Australian manufacturers, operating under the protection of a bounty or a tariff, may - and undoubtedly, in many instances, do - exploit the Australian consumers, but at least the local manufacturers can be dealt with. They are required to satisfy the conditions governing the employment of Australian labour and the wages and salaries paid to Australian workers, technicians and executives, and they may be taxed to the maximum extent that any government likes, and thereby make some recompense to the Australian community. The Opposition supports this measure and hopes that it will have the desired effects by stimulating the manufacture of tractors within Australia and discouraging the import of these machines from overseas. {: #subdebate-36-0-s1 .speaker-JYO} ##### Mr CLEAVER:
Swan .- Once again T find it quite a pleasurable experience to be in agreement with the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard),** who is on the opposite side of the House. If my memory serves me correctly, some three years ago we found ourselves in a similar situation. In the debate on the Tractor Bounty Bill which was then presented, either I followed the honorable member, or he followed me. We did not find very much in that bill to give us concern, although we criticized the Government on certain omissions made at that time. I am glad to inform honorable members that on this occasion I am not critical. As a matter of fact, I commence by complimenting the Government on the adoption, almost entirely, of the recommendations of the Tariff Board contained in the report that was tabled in this House only yesterday. The board's second recommendation related to the profit margin of companies which may seek this bounty. The board recommended that there be no limitation on the amounts of bounty payable in accordance with the rates of profit made. That is the only recommendation which has not been adopted by the Government. I shall deal in a moment or two a little more fully with that matter. It has been decided to raise the permitted level of profit, before tax is calculated, from 5 per cent, to 10 per cent., and to give discretionary power to the Minister to disallow interest. An increase from 5 per cent, to 10 per cent, is realistic and helpful and it rules out large margins of profit which would no doubt give us all concern when considering bounty assistance. This is a much more satisfactory result than followed the Government's decision of 1956. At that time a number of the Tariff Board's recommendations were not acceptable to the Government for one reason or another, and as I have said, I was a little critical of the Government's failure to adopt those recommendations. Just what will this bill achieve? I have extracted the major points from the bill and from the Minister's second-reading speech. The first point that impresses me is that the scale of bounty, to which the honorable member for Lalor referred to a moment aso, is to be based on an incentive plan. There is an incentive scale for the payment of the bounty according to the Australian content of the product. Should that content fall below 55 per cent., there will be no entitlement whatever to bounty. If the Australian content reaches 90 per cent., the full bounty set out in the schedule at the end of the bill becomes available to the applicant company. Here, without a shadow of doubt, is legislation designed not only to stabilize an industry but also to develop an industry with a greater and greater Australian content in its product. That policy, of course, has ramifications which extend far beyond the company that is engaged in the actual manufacture of tractors. It encompasses many other related industries which will provide employment throughout Australia on an ever-widening scale for the technicians and officers engaged in the manufacture of parts. To me that is one of the most significant features of the legislation, and I commend the Government for insisting on the development of the Australian content in tractors. The second matter that I want to mention has already been referred to with approval by the honorable member for Lalor. It is much more realistic for the Government to commit itself to giving bounty assistance for a seven-year period than to legislate only for a further period of three years. This is the relatively short span of the legislation that expires on 30th June next. It seems only a few days ago that I spoke in this House about the advantages of knowing in advance how much government money will be made available to the States for the development and maintenance of roads. I stressed how helpful it was, not only to the Commonwealth Government for planning purposes, but also to local authorities and State governments, to know just where they were going so that they might budget on a sensible basis for the expenditure of capital and other moneys. This seven-year period will be most helpful to the companies claiming this bounty. They will be able to regulate their capital expenditure and consider the modernization of their plant. It is apparent that if the provision were only for three years the companies might be unwilling to modernize the plant which now needs attention. The third point is that the bounty is designed to establish and stabilize the tractor industry. The profit level has been, realistically, raised from 5 per cent, to 10 per cent. Some of the matters mentioned in this splendid report of the Tariff Board warrant comment. Some honorable members may not be aware that this is the twelfth inquiry by the board into this industry over a number of years. The inquiries have been quite regular and a careful study of the reports shows that there has been a steady increase in production and a steady improvement in the quality of the product and the efficiency of the various plants. On this occasion the scope of the inquiry was limited to wheeled tractors produced principally bv Chamberlain Industries Proprietary Limited and the International Harvester Company of Australia Proprietary Limited. No evidence was taken regarding the larger types of tractors used principally for earth-moving. The board's report relates specifically to wheeled tractors. The Chamberlain company is the main applicant for assistance. As a matter of fact, the request for an inquiry by the board came from that company. Three years ago I approached my first speech on this matter with some enthusiasm, for the natural reason that I claimed to know a little of the operations of this company, which is located within my electorate of Swan, in Western Australia. But I am horrified at the length of the speech that I made on that occasion and the very many words that I used. Suffice to say that on this occasion I speak with a little more enthusiasm and a little more experience, and honorable members will be glad to know that it is not my desire to speak at such great length. It is unnecessary for me to give the House the history of the Chamberlain tractor industry in Western Australia, as- I gave it on the last occasion. The level of production in Australia is stated in the Tariff Board report on page 6, and 1 think it is worthy of comment that in the year 1953-54 the number of tractors produced by the International Harvester Company was 3,000 and those by the Chamberlain Industries factory only 538. There has been a decline in the production by one company in the years that have intervened until now, but the Chamberlain Industries factory has increased its production. The situation in the year 1957-58, for example, was that 1,135 tractors were produced by the International Harvester Company and 1,002 by Chamberlain Industries. This is an indication of the level of production in Australia at the present time. The bounty paid was again not applicable to the largest tractor known as the 70 DA Chamberlain model. Under the current legislation this tractor is not eligible because it exceeds 70 belt pulley horsepower and because the Australian content is below the 60 per cent, minimum stipulated in the act. But in the new legislation we find that, provided the Australian content of this tractor is improved or increased it will also be assisted by bounty payments by the Commonwealth because of the increase in the belt pulley horsepower provision to 80. As a consequence, this major tractor, which is major in size and very attractive to farmers throughout Australia, instead of being isolated from any assistance will also attract bounty. In the conclusions set out in the Tariff Board report attention is given to some significant aspects of the potential in this field of tractor production. The board members came to the conclusion that the total market in Australia has been around 16.000 agricultural wheel tractors a year. The board visualized that if economic and seasonal conditions for primary industry were favorable the annual market could increase to as many as 30,000 tractors within the nc::t few years. That, I submit, is justification, virtually on its own, as one factor in this field of production, to warrant the realistic approach by the Government to the continuance of tractor bounty payments. In drawing up its report the board gave particular attention also to the type of assistance that should be given. The question to be considered was whether the method of assistance should be by duty or bounty. I am recognizing the fact that the claimant company, Chamberlain Industries in particular, requested assistance by way of duty. The board said that it was conscious of the fact that normally, assistance by way of duty would probably be the most effective means of assisting this industry. This view, in part, led the board to recommend, though not unanimously in its last report, that a small duty be imposed in conjunction with the bounty. That was not adopted then nor is provision made in this legislation for the payment of duty. One of the points to be remembered about the application of duty is that the resulting increased tractor cost to farmers might well delay replacement of obsolete equipment and stand in the way of modernizing farm equipment with consequent losses in farm efficiency. The board has recognized that the balance may not always lie in favour of a bounty such as is again renewed in this legislation, rather than a duty. The board expects that when the Australian industry develops to the stage where it is supplying a substantial proportion of Australian tracfor requirements it may be more appropriate that assistance be accorded it by duty, or by duty plus a reduced bounty rather than bv bounty alone. I suggest that we must all bear that in mind when we recognize that over a seven-year period this legislation will continue the availability of bounty assistance. Dealing finally with the Chamberlain Industries Company - {: .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R FRASER:
ALP -- What is the full name of that company? {: .speaker-JYO} ##### Mr CLEAVER: -- It is the Chamberlain Tractor Company of Western Australia. {: .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R FRASER:
ALP -- In what electorate is its factory situated? {: .speaker-JYO} ##### Mr CLEAVER: -- If the honorable member would like me to tell him, it is in the important electorate of Swan. In 1956 1 spoke in appreciation of the determined effort which was being made, incidentally with the co-operation and practical assistance of the Western Australian Government, to raise the standard of efficiency. The Tariff Board in its report indicated that this was essential and unless there was an improvement in methods, and a reduction in production costs, it could not be assumed that the Government would be warranted in continuing this type of assistance. I wish to draw attention to the fact that a re-organization has taken place with very marked results. In the Melbourne " Age " newspaper of 9th May, an article appeared intimating that the Chamberlain company plans to expand in Victoria. The managing director, **Mr. Adams,** had been visiting the city of Melbourne and he indicated that the company was buying additional land at Spring Vale where it would build a large administrative block. He said that Chamberlain's sales had risen 50 per cent, for the first nine months of this current financial year following re-organized distribution in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. I feel that in speaking one's approval of the renewal of this legislation on a better basis for a longer, more realistic period of seven years as against three years, I can also emphasize that the main recipient company fully justifies the confidence of the Government. That confidence is based upon the splendid recommendation of the Tariff Board and its comprehensive analysis of the tractor industry at this stage. I commend the Government and I trust that this bounty assistance will bring about a vast improvement in the production of tractors in Australia. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate. {: .page-start } page 2148 {:#debate-37} ### FISHERIES BILL 1959 {:#subdebate-37-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 12th May (vide page 2034). on motion by **Mr. Adermann** - >That the bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-37-0-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM:
Werriwa .- The Opposition does not oppose this bill. In fact, it would be very hard to oppose the very reasonable propositions which it puts forward. Firstly, there is the necessity, in order to conserve our stocks of fish around the Australian coast, that fish should not be caught at certain times and female crayfish should not be caught at other times. The present act, of course, permits the making of proclamations to forbid the catching of fish of certain species. The male and female are, in the nature of the case, members of the same species, and if, for instance, one is to prevent the catching of female crayfish- {: .speaker-0095J} ##### Mr Howson: -- How can you tell? {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- I do not know the term of art involved. But if we want to prevent the catching of female crayfish in a certain condition, as is necessary for conservation purposes, then, under existing legislation, we also have to prevent the catching of male crayfish of the same species during the same season. The male crayfish, probably, have performed their functions and from the conservation point of view there is no reason why they should not be caught. The legislation very properly suggests that instead of the word " species " we should have the word " classes " of fish. One can single out male or female under the heading " classes of fish " whereas they can not be singled out under the designation of " species ". The Opposition thinks it is a thoroughly reasonable amendment and supports it. It is very necessary in conservation measures to specify the size of fish which can be caught or which cannot be caught. Because fishermen are prone to exaggerate the size of their catches and therefore to assert that their catches are well beyond the permissible limits, they can never be caught on their own admission. So that they cannot be caught with the evidence in their hands, they have taken to disembowelling and drawing the fish at sea. It has proved impossible to decide which head and which body belonged to which fish. Consequently, the bill makes it an offence to dismember or cut up fish at sea. There again, it is a thoroughly reasonable amendment and we support it. Likewise, most of the amendments are improvements on the act and we support them. This legislation is necessary in order that the Commonwealth Government can carry out resolutions which were passed at conferences of Commonwealth and State fisheries officers in Melbourne in February of last year and in Canberra in July of last year. I will quote from answers which the previous Minister for Primary Industry, the present Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. McMahon),** gave me on 30th April and 20th August, last year. In the former answer he told me that the Commonwealth and State fisheries officers had decided, among other things, that the Fisheries Act should be amended to enable a closed season for female crayfish corresponding to that in Victoria and Tasmania. The Minister told me also that it was proposed to amend the act before 1st September, 1958. In fact, the act was not amended before 1st September, 1958. Accordingly, some of the resolutions which were carried by the Commonwealth and State fisheries officers in Melbourne in February, 1958, could not be adopted by the Commonwealth. One of the results has been that the prosecution by Tasmania to which the Minister referred in one of the purple patches of his second-reading speech, miscarried because the defendants were able to assert - and no one could disprove - that the crayfish had been caught beyond the three-mile limit. They were caught in Commonwealth territorial waters where there is carte blanche. It is proposed now to amend the act in such a way that that loophole in the net will be closed. On 20th August last, the then Minister for Primary Industry told me that the Commonwealth and State fisheries officers, at their conference in July in Canberra, had resolved that the Fisheries Act should be amended in respect of the restriction on fishing provisions to provide for having " in possession and/ or in control ", in addition to " taking ". The Minister told me that the implementation of that recommendation would involve amendment of the Fisheries Act. The amendment did not take place in that sessional period or in that Parliament, but it is now taking place. So now, belatedly, we are carrying out the resolution which the responsible officers passed at their conferences early last year and in the middle of last year. I feel that we should not miss the opportunity presented by this Fisheries Bill - the third in seven years - to turn to the very severe, provocative and absurd limitations on Commonwealth power in regard to fisheries. Section 51 of the Constitution lists those few matters on which the Commonwealth can pass acts. In some of the 40 sections there listed there are quite absurd limitations. I shall cite two others. We can legislate with regard to parental rights and the custody and guardianship of infants in relation to divorce and matrimonial causes, but only in relation to those circumstances; and we can legislate with regard to the people of any race other than the aboriginal race. So, in this case, we can legislate with respect to fisheries in Australian waters beyond territorial limits. This is quite absurd. The fish do not know when they are 3 miles off the mainland coast or off any of the islands. They regard with sublime indifference Commonwealth laws, if there are such, and also State laws, concerning their conservation, protection and encouragement. Similarly, fishermen disregard such laws whenever they can. Let me go around the Australian coast, starting at Cape York. From Cape York down to the border of Queensland and New South Wales, for 3 miles off the coast and within 3 miles off islands off the coast, Queensland laws apply. Within 3 miles of the New South Wales coast, down to Jervis Bay, New South Wales laws apply. Off Jervis Bay, Commonwealth laws apply for 3 miles. Then the New South Wales laws resume until Gabo Island is reached. Then Victorian laws apply right round the Victorian coast. Tasmanian laws apply right round the Tasmanian coast and for 3 miles off every island in Bass Strait. {: .speaker-JWV} ##### Mr Chaney: -- That is no different to the traffic laws. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- That is a good example. As the honorable gentleman knows a right-hand turn is made differently in every State and in every Territory. Off South Australia and Kangaroo Island, South Australian laws apply for 3 miles. Then, around Western Australia, Rottnest, the Abrolhos and so on, Western Australian laws apply. Off the Northern Territory, Commonwealth laws apply again; and so we come back to Cape York. Then, beyond the 3-mile limit, off the coast and between any islands which are more than 6 miles apart, Commonwealth laws apply. The position is quite absurd, particularly in regard to Bass Strait. If one is to conserve the fish in Bass Strait one has to be certain that South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and the Commonwealth all have precisely similar laws - acts, regulations and proclamations. If there is any deviation in the terms of the act, regulation or proclamation enacted, gazetted or issued by any of those States or by the Commonwealth relating to thai area, no fisherman can successfully be prosecuted for the breach of any law in the area but can always say, " I caught my fish within the area of another State, or beyond the 3 miles from a State or an island, and therefore within Commonwealth territory ". {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes: -- You cannot stop other nationals fishing outside the 3-mile limit, except by agreement. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- I would say, off-hand, that by agreement is the only certain way; but, as the honorable gentleman knows, there are cases at the moment - although they are in abeyance - before the World Court, concerning Japanese fishing on the sea bed. It would appear that under the Constitution, as far as Australian citizens are concerned at any rate, it is envisaged that Commonwealth laws will apply beyond the 3-mile limit. Although there are many controversies in international law these days as to what territorial limits are, it was understood by the British Parliament, which enacted our Constitution, and has been so understood by all the States until we passed the act in 1952, and it has been understood by the Commonwealth since then, that the precise meaning of the term "territorial limits" in section 51, placitum (x) of the Constitution, is 3 miles. {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes: -- The British Government has been protecting its fishermen off Iceland. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- Yes, of course, that is a neat point that has never arisen off the Australian coast. It is very true, as the honorable gentleman implies, that there are some bays on the Australian coast which have a mouth more than 6 miles wide. Now, what law applies in those cases? Does the State law apply only for three miles from each cape and round the coast of the bay, or does it apply for 3 miles from a line joining the two headlands? That sounds a very academic point, but it is the point, as the honorable gentleman knows, which Indonesia has taken in proclaiming her own territorial waters. It is practically impossible to cross or pass through the Straits of Malacca or the Sunda Strait without passing within 3 miles of an Indonesian island or cape, and the Indonesian Government has proclaimed that all the areas within the line joining the capes or islands are Indonesian waters and has asserted that Australian ships, among others, cannot pass within those limits without Indonesian permission. The same point arises in Ireland, which has a very craggy coast. {: #subdebate-37-0-s1 .speaker-JRJ} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Bowden:
GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA -- Order! I think the honorable member should stick to Australia. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- This is not an irrelevant question, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** because, with respect, it is important for us to know whether this bill, which purports to apply to Australian waters beyond territorial limits - that is Australian waters beyond three miles from the Australian coast - applies only to Australian citizens, or whether it applies to anybody else who fishes in that area. And, **Sir, we** know quite well that there are Japanese tuna fishermen and pearl fishermen in what we regard as Australian waters, but more than three miles from the coast. {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes: -- Soviet whalers have put into Australian ports. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- Yes, and so have French and Norwegian whalers. It is possible under the external affairs power of our Constitution to make laws for carrying out the International Whaling Agreement and it is possible for this Parliament to make laws at least for Australian whalers apart from that agreement, but whales are expressly excluded from this particular act. Now, **Sir, I** would suggest, with respect, that the honorable member for Chisholm in raising these matters is raising matters which can very readily arise. They have arisen in connexion with our closest neighbour. Indonesia. They have arisen in connexion with British ships near Iceland. All I can say in answer to the honorable gentleman's initial interjection is that, failing international agreement such as we have been seeking at last year's conference under United Nations auspices on the law of the sea - and I think that conference is to be resumed within a year - we cannot be certain of making our laws apply within Australian waters beyond territorial limits. I feel, though, that for the purpose of my argument I need merely refer to the position which arises as regards Australian fishing. I have mentioned that it is necessary to have complete identity of State and Commonwealth laws, particularly in Bass Strait. This is not an academic question. It is one that has already arisen, and I will give what I think a most pertinent case. The facts are set out in an answer that the previous Minister for Primary Industry gave to me on 12th March last year. It shows the difficulty of securing uniform legislation, State and Commonwealth, to conserve school shark in Bass Strait. In August, 1952, the Minister told me, the Division of Fisheries of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization recommended to the Commonwealth and State Departments concerned that school shark should be conserved by closing the season during October, November and December, limiting the catch and limiting the size. A conference of Commonwealth and State fisheries authorities discussed this recommendation in January, 1953 and recommended that October should be the closed season. In September, 1953 - the very month before the closed season was to operate - South Australia declared a closed season. It was not possible for the other States to take action, and in January, 1954 South Australia revoked its proclamation. Then, **Sir, in** July, 1954 the representatives of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania met and Victoria and Tasmania agreed that December would be a better month than October for the closed season. In 1955 Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania decided to proceed with the December closure, but in mid-November Tasmania decided to postpone any action for twelve months. Victoria, which had passed the act, had to repeal it. Then in May, 1957, the States again discussed the closure, and this time they decided on November. The requisite legislation was passed by the States and the Commonwealth, and it first came into Operation in November, 1957. Now let me recapitulate. The original recommendation was for October, November, and December. The States in successive years chose October alone, December alone and November alone. Before the closed season came in it was whittled down from three months to one month, and five years had elapsed. I cite these facts, which have been given to me by the former Minister, to show clearly how difficult it is, with the division of legislative power under our Constitution, to pass effective laws for the conservation of Australian fisheries. Australia has the longest navigable coastline in the world. It has a great variety of fish in its coastal waters, and the fish that are still plentiful are mainly pelagic types, such as tuna. These fish exist in the areas that come within Commonwealth competence. There is a great deal of work still to be done in the way of encouraging the conservation of the kinds of fish that we have been catching close to our shores, where the grounds are being fished out. It is necessary to conserve those fish, and it is necessary to encourage the catching of pelagic fish, for which new equipment, boats and techniques are required. I am glad to acknowledge that the Commonwealth has, with some of the proceeds of the sale of the whaling station in Western Australia, made quite considerable contributions to the acquisition of the necessary skill and equipment. But it is still difficult for the Commonwealth and the States to agree on legislation designed to conserve the varieties of fish we have been catching in the past to excess, and also to encourage the taking of those fish which are plentiful and which we can use ourselves and which we can profitably export. I believe this bill could have been brought down about a year ago, and certainly during the Budget session last year, but now that it has been brought down we support it. I cannot forgo the opportunity to point out that under the Constitution as it now stands the procedures that must be followed are unnecessarily slow and uneconomic. It it very difficult to legislate for the conservation of our fisheries and the development of new fisheries. I therefore make this plea, which I have made on previous occasions, that the Constitution should be amended as soon as possible by deleting the words " beyond territorial limits " in placitum x. of section 51 of the Constitution, and thus permitting this Parliament to legislate fully and promptly on all matters pertaining to fisheries. {: #subdebate-37-0-s2 .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr BARNARD:
Bass .- I do not want to delay the House unduly, but there are one or two matters to which I wish to refer in connexion with what is, in my opinion, an extremely important measure. Looking through the " Hansard " report, I found that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** extended to the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** congratulations on the introduction of his first bill into this House. I join with the Deputy Leader in extending my congratulations also to the Minister. However, in reading through the Minister's secondreading speech, I thought that the honorable gentleman could have dealt in a somewhat more comprehensive manner with the question of our fisheries. I appreciate the fact, of course, that he has a definite purpose, to deal with fishing outside the 3-mile limit. I have some knowledge of the test case in Tasmania, because indirectly I had some responsibility in that matter. The laws of Tasmania in regard to fishing, and crayfishing in particular, are quite definite, but so far as the Commonwealth is concerned there has been no control whatsoever in the past. This bill will ensure that in the future crayfish beds, both inside and outside the 3-mile limit, will be protected to a large extent. Although the vessels being used in the crayfish industry are quite small, the development of depth sounders has made it possible for those engaged in the industry to exploit beds that have not been touched, probably, for many years. These beds have probably never been fished in the past in the manner in which they are now being exploited. I agree with my colleague, the honorable member for Werriwa **(Mr. Whitlam),** that the Minister has shown some foresight in introducing a bill to provide a measure of protection for an extremely valuable industry. However, I want to repeat at this stage that I believe the Minister could have widened the scope of the legislation, particularly having regard to the measure that was introduced in this Parliament last year, under which the Government proposed to establish a trust fund for the benefit of the fishing industry. I have always maintained that our fishing industry has never received governmental support to the extent that it deserves. Those engaged in the industry are mainly small fishermen with only limited resources, who have not been able to expand their activities sufficiently because of insufficient support from the Commonwealth Government. A trust fund was established by the Commonwealth last year, directly as a result of the sale of the assets of the Australian Whaling Commission in Western Australia for an amount of £880,000. This money was to be used to set up a trust fund to assist the fishing industry generally. As I remember the position, the Minister pointed out on that occasion in his second-reading speech, that the proceeds of the sale of the whaling undertaking in Western Australia would be used indirectly to reduce expenditure on imports and to enable improved techniques to be used by fishermen generally, as well as to develop new fishing enterprises. In other words, the trust fund would be used to assist the fishing industry, whether it was carried on inside or outside the 3-mile limit. Of course, the State governments have the primary responsibility within the 3-mile limit. Outside the 3-mile limit, the matter becomes the responsibility of the Commonwealth Government. The crayfish industry has proved to be extremely valuable to Australia. The Government has acknowledged that this industry alone has been responsible for a very valuable export market in the United States of America. I cannot recall at this moment the exact figure, but I underst and that the value of exports in the last financial year was approximately 3,000,000 dollars. The Government should recognize that the industry could be considerably improved if the money available in the trust fund were used for that purpose as well as for developing the fishing industry generally. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann: -- That comes under an entirely different act. The act amended by this bill does not provide for the trust fund or for its operations. {: .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- No, but I am taking this opportunity, since this is a bill dealing with the fishing industry, to refer to that matter specifically, because I am personally interested in seeing that the Australian fishing industry generally is developed. It has been developed extensively by Japan and to a lesser extent by the United States of America. I am also concerned that the trade deficit of the fishing industry in 1957, speaking from memory, was approximately £5,600,000. That is largely due to the extent of imports of tinned fish. It has been pointed out before that we have extensive tuna beds. They have never been developed, although it is true that the Fisheries and Oceanography Division of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization has undertaken valuable work in respect of them. However, the fact remains that our vessels are limited. {: .speaker-JRJ} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Bowden: -- Order! I think the honorable member is getting well away from the bill. {: .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- With due respect to your ruling, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I merely want to develop the question of the fishing industry generally. {: #subdebate-37-0-s3 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I think it has already been very well developed by you and that you should get back to the bill. {: .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr BARNARD: -- I was merely pointing out that, according to the Minister's second-reading speech, the crayfish industry is to be protected. That is the purpose of the bill. Ifeel that that gives honorable members an opportunity to discuss the question of the protection of the fishing industry, and I have undertaken to do so during my speech on the measure. We have very large resources and they should be protected. It is perfectly true that this bill will give a measure of protection that has not existed previously. However, very valuable resources have not been sufficiently developed by the Government. They should be developed and the Government should direct its attention to doing so. During 1957, I directed a question on this matter to the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. McMahon),** who was then Minister for Primary Industry. He said at the time that the Fisheries and Oceanography Division of the C.S.I. R.O. was undertaking large-scale research in Bass Strait waters off the South Australian coast. I asked the Minister on that occasion whether tuna fishing in the waters around the Furneaux group of islands in Bass Strait could also be investigated. Extensive opportunities for deep-sea fishing exist around those islands, but the possibilities have never been investigated, so far as I am aware. This matter should receive further consideration from the Government. I repeat that the bill will provide an adequate safeguard that has not existed in the past for the crayfish industry generally. This industry should be developed. It can be developed and it is entitled to the protection which this Government intends to give. The Tasmanian test case indicated that there was a loophole in the legislation, and the Minister for Primary Industry has quite properly taken action to meet the situation created by the legal interpretation in that case. I suggest that the Minister consider the provision of assistance to those people in the fishing industry who have limited resources and who are not able to engage in anything more than very restricted deep-sea fishing. This is a very valuable industry. I believe that that fact is appreciated by the Minister and I hope that in the future he will give it the attention that it deserves. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted. Bill - by leave - read a third time. {: .page-start } page 2154 {:#debate-38} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-38-0} #### Lobbying - Import Licensing - Supplementary Rent Allowance - Rural Aid for Asians - War Service Homes - European Musicians - Kingsford-Smith Airport - Broadcasting-Australian Birds - Tullamarine Airport - National Service Motion (by **Mr. Adermann)** proposed - >That the House do now adjourn. {: #subdebate-38-0-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD:
East Sydney .- Earlier in this session I directed attention on several occasions to the allegation that there were paid lobbyists in this House. Since the last occasion on which I spoke on this matter, I have received additional information. It is time that the Government ceased pretending that there is nothing wrong with import licensing practices and had a proper and thorough investigation of them. Honorable members will recall that on a previous occasion I read a telegram that I had receivedfrom a **Mr. Len** Warner, of Mullion, Sternhaven Court, Toorak. In that telegram, **Mr. Warner** offered to meet any costs incurred in the appearance of **Mr. Somerville** Smith before a royal commission. I do not base my case on **Mr. Somerville** Smith's allegations, but honorable members cannot laugh off what **Mr. Warner** said about this problem. This **Mr. Len** Warner is a brother of **Sir Arthur** Warner, who is the Liberal Minister for Transport in Victoria. I was surprised to see in a rather obscure place in the " Sydney Morning Herald " a reference to **Mr. Len** Warner after I had read his telegram in the House. I do not propose to read all of the newspaper report; it is sufficient for me to quote sections of it. The " Sydney Morning Herald " of the 7th of this month reported - >A Melbourne businessman said to-day that he had evidence of payments to lobbyists which he would produce if a royal commission were held on import licence lobbying. > >The businessman, **Mr. L.** Warner, brother of the Victorian Minister for Transport, **Sir Arthur** Warner, said he had a letter sent by a large Sydney importing firm to a lobbyist. > >The letter said that a cheque for £500 was enclosed in payment to the lobbyist for obtaining import licences worth £50,000. > > **Mr. Warner** said he was holding another letter from the same firm offering to pay the lobbyist £600 to obtain other import licences. He does not say that he has a copy of the letter: The statement appearing in the " Sydney Morning Herald " is that he possesses the letter. Therefore, I think that the Government should pay some heed to the growing evidence of what is happening. Since I spoke last in this House on this matter I have received quite a number of letters from people who for obvious reasons - they are importers themselves - have asked that at this stage their names not be divulged. But they have told me that if a royal commission were appointed to investigate import licensing, they would be prepared to come forward. I propose to read extracts from some of the letters that I have received. One of the letters states - >You mentioned 15 per cent, premium-- He is referring to my speech in Parliament - >This is absurd and the only firms buying licences at this price are old friends. The usual price is 25 per cent, to 40 per cent. My suggestion to the Government is to recall all licences and re-issue. I was told in Canberra-- Evidently he visited Canberra and placed the matter before the department - when I suggested this that it would be impossible. All I can say is that they haven't got the courage to do it, as too many have been paid to get the existing licences. I dare not mention my name as I hold a large licence, and I would be of the opinion that this would be reduced if I made public my knowledge of the racket. In another letter a writer states - [ am a very old established importer situated in Sydney and have been since the implementation of import licensing. . . . There exists a firm in Clarence-street, Sydney, known throughout Australia, trading as wholesale jewellers and in every commodity to which it is possible to apply exorbitant margins of profit. It has become known in the past few days that whilst numerous companies in existence and trading in glassware, china and crockery trade, have been forced to restrain their operations on the basis of inadequate quota, being category 241, this named company has acquired over the past few months the total sum of £75,000 in this same category, being 241. It is a complete mystery how a company which has only been in existence a very short period of time in this field can possibly acquire a licence of this amount when it is ascertained on complete authority that the same firm had no base year for this particular item of quota whatsoever. I could go on citing similar instances. It is common talk in business circles as to what happens. Quotas are advertised for sale. It is a well-known fact that there are people who are not engaged in importing at all but who have been able to acquire quotas. They make a very lucrative income by disposing of those quotas to people who apply to the Government for them and are refused. This added cost of buying quotas increases inflation. It adds to the cost of living. I return now to the earlier allegation that there are paid lobbyists in this Parliament. I repeat that I am not satisfied-- **Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. John McLeay).Order!** The honorable member for East Sydney will resume his seat. I direct his attention to Standing Order No. 78, which states - >All imputations of improper motives and all persona] reflections on Members shall be considered highly disorderly. I suggest that any reference to lobbyists i n this House would be highly disorderly. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD: -- It is rather a strange thing that I am out of order now, but when I spoke previously I must have been in order. {: #subdebate-38-0-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD: -- I accept your ruling, **Mr. Speaker,** but it is rather strange that I am ruled out of order on this occasion, but was not ruled out of order on a previous occasion. {: .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon: -- I rise to order. Is it proper for the honorable member for East Sydney to challenge your ruling, **Mr. Speaker,** or should he accept it immediately? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! I think that the honorable member should accept my ruling immediately. I ask the honorable member to continue and to respect Standing Order No. 78. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD: -- I accept your ruling, **Mr. Speaker.** I will have to examine the Standing Orders and use a little more ingenuity on some future occasion in order to bring this matter before the House, as it is a matter about which the public wants to know more than it has been able to ascertain up to date. Surely I can say in this Parliament that people have claimed - and there is evidence to support them - that a racket exists with regard to import licensing. It is about time the Government did something to clear up this matter. The imputations that were made were not made by me. They have been made by other people, who will continue to make them. It is completely unsatisfactory to this Parliament that we are not permitted to make any reference to these matters at all. {: .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon: -- Why not give us the names of the people who have written to you? When I asked you previously to give the names, you did not have the courage to do so. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr WARD: -- The Minister for Labour and National Service does not want the facts. His Government does not want the facts. The Government has taken steps to see that there will be no further discussion on this matter, because it is afraid of an investigation. Let us have a royal commission. Any number of people will come forward, make their allegations and support them by evidence on oath if the Government will give them the opportunity to do so. I invite the Minister to use his endeavours with his Government, if he believes that there is no basis for the allegations that some people are making, to see that a proper investigation is made into these matters. In the short time that I have left, seeing that I have been restricted with regard to the matter that I particularly wanted to raise, I wish to refer to a most ridiculous state of affairs concerning a **Mr. Ronald** D. Loughlin. 1 have mentioned this case in the House previously. This man was refused a supplementary allowance because the Minister for Social Services **(Mr. Roberton)** or his department declared that he was in receipt of an income of 3d. over the permissible amount of 10s. He was receiving a war pension of 10s. 3d. a week. It took me from last November until a few days ago to get any information at all as to whether- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-38-0-s2 .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wakefield .- 1 regret that I will not be able to provide the House with the fireworks that were provided by the honorable member for East Sydney **Mr. Ward).** However, with practice- 1 may improve. I hesitate to detain honorable members at this late hour, but I think that what I have to say is important - it is to me - and I hope it is to some other honorable members. I am sure that we all feel that we should do more to help raise the standard of living of the people of the Asian countries. We all pay lip service to that as an ideal, obviously because it is practical Christianity, but more particularly because to do so is to place a bastion in that part of the world against communism. The difficulty is to find something worth while that we can do. The problem becomes more urgent as population pressure in that area grows. I think that all honorable members will admit that we want to do something. I intend to suggest something that we can do without delay and without too much trouble. I think it is true to say that Australian farmers know more about scrub clearing than do farmers in any other country. I know that during World War II, when Britain faced famine, she learned to use our stump-jump ploughs to clear land that British farmers could not clear with their set ploughs. When I went to Britain in 1951, I was taken to see some scrub being cleared by a man who obviously felt that he was doing a very fine job. But if the scrub that he was working on had been on Kangaroo Island, in South Australia, it would have been looked upon as long grass. The results achieved by the Land Development Executive - the L.D.E., as it is known - on Kangaroo Island, by the Australian Mutual Provident Society, in the south-east of South Australia, and by many farmers throughout Australia, and particularly in Western Australia and South Australia, are shining examples of the kind of job that can be done and of the way in which rough scrub land can be put into production cheaply and quickly. I expect that many honorable members know the methods adopted. First, the land is " logged " with a chain pulled by two powerful tractors. Up to 100 acres an hour can be covered in suitable country. Although that may be the most spectacular part, to those of us who know the technique it is the easiest part. The scrub is allowed to lie until it dries out, and then it is burnt. The remaining sticks are picked up and the land is ploughed with stumpjump ploughs. That, **Mr. Speaker,** is the essence of the operation. We in Australia invented the stump-jump plough and perfected it. We have learned to use it, but as far as I can make out no other country has learned to use it as we have. After the operations that I have outlined, the land is usually put down to pasture. Owing to the presence of stumps, it is obviously more suitable for pasture than for cropping. Recently, a Kangaroo Island farmer went on a trip to Japan. While there, he looked at the country with a farmer's eye, as I think all farmers look at the land in countries other than their own. This farmer was interested to see that there was a lot of land which he thought would have been cleared years ago, had it been on Kangaroo Island. He became interested in the problem, and the Japanese agricultural experts whom he questioned told him that there were in that country between 7,500,000 and 10,000,000 acres of similar country which they thought could be cleared by our Australian techniques, thereby giving the Japanese at least 50 per cent, more land in production than they have now. A few months ago, a Japanese agricultural student on a United States Food and Agricultural Organization grant, visited Kangaroo Island and learned the techniques of scrub clearing and cultivating with the stump-jump plough. On his way back to Japan, when he was passing through Adelaide, he was presented with a stump-jump plough by the Quakers who felt that it was better to do good than merely to talk about doing it. This Student has now returned to Japan with his stump-jump plough and hopes to make a start on clearing the 10,000,000 acres of land waiting to be cleared. It is not only in Japan that the opportunity to clear large areas of land and make them productive exists, **Mr. Speaker.** In the Philippines, only 19 per cent, of the land of suitable terrain and suitable soil quality is used. The remaining 81 per cent, is under scrub of one kind or another. 1 do not claim that all of it could be cleared by our techniques, but I am willing to hazard a guess that we could clear a lot of it. Indeed, I have heard an estimate that we could clear very nearly half of it by our techniques. There are 2,000,000 unemployed in the Philippines and the landhungry peasantry would seize an opportunity to use this land if only it could be cleared. I turn now to Indonesia, **Mr. Speaker.** The island of Java has a population of 60,000,000. Sumatra, which is twice as big as Java, has a population of 10,000,000, and Borneo, which is three and one-half times the size of Java, has a population of 2,750,000. There is a great deal of land in Indonesia which, I am sure, could be cleared by our techniques if we only tackled the job. I do not say for a moment that we could clear the lot, but, by the exercise of a little imagination and leadership, we could help the local farmers to clear much of it. {: .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R FRASER:
ALP -- We are going into recess to-morrow. We all could go up there and tackle it. {: .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Perhaps we could. It would do you good. I think that the rest of the Western world tends to leave the leadership in economic relief mainly to the United States of America. I pay tribute to the work that the United States has done - we all should pay tribute to it - but I do not think she can fairly be asked to shoulder the whole of the financial burden and all the responsibilities of leadership. I say advisedly, knowing something of the matter, that we in Australia know far more about scrub clearing than the Americans do. They have been trying to clear scrub lands in Japan, for instance, bv pulling a two-furrow set plough, and they have to drag a welding plant behind in order to repair it as they go along. In the Sydney " Daily Telegraph " of 10th March last I saw a report about the recent conference of the Council of Ministers of the South-East Asia Treaty Organization, which was held in Wellington, New Zealand. The report stated - >One Western delegate said to-day, "The difficulty is to pin-point economic projects in Asian countries to which we can attach the Seato label. When we find them we will be glad to help." I think that is what we all feel, **Mr. Speaker.** We all feel that we ought to do more, and the difficulty is to find something that we can do. In the matter of scrub clearing, I think we have at hand something that we could do if we took the initiative and exercised leadership. The Minister for External Affairs **(Mr. Casey),** in a recent speech, said - >Australia frequently provides specialists with expert knowledge in particular fields of work. A man does not need a university degree to be an expert. I could refer honorable members to quite a few experts whose nails may not be very shiny but who know a great deal about scrub clearing. I suggest it would be a good idea for the Minister to send some of these men to Asian countries to have a look at the problem and see whether we can do something about it. I emphasize that it is not a question of trying to teach the local farmers how to farm the land when they have cleared it. They know more about that and about intensive land use than we do, but we know how to clear scrubland and they do not. I suggest that it would not be a bad idea if we helped them to learn how to handle the problem, and I think we have here a way in which we could help them by efficient and cheap methods. I am oldfashioned enough, **Mr. Speaker,** to think that a scheme which has those attributes is not necessarily bad. {: #subdebate-38-0-s3 .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN:
Reid **.- Mr. Speaker,** 1 wish to bring to the notice of the House the grave irregularities which are occurring as a result of this Government's restriction of the availability of funds to the War Service Homes Division. 1 have been forced to raise this matter in the debate on the motion for the adjournment of the House this evening, because I was not afforded an opportunity to speak on the Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 1958-59 in view of the imminent closure of this sessional period. The Government has not given honorable members sufficient time to bring up matters relating to their electorates. Ex-servicemen are being exploited by firms of doubtful standing, which are misleading many ex-servicemen who are desperate in their search for finance for a home. A scandalous instance of this has occurred in my electorate. On 14th February, 1958, a certain firm published an advertisement in the Sydney " Sun ". I ask the House to give me leave to have the terms of this advertisement incorporated in " Hansard " because I have not sufficient time to read it all. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Is it the wish of the House that the honorable member be given leave to have the advertisement incorporated in " Hansard "? As objection is taken leave is refused. {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN: -- I shall read the relevant parts of the advertisement, which are as follows: - >AR Homes offer a new home to every exserviceman! 1st release of brand new homes at Guildford on new ex-service repayment rate of £2 8s. 8d. per week. > >No temporary finance needed. No deposit . . . 1st quality P.C. items throughout . . . > >Price £3.045 (including fees) . . . > >Arthur Robinson & Sons Pty. Ltd. . . . 346 Church St...... Parramatta. Let us examine the position. It was stated that no deposit was required. In fact, an applicant had to pay immediately an amount of £120. But this was not called a deposit. Instead, it was called a legal fee. No fencing was provided, but the War Service Homes Division requires that a property be fenced before a loan is granted, so an amount of £100 5s. 5d. had to be expended for this purpose. No paths were made, so £44 10s. had to be expended in providing them. An amount of £55 10s. was required for cupboards, and £13 18s. for the legal fees of the War Service Homes Division. These amounts totalled £334 3s. 5d. In addition, a temporary loan had to be arranged through the gas company for the percentage cost items, and an amount of £244 15s. 6d. paid to the gas company at the rate of £5 2s. a month over four years. This brought the total amount required to £578 18s. lid. Purchasers must pay the difference between the valuation of the War Service Homes Division and the agent's valuation, which in some cases is £100 or £150. Allowing a difference in valuations of only £30, the total is brought to a little over £600. Let us examine the statement that no temporary finance is needed. The purchaser must pay £5 5s. a week until the loan from the War Service Homes Division is available. In this case the people who made applications between 1st January, 1958, and 6th May were entitled to immediate finance, but many of them had to obtain temporary finance for periods of up to seven months. During the seven months they had to pay £5 5s. a week - called an occupation fee - plus £5 2s. a month under the hirepurchase agreement negotiated with the gas company. Let us examine items provided by the gas company. The stove cost £46 10s., the heater £41 6s., and the copper £16, making a total of £103 16s. Hirepurchase charges of £33 12s. 4d. brought the total to £137 8s. 4d. Installation fees amounted to £127 7s. 2d. That seems to me to be a very high cost for the installation of those items and I should like to get a plumber's report on it. No doubt it was a fictitious item in order to boost the amount. The gas company acted as guarantor of a loan of £264 to these people so that they could build up their deposit. To-day, instead of the deposit being £120, it is £160, and the waiting time as from 1st January, 1959, is eighteen months from the time of application. This Government is guilty because of the manner in which it is treating returned servicemen of the last war. There are many ex-servicemen on the opposite side of the House and they should do their utmost to see that this business is cleared up. This Government said in 1949 that it would abolish black-marketing. This business of war service homes is a bad issue. It is a corrupt issue, and there are shysters-- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member will withdraw that remark. {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN: -- I withdraw it. More money should be made available to the War Service Homes Division. The maximum advance should be increased from £2,750, which is not enough. The report of the division for the year ended 30th June, 1957, shows that in the previous year applications received totalled 20,553. That was twelve years after the cessation of the war. in 1957-58 applications for war service homes totalled 22,081, so they are increasing year by year. The fact is that this Government is not facing up to its responsibilities to ex-servicemen. As from 1st January, 1959, a person who desires to buy an existing home has to wait eighteen months for an advance, and so has a person purchasing a new home. A person building on his own land and using private bank finance or other temporary finance has to wait for twelve months. Building contracts, which in 1952- 53 numbered 6,406, dropped in 1953- 54 to 5,501. In 1954-55 there were 5,885; in 1955-56, 3,868; in 1956-57, 5,426; and in 1957-58, only 4,979. Last year there were fewer than there had been in the previous year. The following figures show that the maximum advance of £2,750 should be increased. The average cost of a dwelling house and land in New South Wales, according to the War Service Homes Division, is £3,763; in Victoria, £3,665; in Queensland, £3,370; in South Australia, £3,782; in Western Australia. £3,319; and in Tasmania, £3,389. That proves quite conclusively that an advance of £2,750 is insufficient. The capital expenditure for 1956-57 totalled £30.170.000, and receipts amounted to £12,690.000. The actual amount made available was approximately £18,000,000. In 1957-58 capital expenditure was £35,000,000, and receipts totalled £14,000,000. the difference being £21,000,000. The Government is not catching up on the building lag. Applications for assistance are increasing day by day, and the applications this year are greater than those of last year. The Government knows that this is a crucial issue. If it is sincere it should help ex-servicemen by making sufficient money available for war service homes. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-38-0-s4 .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr KILLEN:
Moreton .- I do not want to join issue with the honorable member for Reid **(Mr. Uren)** on the matter of war service homes. I think it is quite adequate to say to the honorable gentleman that the record of the Government in this matter is unequalled in the political history of this country. The truth of the matter is that in the last eight or ten years the Government has constructed infinitely more war service homes than did any previous government since the introduction of war service homes legislation. I move from that relatively minor point of controversy to extend an invitation to members of this House to consider a matter which is, in my judgment at any rate, essentially non-partisan. {: .speaker-1V4} ##### Mr Cairns: -- Ah! {: .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr KILLEN: -- I know that the honorable member is surprised, but the time must always come when some people are surprised. This evening I want to talk about a character of discrimination so far as the musicians of this country are concerned. This is the position. If an Australian elects to join the Musicians Union he pays live guineas, but if the applicant happens to be a new Australian he has to pay £21. This is a character of discrimination which I do not believe this Parliament is at liberty to ignore. We have all agreed to bring people to this country and by and large this is being done on a non-party basis. Already we have brought to Australia something in excess of 1,000,000 people, and successive governments have endeavoured to stamp out any attempt to discriminate between old Australians and new Australians. But here is an example of discrimination against new Australians of the most violent and vicious kind. When the secretary of the Queens- land branch of the Musicians Union was asked what the thinking in the union was on the matter, he replied in these terms - >The local boy is entitled to a bit of a so. The new Australian pays his fees or he doesn't get into the union. I put it to honorable members that if that is the sort of thinking which resides in a cultural union - or what, in all conscience, should be regarded as a cultural unionthen we have reached a pretty shallow level of thinking. But there is another aspect of this matter which involves the Australian Broadcasting Commission. I regret that the PostmasterGeneral **(Mr. Davidson)** is ill and unable to be present to hear and perhaps participate in this discussion. Because of pressure brought to bear by the Musicians Union, the Australian Broadcasting Commission is obliged to devote 80 per cent, of its programmes to music composed by native-born Australians. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- That is as it should be. {: .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr KILLEN: -- If the honorable member will contain his enthusiasm for a moment I will state the position of the other 20 per cent, of the programme. This is the proportion that is allowed to be devoted to music composed by new Australians. If we are prepared to bring more than 1,000,000 people to Australia and ask them to live here and help us develop this country, my deep-rooted conviction is that we are not at liberty to show to these people at any point of time any sort of discrimination. Yet we find that the Australian Broadcasting Commission, at the behest of the Musicians Union, is obliged to restrict the nature of its programmes so as to devote 80 per cent, of its programmes to music composed by native-born Australians and 20 per cent, to music composed by new Australians. Anyone who listens to classical music will recall names such as Bach, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, Strauss, Rimsky-Korsakov, Debussy, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Handel, and so on. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- What about Johnny Ray? {: .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr KILLEN: -- It is of little credit to members on the Opposition side to treat this matter with ridicule. The whole character of good music has been dominated by European thought and compositions. If we put to one side the compositions of Elgar and possibly the better music and lyrics of Gilbert and Sullivan, we will find that the remainder of good music has been composed, written, and projected into reality by Europeans. I want to appeal to every person in the House with any pretension to being fair-minded- {: .speaker-1V4} ##### Mr Cairns: -- What about Tchaikowsky? {: .speaker-4U4} ##### Mr KILLEN: -- I agree with the honorable member that he was another of the great composers, and he was European in origin. But I want to put it to every honorable member with any sense of fair play that this character of discrimination is one which this Parliament is not at liberty to ignore, and I appeal to honorable members to see that it is brought to an end. {: #subdebate-38-0-s5 .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr COPE:
Watson .- Once again I wish to bring to the attention of the House the situation which will be created at the Kingsford-Smith aerodrome when international jet aircraft are put into service shortly. The Botany, Marrickville and Randwick councils are gravely alarmed about the welfare of the residents of the municipalities which are adjacent to the aerodrome. Only recently, traffic lights were installed in General Holmes-drive and Botany-road, Mascot, two very busy traffic thoroughfares which are in the direct approach to the eastern runway. I am led to believe that when one of the international jet aircraft is taking off or landing, traffic will be held up for three or four minutes on each side of the traffic lights. Surely this indicates that the KingsfordSmith aerodrome is not suitable to accommodate international jet aircraft. It is only reasonable to assume that if traffic has to be stopped in order to allow one of these aircraft to come in or to go out, the area is not suitable for the purpose. These lights were installed following a conference initiated by the Department of Civil Aviation with representatives of the Transport Department of New South Wales and the Police Department. The Botany Municipal Council, in whose area these lights were installed, was completely ignored. Even the courtesy of an invitation to attend the conference was not extended to it. This is the first time in the history of the Botany council that it has not been consulted prior to any alteration of regulations or the introduction of new regulations with regard to traffic in that area. The aerodrome itself has not the proper facilities for maintaining or repairing jet engines although huge international jet aircraft inevitably need maintaining and repairing from time to time. When the jet engines are serviced they must be tested - sometimes for up to three hours at intermittent periods - and the noise is just as bad as it is at the take-off. It can be heard three or four miles away from the aerodrome. Shortly to be introduced, according to the latest reports, by Pan-American World Airways Incorporated, is a later type of Boeing aircraft to accommodate 150 passengers. This will be much more noisy and frightening even than the Boeing 707 class which will be used by Qantas. It is my contention that we must bear in mind three points regarding the use of international aircraft. The first is the potential danger in the event of a crash. In a closely populated area such as surrounds Kingsford-Smith aerodrome a crash by one of these international aircraft, either on take-off or on landing, would result in a terrific loss of life and devastation of property. When one of these aircraft takes off it carries up to 15,000 gallons of highly inflammable fuel. So if anything went wrong and it crashed in a closely populated area one can imagine what the damage and destruction to life and property would be. Let me give an illustration of the danger to homes around the airport. Some honorable member may recall that not long ago an airliner, when taking off from Mascot, made a forced landing in Eastlakes, due to engine trouble. On the way down it took with it three or four television aerials. That was very close. Tt was only due to the great skill of the pilot and to a little bit of luck on his side that a worse accident did not occur. Let us look at another illustration in New York. This concerns a prop-jet, which must not be confused with a pure jet aircraft. A Lockheed Electra aircraft was coming in to land outside New York. Unfortunately for the passengers, but fortunately for the people on the land, it came down in the sea with the result that nearly 60 people lost their lives. It is my contention that these things must be looked at. There are two other main points regarding this matter. The first is the nuisance caused by excessive noise and the vapour clouds from these aircraft. A few weeks ago I gave an illustration of what was happening overseas, so I will not say any more about that now. The third point, which is equally important, concerns the effect on land and home values in areas adjacent to the airport. I consider that if the Department of Civil Aviation intends to cater for the comfort of international air travellers it should build the aerodromes at least 20 miles from the main cities or closely settled areas for the reasons I have pointed out. I think that the arguments based on the statement that we must have progress are completely exaggerated. It is my belief that we must look to the welfare of our own residents first. What does this progress mean? Admittedly, we must have an Air Force for defence purposes, and so facilities must be provided to enable service aircraft to operate. But in relation to commercial flying the present arrangements save an international aircraft ony a few paltry hours in the week. They probably also mean that travellers on those aircraft can have a few extra hours in bed in the morning. I believe that we must take this into consideration. Every effort should be made by honorable members who live in or represent areas which will be affected should take this matter up with the Department of Civil Aviation and make sure that aerodromes for the use of these aircraft are not within 20 miles of a main city. {: #subdebate-38-0-s6 .speaker-KEN} ##### Mr FAIRHALL:
Paterson -- During the course of the supply debate last week, I had occasion to bring to the attention of the House certain proposals which had been sent overseas, affecting the future interests of amateur radio operators in this country but which I believe also affect the national interest. Last Thursday, the PostmasterGeneral **(Mr. Davidson)** made reply to my statement and in addition to the great misstatement which I felt obliged to correct at the time, there were several other misstatements in the Postmaster-General's address which I cannot let pass without answer. It might also be appropriate to draw attention to some endorsement in the Postmaster-General's speech of the course I have felt obliged to take in bringing this matter to public attention. The Minister drew attention to some misconceptions which he thought existed in the minds of honorable members concerning telegrams received by a number of people on both sides of the House. If the Minister believes that those telegrams do not indicate a wide public approval of radio amateurs and the work they are doing in this country I think that he deludes himself and would be wise to pay a good deal of attention to what I think was an extraordinary demonstration of support which I for one had not expected on such a wide scale. The Minister said that he was somewhat hurt because I had accused him of reluctance in making public the information which was the subject of my statement, and because I had accused him of releasing it only under pressure. As you know, **Mr. Speaker,** I drew attention to the fact that the proposals which had gone abroad in Australia's name had been developed by a sub-committee within the Minister's own department, and had it not been for the pressure which I and others had applied to the Minister that information would not have seen the light of day. On the Minister's own statement, the debate which we had in the House last week would not have ensued, and the people of this country would have been kept in ignorance of these proposals which are of tremendous importance. The House will judge whether or not there was reluctance on the part of the Minister when I point out that during the three months from the end of January until almost the end of April I wrote to the Minister three times asking that I should be given access to these proposals. I had no answer to that correspondence, except verbally, and clearly there was reluctance on the Minister's part to disclose what was in these recommendations although they had been sent overseas for the express purpose of publication to every other nation that was a signatory to the international convention. On the 15th March the Minister gave me a copy of an inter-departmental memo which set out the information I wanted. Unhappily, the document was marked " confidential ". I may say that both I and the Wireless Institute of Australia, which knew something of the matter, kept the contents of the document confidential. I pointed out to the Minister, on the 19th March, that either he must withdraw the letter or he must withdraw the confidential restriction on the memo. It will be clear to the House that information of the kind I have sought and which I believe ought to be exposed to public debate is not much good if labelled " confidential ". In the meantime, the Minister had been co-operative to the point of arranging a meeting in Melbourne of the Frequency Allocation Sub-committee of his department. I was given an invitation and an opportunity together with officers of the Wireless Institute of Australia, to meet that committee and discuss - I am afraid somewhat more superficially than the problem requires - the matters contained in the recommendation. Now, **Sir, I** think that this was a gesture designed to allay my fears that this matter was going to work out to the detriment of the Australian amateur. The fact was that I came away from that meeting not at all satisfied that the right thing was being done, and as each section of the proposal was discussed I clearly stated to the Frequency Allocation Sub-committee that it appeared to me that in the whole matter the amateurs of this country were getting only second priority. Tt was that matter of priority that I wanted to correct. Therefore, there is no ground at all for the misstatement in the Minister's address that I had indicated at the end of that conference that I was satisfied that the matter had been dealt with in a businesslike way and sympathetically. What I did say was that I understood the very considerable proBlems which faced the department in this respect, and that I believed that the department had brought to the matter a sense of responsibility and had perhaps looked after the public interest, as it saw it, but that we quarrelled as to what really constituted the public interest in a matter of this kind. **Sir, it** was not until the end of April, with this parliamentary period drawing rapidly to a close, that I felt obliged to assure the Minister that I would raise the matter in the House in one way or another because I felt it was too important to let pass without some public debate. Now, of course, **Sir, the** Minister makes some virtue out of necessity, and says that if he had not published the information the debate would not have ensued. That is perfectly correct. But the people of this country now have an opportunity to know what is proposed in pari for them, and those interested in the matter, and honorable members on both sides of the House and in another place have been given an opportunity to express a view, which, I may say, is very much in favour of the retention of the privileges which Australian radio amateurs enjoy. The Postmaster-General applied the term " rationalization " to those proposals. But, **Sir, this** is an odd sort of rationalization. It could well be labelled with another name, when one particular band is to have onethird cut from it, and another band - the 40-metre band, which is used by amateurs for international communication - is to have one-third lopped off from what we have, and what we have represents only half of the band which was reserved for international use by amateurs on the occasion of the last International Telecommunications Union conference. On the 20-metre band, also used for international work, one-third is to go, and one-half is to be cut from the band which amateurs enjoy at 5 metres. Now, in the face of this sort of thing there is not much point in the Postmaster-General assuring us that there is no intention of abolishing amateurs in this country, because the path to oblivion for the amateur operator in this country will be strewn with this sort of intention. There comes a time beyond which these bands, although some of them may remain, will be unusable. We are arpidly approaching that situation, and I would be particularly interested to know what the Postmaster-General and his department would regard as the irreducible minimum beyond which amateurs would disappear and with them a great asset to this country. The Minister has pointed out that nobody in this House is competent to express a view on this technical problem. With that I would quarrel. But assume it is correct that nobody in the Government, in this House, or - let us face the fact - the Minister himself, is competent to deal with this matter on technical grounds, and that therefore the Minister would be obliged to accept the technical advice of his officers. I draw attention again, as I drew attention before, to the fact that these technical officers are the people who have drawn up these proposals. **Sir, it** is an odd circumstance if this House and the Government are to exclude themselves from having a view on a technical problem because their members are not as competent as the officers of the department to deal with it. I think that something of the attitude of the Postmaster-General's Department was indicated in the Minister's own words when he said, as he did, " Nevertheless my advice - and it is the best advice - is that Australian radio amateurs do not suffer by comparison with our American friends ". The real fact of the matter is that in the bands that I referred to, two of them in particular, the Americans are operating on the full band made available to amateurs by the International Telecommunications Union and yet we, on our part, have been restricted by purely local option to half of that band. It seems to me that what we need is some understanding that Australia will abide by the reservations made for world amateurs by the international body to which we are a signatory, but it is not going to be very satisfactory if we send our delegation to Geneva with the firm intention in their minds to reduce the bands, only to find themselves frustrated by an international agreement, and then to have the Postmaster-General's Department apply some local option and so leave us as though we had never gone to the international conference. [Extension of time granted.] However, **Sir, my** aim is not to stir up any misunderstanding or ill feeling about this matter. It is to make a genuine appeal to the Government to review the matter in the light of the representations which have been made so widely in the last week, and do something better for the amateurs of this country who, in my opinion, and apparently in the opinion of the House, deserve better of their Government. {: #subdebate-38-0-s7 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor .- Over a month ago in this Parliament I directed the attention of the Minister for Trade **(Mr. McEwen),** through the Minister for Health **(Dr. Donald Cameron),** who was then at the table, to allegations that there was taking place in this country a dreadful destruction of our glorious bird life. The Minister for Health indicated personally that he was most sympathetic and that he would make inquiries regarding this matter and let me know the outcome. Up to date, **Mr. Speaker,** I have heard nothing further. I realize that possibly State authorities have to be contacted and consulted, but I think that a month is rather a long time to wait for some reasonable information on this particularly important matter. I now ask the Minister for Territories **(Mr. Hasluck),** who is at the table, to make some inquiries and let me know what the position is. The second matter I wish to raise concerns the projected airport site at Tullamarine. I want to say quite deliberately that it appears to me that the Minister for Civil Aviation **(Senator Paltridge)** and his officers, in particular, and of course, eventually, the Government of this country, are deceiving the people of Victoria and deceiving this Parliament. When this problem of the selection of a suitable site for an airport at which heavy international aircraft could land arose, the Minister for Civil Aviation, quite rightly I think, set up a committee to advise him as to the suitability of certain sites which, apparently, the civil aviation officers had suggested to him. The panel selected to make the recommendation made a recommendation, but it was specifically in regard to a site for the establishment in future - and the very near future at that - of an international jet airport, an airport capable of taking the Boeing 707's that are coming to this country. Because very strong opposition has developed locally to this project the Department of Civil Aviation and the Minister have naturally been endeavouring to push their particular point of view forward. They met with very strong opposition in a number of quarters. Recently, when I asked in this House whether the site at Tullamarine had been selected as being suitable for an international jet airport and as an area suitable for the landing of Boeing 707 aircraft, the Minister who represents the Minister for Civil Aviation in this House told me that I could set my mind at rest, that no such proposition had been approved or agreed to. He evaded or ignored the purpose of my question. He knew full well that I wanted to know whether this area was to be resumed and whether this site had been selected for its suitability as a landing place for Boeing 707 aircraft. Apparently this panel was appointed in order !o deceive the people and circumvent the objection to the use of this site as a landing field for Boeing 707 aircraft. Only to-day I had handed to me a press statement issued by the Minis er on 1st May. Why could not this Parliament have been informed about it? In that pressstatement, the Minister said - >Cabinet decided to-day- this is 1st May; and he told the press about it, not this Parliament or the people who are interested - to acquire land in the Tullamarine area for a new Melbourne airport. In other words, it would seem that he sought to convey the impression that this area was to replace the existing Essendon airport. When the panel of fourteen people skilled in civil aviation problems and four Melbourne people with a thorough knowledge of civic affairs was appointed to advise the Minister, it was asked not to decide on an area suitable to replace Essendon airport, but to select an area suitable for the landing of international jet aircraft, in particular Boeing 707 aircraft. The honorable member for Maribyrnong **(Mr. Stokes)** nods his head in assent. The Government shifts its ground when it finds the opposition is so strong, and it endeavours to deceive not only me but also this Parliament and the public. It would have us believe that the purpose for which Cabinet decided to resume the land at Tullamarine was not the landing of these heavy aircraft, but to provide an area suitable to take the place of Essendon which, within the next ten or fifteen years, might become unsuitable for normal interstate and intrastate air traffic. Behind it all, there was in the minds of Cabinet and the advisors to the Minister the intention, once having resumed the land, to go ahead and ultimately declare the area suitable for the landing of international aircraft and these huge Boeing 707's. Why should the Parliament be deceived? Why should not there be a frank admission that the area will be used for this purpose? Why deceive some members of the Government? The whole thing is utterly wrong. The Minister then said in his press statement that some of the people living in the area will not be affected for fifteen years, that every consideration will be shown to them, and so on. Then we have this unctuous statement, and I use the word " unctuous " advisedly - >Even so, it must be clearly understood that in no circumstances will the precise boundaries of the proposed airport be disclosed in advance of the direct negotiations necessary to sensibly inform those property owners who will be directly concerned in the Government's acquisition ot land. To do so would be to give an "open cheque " at the expense of the taxpayers to any land speculators who might inflate values for their own unearned gain. When a deputation of 30 or 40 people, of which I was one, and of which the honorable member for Maribyrnong who is a land and estate agent, and the State member for the district who also is a land and estate agent, were members, officers of the Department of Civil Aviation produced a map which clearly indicated to all present the boundaries of the proposed airport. What humbug the Minister's statement is! No doubt it was prepared by the officers of the department who, it appears, are prepared to resort to any subterfuge to achieve their objective. That sort of thing is not right. I blame nobody for making a decision and sticking to it if he thinks it right; but I do object to the deceiving of members of this Parliament, the public, and the people directly concerned. These people must know that this is a ramp. It must be exposed ultimately, and I tate this opportunity to expose it to-night. The fact is that the department has now given authority to resume the site and the people in the vicinity will suffer not only damage to themselves physically but also serious hazards when these heavy aircraft are landing. My friend, the honorable member for Watson **(Mr. Cope)** told the House to-night that some of these great aircraft will carry up to 1 5,000 gallons of fuel. They are enormous aircraft and, as I have stated before, the noise they make is so great as to be almost beyond description. The tendency in every part of the world is to place these aerodromes on which such heavy aircraft are to land in areas not less than 20 miles from the nearest built-up area. Melbourne is a huge area. Already it has reached the fringe of the Essendon airport. [Extension of time granted.] I thank the House for its consideration. I do not wish to say very much more. I make the charge that the Minister for Civil Aviation, probably on the advice of his officers, did deceive the people of this country and this Parliament in his press statement of 1st May. He knew from the beginning that that committee would be reporting on the suitability of this particular site for an international jet airport, yet he would have us believe that the area is to be resumed for the purpose of supplanting Essendon airport when it becomes too cramped. That is not the true purpose for which authority was obtained to resume the land at Tullamarine. {: #subdebate-38-0-s8 .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr PETERS:
Scullin **.- Mr. Speaker,** I disapprove as greatly as you do of hurling across this chamber charges that the remarks made by honorable members are untrue. I also disapprove as strongly as you do of any retaliation that honorable members might seek to make. But I do think that members of this Parliament should not treat lightly the accusation that statements they make in the Parliament are not true. It is for that reason that 1 desire to make a few comments in connexion with remarks I made last Wednesday night in this House and to which the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. McMahon)** and the honorable member for Bruce **(Mr. Snedden)** replied. Both those honorable gentlemen, although they did not make any imputations, stated emphatically that what 1 was saying was untrue. I had stated that on the 2 1st of this month the Minister, not in private but in this House, on the only occasion on which I had seen him up to that date in connexion with the matter of the prosecution of a new Australian for not registering for national service, had said to me that the summons was to be withdrawn. On the 23rd of the month I approached the Minister and asked him whether the summons had been withdrawn. The Minister then replied that the summons was not withdrawn, that the instruction had reached Melbourne too late, that the person in question had been fined £5 and that the £5 fine would be remitted. On the 24th I wrote a letter to the person in question - I read the letter to this chamber the other evening - in which I said that the Minister had seen me, that he had said the summons would be withdrawn, that on a further occasion inside this chamber I saw the Minister, that the Minister had then said the person concerned had been fined £5 and that the £5 fine would be remitted. I ask honorable members what reason I would have, on the 24th, to write that letter to the new Australian in question if the Minister had not made those statements to me. I would do no good for myself as the representative of the district, and I would do no good for the individual concerned. There can be only three explanations for that letter. One is that I deliberately fabricated the contents of it. That, of course, is fantastic. Another is that I misunderstood the Minister, both on the 21st and on the 23rd. That, too, is absurd. The Minister said that I sought him out in order to get privileges for this individual. I never saw the Minister outside this chamber in connexion with the matter, and the first personal approach was made by the Minister himself. The only other explanation of that letter is that it was a factual account of what took place. 1 leave it to honorable members to determine who told the truth on the Wednesday of last week in this chamber. Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 12.3 a.m. (Thursday). {: .page-start } page 2166 {:#debate-39} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS The following answers to questions were circulated: - Clinical Research. {: #debate-39-s0 .speaker-JU8} ##### Dr DONALD CAMERON:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- Action was taken to convey the resolution of the council to the Minister for Repatriation on 14th January, 1955. Advice to the effect that the matter would be given careful consideration was received. {:#subdebate-39-0} #### Health of Aborigines {: #subdebate-39-0-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: m asked the Minister for Health, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has the special examination of the entitlement of certain categories of aborigines for social service benefits been made, as recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council at its meeting in May, 1955, by a carefully chosen committee of officers representing the Departments of Health, Territories and Social Services? 1. Has his department created, as recommended by the council at the same meeting, a permanent organization to maintain constant liaison between interested Commonwealth departments and State departments of health and of native administration for the study of problems affecting the health and social advancement of the aboriginal population and for planning and co-ordinating remedial measures to be applied as joint enterprises by Commonwealth and States in co-operation? {: #subdebate-39-0-s1 .speaker-JU8} ##### Dr DONALD CAMERON:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No. 1. No. {:#subdebate-39-1} #### National Health and Medical Research {: #subdebate-39-1-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: m asked the Minister for Health, upon notice - >On what dates and with what results has his department consulted the British Medical Association concerning (a) medical benefits for women who have their blood examined during pregnancy, as resolved by the National Health and Medical Research Council in November, 1954; (b) notification of blindness, as resolved by the Council in May, 1957, and (c) control and treatment of drug addiction, as also resolved by the Council in May, 1957? {: #subdebate-39-1-s1 .speaker-JU8} ##### Dr DONALD CAMERON:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. There have been many consultations between my department and the British Medical Association during the development of the National Health Scheme. Quite a number of consultations have been on an informal basis so that it is not possible to give an accurate list of the dates on which the consultations occurred. It is a fact, however, that under the National Health Scheme and in accordance with the recommendations of the National Health and Medical Research Council made at its meeting in November, 1954, medical benefits are paid whenever a medical service in the form of examination for the Rh factor is performed. 1. The National Health and Medical Research Council in May, 1957, considered a request received by me from the Australian National Council for the Blind. The Council approved a recommendation of its Public Health Committee that the States make blindness notifiable using the definition recommended by the United Nations Technical Working Group. Action in the States was deferred in the face of opposition from the British Medical Association and the Australian Society of Ophthalmologists, both these organizations protesting that compulsory notification of blindness would involve a breach of confidence on the part of the medical profession, the attitude of these professional organizations remained unaffected by assurances that the recommendation to make blindness notifiable had been made at the request of a Commonwealthwide organization representing the blind. The proposal was again discussed by the National Health and Medical Research Council in May, 1958, and it was then evident that the opposition of the medical profession made it highly improbable that compulsory notification of blindness would be legally required in any State. 2. Following discussion between officers of my department and the British Medical Association, the Federal Council of the British Medical Association on the 4th September, 19S8, approved the notification of continuous Narcotic Therapy as recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council. {: #subdebate-39-1-s2 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: m asked the Minister for Health, upon notice - >What steps have been taken to carry out the resolutions of the National Health and Medical Research Council at its meeting in November, 1957, to establish (a) a central laboratory to undertake the assay of radioactive materials; (b) a uniform policy on the use of radio-isotopes in humans, and (c) a national anti-cancer society? {: #subdebate-39-1-s3 .speaker-JU8} ##### Dr DONALD CAMERON:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. The Australian Atomic Energy Commission has at its establishment at Lucas Heights facilities for the estimation of radioactive materials. 1. The Therapeutic Trials Committee in each of the States acts as the channel through which requests for radio-isotopes to be used on humans is referred to the Standing Committee on Radioisotopes. Approach has been made to the various States for the purpose of creating uniform policy in this matter. 2. No special steps have been taken. {:#subdebate-39-2} #### Notifiable Diseases {: #subdebate-39-2-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: m asked the Minister for Health, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Which States and Territories have adopted the list of notifiable diseases submitted in 1950 as amended from time to time by resolution of the National Health and Medical Research Council? 1. Which States and Territories require notification of leukaemia and staphylococcal infections in accordance with the resolutions of the council at its meeting in November, 1958? {: #subdebate-39-2-s1 .speaker-JU8} ##### Dr DONALD CAMERON:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. With minor variations all except New South Wales. 2. (a) Notification of leukaemia is awaiting a report from a sub-committee appointed to prepare a statement setting out the information to be collected. {: type="a" start="b"} 0. In May, 1956, on the recommendation of the Committee on Staphylococcal Infection of the New Born the National Health and Medical Research Council recommended that mastitis and breast abscess occurring in lactating women should be made notifiable. State representatives were not unanimous in accepting this recommendation, New South Wales and Tasmania objecting that an amendment of the Health Act would be required. Victoria and South Australia intimated their intention of implementing the recommendation. In addition New South Wales, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory have since made breast abscess and mastitis notifiable. In November, 1958, the council adopted a recommendation of its Epidemiology Committee that notification of staphylococcal infections should include besides breast abscess certain acute infection in the new born. Action in the States in terms of this recommendation will be reported to the council at its meeting next week. Air-conditioning in Public Hospitals. {: #subdebate-39-2-s2 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister for Health, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Are many public hospitals in Australia without air-conditioning apparatus? 1. Have both hospital authorities and State governments declared that this apparatus is not installed because finance is not available? 2. Did many babies die during the intense heat experienced in the past summer months because some hospitals were not air-conditioned? 3. If so, will the Government, so that work can be put in hand immediately, promptly undertake to provide the money needed to install airconditioning equipment in all public hospitals throughout Australia which at present are not so equipped? {: #subdebate-39-2-s3 .speaker-JU8} ##### Dr DONALD CAMERON:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- The answer to the honorable member's questions is as follows: - 1 to 4. The provision of facilities at hospitals throughout Australia is, generally speaking the responsibility of State governments. It is not known what is the policy or the practice of State governments regarding the provision of airconditioning, nor is any information available regarding the experience or intention of individual hospital authorities in meeting the special problem brought about by climatic conditions. {:#subdebate-39-3} #### Trans-Australia Airlines {: #subdebate-39-3-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many persons are employed by TransAustralia Airlines on publicity and public relations work? 1. Has this airline also made arrangements with a private firm to do the same class of work on its behalf; if so, what fee is paid to this private organization for its services? 2. What amount was expended by TransAustralia Airlines in respect of all forms of advertising in each of the last five years? {: #subdebate-39-3-s1 .speaker-KWH} ##### Mr Townley:
LP -- The Minister for Civil Aviation has replied as follows: - >Answers to these questions would disclose matters relating to the commercial activities of the commission which would assist the commission's competitors and, as the commission is not in a position to obtain similar information concerning its competitors, it is not considered appropriate to make the information available.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 13 May 1959, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.