House of Representatives
21 March 1961

23rd Parliament · 3rd Session

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

page 379




– I address my question to the Acting Prime Minister. In view of the fact that the Shepparton branch of the Australian Country Party, which branch is situated in the right honorable gentleman’s electorate, has listed an item for discussion at the next annual conference of the Country Party to be held next month, to the effect that import licensing be re-introduced, does he intend to continue to support the policy of an unrestricted flow of imports into Australia?

Minister for Trade · MURRAY, VICTORIA · CP

– I think that the honorable gentleman will realize that what the Shepparton branch of the Australian Country Party puts on an agenda paper is not a matter within my ministerial control. As the leader of a political party, no doubt he has been grateful on many occasions that some branch of the party, be it a district branch or a State branch, has evidenced its willingness to become educated. No one is more experienced in this than is the Leader of the Opposition.

page 379




– Has the Acting Prime Minister considered the reports of his departmental officers relating to interviews that were held last week with representatives of the Australian timber producers? Can he inform the House what steps are being taken to alleviate the present serious plight of the Australian timber industry?


– Representatives of the Australian timber industry had extensive discussions last week with officers of the Department of Trade. This was in pursuance of a course that has now been established whereby an Australian industry, believing itself to be in trouble, composes a panel of its representatives to have discussions, in the first place, with the specialist officers of the Department of Trade, if it is felt that imports or the rate of protection is at issue. Following those discussions, in due course a full report is made to the Minister concerned - in this case myself. In this instance, because ‘the matter is urgent, a report will be made at an early date. 1 have had some preliminary discussions with the officers who engaged in those deliberations last week, but I am not yet in possession of their full report. No doubt that report will come to hand in the next day or two.

The honorable member for McMillan, and other honorable members on both sides of the House who are concerned with the wellbeing of the Australian timber and sawmilling industries, can be assured that in accordance with the Government’s policies, which have been announced and which are designed overall to ensure stability in the Australian economy, the proper courses will be followed.

page 379




– My question is addressed to the right honorable the Treasurer, in his capacity as the Minister responsible for the economic policy of the Government. Is it a fact that scores of thousands of people seeking finance for ‘the construction and purchase of homes are being denied loan money because of the credit restrictions imposed by the Government? Also, is it a fact that approvals for new houses and flats have fallen from 10,568 in October last year to 5,600 in January, 1961? Further, is it a fact that the disastrous shrinkage in home-building will throw thousands of building trades workers out of employment and cause disastrous business results for manufacturers and suppliers of building materials? Will he take urgent action to alter the present financial restrictions to enable ample money, at low interest rates, to be made available for the building and purchase of much needed homes in the Wollongong and Port Kembla areas and elsewhere throughout Australia?


– The honorable gentleman managed ito cram a fair amount of comment and material into the question which he has just addressed to me. The Government, of course, is very conscious of the need to sustain an adequate level of home construction in this country and, as I have pointed out previously in this place, there is no country in the world to which any honorable member can point where the proportion of home construction in relation to population has been higher than in Australia over recent years. As is well known to all honorable members, we reached a stage last year when the pressure on the building industry had become so severe that there were five recorded work vacancies at one point for each person offering for employment in the building industry.

Mr Kearney:

– What is wrong with that?


– The honorable member who asked the question now asks me, “ What is wrong with that? “ If that represents the degree of realistic awareness that the honorable member has of the problems of the building industry, I can well imagine why he has put such a lengthy question to me. It is obvious to any thinking person that when you get that degree of pressure in the building industry with such a shortage of materials and scarcity of labour you tend to force up costs against the home purchaser, and you get undesirable pressures in other directions, particularly in commercial building, at the same time.

The last survey we made of the overall position in Australia revealed that there was about the same number of registered applicants for work in the skilled trades of the building industry as there were vacancies. I know that in one or two States the level of home-building has fallen quite sharply, but in at least one of those States building activity has been well sustained because commercial building has been at a high level. However, the Government takes this problem so seriously that it has engaged the attention of myself, and of my colleagues, the Minister for National Development, the Minister for Labour and National Service and other relevant Ministers. There have been discussions between officers of the Treasury and those of the Reserve Bank of Australia, and I can assure the honorable member that we are not merely keeping an active watch on the position but shall take such measures as we believe to be necessary to ensure that the building industry is well sustained.

page 380




– My question is directed to the Acting Prime Minister. Is it correct that proposals have been made to the Australian Wheat Board that it should sell a quota of wheat to Communist China on a credit basis? Has the Wheat Board sought any guidance from the Government on whether it should engage in export sales on credit either to China or to any other buyer? Is the Government aware of current speculation that wheat sold to China on credit by Australia may be re-exported to third-party buyers to develop credits to enable Communist China to further its programme of ideological expansion in southeast Asia?


– The general manager of the Australian Wheat Board is overseas - he is in Hong Kong at the present time, I understand - engaged in discussions as to whether there will be an opportunity for a further sale of Australian wheat to mainland China, among other countries. It is well known that there has been a sale of wheat and flour to mainland China on commercial terms. The general manager will be returning to Australia within the next few days, I think. Whatever proposals may have been advanced to him will then be submitted by him to the Australian Wheat Board. The policy of the Government has been that except in respect of those items which are listed as strategic materials, or which may from time to time be put in such a category, Australian merchants are free to sell to Communist China.

Mr Ward:

– Is wool included?


– Indeed, it is well known that there have been sales of grains - and of wool.

Mr Calwell:

– And barley?


– And barley.

Mr Ward:

– And steel?


– And steel. It is well known that there have been sales. There has been, as I said in the House a week or so ago, a sale of wheat and flour on the basis of cash against documents. The Australian Wheat Board knows that it would be exceeding its authority if it made a sale to any country on non-commercial terms without consulting the Government. That is the policy of the Government.



– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise. Is it a fact that every Cabinet Minister was issued with a copy of the publication “ Lady Chatterley’s Lover “? Also, is it a fact that fewer than half of the books have been returned? If these are facts, will the Minister arrange for those members of the Cabinet still in possession of copies of the book to read a chapter each day to the Parliament, in order that honorable members and the public may pass judgment-


– Order! I think the honorable member’s question is out of order. He is now giving information.


Mr. Speaker-


– The honorable member may direct his question, but he must not canvass the subject-matter.


– I shall not pursue it further, Mr. Speaker. I made the suggestion merely for the purpose of enabling judgment to be passed on the book, and also of making “ Hansard “ the most widely read publication in the nation.

Minister for Repatriation · EVANS, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– I think, if 1 understood the honorable gentleman correctly, that he asked three questions. The answers are, “ No “, “ No “, and “ No “.

page 381




– I address a further question on the subject of the timber industry to the Acting Prime Minister. I refer to the Government’s endorsement of the last Tariff Board report on the timber industry and to the regrettable closure within recent weeks of timber mills in certain States. I ask the right honorable gentleman: Will he investigate the possibility of the Commonwealth setting an example by stockpiling and using for its public works local rather than imported timbers? Does he not consider it a just proposition, in view of the substantial increase in imports of timber, that the Commonwealth should ask the State governments to use local timbers to a greater extent in their public works projects? Finally, to achieve a dual objective, will he investigate the possibility of the urgent release of additional loan moneys, say £10,000,000, for rental housing in all States, in order to stimulate the demand for timber and to improve still further the housing situation?


– For me to indicate acceptance of any proposal in respect of this admittedly difficult problem would be to cut right across what I said a few minutes ago - that there will be a close examination of all that the industry itself has brought forward and proposed, as well as what the Government’s advisers may bring out as a result of their examination of the position. The problems of the timber industry in every aspect will receive the active and understanding consideration of the Government, but until all the material is before me and my colleagues there will be no prejudgment of the situation.

page 381




– Is the Treasurer aware that a leading Australian economist, Mr. P. Shrapnel, in addressing a big meeting of Melbourne businessmen, said that the flow of private capital into Australia from overseas would drop by £100,000,000 this year? Is this statement correct? If so, what effect will it have upon our overseas funds in this financial year and the next? If it is not correct, what has been the inflow of overseas capital into Australia during the last nine months?


– Answering the last part of the honorable gentleman’s question first, I will see just how much information I can get for him on that particular point. As to the views of Mr. Shrapnel, I thought that shrapnel had a sort of discursive effect when employed as a weapon of aggression. There are many economists in this country, but their views do not always coincide. I hope that the Treasurer, or for that matter, any other Minister, will not be required to comment authoritatively or otherwise on the views or surmises offered by economists to the public from time to time. I will concern myself only with facts. When I last had a look at the figures, the flow of overseas capital into Australia appeared to be even stronger than at any earlier point of time. It is rather encouraging, as I pointed out to the House quite recently, that despite a certain amount of speculative comment among economists and others in recent times as to the movements in Australian currency, the Swiss banking system ‘has seen fit to make us a loan on what we can regard as very advantageous terms. I hope to be able in the not too remote future to inform the House of other developments which also reflect the strong confidence felt in Australia by investors overseas. All I can say at this stage is that there is nothing to suggest a diminution in the flow of capital which has been so valuable in enabling us to finance very necessary imports for Australian industry. On the contrary, all the indications are that capital is flowing in even more strongly than before.

page 382




– I wish to ask the Minister for Defence a question relating to a statement which is reported to have been made in Bangkok on 20th March. What is the position regarding the equipment of the parachute battalions with the special parachutes necessary for use with Hercules aircraft? How many practice jumps have been made by the parachute battalions from Hercules aircraft to date?

Minister for Defence · DENISON, TASMANIA · LP

– That is a difficult question to answer. What is required for Hercules aircraft is not a special parachute but special release gear. As the honorable member knows, having had some Army experience, there is a static line which goes around the aircraft. The man’s parachute gear is fastened to that line so that when he leaps from the aircraft - or is pushed out by the sergeant - his parachute is released. Up to now, all the jumping has been done from Dakotas, and a modification is needed to the equipment in the Hercules aircraft itself. That is currently being discussed by the Royal Australian Air Force and the Army authorities concerned. I am sorry that I cannot give precise information about the number of jumps that have been made. I will inquire, and let the honorable member have what information I can obtain.

page 382




– I direct a question to the Treasurer. Has it come to the notice of the right honorable gentleman that a group of more than 40 local government councils in New South Wales are canvassing ways and means whereby a local government tax on all income-earners in a municipality might be imposed with a view to spreading more equitably the ‘burden of rates at present being borne by home-owners or buyers or any person who owns any real estate, in the knowledge that there are many persons, young or otherwise, with incomes large or small, who own no real estate and therefore pay no rates, but who do stand or use their cars upon council roads or use the swimming pools, libraries and other amenities provided by councils through the ratepayers?


– Order! The honorable gentleman should ask his question.


– Will the Treasurer resent or encourage the contemplated intrusion into the income-taxing field at present the preserve of the Commonwealth Parliament?


– There appears to be no limit to the desire for funds by governmental bodies, whether Commonwealth, State or semi-government, nor for that matter to the ingenuity of those in search of funds in devising means by which they can ‘be procured from the taxpayer of one variety or another. I have not had brought to my notice this particular proposal. It may raise some interesting constitutional questions in regard to taxation. I shall have this matter examined and see whether others better informed than myself can supply me with an answer so that I may enlighten the honorable member.

page 382




– My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Are recent sales of Australian wheat to mainland China in any way restricting our sales of this product in traditional markets, or are these sales of wheat to mainland China only assisting in reducing Australia’s wheat surplus?

Minister for Primary Industry · FISHER, QUEENSLAND · CP

– I am very pleased to say that the additional sales of wheat made by the Australian Wheat Board to mainland China are sales to what is really a new market, and they are over and above sales that have been made in our traditional markets. Similar sales have been made this year to Italy for seasonal reasons, and this also is not a normal market of ours. These sales will, indeed, help to reduce the surplus which otherwise would have been a real problem to the wheat industry; they are not in any way hindering sales in our traditional markets.

page 383




– I preface a question to the Treasurer by saying that during the debate on the want-of-confidence motion last week, the Treasurer said, among other things, that the Government’s credit squeeze was, in some measure, aimed at bringing about decentralization. I ask the Treasurer: Has the Government any plans relative to decentralization? Has it any plans that will induce industry to establish itself in country districts? Has the Government any plans that will assist municipalities to provide the amenities that decentralization demands? Finally, has the Government any plans to meet housing needs that arise from decentralization, or any plans to help builders or building societies to build the homes to meet developments arising from decentralization?


– I welcome the question from the honorable gentleman because it provides me with an opportunity to correct some inaccuracies that appeared in some press reports this morning of remarks I made last night to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Sydney. What I said bears directly on the point raised by the honorable gentleman. 1 was making the point that the pattern of development of the 1960’s could not be expected to follow that of the 19.50’s in Australia. A feature of our development in the 1950’s was the quite phenomenal growth of our manufacturing industries, which absorbed migrant labour and the addition to our work force from our own natural increase. I said that this had largely occurred in the capital cities of Melbourne and Sydney - not exclusively, of course, but disproportionately to the rest of the Commonwealth. It had been associated with very important increases in the price and cost levels and in the wage level.

I am convinced that we cannot repeat that kind of process in the 1960’s. In the first place, we could not afford increases in the cost level on the scale that has occurred in the past ten years. Secondly, I do not think it would be a good thing for growth to proceed around those two capital cities on the same scale as during the past ten years. Recognizing that 75 per cent, of the imports we now bring into Australia is needed to service the manufacturing industries, and industry in general, we believe that in the next ten years we must place more emphasis on the development of export income largely outside the capital cities of the Commonwealth, and this will involve a good deal of decentralization of industry in the various outlying areas and cities of Australia.

The honorable member asked whether we had any plans. Yes, we do have plans. We indicated some of the major projects we had in mind for this purpose. We recognize that they require some detailed discussion with the State governments, and we hope that the State governments themselves will be prepared to make their contribution towards the objective, which we believe will be to the advantage of Australia generally.

page 383




– By way of preface to a question addressed to the Treasurer, I direct the right - honorable gentleman’s attention to the fact that the system of apprenticeship and part-time study which was formerly the pattern for pharmaceutical students was discontinued in Victoria over twelve months ago in favour of a complete course. Under the former system, of course, taxation concessions did not apply. Can the Treasurer say whether a decision to allow taxation deductions to be claimed with respect to full-time students of the pharmacy college has yet been reached, as I understand that the matter was first submitted to the Commissioner of Taxation over ten months ago?


– A decision has been reached on that matter. Now that the course has been changed to one of full-time study, students enrolled for that full-time study will qualify for a deduction for income tax purposes. I gather that deductions are now being allowed for students on this new syllabus in Victoria. They do not apply to apprentices who had entered into articles of apprenticeship prior to the change to the new method of education. Any other State which similarly varies its method of education to provide for full-time study will also provide grounds for claiming deductions.

page 384




– I ask the Treasurer whether the Government recognizes the very important part being played by Churches, the scouting organization and various non-profit sporting bodies in the training of youth in Australia. If it does, will the Government give practical encouragement to such worthy organizations by exempting them from the payment of sales tax on sporting equipment purchased by them for use in their youth training and recreation programmes? Does the Government realize that the current sales tax is depriving these worthy groups of material urgently needed for the great task confronting them?


– The honorable member raises a question of financial policy of the kind which it is normal to examine when the Budget is being prepared. The question of exempting sporting equipment from sales tax has been before the Government on several occasions, and I shall inquire how far that examination related to the kind of cases mentioned by the honorable member. I assure him that the matter will be listed for consideration when the Budget is under examination.

page 384




– I desire to ask the Minister for Trade a question. Is it a fact that Mr. Ezra Benson, who recently retired as Secretary of Agriculture in the United States, on his return from Australia recommended to the then President, President Eisenhower, that the tariff against wool should be reviewed? Was any action taken to implement this recommendation? If not, will it be undertaken by the new Administration?


– I would not be able to confirm, even if it were within my knowledge, that the Secretary of Agriculture had made certain recommendations to his President. I have had personal discussions with Mr. Ezra Benson on this matter. This being the year when all parties to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade are free to make proposals to their trading partners on tariff matters, it is publicly known that Australia proposes to raise this issue. I can do no more than express the hope that we may be able to reach some better understanding with the United States Administration that will ease the difficulties of the Australian wool industry. The honorable member and all other wool-growers can be assured that this Government will throw all its efforts into achieving something substantial along those lines.

page 384




– I ask a question of the Minister for Repatriation. When does he expect to authorize the proclamation of the Native Members of the Forces Benefits Act, which was passed in December, 1957, and which provides pensions for natives of New Guinea and the neighbouring islands who were incapacitated in the Australian forces during the last war? Since most of these men have been discharged, does the Government take the view that they will be unlikely and unable to demonstrate their grievances as the Pacific Islands Regiment did, and that accordingly in their case the Government can dawdle indefinitely?


– The Government does not take the view referred to by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. I expect that this matter will reach a conclusion quite shortly.

page 384




– I address my question to the Minister for Immigration. Is it expected that the target for migration will be achieved this year? Has the proportion of migrants from the United Kingdom been similar to the proportion for last year? To what extent have service organizations in Australia assisted the migration programme during this period?

Minister for Immigration · ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– I would like to tell the honorable member for Darling Downs that, on present indications, with nearly nine months of the financial year gone, there not only is every prospect of the immigration target being realized, but it also looks, if present tendencies continue, as though it may be exceeded. That, I think the honorable gentleman will agree, is good news for the House and the country. As far as the British content is concerned, present indications also point to the fact that our British settlers this year will at least equal the same proportion as we realized last year and, again if the present trend continues, they will perhaps slightly exceed it.

Coming to the honorable gentleman’s third question, I am not sure whether he refers to ex-servicemen’s organizations or such organizations as Apex, Rotary and the Lions Club, which for some time have been engaged in assisting the Government in the process of migration. These bodies, as certain honorable members will realize, have been extraordinarily helpful and have been a most valuable supplement in their own schemes to the Government’s migration plans. If my honorable friend means exservice organizations in the more narrow sense, I must tell him that, although the Returned Servicemen’s League, for example, has not entered directly into the field of nominated migration, nonetheless it has always given the most wholesome and indeed enthusiastic support to the Government’s migration scheme. The Government appreciates this support and I hope it will long continue.

page 385




– My question is addressed to the Acting Prime Minister in his capacity as Minister for Trade. By way of explanation, I refer to the “ Commonwealth Gazette” of 16th March, 1961. At page 1 143, under the heading “ Department of Trade “, there is announced the promotion of a certain officer to the position of Import Policy Officer in the Imports Division of the Tariff and Imports Branch. The duties of the position are stated in these terms -

Direct the work of the Section responsible for analysis of effects of current policy relating to import controls and the formulation of proposals for future policy.

Is the Minister responsible for the creation of this position, and what are the reasons for the appointment? Is it an indication that, despite statements to the contrary by the Prime Minister, the Minister for Trade and other Cabinet Ministers, the Government is alarmed at the disastrous effects on the economy caused by the removal of import controls, and also an indication that the Government intends to turn another somersault and re-impose import licensing?


– I am glad to say that the honorable member is under a complete misapprehension. Apparently, he has not paid sufficient attention to the Government’s present practices to comprehend that, although import licences have largely been terminated, control over about 10 per cent, of the total volume of imports is still maintained and has been maintained continuously since the announcement in February of last year that import controls were being removed. Also, the honorable member is overlooking the fact that when the Parliament was invited to pass the legislation which provided for temporary protection for Australian industry, as recommended by a deputy chairman of the Tariff Board, it was contemplated and explained that whereas normally this protection might be expected to take the form of a temporary duty, there would be some circumstances in which it would be best for the Australian economy if temporary protection were afforded by means of a quantitative restriction. For these purposes, an officer of the Department of Trade is being appointed or promoted; I forget exactly which.

I add that it is a practice - I think a very proper one - throughout the whole of the Commonwealth Service that at the termination of a policy which has been in existence for a number of years, an examination of how it worked out is made and the records are assembled, so that the records will be available in the government archives if they are needed in the future, whether for policy purposes or only for historical purposes. That is all that this appointment relates to.

page 385



Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– I direct my question to the Acting Prime Minister. Can the right honorable gentleman tell the House whether he had discussions with representatives of the Australian Textile Council last Friday in his capacity as Minister for Trade? Did these discussions reveal that the difficulties at present facing the textile industry, and especially those facing the manufacturers of piece goods, are caused by excessive imports?


– Last Friday, I had very full discussions with members of the Australian Textile Council, at which were present leading: representatives of a wide variety of sectors of the Australian textile industry. The problems of the industry, as well as their causes, and suggestions which might be adopted to alleviate those problems, were examined frankly. It was decided that the executive officer of the council should, within the. next few days, supply to the Department of Trade data identifying the interpretations placed on all these issues by the various sectors of the textile industry, and I think that will be done either to-day or to-morrow..

At the same time, it was agreed that, for instance, a panel representing the carpet section of the industry should have an interview to-day with officers of the Department of Trade, and if a prima facie case is established for a reference to the deputy chairman of the Tariff Board such a reference would be made. Drawing upon my memory, I add that it has also been suggested that the woollen section of the textile industry should proceed to appoint a panel to interview officers, of the Department of Trade. In short, Mr. Speaker, this was, by common consent, a very valuable examination of the problems of one of the great Australian industries to which so much employment is related, and I should have hoped that on this occasion members of the Opposition would have been eager to understand the courses that can be followed to protect this great industry, instead of interjecting in a sneering manner, as they have been doing right ‘throughout my answer to the question.

page 386




– I direct a question without notice to the Treasurer. It concerns the Chevron-Hilton Hotel in Sydney and the Stanley Korman Companies, the American associates of Hilton’s Hotels, which are alleged to be in debt for nearly £1,000,000 in New South Wales. Is it a fact that, or can. the Treasurer tell me whether, despite the financial difficulties of the company due to the credit squeeze, a bank advance of £30,000 was given to pay the American expert, Mr. McLellan, so that he could depart for the United States, leaving the company and its Australian creditors lamenting? I ask whether it is true as published that - and I quote -

It is understood that the Government gave the green light to the bank because it feared that if one Korman company collapsed the whole empire would go with it.

I ask the Minister, who has not answered my question on the loan-


– Order! The honorable gentleman is getting outside the ambit of a question without notice.


– It is very difficult, Mr. Speaker. I should like you to help me.


– I suggest that the honorable member has gone a long way beyond asking a question. He is now embarking on argument.


– I think you may be right, Sir. I conclude by asking the Minister whether this paying-off of Hilton’s agent in preference to the company - and a good Australian company - is another case of the Government looking after its friends.


– I am unable to advance the knowledge of the honorable gentleman at this point. He has asked me a series of questions based on a report which appeared, I gather, in the week-end press. I have not made myself aware of the details to which he has referred, but I will make an examination and see whether the Government should supply answers on a matter of this kind.

Mr Haylen:

– It does involve the Government.


– Well, I should like notice of that question also.

page 386




– Is the Acting Prime Minister yet in a position to tell the House of any progress in the negotiations for the standardization of the Kalgoorlie-Kwinana railway line?


– I am able to say that, consequent upon the Prime Minister’s announcement, the Government desired to co-operate with certain State governments in the hope that -work would succeed the examination of certain projects which, in the long -term, will contribute to increasing Australia’s export capacity. In the case of Western Australia, I wrote to the Premier suggesting that he might, as a first and best step, nominate appropriate officers to meet officers of the Commonwealth, who would be chosen for their knowledge of these matters, in order to discuss preliminary arrangements so that, with the completion of plans the actual work of reconstruction might be put in hand in the not too distant future. The Premier has acquiesced in this proposal, but discussions have not yet commenced at the official level. It is certain, however, that there will be no -avoidable delay on the part of this Government in proceeding with this matter. In case there is any suggestion of preference in relation to certain proposals which were advanced by .the Premier of South Australia, and to dispel any fears in that regard, I may state that the intention is that there should be a concurrent examination of the proposals in respect to both States, with the Commonwealth not wishing to indicate any preference.

page 387


Motion (by Sir Garfield Barwick) agreed to -

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

Bill presented, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Acting Minister for External Affairs and Attorney-General · Parramatta · LP

– by leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

Mr. Speaker, in moving the second reading of the Marriage Bill 1961, I think that, for the information of the House, a few words of explanation are necessary. Honorable members will recall that on 19th May, 1960, I moved the second reading of the Marriage Bill 1960 and, in doing so, said that the Government proposed to allow the secondreading debate to await the Budget session later in the year. During the Budget session, a second-reading debate on the measure ensued and the bill reached the committee stage.

It was not found possible to deal with the bill in committee during the sittings that ended last December, but the House will recall that during October of last year a number of amendments were printed and circulated for the information of honorable members. These amendments were prepared following representations by the States and interested organizations and persons in relation to the bill as originally introduced. In my second-reading speech, it will be remembered, I referred to the fact that there would be opportunity for these representations to be made. For the convenience of honorable members, the bill was reprinted incorporating the amendments which would have been dealt with in committee, together with the original bill, had it been found possible to proceed with the committee stage. As I have said, that was not found possible and the 1960 bill has now lapsed.

The Marriage Bill 1961 is virtually the reprinted bill distributed to honorable members in October last, but a few brief comments are necessary to bring the matter up to date. To put the bill in proper form for its re-introduction into the House, it was necessary to alter a number of provisions relating to the commencement of the bill, because the original intention was to bring certain provisions of the Marriage Bill into operation at the same time as the Matrimonial Causes Act 1959. That act came into operation on 1st February, 1961, so that the intention had to be abandoned. Alterations to the bill to take account of the changed circumstances together with several other alterations of a purely technical character make up, with one exception, the differences between the October reprint and the present bill. The exception is an alteration whereby two new paragraphs - (g) and (h) - have been inserted in clause 120 to make more certain the regulation-making power in relation to the registration of legitimations. It is proposed to leave the actual registration of legitimations effected by the bill to be covered by State and Territory law; but the scheme envisaged is to provide by regulations for the furnishing, by parents, of information in relation to legitimations to the relevant State or Territory registration authorities. Details of these provisions will be provided in the committee stage.

Because of the similarity between the MarriageBll1960 and the present bill, and because of the very full second-reading debate in this House last year, the present bill will go to the committee stage without a second-reading debate. In concluding, Mr. Speaker, I would like to reiterate something that I said last May, namely, that whilst the Government takes full responsibility for what is in the present bill, which it will support as a government, the measure will not be treated as a party measure and, as in the case of the Matrimonial Causes Bill, members will thus adopt their own attitudes and express them in their votes freely.

Mr. Speaker, I commend this bill to honorable members.


.- This bill is a synthesis of the bill which the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) introduced last May and of the amendments which he circulated last October. Last year the Opposition resolved not to treat the legislation on party lines but to leave its members free to speak and to vote at all stages as they desired. The Opposition has resolved to adopt the same attitude to the present measure.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and committed pro forma; progress reported.

page 388


Motion (by Mr. Freeth) agreed to -

That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918-1953.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Minister for the Interior and Minister for Works · Forrest · LP

– by leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

Honorable members will recall that towards the end of the last sessional period a bill was introduced to amend the Electoral Act. For all practical purposes, the bill now before the House is the same as the one then introduced. After the proroguing of Parliament the choice was either to restore it to the notice-paper in its then stage - which was the second-reading stage - or to re-introduce it. I thought it better to adopt the latter course because there were a few verbal amendments, although they do not change the substance of the bill to any degree.

Mr Calwell:

– In other words, the bill is the same as the one which was then introduced?


– This bill is the same as the bill which was before the House last year and left at the second-reading stage. There are four very minor verbal alterations. In the first place, the date in the citation and page headings has been changed. Then in clause 4 the word “ was “ has been changed to “ has been “ as expressing the sense more grammatically. In clause 13 the words “other than a polling booth “ have been omitted but the meaning is not changed in any way. In clause 14 the words “square inches” have been omitted from the clause and “ 1 , 200 “ has been altered to a more correct form, to read “ one thousand two hundred “. Those are the minor changes to which I have referred, and I will not weary the House by again explaining the provisions of the bill.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Calwell) adjourned.

page 388


Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) agreed to -

That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to amend the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act 1935-1960.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

Second Reading

HigginsTreasurer · LP

– by leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill, in conjunction with the resolution which will follow, is to reduce the rate of sales tax on passenger motor vehicles from 40 per cent. to 30 per cent., and the rate on motor cycles and motor scooters from 25 per cent. to 162/3 per cent.

Mr Whitlam:

– From what date?


– The increases in the rates of sales tax on these vehicles were among the economic measures adopted by the Government in November to abate the pressure of excessive demand in the domestic economy and to reduce the flow of imports from abroad.

Registrations of new motor vehicles had, by the September quarter, 1960, risen sharply to a rate in excess of 330,000 a year. In November, 1960, the month in which the increased tax was applied, they were 23 per cent, higher than in November, 1959. The rapid expansion of activity in the motor vehicle industry to meet this inordinate demand had set up heavy pressures on manpower, on the many associated industries and on imports. Resources in excess of what we could afford, having regard to other requirements of the economy, were being swallowed by the industry. Imports of petroleum products and other items clearly attributable to the motor industry and motor transportation were running at an annual rate of £200,000,000 in the September quarter of 1960 compared with a rate of £152,000,000 in the September quarter of 1959.

Some immediate cut-back in demands in this area was obviously necessary. The general measures adopted were expected to moderate these demands but it was considered that supplementary action in the sales tax field would also be required to ensure quick results. Accordingly, we increased the sales tax. I made it clear at the time that we would review the rate as soon as the situation warranted it. As intended, the measures had immediate effects. November registrations were at the all-time high of 31,865. ‘In December, registrations came down to 22,368 and in January, when the seasonal low point is normally reached, they totalled 16,254. After examining the position in February the Government was satisfied that the general measures would now be sufficient to keep the demands of the industry within reasonable bounds. In accordance with its public assurance the Government decided that the additional sales tax should be removed forthwith. Earlier the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) asked from what date this measure would take effect. The purpose of this bill is to give to that decision force of law as from 22nd February, the day following the announcement of the Government’s decision.

Mr Calwell:

– That means there will be no refund of the increase of sales ‘tax actually collected?


– I will come to that. It has been suggested that the Government should refund the additional tax collected between 16th November, 1960, and 21st February, 1961. As I have previously informed the House, I cannot support that suggestion.

Mr Calwell:

– Why?


– The Leader of the Opposition asks me why. He should be in a very good position to answer his own question, since at no time when his Government was in office did it ever refund a sales tax in any comparable circumstances. The fact is, of course, that on no occasion since sales tax was first imposed in 1930 has any Commonwealth Government made a refund of this kind.

Mr Calwell:

– What about Ansett-A.N.A.?


– You are not trying to draw a parallel between the circumstances of those two airline organizations and this particular matter?

Mr Calwell:

– Of course I am.


– I do the honorable member the credit of thinking he is talking with his tongue in his cheek.

Mr Calwell:

– Do not be insulting.


– No. It would be even more insulting if I put the alternative. I do not think the honorable member is so lacking in intelligence or realism as to wish that. Parliament had the opportunity to resolve that issue at the time and Parliament will have the opportunity to resolve this one. Whenever sales tax is increased some people gain an advantage, and when rates are reduced some are put at a disadvantage. The consistent practice adopted by Commonwealth governments has been to make no refund in cases of this kind. After full consideration of the position the Government decided that no departure should be made from the established practice. I commend the measure to honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Calwell) adjourned.

SALES TAX BILLS (Nos. 1 to 9) 1961.

In Committee of Ways and Means:

Treasurer · Higgins · LP

– I move -

  1. That, as from and including the twenty-second day of February, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-one, the rate of sales tax in respect of goods covered by the Fifth Schedule to the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act be 30 per centum.
  2. That, for the purposes of this resolution, “ the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act “ mean the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act 1935-1960, as proposed to be amended by the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Bill 1961.

This resolution, and the bills which are to follow, are machinery measures required solely to give effect to the proposals to reduce the tax on motor cars from 40 per cent. to 30 per cent. and the tax on motor cycles and motor scooters from 25 per cent. to 162/3 per cent. The Government’s proposals have already been explained in connexion with the complementary Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Bill which has just been introduced. The effect of all these measures, taken in conjunction, is to reduce, on and from 22nd February, 1961, the tax on motor cars from 40 per cent. to 30 per cent., and the tax on motor cycles and motor scooters from 25 per cent. to 1 62/3 per cent.

Progress reported.

page 390


page 390



Debate resumed from 8th March (vide page 71), on motion by Mr. Chipp -

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

May it Please Your Excellency -

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


.- On the resumption of this debate, which was adjourned some few days ago, I wish to congratulate the honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp) and the honorable member for Calare (Mr. England) on the way in which they moved and seconded the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply. I feel quite sure that honorable members generally will agree with me that in the not too distant future we shall see and hear quite a lot from those two honorable members. In discussions of such matters as the development of Australia, and particularly the northern areas, I feel that these two gentlemen will be a source of considerable inspiration to the Parliament.

From the inception of the debate on the adoption of the Address-in-Reply comments have been made on Australia’s economy. We heard the motion proposed by the. Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), which was debated at considerable length. It is my intention this afternoon to give some facts concerning the overall economy of this country. I could commence by saying that the most important development connected with the economy has been the fall in the price of wool. Let me say at the outset that thewool industry may be said at the present timeto be at the cross-roads. It could turn to the right or to the left; it could turn for the better or for the worse. There are many reasons, of course, for the low prices received in recent years for our wool, and I cannot discuss fully all of them. It appears to me that the most obvious reason is the inroads that have been made by synthetics and various man-made fibres. The annual increase in world use of such materials is of an amount equivalent to 1,500,000 bales of wool. When we consider that although Australia exports more wool than any other nation, but still exports fewer than 5,000,000 bales a year, is it any wonder, having regard to the increase in the production of synthetics, that the wool industry in this country is slumping?

Let me say also that wool research and wool promotion have not been as successful as we would have liked them to be. In fact, it is my belief that wool promotion has failed miserably. To take one country as an example, the United States of America in post-war years has been using about 40 per cent. less wool than it used in earlier years. This decline in the use of wool is of vital importance to the Australian wool industry, to the economy generally and, I believe, to this Government. If action is not taken in the very near future, the industry as a whole will be in a hopeless mess.

I would like to congratulate the Government on its initiative in setting up a committee to inquire into the wool industry. However, I am afraid I cannot give the Government full marks, because although it decided many months ago that this investigation should be undertaken, it is only within recent weeks that the committee has had its first meeting.

It is interesting to consider comments that are made from time to time concerning the wool industry, particularly in the daily newspapers. When I first came into this chamber, about two years ago, the wool industry appeared to be of no great interest to many honorable members. To-day I am happy to see that those members have become concerned about the industry. Various comments have been made by economists about the position of the wool industry. I think it was the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) who said this afternoon that economists do not agree on certain issues. Perhaps it is as well that they do not. We have even seen honorable members of the Opposition taking an interest in the industry in recent times. I was rather tickled to hear the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant) making some remarks the other day about means of improving the position of the industry.

Mr J R Fraser:

– The members of the Country Party themselves wear silk ties and nylon socks.


– It is most amusing to hear the comments of persons who do not understand the industry, and it is regrettable that on the Opposition benches there are so few with any knowledge of the industry. I do not know any honorable member of the Opposition, except the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard), who really understands it.

Let us consider the various ways in which we might improve the position of the wool industry. First, there is the aspect of marketing. We can, if we wish, continue the present free auction system. Alternatively, we could initiate an appraisal system, or a floor-plan system. Again, we could increase our activities in research or in promotion. The maintenance of the free-auction system has been advocated by many growers for a very long time. Let me remind the House of prices that have been received over the last ten years for our wool. Since 1950-51 the average prices received have been, as follows: -

In 1958-59 the price dropped to 48.59d., and I note that in that year there was an increase of some 320,000,000 lb. in the amount available for export, or about 1,000,000 bales. In 1959-60 the price was 57.78d., while for the first eight months of the current year, 1960-61, the average price has been 51. Old.

There has been a general downward trend. Prices received by the grower have been by no means stable, and in fact have ranged from 144d. down to about a third of that amount, 48d. 1 know that there are some growers, and there are many people engaged in other industries, who will say that the average price overall is all right. It may be all right for the established producer, but not for the soldier settler nor the small farmer, trying to pay off his property. With the high rates of interest that he has to meet, it is almost impossible for him to get an existence from the industry. As I said, I agree that the farmer who has his property completely paid off may not be in such a bad position. However, there is a good deal of truth in the suggestions that are made from time to time that the industry is in need of some assistance, and that in present circumstances producers generally cannot grow wool as a payable proposition.

The introduction of a floor plan selling system has been advocated by the Victorian Wheat and Wool Growers Association and by the Australian Wool and Meat Growers Federation. Such a system would, I believe, have some kind of a stabilizing effect, although there would, perhaps, be a tendency to keep the price at a moderately low level. The system would be based on a minimum price rather than on a maximum price. However, the main objective of such a plan would be to ensure a stabilized price. Of course, before a plan such as this can be brought into existence a terrific amount of research is required. No doubt, the present wool inquiry will provide a great deal of information. Possibly, the Commonwealth will have to give some form of guarantee, and before any plan is put forward the growers will have to give the green light because primary producers are very definite on having a voice in the sale of their commodities.

No doubt the appraisal system which was used at the latter end of the war would be readily appreciated by Opposition members because that system is very close to their aim of socialization. There is no doubt in my mind that such a system could be a stepping stone to communism in this country. I believe that actions speak louder than words. There are all sorts of opinions in this regard but one has only to look at Victoria to see what not only wool-growers, but also wheat-growers, pig raisers and other farmers, think of this socialistic plan. Tn Victoria, there are twelve rural seats of which ten are occupied by Liberal Party or Australian Country Party representatives. Ten out of twelve! It is interesting to note that of the two seats that are not held by the Government, one is a near metropolitan seat with a very high percentage of metropolitan dwellers and the other includes the City of Bendigo. To my way of thinking, that proves beyond all doubt that the growers are not interested in socialism.

The next matter that I want to mention is promotion as advocated by the Australian Wool Bureau. The bureau is made up of three members each of the Australian Woolgrowers and Graziers Council and the Australian Wool and Meat Producers Federation, with one nominee from the Commonwealth Government. At present, the growers are contributing at the rate of 5s. per bale to the bureau’s funds. There is a proposal that this be increased by 13s. per bale, making a total of 18s., plus 2s. for research, a total of £1 to be collected in the year 1966-67. Needless to say, this is not a popular move with the growers for very obvious reasons. First, the industry is suffering financial difficulties and its costs of production are high. Every extra £1 paid bv the growers increases the cost of production. That is one of the reasons why they are opposing the suggestion.

Another reason is that some growers want a floor t>rice plan. They are using the proposed increased levy as a lever, as it were, and saying, “ We will support promotion if you give us a floor price plan “. So there are many reasons why these people are not happy. Another very obvious reason is this: Two years ago, the grower was paying 4s. per bale which was increased to 5s., but since the increase the price of wool has deteriorated. This deterioration is rather surprising, but it has occurred. Again, some growers feel that promotion is not helping the industry. A substantial percentage of promotion finance has been used in Australia. As honorable members are aware, Australia exports the biggest percentage of its wool. Whilst our consumption of wool is amongst the highest in the world per capita, because of our small population, promotion in Australia is not having as much effect as it would have if the money were used in countries where the population is very much greater. The grower generally feels that promotion is more or less wasted in Australia and should be used at an international level - in countries where large sales would be possible.

The Australian Wool Bureau, of course, is affiliated with the International Wool Secretariat. This is where money can be readily used for various countries. As I mentioned earlier, the consumption of wool in the United States of America has dropped at a very rapid rate. It is obvious to all who have studied this problem that if we do not use promotion in places such as America, Europe and Asia, the trend of consumption in those countries will be similar to that which has occurred already in the United States of America. So it is not a case of expanding our wool industry so much as of retaining what we hold at the present time.

A lot has been said to the effect that the biggest wool problem to-day is the cost to the consumers. This may be so, but it is not the primary producer who is getting the benefit of high prices for woollen goods. An ordinary pair of pure wool socks may cost 17s. 6d., but they will contain only about two ounces of wool, or one-eighth of one pound. Even if the price of wool were increased by 100 per cent, the price of that pair of socks would not increase from 17s. 6d. to 35s. It would increase from 17s. 6d. to only 18s. 6d. The remaining 16s. 6d. is taken up in manufacturing costs, commission, freight and related expenses.

The same applies to a suit of clothes or to any woollen material.

There is no doubt in my mind that in research there are terrific possibilities. The scope is unlimited. But here, again, there are many problems. First, there is the money angle. The Commonwealth contributes 4s. to supplement the growers’ 2s. per bale. That does not bring in sufficient money to carry out research on a very big scale. Furthermore, man-power is most important in research. Frequently the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization is in dire strife because it has not sufficient scientists. You cannot train scientists overnight. This takes many years. With a shortage of money, it is only natural that the C.S.I.R.O. cannot get all the scientists it requires. Even when the scientists are trained and the money is available, there will not be immediate results. You cannot expect the scientist to start work on Monday morning and have a bright new scheme ready by Thursday or Friday night - pay night. This is a matter of experiment over a period of years, and we cannot afford, under any circumstances, to let research fail. No doubt, all these factors that I have mentioned could contribute to the improvement of the wool situation. The only scheme which, to my way of thinking, we must be very wary of is the appraisal system. I believe that the auction system is the only true and fair way of valuing an article; and wool is no exception. A plan can be operated along the lines of the free auction system and naturally we can carry on with research and promotion to the full extent of our resources. I have had the privilege twice of hearing Sir William Gunn speak on the subject of wool promotion. It was very interesting to hear his comments on the future prospects of the wool industry. Undoubtedly, there is one angle that we must not overlook: Certain responsibilities devolve upon the Commonwealth Government and also upon the growers and their organizations.

One of the biggest problems facing primary producers to-day arises from the cost of production and the fall in prices for their commodities. It is coupled with the very urgent problem of finance and I suggest that the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) look very closely into the financial position of primary producers. Finance must be available at a low rate of interest. I know of numerous cases of financial hardship among primary producers. I know one primary producer who is prepared to pay 8 per cent, for a loan of 50 per cent, of the capital value of his property, and if he does not get it in the next few weeks, he will lose his property. Another man known to me purchased a property but because of certain commitments he could not get the finance he expected. He has called on no less than six of his friends, without any security, to help him with finance. Many honorable members have advocated a subsidy for superphosphate. I have no dobut that this is urgently needed at this time. However, I want to give this warning: In no circumstances are primary producers prepared to accept assistance from governments or any other source on such terms that the primary producer loses all interest in the control of his commodity. I suppose it is an Australian Characteristic that the primary producer likes to have a voice in the sale of his products. He believes in organized marketing and boards but he also believes that the growers should have control of those organizations.

My time has almost expired, and I wish to conclude by referring briefly to the recent sale of wheat to red China which has been mentioned often in the past fortnight. I ‘have no objection whatsoever to the sale of wheat to red China when we can be paid for it provided it is not at the expense of regular markets. 1 remind those who are critical of this transaction that Australia was faced with a huge surplus of wheat a few months ago. The situation changed overnight when red China made an approach for the purchase of large quantities of Australian wheat. There has been some objection to the sale on the ground that Australia has not recognized red China. In my opinion, that attitude is completely wrong. So far as I can gather, the producers themselves are behind the scheme.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Brimblecombe:

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


.- The statement of government policy and of the Government’s programme for the ensuing session of the Parliament was made by the

Administrator following the sudden and unfortunate death of the Governor-General, Lord Dunrossil. The Governor-General was a kindly and scholarly gentleman who occupied his position with dignity and distinction to himself. I do not intend to discuss now the appointment of his successor except for a brief reference. I have referred to this matter previously and I shall content myself with saying that I hope when the appointment is made, the Government will pay more heed to the wishes of the Australian people than it has done in the past. I remind the Government again that the latest Gallup poll taken in Australia disclosed that 70 per cent, of our people were of the opinion that an Australian should be appointed to the office of Governor-General. I hope the Government will pay more heed than it has in the past to this opinion which is overwhelming. Two new members have taken advantage of the opportunity presented by the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply to make their maiden speeches. I compliment both of them on their initial contributions.

I propose to speak on three subjects - trends in television, unemployment and the exports development plan. The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) referred to the trend in television when he spoke in this debate two weeks ago, and I wish to supplement his remarks. The unmistakable trend in television presentation in Australia to-day is towards violence. I suppose it is impossible to eliminate violence as a theme on television just as it would be impossible to prevent its presentation in the theatre, motion pictures, writing or radio broadcasts. It is the treatment of this theme of violence, which is being presented in ever-increasing volume, that causes concern in the minds of many people. I do not suggest that violence as a subject should be prohibited altogether. This would be an impossible and unreal attitude. When treated with restraint, the visual or oral presentation of violence can be enlightening and inspiring. However, it cannot be said that this applies to our television presentations to-day.

An examination of Australian television programmes reveals a striking similarity in the programmes of all commercial stations. I have witnessed television screenings in three States recently, but my observations will be based on the present pattern of programming in New South Wales. It is almost impossible in Sydney for any one who takes his viewing from the commercial stations to escape the subject of violence. Almost every new production in recent months has had its over-burden of violence, and there is no escape for Sydney viewers. I exclude Channel 2 because it has a form of balance in its programming that is markedly absent from the commercial stations.

Prominent in these productions are those who are termed “ private eyes “ in the United States of America. In Australia, these people are known as private investigators. Watching these productions, one can easily get a wrong idea of the part these people play in American life. I hope it is false because if it is not, I never want to see these people occupy in our society the position they seem to occupy in American life. Violence abounds in these presentations and among other things, two impressions are gained from the series. The first is that the private eye never fails and the American law authorities are made to look ridiculous or useless. The second impression is that the American private eye, or a member of his staff, always has some kind of an affair with a member of the opposite sex. This is always resolved to the satisfaction and benefit of the private eye or his staff. If these are to be the ingredients of the entertainment that we are to get from television stations, I am not Very happy about the situation. The dominating themes in all productions to-day, whether they be for the screen or television, appear to be violence and sex. Having dealt with violence, I wish to refer briefly to the presentation of sex.

There is nothing wrong with the presentation of a sex theme provided it is handled with restraint and dignity. To gain some idea of how this theme is being handled, one has only to compare a film made twenty years ago with a similar type of film produced to-day. Twenty years ago, there was an element of reserve and simplicity in the presentation of a sex theme. To-day, there is a complete absence of either. In place of reserve and simplicity, we have blatancy and crudity. In fact, one watching these productions to-day might readily be pardoned if he were to gain the impression that all males in the cast were morons and all the females nymphomaniacs. These Hollywood productions are doing untold damage to the American public in the eyes of the world. They have contributed greatly to that misunderstanding that exists in the world as to what is the real America as compared to what has become popularly accepted as America. Such productions have been a tremendous handicap to all attempts by the Americans to build up good-will. For instance, such magnificent achievements in world affairs as the Marshall Plan, to name one, are all obliterated by this false picture which is based on violence and lawlessness and which, because of its unending repetition, has become the generally accepted version of what is American. I am not singling out American productions. Unfortunately, it is true that the same criticism can be made of English and continental productions. I mention the American productions because it is from America that we receive the greatest number of our television and screen films.

This question of violence and its treatment has given rise to serious concern amongst sociologists, social workers and others interested in preventing all forms of delinquency. The subject was discussed for the first time about two weeks ago in America by a television commentator who expressed misgivings about the effect on the public mind of continued screening of productions emphasizing violence. A spokesman for a very large racial group in New York said that his organization was planning a boycott against the sponsors of a series which is regarded as one of the most violent, the ground being that many of the persons playing leading roles were given names that had some affinity with this particular racial group. That objection of itself was not a valid one, and would not have any appeal to me; but there are many other grounds of valid objection, and the outcome of the attitude taken by this racial group was that the producers of the film had to look for another sponsor.

A disconcerting trend in television in Sydney at the moment is the similarity of programming by the commercial stations. Both commercial stations are arranging their programmes in such a manner that even a turn of the dial brings no escape from a particular theme. From about 7.30 p.m. onwards, the viewer can find no escape, nor can he find any variety. In recent months, it has become apparent that one station will do as the other does.

There are many productions in which violence has no part. Formerly, these were screened in the evenings, but they are now being presented in the early afternoon hours. Why they have been allotted new screening times and their former times given to productions of the type to which I am referring, is hard to understand. The similarity of programming is unusual, to say the least. For instance, if one commercial station is showing a feature film, a turn of the dial will bring one a feature film being screened by the other commercial station. Again, if a western is being televised by one station, a change-over to the other station will produce another western, and the same is true of musicals and gangster films.

Another alarming trend is the almost negligible part assigned to Australian productions in television screenings. The Government is failing badly on this point. There can be no defence for its not insisting that a larger quota be allotted to Australian productions. The Government’s reluctance to take firmer and more positive measures to ensure that Australian productions are given a greater part in television programmes is hard to understand. Its action compares very unfavorably with the approach taken by other governments throughout the world on the question of local productions.

We in Australia entered the television field well behind some other western nations and, from time to time, the Government has advanced this as a reason why it was not prepared to insist upon a larger quota of screening time for local productions. But this argument becomes unconvincing when it is realized that, from the very inception of television, other countries insisted upon adequate and firm measures to protect their local industries. For instance, the governments of the United Kingdom and Canada insisted from the beginning upon the screening of a larger quota of national films than the Australian Government has done. The hesitancy and reluctance which have marked this Government’s approach were not shown by the governments of the countries to which I have referred, and the time has long since passed when this Government should abandon its vacillating attitude and give a firm directive that a larger quota of screening time be allotted to Australian productions. And I make this statement with a full realization of all that it implies.

I do not subscribe to the mistaken idea that all local productions are good. Undoubtedly, they fall into various categories just as do the productions of any country, and they should be classified accordingly. Some of our efforts have been excellent, and compare more than favorably with overseas productions in their form and presentation. But it is equally true that other local productions leave much to be desired. This, of course, is inescapable. That is true of all things, but this Government uses that as a pretext for evading its responsibilities. Other governments are not troubled by the inhibitions that we notice in this Government, nor do they make excuses of the kind which we have become accustomed to hearing from the Australian Government. It is the responsibility of any government to preserve and foster its national culture. The governments of other countries recognize this, and are not afraid to take the steps necessary to preserve and safeguard their culture. A firm and unshakeable case can be made for insisting upon the allocation of more time to local productions by our television services, and I hope the Government will take positive measures to ensure that this is done.

Commercial advertising over television stations is another matter that should concern the Government, because the part advertising .is playing in television productions is out of all proportion, and the complaints of viewers against the management of television services are widespread. On one occasion, I counted as many as 21 commercials in one hour. Again, I have heard of other instances in which in one halfhour of screening, fifteen minutes was devoted to advertising. The PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Davidson) must surely have received complaints about the amount of advertising, and I find it hard to understand why he has not yet taken action to improve matters. The position is so bad that it has often been said that when one watches a commercial television programme one is always faced with the fascinating question whether the commercials interrupt the programme or the programme interrupts the commercials.

I turn now to the question of unemployment. Because my time is limited, I propose to deal only with one aspect of this problem - the manner in which official figures are released. The Government has claimed that the official figures disclose that the number of persons unemployed in Australia at the moment is 73,000. In an attempt to minimize the gravity of the situation, it then goes on to say that, as against these 73,000 unemployed persons, there are 55,000 vacancies waiting to be filled. I seriously question whether the figure is 73,000. I believe it is very much in excess of this number, because thousands of people do not immediately register for unemployment benefit on losing their jobs but go for weeks searching for a position and register after they fail to obtain work.

Our unemployment position is obscure and confused and the manner in which the official number of unemployed is announced to-day is without precedent. Tn years gone by, the official figures were released by the Commonwealth Statistician, but I understand that this gentleman has stated that he was unable satisfactorily to assess the position, due to lack of data. The Government then took over the responsibility for making all announcements on this matter. In. fact, we have read in recent times where officials of the responsible department have stated that they had received instructions not to make any announcement to the press on the matter. This, of course, can be understood, but the Government’s attitude in handling this matter is without precedent. Why this question of the official figure for unemployment should be taken from the source that all other official figures come from is difficult to follow and it does appear that the Government takes the opportunity, when it has to make an announcement on this issue, to try to play down its true emphasis.

To say that there are 73,000 people out of work and then to say that there are 55,000 jobs waiting to be filled is not a factual presentation of the position. In those 55,000 vacancies, many juvenile and junior positions are included. In thousands of instances, there are no vacancies for people who have lost their positions as a result of the recent economic policy of the Government. The official release of unemployment figures is obscure and, due to its treatment and handling, brings the Government under a certain amount of suspicion. 1 believe that this matter should be restored to a source such as the Commonwealth Statistician, and this in itself would remove many of the criticisms and suspicions that can now be levelled at the Government on this matter.

The Acting Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen) very early in the sitting made an announcement in connexion with the Government’s proposed export development plan. As on all occasions, and in this instance, the Government desperately searched for a gimmick. In this instance, the export development plan would appear to be its latest gimmick. When the Acting Prime Minister was announcing this plan, together with the subsequent statement he made explaining the formula, there was a significant omission from both statements, and that is what is to be the cost of the plan to the country. One would have imagined, when announcing this plan, that the Acting Prime Minister when supplying details would have given to the public the expected cost to the Treasury of this tax concession; but apparently this very important factor has been omitted. It is not too late to ask now just what is the proposed cost, and I hope that the Acting Prime Minister will come forward with an early reply.

It is quite obvious that this plan will not live up to the prophesies of the Government. What are we going to export and which countries will buy our commodities? Here again no information is given and it is not satisfying to say that this aspect will be taken care of by the mere creation of additional trade commissioners throughout the world. Our basic industries at the moment are incapable of supplying our needs. Is there any field for export development here? If there is, it means one of two things. We will continue to export a particular commodity and then we will proceed to import the same commodity. This is happening with steel. Notwithstanding the fact that we are unable to meet our internal requirements, we are still exporting steel and it is of interest to note that for the first half of the present financial year we imported steel to the value of £35,000,000. This is just one of the examples to be found in this rather involved situation.

Further, our industries that are capable of making a contribution to our export drive will not do so. An instance of this can be found with our motor industry. American and British firms will not allow their organizations in Australia to export. They have defined a very limited area in which our motor industry is to attempt to find new markets. Other companies with foreign capital operating in this country do so under agreements that prevent them from going on to the export market. Here again the Government can be criticized for permitting foreign capital to come into this country and to operate in the takeover form that it has, the Government being perfectly aware of the limits that it would place on the development of the local industry.

There may have been a great market for the Australian motor car industry, but it was not availed of and was allowed to pass. Why was some attempt not made to get a car such as the Holden, a light car, on to the American market? In recent years, the American trend in car manufacture and purchase has been away from the lengthy and powerful motor vehicle. This trend was so great that foreign manufacturers with the Volkswagen and British cars made a considerable dent in the American market and there was an outcry against their appearance. Why was it that General MotorsHolden’s Limited failed to take advantage of this opening on the American market for their Australian product, the Holden? Of course, this goes back once again to the fact that they are not permitted by their parent company to go into these markets. These are problems for which the Government has no solution or it is not willing to take action to solve them.

There are two major weaknesses in the export plan. First, it places too much emphasis on production. Production in itself is not an answer nor does it provide the many advantages that the Government always claims for it. The vital question in our export trade is price. Since the Government has no control over price in the world markets, many of our export problems will and must remain unresolved. In 1953, our wool clip realized £1,300,000,000 when sold overseas. Last year, it realized £880,000,000, notwithstanding that production was considerably higher than it was in 1953.

The second weakness is that our basic industries at the moment are incapable of meeting the demands of the internal market and will not give impetus to our export drive although they are sufficiently efficient in themselves to permit them to do so. I say that these reasons definitely show a fundamental weakness in the plan and the plan must fail.


.- I could not help thinking that the honorable member for Dally (Mr. O’Connor) associated himself with the late General Custer, who at his last stand at Little Big Horn remarked that there were too many adjectival Indians. The honorable member wants to keep these blood and thunder shows away from a number of us adults who indulge in a form of escapism by watching them. However, I entirely agree with him that there is much room for improvement in our television programmes, particularly in the capital cities of Sydney and Melbourne.

The honorable member spoke about unemployment figures. I should like to ask him whether it ever occurred to him that the reason why these figures were taken from the Commonwealth Statistician and given to another source was an endeavour to obtain more up-to-the-minute information for the Government and for the House. He said that the unemployment position at the moment is obscure, but it would not, perhaps, be unreasonable to expect that. I remind him, and the House, that the unemployment situation certainly was not obscure before 1949.

The honorable member also mentioned the export incentives which were announced recently by the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen) and criticized the right honorable gentleman for not having stated what the tax allowances would cost the Government. The Minister could not have stated that, because the tax deductions will depend on the amount by which exports exceed the average of the base period covering the years 1958-59 and 1959-60, and we cannot yet judge by how much exporters will exceed their average volume of exports in that base period. No one could state a firm figure in this respect, and that fact should have been patent to the honorable member.

The honorable member for Dalley also spoke of imports of steel. Again, he had not done his homework and was not aware of the fact that the term “steel” is used in a general sense and that there are many kinds of steel. We have to import some kinds which are not manufactured in Australia and we export other types of which we have a surplus. At the present time, we are exporting more than £17,000,000 worth annually of kinds of steel of which we have a surplus, and we are importing some less common kinds which are in short supply in this country at present.

Mr Daly:

– We can make any kind of steel here.


– The fact is that we do not make some kinds.

It is with some satisfaction that I make my contribution to this debate on the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply to the Administrator’s Speech delivered to the Parliament on the occasion of the opening of this session, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I take pleasure in congratulating the honorable members who proposed and seconded the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply. As the honorable member for Dalley said, their maiden contributions to the debates in this place were of high quality. 1 take pleasure, also, in associating myself with their expressions of loyalty to Her Majesty the Queen and with their expressions of sympathy to the widow and family of our late Governor-General.

Throughout the debate on the wantofconfidence motion recently proposed by the Opposition, we saw a complete and utter absence of any suggestions from the Opposition side of the House to meet the present financial and economic stringencies, apart from their usual emphasis on socialist measures which they would like to adopt. The present stringencies have occurred, of course, owing to circumstances which were in the main completely outside our control. The one exception to the usual line of Opposition argument came, as one would expect, from the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley). He suggested, not a short-term measure which would bring an immediate reaction, but a long-term one which I think was worthy of attention and had considerable merit. I refer to his plea for support of technological education in this country.

One often wonders what will happen in Australia when the quotas of the better kinds of immigrants now being selected decline, as they inevitably must. If, when this happens, the policy ot the government of the time is to continue with the same overall immigration quotas, we shall be faced with accepting many thousands of people who are without skills or who at best are semi-skilled. Quite patently, this could lead to a definite lowering of our national standards unless we take every opportunity to train the younger generations so that, as a component of the work force, they will not be forced to compete with the adult non-skilled workers whom we may be compelled to import. Support for education, and especially technological education, has a secondary advantage - the impetus which will be given to our secondary industries by the presence of a greater component of technically skilled workers than is available to us at present.

I should like to mention some aspect of the national economy, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The Government has imposed or announced its intention of imposing a number of measures with a view to reducing the sharp run-down of our overseas reserves occasioned by a flood of imports in response to a boom demand. It hopes by these proposals to bring our overseas reserves into balance. Some of these measures are short-term ones and others will take some time to have an impact on the economy. But nobody will honestly suggest that each of these measures is not positive and that each does not indicate the awareness of the Government and its advisers of the’ present situation.

Lack of constitutional authority, it is perfectly true, has in some instances compelled the Government to take general action in order to obtain a specific result. This is rather like using a sledge-hammer instead of a scalpel. Many people have been affected and many will continue to be affected until our balance-of-payments position is satisfactorily resolved. However, the Australian people must realize that the circumstances which suddenly arose necessitated and demanded firm action and that when a sound basis is again reached we shall receive the benefit of the experience through which we have passed, because it will undoubtedly lead to much greater efficiency in the future development of this country.

His Excellency the Administrator mentioned overseas markets. The House may recall that on 29th September last, during the consideration of the estimates for the Department of Trade, I voiced a criticism of the apparent lack of co-ordination in our overseas trade promotion and marketing schemes. These were my words -

The first requisite of all advertising is lo create demand. Unfortunately, having created the demand we do not follow it up. Every advertiser knows that you must first create demand by advertising, then make sure that an adequate supply of the goods which you are advertising is available . . . We have created a demand for our apples and canned fruits in the United Kingdom, but when people go to their local shops they find that these Australian goods are not in stock, so our effort to create a demand has been wasted.

It is therefore very stimulating that the Government is now taking positive action, by the establishment of warehouses in overseas centres of demand, to ensure the immediate availability of supplies to meet these demands inspired by our trade promotion campaigns.

The Government is also to be congratulated, Sir, on its support of the venture by the Export Council of the Australian Chambers of Commerce and the Australian Manufacturers Export Council in organizing a visit to South-East Asia later this year by the ‘trade promotion ship, “ Straat Banka “. As honorable members know, this vessel will carry displays demonstrating the products of more than 200 Australian companies, in addition to group displays covering the dairying, flour-milling and wine industries. The products displayed aboard the ship will cover a wide range, including foodstuffs, minerals, steel, agricultural machinery, textiles, leather goods, pharmaceutical products, electrical equipment, building materials, plastics and motor vehicles. The Department of Trade is assisting in the publicity for the venture and will make its trade commissioners available to the mission at the various ports of call. I understand that the ship will leave Fremantle on 25th May for Singapore and that it will later visit various ports in Malaya, India and Ceylon.

Perhaps one of the most significant actions ever taken by a government in this field is the Government’s adoption of this scheme of export incentives to encourage industry and commerce to step up their trade promotion programmes. No one can gainsay the fact that to any new exporter the costs of promotion in establishing overseas markets are considerable and, in many instances, efforts towards this end do not achieve immediate results. In many instances, frequent follow-up measures are required and it may be some time before the results can be set off against the original costs. This circumstance has caused a reluctance on the part of many manufacturers to continue a trade promotion programme after the first flush of business has been written, even though a long-term demand has perhaps been created. The market development allowance will permit of a taxation deduction in respect of costs involving fares, search, advertising, tendering and promotion to double the present company tax - that is, from 8s. in the £1 to a maximum of 1 6s. in the £1. Further, the pay-roll tax rebate will also be applied by the use of a specific formula in cases where final processors increase the value of their exports over the level in the base period which covers two years- 1958-59 and 1959-60.

The proposal to exempt all co? exported from payment of the current excise of 5d. a ton appears also to be a common-sense measure, as it has been found now that a reduced impost of 4d. a ton on locally consumed coal will be enough to maintain the long-service leave fund established for the eel-miners, which was the main purpose of the original excise duty imposed. 1 should like to refer to one statement made by the Administrator in his Speech. He said -

My advisers will give every encouragement and support to the tourist industry from which important exchange earnings are expected.

I understand that the first outward manifestation of this policy has been an increase of subsidy by the Government to the Australian National Travel Association, from £100.000 to £120,000. Tourism is a remarkable industry. It is quite different from our primary and secondary industries. It is not trammelled by the factors which affect both primary and secondary industries. If we look at this picture a little more closely we see that although export promotion can find additional markets for our primary products, usually, as was pointed out by the previous speaker, these provide no higher return than prevailing world prices dictate. In addition to this we have the upward pressures of wage and other costs, which affect the cost of production of our primary products, but which cannot be passed on to the consumer, a fact that depresses the margin of profits to an uneconomic level. Additional exports of secondary manufactures, likewise, whilst not suffering to the same degree the effect of fixed world prices, have still to compete with similar goods manufactured in countries operating with lower wage standards. Also, exports of manufactured goods tend to lose their effect on foreign exchange earnings as a result of being offset by the importation of components necessary for the manufactured products, which either cannot be obtained from local sources or can be obtained Only at prices which cost the local industries out of the competitive world market.

On the other hand, the tourist industry suffers from none of these disadvantages; instead, it has several distinct advantages. First, practically no imports are necessary for it; secondly, the money flow is mainly one way; thirdly, the increased purchasing power from overseas tourists stimulates our local secondary industries and, particularly, as a result of the increased sale of foodstuffs, our primary industries. So there is an immediate and widespread benefit to all sectors of the community. Fourthly, if we deliver the goods, as it were, each visiting tourist will return to his own country as an ambassador for Australia and encourage other tourists to come here.

In the post-war reconstruction period many countries have relied to a major degree on the foreign exchange earned by tourism in order to balance their economies. The people responsible for the administration of the Marshall aid plan in Europe considered that the rebuilding of accommodation premises at places of tourist attraction was a fast way of stabilizing the economy of war-torn Europe. Even in the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, which has a significantly controlled economy, great attention is paid to attracting more foreign tourists. The Russian Intourist organization has stated that in the four years from 1956 to 1959 the number of tourists to Russia was quadrupled. In 1960, more than 600,000 tourists visited Russia. The Russians are building more hotels to accommodate tourists. I believe that they are building hotels to accommodate some 100,000 tourists at any one time. They are also improving highways and extending camping facilities.

Mr. M. J. Harkins, who is the director of the Tourist Development Authority of Victoria, has stated -

The national importance of tourism is frequently perhaps hidden to some extent because we are inclined to be impressed more with posters, promotional programmes, and gimmicks of that type, and fail to appreciate that these are merely techniques to encourage tourism and that the real significance of tourism is its benefit to the community from the economic standpoint.

If we accept the fact that tourism will relatively quickly benefit our economy let us plan quickly and with determination and imagination. If we have to set a sprat to catch a mackerel, let us see that the sprat is fat, healthy and well-conditioned. A poster with a picture of the sprat will not get a rise. We must bait our line with a reality. In this sense we must build not only more world-standard hotels in our capital cities, but also first-class accommodation in localities which will be attractive to tourists - highway motels, caravan parks and camping facilities. This cannot be done without money, nor can it be done by any one central directing authority. I consider that the Commonwealth Government will have to make money available through the State governments and tourist authorities, which in turn should support local areas of tourist attraction in order to enable specific areas of wide appeal to be developed from the transport and accommodation angles. I believe that private enterprise should also be encouraged, by finance obtained from the Development Bank, to build hotels, motels and caravan and camping parks in approved areas.

Each State has its particular resorts which would repay immediate development. Others naturally would follow, dependent upon the vigour and interest of the local people and the appeal of the locality. In these modern times of fast and cheap air travel a round-the-world air ticket tenable for twelve months costs £650 Australian. Many people, excited by a higher degree of general education than hitherto, are desirous of getting to know the other places of the world and their peoples. I remind the House that the mass American tourist invasion of

Europe, particularly in the post-war period, has left the travel-hungry Americans looking for fresh fields of experience. They are seasoned travellers, and look for comfort as well as interest. The United States Bureau of Census forecasts that, by 1970, Americans will be spending fifty-eight billion dollars on foreign and domestic travel. Let us cash in for a goodly share in this fifty-eight billion dollar reserve. It is time we stopped playing around with the tourist industry and really got down to business - a most lucrative business, the limits of which are boundless.

I should like to turn now to the matter of housing. During his Speech the Administrator stated -

My Government has initiated discussions with the States about arrangements to be made when the current housing agreement with the States expires in June next.

Under the agreement covering the five years from 1956 to 30th June next, an amount exceeding £180,000,000 was made available by the Commonwealth to the States. In the four years to 30th June, 1960, a total of 51,823 units were built, of which approximately 38,500 were State housing units and the remainder home-owners’ dwellings. During this four-year period a total of 334,500 houses were completed in Australia. Thus, the State housing authorities accounted for less than 12 per cent, of the overall total and, despite the fact that the ratio of population to dwellings has fallen to about 3.5 to 1, the applications to State housing authorities for accommodation have risen sharply. At the end of 30th June last a total of 70,200 applications for homes in all States were outstanding, of which over 40 per cent, were for homes for purchase. It would appear, therefore, that until nine months ago the private sector of the building industry was undertaking 88 per cent, of the national programme and, in the main, meeting the general demand.

It is difficult to assess accurately the annual incremental demands for housing, but I understand from authoritative sources that it runs to something of the order of 55,000 homes a year. In 1957, 67,000 houses were completed; in 1958 the number was 80,000; in 1959 it was 86,500 and in 1960 it was 91,000. Therefore, this rate of building should have scaled down the back-lag by approximately 115,000 in the four years under review. When one takes into consideration that the back-lag was assessed at 100,000 by the advisers and experts in June, 1956, when the current agreement was initiated, and that since then for four years we have averaged 83,625 homes a year, one would have expected that the back-lag would have been wiped out completely, yet we find this outstanding demand with the State housing authorities to the tune of over 70,000 applications in that section of the building industry which accounts for only 12 per cent, of the total programme. Something is definitely out of balance here, particularly when we find that 27,900 of these outstanding applications are in New South Wales and over 17,000 in Victoria. It would appear that the homes being built by the private sector of the industry are not acceptable to the low income-earner either in price or in terms - this accentuates the demand for lowerpriced and more easily purchased housing authority units - or to those requiring rental accommodation at cheaper rents due to subsidization, particularly in Victoria.

It is apparent, therefore, that when this new agreement is concluded in June next, a new approach to the question of State housing is desirable. Additional financial support is required for private enterprise to enable better terms to be offered on lowerpriced units, and in addition provision should be made for an economic return on privately erected rental dwellings by some form of overall Commonwealth subsidy based on a means test, which covers all occupiers and will guarantee occupancy with an adequate return.


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


.- I was very pleased to hear the rebellious attack of the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Stokes) on his Government for its failure to measure up to the requirements of the Australian community in relation to housing, unemployment and many other important matters. I was greatly disappointed in the Administrator’s Speech, which was prepared for him by the Government and which outlined the Government’s intended legislation during this third session of the twenty-third Parliament.

When I made my maiden speech in the House not so long ago I pointed out the tragic position that then existed on the northern coal-fields which are in the very heart of my electorate. Things have become infinitely worse since then. The closing down of coal mines one after the other has caused economic chaos to the victims of these sweeping and unanticipated changes. After a lifetime in the industry, many mine-workers were suddenly given a week’s notice of termination of their employment and were thrown out of work. I expected to hear something rn the Administrator’s Speech about what the Government intended to do to relieve the position. How foolish was I to expect such a thing from this Government which is sponsored by big business, elected by big business and functions in the interests of big business! How could one expect any sympathetic treatment from this Government? I should not have allowed the thought to enter my mind. Admittedly, a considerable number of these mine-workers have been found alternative employment at the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited steelworks in Newcastle. I appreciate this, but it involves the mineworkers in a round trip of 70 or 80 miles a day and costs them about £2 a week in fares. To expect them to meet that cost out of a wage of £17 a week and to maintain a wife and family with the present cost of living is just ridiculous. These unfortunate men, most of whom are in the 45-55 years age group, have to rise from their beds at 4 a.m. and do not return home until 6 p.m.

The younger men have been taken out of the industry earlier because of the principle of last to come, first to go. Quite a number of these men are working on the construction of the new power station at Vales Point. We can thank only the New South Wales Labour Government for commencing that project. Vales Point is situated about 40 miles from Cessnock, so a daily round trip of about 80 miles is involved. In the past few weeks we have heard a lot about our balance of payments, about our overseas reserves dropping, and about unnecessary imports, but the people in my electorate want only jobs. They want the right to work, to earn a living in their native land, to maintain their wives and children, to give them a reasonable standard of living and a reasonable public school education. They want only what any decent Australian wants. But no! This Government believes in having a pool of unemployed to meet the requests of the monopolists, who brought it to office to discipline the workers. This Government would prefer to aid the oil monopolies in this country rather than the miners. Why has this Government not sponsored an oil by-products plant in the heart of the coal-fields? Would not this assist our overseas reserves by restricting the import of foreign oil? The Government has not done this because the wealthy monopolists whom this Government is bound to protect would not like it to be done.

On previous occasions I have pointed out to this House the shocking manner in which wealthy coal monopolies have been permitted to use the rip-rt-out-quick method of coal extraction. This is the most profitable method for them to use but it means that millions of tons of high-quality gas coal on the northern coal-fields have been lost for all time. I understand that the South African Government has a modern oil-from-coal byproduct plant operating successfully in that country. If it can be done there it can be done here. The Dutch Government has a similar plant operating and if it can be operated successfully and at a profit in Holland, we can do likewise here. I understand that in East Germany there is a similar modern coal by-products plant. Let me cite a few figures from the annual report of the Dutch state-owned coal mines for 1951. In that year those mines showed a gross profit of £6,000,000 after provision of £4,000,000 for company taxation and setting aside of £600,000 for depreciation, and they will pay a dividend of £1,000,000 to the Netherlands Government. The report states that in the future work on layers of poor-quality coal will be intensified in order to prolong the life of the mines.

Such an undertaking would succeed in Australia; but this Government does not want to offend the coal monopolies of this country. However, Labour will be in government at. the end of this year. I cannot understand why this Government will not promote a coal by-products plant on the northern coalfields in the electorate of Hunter and thus relieve the sufferings of many of my constituents. The fear of unemployment is a source of constant mental torture, not only to the workmen themselves, but also to their wives and children. How can parents plan careers for their children if they are not sure of continuity of employment? Children reared in homes where the parents fear economic insecurity become victims of emotional upsets which adversely affects them for many years. The father’s absence from the home for a long period detrimentally affects the upbringing of the child. Any person with a meagre knowledge of the causes of child delinquency realizes that it starts in the home as a result of insufficient parental control. But this Government could not care less. By its lack of planning and its total disinclination to aid the New South Wales Government in relieving unemployment on the northern coalfields by the establishment of an oil-from-coal plant this Government has done nothing to improve the position.

Let me cite what a highly respected clergyman, the Reverend W. Childs, of Cessnock, has said on this matter. I refer to a report in yesterday’s Newcastle “ Sun “. Under the heading “ Mine Dismissals Family Threat ‘ “, the report states -

A Cessnock Church of England minister (Reverend W. Childs) to-day described mass dismissals at northern coalmines as a threat to family life in coalfield communities.

Mr Childs, minister at St John’s church in Cessnock, claimed that the “ breadwinners “ of many families on the coalfields had been forced to spend too much time away from home because of the dismissals. “These men are unable to devote the same time to the paternal care of their families as they have been doing “, Mr Childs said. “ Some have had to sacrifice their homes to find other jobs “.

Mr Childs said that coalfields clergymen believed that this effect on family life was the worst aspect of the mine dismissals. “ The word ‘ insecurity ‘ describes the present position on the coalfields “, he said. “ Men who have had a lifetime in the coal-mining industry now find that they have to start off from scratch in another industry. For months, hundreds of men here have been waiting for the axe to come every Friday “.

Mr Childs said that a delegation of coalfields’ clergymen would meet trade union officials in Newcastle to-morrow to discuss the effects of mine dismissals and other aspects of trade union affairs.

He said he believed that this was the first meeting of this kind ever arranged in the north.

*’ We want to discuss everything dealing with the worker-trade union relations “, he said.

Mr Childs said there were possibly three solutions to the present problem on the coalfields.

These were action by the Commonwealth Government to eliminate unfair competition from oil, the establishment of a major industry on the coalfields to supplement the coal industry and the provision of a much improved transport system to cater for coalfields men travelling to their nlaces of employment in Newcastle and other areas.

Mr Bowden:

– Who is Mr. Childs?


– He is a Church of England clergyman at Cessnock. He is interested in the welfare of the future citizens of this country, but this Government is not and never has been. I ask the Government to do something immediately to relieve this chaotic situation which has not been caused by the recent credit squeeze. It first became apparent in 1952, and has continued to worsen. Since 1952, approximately 9,000 men have been retrenched from tie coal industry in the northern part of my electorate. Approximately fifteen mines have been closed down, until to-day there are only three still operating. Pelaw Main, with 150 employees, recently closed down, and in the next few days, Bellbird, with 80 men will close, leaving millions of tons of high-quality coal untouched. This coal is equal to the best quality gas coal in the world.

As imported residual oil is permitted to be used in gas-making in large quantities in Sydney and Melbourne, why cannot this Government institute the production of gas in large quantities on the coal-fields and pipe it to Sydney, Canberra, or various centres in New South Wales and thus provide cheaper gas to consumers, instead of carting residual gas and coal to Sydney by sea and rail? I urge this Government to undertake such a project as soon as possible. A vicious campaign is taking place in this country, initiated and waged by the wealthy oil monopolies, against the coal industry, and it is having very detrimental results. The work farce at Kurri, Cessnock and Lithgow has been reduced to an all-time low, due to unfair competition of the oil monopolies on traditional coal markets.

The coal industry has progressively declined since oil refining was commenced on a large scale in Australia. The object of the oil refining companies overseas is to produce the maximum amount of petrol and light oils, but in Australia the average oil refinery is producing approximately 40 per cent, of heavy oil, and these companies refuse to spend more capital on cracking plants by which this figure could be reduced to 10 per cent, of heavy oils. I am reliably informed that the Vacuum Oil Company Proprietary Limited is to build a refinery in South Australia without any cracking plant whatever. As the result of these conditions and the excessive price charged the Australian public for petrol, the coal industry is suffering from this unfair competition. The oil companies are under-cutting in industries where coal-fired boilers are used. The minimum price listed for fuel oil is £9 10s. a ton, plus handling charges, but there is no top or maximum price fixed. In a certain hotel in Sydney, where the boiler cannot be fired by coal or coke, the proprietor is charged £21 8s. 6d. a ton for fuel oil. If that is not exploitation I do not know what is; but this Government stands for it. This Government will not offend powerful monopolies because, as I and other members on this side of the House suspect, they contribute generously to the election campaign funds of the Government parties. Let us look at the interstate coal market.

Imperial Chemical Industries of Australia and New Zealand Limited, Adelaide, has been quoted a price of about £6 15s. a ton for crude oil by British Petroleum Australia Limited and the Shell Company of Australia Limited. Unless something is done at government level to protect the coal industry. Imperial Chemical Industries will be forced to change over to oil when the existing coal contract expires early next year. At the present time this company is using 50,000 tons of New South Wales coal per annum, and its expansion programme includes new boilers which would consume a minimum of 90,000 tons per annum. These boilers have been ordered and designed to use coal. However, after this low quote for fuel oil was received it was decided to delay the installation until a decision is made as to whether the boilers are to be fired with oil or coal.

In Victoria, the Geelong Gas Company proposes to convert to oil, commencing 1st July, 1961, which will mean a drop in coal consumption of 20,000 tons per annum. I think the company’s present consumption is 40,000 tons of coal a year. This will have dropped in eighteen months to nil.

Australian Cement Limited, Geelong, has received a quote from the Shell Company of Australia Limited of £6 12s. a ton delivered into the works, as a firm price for five years. The company has not yet made a decision on this offer, as it feels that perhaps Government action may be taken against the dumping policy of the oil companies. This company is being supplied at the present time with about 200,000 tons of New South Wales coal per annum, and a new expansion programme, expected to reach the operational stage in 1963, would, if designed for the use of coal, result in the consumption of a further 100,000 tons per annum.

Australian Consolidated Industries Limited had decided to design its new sheet glass plant in Victoria to operate on coal. This decision was based on a ten years contract, with a rise-and-fall clause. At the time the decision was made, the competing oil price was the lowest list price, namely £9 10s. a ton. Last month, however, the company received an offer of fuel oil at £6 12s. a ton, which has caused it to consider planning for the use of oil rather than coal.

All sections of the coal industry have directed attention to the dumping policy of the oil companies and have requested government action to be taken in both Federal and State spheres. It is painfully obvious that the oil monopolies are dumping their oil fuel only because they are overcharging for petrol. When they have destroyed the coal industry the people using fuel oil will then find that the oil companies will force them to pay through the nose for fuel, because there will be no competitor.

Mr Killen:

– Do you believe that?


– Every man on this side of the House, and, I believe, every man on the Government side, is aware of the position. The difference between us is that we are prepared to raise our voices and denounce this kind of practice, but Government members are afraid that if they do so they will be relegated to the back benches.

The honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Stokes) spoke of his consternation at the housing shortage in his electorate. While we are on the subject of housing, let me say that there is a shocking thing happening in the electorate of Robertson, which adjoins my electorate.

Mr Killen:

– It is a very well represented electorate.


– I will have something to say about you in a minute. You ‘be careful!

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. John McLeay).Order! The honorable member should direct his remarks to the Chair, not to the honorable member for Moreton.


– The position is that the air base at Rathmines is being closed down. The installation and the unit will be taken over by the Department of the Interior. There is enough accommodation available to house at least 1,000 persons. An acute housing problem exists in the electorate of Robertson, as in the electorate of Hunter, but, although I respect the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Dean), I must say that I have never heard him raise his voice in this House to suggest that the Rathmines air base should be converted for the use of people in dire need of housing in the electorates of Hunter, Newcastle, Shortland and Robertson. I know what will happen to the Rathmines air base. It will be closed down, and the white ants will be allowed to eat the buildings. The installation will then be sold as junk, to the likes of L. J. Hooker Limited, which is another one of our powerful monopolies. The Air Force has had lawn mowers at the air base to keep the grounds as attractive as any in Canberra itself, but on Wednesday week they will all be sold. Thousands of beds are to be sold. I have said before that if this air base were converted for use as a home for the aged, the infirm, the weak or the weary, it would represent a living monument to a Government with sufficient vision to take such action. But this Government has no intention of doing what I suggest, because it ‘has as much sympathy for the weak, the poor or the weary as this book in front of me has for snipe shooting.

I urge the Government, if it is not too late to do so, to do something along the lines I have suggested with regard to the coal industry and also with regard to the Rathmines air base. In this way it would be something constructive, instead of merely aiding the importers that have been bringing in luxury goods and reducing our overseas reserves to a frightening figure. It would be doing something for the pioneers of this nation who have suffered from depression and deprivation time and again.

Mr Curtin:

– What is the honorable member for Robertson doing about it?


– He has done nothing, to my knowledge.

Mr Dean:

– Break it down!


– You have done nothing to have the Rathmines base converted for use as a home for the aged, or as a physical fitness camp for our youths, the citizens of to-morrow. Not one member on the Government side of the House has contemplated the use of this air base as homes for the people who have done so much in pioneering our country.

One need only go up to the Williamtown air base to see the waste that the Government allows. There are bulldozers, graders, scarifiers and all kinds of earth-moving equipment that could be used to improve our roads and reduce the increasing road toll. This machinery is worth many thousands of pounds, but the Government has not arranged for its use since the completion of the extension of the airstrip at Williamtown. It is merely lying there, rusting away, while men are unemployed who could be taught rn a few weeks to operate the equipment and use it for improving our roads and saving the lives of worthy Australians who are being slaughtered on the roads day after day.

I have brought to the notice of the Government many matters that are of vital importance to my electorate and to the nation. There is one other matter to which I wish to refer. I have had numerous complaints from poultry-farmers and poultryprocessors in the Singleton and Dungog areas and in parts of the Paterson electorate, who are on the verge of bankruptcy because of the lifting of import restrictions.

Mr Calwell:

– Canned chickens!


– Yes, £3,000,000 worth of canned chicken has been brought into this country since the lifting of import restrictions, and 300,000 lb. of canned chicken was sold in Sydney in the few weeks before Christmas. Years ago the Development Bank encouraged men to go into the poultry-growing and poultryprocessing industries. Later the Government lifted import restrictions, and this has resulted in great hardship. Poultry-farmers now rear chickens quickly, so that they are ready for killing at the age of twelve weeks. The poultry farms are chockablock with stock which cannot be killed. These chickens have got to be maintained, and they. are simply eating their heads off while feed bills are soaring. Freezing works are filled to capacity. This has all come about because of the Government’s action in lifting import restrictions. When the people are given the opportunity to exercise their democratic rights towards the end of this year, they will show their strong disapproval of this Government, not only in Paterson, but also in every other Liberalheld electorate in Australia.


.- Mr. Speaker, I would like to join with others in offering my very sincere congratulations to the honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp) and the honorable member for Calare (Mr. England) on their maiden speeches in moving and seconding, respectively, the adoption of the Address-in-Reply. Without detracting from the speech of the honorable member for Calare, I would like to say that certain aspects of the speech by the honorable member for Higinbotham struck me as being of a standard which every one of us in this place would do well to follow. So forgive me if I try to follow the lead which I feel he gave.

Sir, the reaction of the negative mind to His Excellency’s Speech is a picture of gloom, for the very essence of negative thinking is despair, decay and destruction. The constructive mind, however, recognizes it as a challenge to the skills of human endeavour and, subject only to that limitation, confidently accepts it as such. I believe, Sir, that a necessary first step towards meeting this challenge is a long overdue readjustment of our mental attitudes in this House. Each day we assemble and ask for divine guidance in the discharge of our high and important duties and thereafter truly demonstrate that what we really seek is not divine guidance but party supremacy. We fail to recognize that the Australian people are becoming tired of the utter futility of party warfare. Indeed, the death rattles of the party system in its present form are becoming more audible. Unless we apply ourselves with a new and dedicated vigour to the solving of the major problem of our age, then it will be but a matter of time before the party system will strangle us in its death struggles.

What is the major problem of our time? lt is that the physical sciences are developing at a rate which is faster than the present apparent capacity of the social sciences to keep pace. This leads me to make a statement of certain fundamentals: Surely no parliament can endure if its purpose - the very reason for its existence - is replaced by mere form and procedure. Before it is too late, we must restate and relearn the true purpose of parliament. There have been many definitions, but to me the most basic is that government and parliament should so administer the country’s affairs that its people will be able more easily and rapidly to achieve the fulfilment of Micah 4, verse 4, which states: -

But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid:

The responsibility for the fatal condition into which parliament is so obviously drifting rests equally with the people, the press and the parliamentarians. It rests with the people because of their complete indifference to and lack of interest in the work of parliament and parliamentarians; with the press because of its continued destructive criticism of both the real and alleged failures and faults of parliament and parliamentarians which, in turn, induces a greater indifference by the people of Australia; and with parliamentarians because, broadly speaking, we have failed to learn how to overcome the weakness of party politics.

Sir, I turn next to the question of the purpose of our economic system. I believe that the sole reason for the existence of an economic system is that it shall produce and distribute with a maximum of efficiency and a minimum of effort goods and services as, when, and where required by members of the community. Maximum efficiency and minimum effort, of course, involve consideration, on the one hand, of matters of cost and, on the other, the continuous application of the ever-increasing sum total of scientific and technical knowledge. As the largest single element in cost is labour, it follows naturally that the employer continuously endeavours to cut his labour costs by replacement, as far as possible, with modern methods of technology. The trade union movement, recognizing this advance of technology or, as it is sometimes called, automation, has become seriously alarmed at the inroads that automation is making and will continue to make, especially in the field of unskilled labour.

This raises the problem of what we can do with the unemployable unskilled labour, both of the present and the future. At this point, I should like to remind the House and the nation of the prophetic statement made by Professor Soddy, Professor of Physics at the Oxford University in the year 1928. He said-

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, scientists are hard at work inventing new labour saving devices to shift the burden of toil from men to machines, and on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays foolish politicians are hard at work inventing new jobs to put them back to work again.

Assuredly, this problem will increasingly face every government in Australia. The genius of man, in the fields of science and technology, has been directed towards the elimination of the unskilled and the semiskilled worker in the production and the distribution of goods and services. In this respect, its increasing success is unarguable. On the other hand, the trade unions and the governments have not yet been successful in developing methods and techniques to take advantage of the results of man’s ingenuity.

I turn, now, to certain related problems. With approximately two-thirds of Australia’s population concentrated along approximately one-third of Australia’s coastline of 12,700 miles, one must recognize that in our empty north we are faced with an absolutely untenable situation which offers us but three costly alternatives. First, can we persuade large sections of the coastal populations in the east and the south to shift homes and jobs to Australia’s great north? If we cannot do that, then dare we consider the question of a multi-racial population of the north? The third alternative is to leave the position exactly as it is and thereby surrender, in the minds of others, our right to maintain possession of our northern mainland.

It may be that we shall have to offer to great firms and companies who are prepared to develop towns and population in the north special tax concessions or, possibly, forms of subsidy which would enable them fully to recover their capital outlay before meeting any considerations of tax. We may also have to offer taxation concessions, possibly for fifteen or twenty years, to people who will be prepared to live in and develop the north. Such concessions, of course, would mean that somebody else would have to pay for them either through loans, through taxation, or both. This may not be palatable to many people on the eastern and southern coastlines. But I believe that we can no longer rest secure each night in our own homes on the assumption that the north does not matter.

Sooner or later, Australia’s concentrated population with centralized commerce, business and industry will have to pay for the north one way or another. The vital question is this: When and in which way do we want to pay? Much has been written and spoken with respect to road and cattle development in our north. While wholeheartedly supporting development, I am not very happy about an approach which appears to me to lack scientific reality. With some personal knowledge of much of our great north from the western coast to the eastern, I am convinced that with a drastic revision of present cattle policy there is no practical or scientific reason why Australia cannot rapidly become the world’s provider of beef.

It is an urgent national target to develop all-year-round coastal fattening and killing from Wyndham in Western Australia right around the north and down the Queensland coastline. There is no reason why the abattoirs already established around that perimeter, with additional works at Darwin and possibly Normanton, cannot be kept in continuous operation. The key word to that development has been frequently stressed by the honorable member for Herbert (Mr.

Murray). It is nutrition. If necessary, more money, materials and scientists must be allocated to the urgent task of developing nutritious grasses and legumes that will flourish in both the wet and dry coastal regions. We must solve this problem. Then cattle-raisers may breed their cattle in the hinterland, wean, transport and fatten in the areas surrounding the killing centres. It is useless saying it cannot be done; it must be done at speed. No matter what we spend to achieve it, the rewards are great. Failure is just unthinkable.

Once a policy on the cattle industry is decided and we know what we are working towards, the obvious next step is to investigate what actual new and potential forms of ground transport are now or shortly will be available. Then we must lay down a road policy tailored to meet such transport requirements. We must not build roads and then decide our transport policy. If, as I believe, desirable, practicable and economic forms of off-the-road transport are available or are awaiting financial backing for speedy development, then we must lose no time in putting them to the test in and under the conditions of Australia’s vast outback. To the extent that they economically prove themselves, we shall reduce the mileage of expensive road building and maintenance that is required. Condemnation before investigation is a criminal bar to progress; so let the theoretical critics remain silent until off-the-road transport has been properly and widely tested.

Coupled with all this is the question of oil and minerals. Recognizing that unless we find oil Australia is committed to an over-increasing drain and strain on its overseas funds, the Government Members Mining Committee suggested that the Government should encourage various groups through a subsidy system to investigate Australia’s oil geology as a basis for a scientific approach to oil search. In no time, some 42 groups were spread throughout Australia in a planned, systematic geological probing never previously known in our history. In 1959, we put down 51 probing wells. Of course, the United States of America averaged something like 156 a day. Last year, we drilled fewer than twelve holes. The reason for the drop in drilling is simple. We have just about all the oil geological knowledge we require and, subject to further government subsidies being available, we are now ready to get down to the serious business of drilling for oil. I believe, from my own investigation and studies, that we will strike commercial oil within the next twelve or eighteen months, and that we will strike it in Queensland somewhere in the vast electorate of the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Brimblecombe).

Next comes the question of minerals. Without doubt, Australia is a land blessed by God. We do not yet know the full extent of our mineral resources but we know that they are vast. I believe that apart from mineral extraction we must develop an overall national plan for concentrated research into new uses for our minerals such as lead. It is one thing to produce a mineral and another to find a use for it. One of the most immediate questions involving minerals applies to tin. At present, the search for tin deposits, either alluvial or lode, rs inadequate. I beg the Government to place tin on exactly the same basis as oil and gold with respect to taxation. This is an urgent matter if the tin industry is to survive and grow.

Sir, in conclusion, I offer these final thoughts: Think deep! Is this wonderful heaven-blest country of ours sunk in economic distress as many calamity howlers would have us believe? In the midst of the ever-increasing marvels of science and technology, surely we are not so devoid of initiative, skill and plain horse-sense that we cannot put to practical use God’s promise -

I have come that ye may have life and have it more abundantly.

Surely we are not so divorced from political morality that we cannot demonstrate our true functions as parliamentarians -

He who would be greatest among ye, let him be the servant of all.


.- The Administrator’s Speech contained promises of full employment and remedial plans to offset the detrimental effects of the Government’s credit squeeze policy, but newspaper headlines are still announcing the dismissal of workers. Evidently, the Government is not succeeding in restoring the confidence of the people with its promises. Any go vernment worth its salt should be able to provide a job for every willing worker. We on the Opposition side are sorry that that is not the case at present. Ultimately, responsibility is not possible without an assured continuity of employment. Australia as a country is almost self-sufficient. The honorable member for Griffith (Mr. Chresby) talked about God’s gifts to Australia; and I know they exist. As the honorable member said, we have great natural resources. With proper management - which is not forthcoming from this Government - efficient exploitation and just distribution of our resources, we have sufficient to provide jobs for all, with a good standard wage adequate to provide food and clothing and the necessaries of life, and enough left over to enable every family to own a home in a reasonable time.

However, that is not the case at present. The Menzies Government has had ample opportunities to attain those standards for every Australian family. In the words of an Australian colloquial phrase, the Government has had a great trot. It has enjoyed eleven continuous years of office. During that time, our primary industries which form the backbone of our economy, have had splendid seasons. Wheatgrowers and agriculturists of every kind have had splendid crops year after year. Stock-owners have benefited from bountiful rains, and losses from flood and tempest have been negligible. Secondary industry has also shared in the good fortune that flowed from the prosperity of our primary industries. Despite all the advantages it has had, despite the great buoyancy of the economy, the present Government has let the people down. The first responsibility of any good government is to ensure security for the people’s families. The first charge on the national economy should be family security, for that is the right of all Australians. No section of the community should expect to be served until after each family is properly and adequately provided for. We see nothing in the Administrator’s Speech calculated to promote family security, and I join with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) who says that, to tell the story properly, one must start at the beginning. To tell the story briefly and honestly, one need only say that this Government has been a complete failure from start to finish.

The story of the present Administration commenced in 1949, after eight splendid years of Labour government, first under the leadership of the late Mr. Curtin, and then under the leadership of the late Mr. Chifley. During those eight years we had a period of great achievement and advancement in every field. First, under the late Mr. Curtin, the Labour government piloted Australia through a very difficult war period. It will be remembered that the present Government, led by Mr. Menzies, broke down under the strain when Australia faced the threat of invasion from the Japanese. When the Menzies Government broke down, the late Mr. Curtin was asked to take over and, under his administration, Australia successfully prosecuted a magnificent war effort.

Then, under the late Mr. Chifley, in the early post-war years, the Labour Government successfully piloted Australia through the difficult transition from war to peace. That period has been referred to by people everywhere as the golden era, an era when unemployment and adverse trade balances were things unheard of. I am confident that when the history of the post-war years is recorded by unbiased authors, Labour’s achievement in demobilizing over 1,000,000 servicemen and servicewomen from the three armed services and placing them in civilian employment will be emphasized. We all remember the benefits that followed from the introduction of the post-war reconstruction scheme and other training schemes, which enabled men and women from the services to attain high and responsible positions in private enterprise and in the Public Service, positions which they had never hoped to attain but which, because of those schemes, they are now filling with the greatest of efficiency.

Unhappily for the people of Australia, the Labour Government went out of office in 1949. In that year, the people fell for the Menzies promises - promises which have never been honoured. In 1949, when the Labour Government went out of office, Australia’s position, both internally and externally, was sounder than it had ever been. Statistics published throughout the world show clearly that during the years when Labour was in office, the increase in the cost of living was smaller in Australia than in any other country in the world. At that time, every worker, whether skilled or unskilled, had a job. As a matter of fact, there were jobs to spare. At that time, the workers could choose their positions. At that time, also, Australia’s balance of payments stood at over £800,000,000. Her credit was sound and, for the first time in her history, Australia was able to pay £100,000,000 off her overseas debt. In addition to that, the Chifley Government made a gift of £35,000,000 to the United Kingdom Government to help tide it over a most difficult period when it was struggling to recover from the devastating effects of a recently conducted war effort. At the time, when our overseas balances stood at £800,000,000, the Australian £1 was worth 20s., not 5s., or even less, as it is to-day under the present Government. As against £800,000,000 in 1949, our overseas balances to-day are at the alltime low of £299,000,000 plus, I understand, £60,000,000 in gold reserves.

Several months ago, when our overseas balances were much higher, the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen) said that our economy was balanced on a razor’s edge, and that we could crash at any moment. As against that, I remind honorable members that in 1949, when the Labour Government left office, it left the present Government a solid foundation upon which to build, yet this Government has made no use whatever of the real opportunity it has had to promote economic stability and social security for all. Instead of consolidating, the present Government has been tottering and jittering along for eleven years.

For instance, the story of import restrictions is well known to us all. This Government’s policy of on and off, go and stop, fits and starts, of on again, off again, gone again Finnigan, is typical of its actions from the beginning of 1949. If reports are correct, this Government’s vacillation has speeded up a little. For instance, its intention to enforce compulsory loans from insurance companies and superannuation funds proved abortive - the proposal was off before it ever got on. Its disgraceful, dishonest sales tax proposal did see the light of day. It was on for 90 days, and by it the Government defrauded the Australian people of £3,200,000. The way in which the Government reacts to pressure when it comes from the right quarter is remarkable. If bankers, brokers or big business make requests, they are met with ready acquiescence, whereas requests from representatives of the workers or the pensioners are rejected, as the general rule.

Let me return now to the Prime Minister’s 1949 policy speech. It was full of rosy promises. The Leader of the Opposition has already mentioned the most important of them - the promise to put value back into the Australian £1. Honorable members on the Government side are inclined to be cynical when we mention this, but I think it is the crucial point. Because of this Government’s procrastination, it is impossible to do anything about restoring the value of the Australian £1 now. It has depreciated too far to be restored completely, but it is not yet too late to endeavour to hold the present value of our currency. If some attempt is not made to hold the value of the £1 where it is, an economic crash is inevitable. This galloping deterioration of the value of the £1 under the Menzies Government would be laughable if it were not so tragic. It is tragic because it is seriously affecting so many honest, loyal citizens who deserve a better fate. It has had a serious detrimental effect upon Commonwealth bond investors, life assurance investors, small property investors, contributors to superannuation and pension funds, and those who have saved in order to have something by for a rainy day or to keep them in the declining years of their lives. All these people, together with the age and invalid pensioners, widows and repatriation pensioners, have seen their conditions broken down because of the depreciation in the purchasing power of the Australian £1 under the Menzies Government, or as it is more commonly called, inflation.

Other promises made by Mr. Menzies in his policy speech have yet to be implemented. One of these is the promise of constitutional reform, and every sensible person knows how important that is. We were also promised full employment. Instead of full employment and homeownership, we have had growing unemployment and an acute shortage of homes. Mr. Menzies also promised that costs of production would be reduced to enable us to enter new overseas markets. Instead of lower costs, we have had ever-increasing costs which have priced us out of all overseas markets. In the industrial field, the Prime Minister said that we would have higher real wages. That is another promise equivalent to the promise to put value back into the £1, and that has not been fulfilled. He said there would be profit-sharing, incentive payments and joint consultation on the job. On the development of our resources, he said -

We remain warm advocates of a Ministry of Development so as to concentrate effort upon the expansion of our productive resources.

Then he promised to pay much needed attention to more remote and undeveloped areas, such as the Northern Territory, the north of Queensland and the north-west of Western Australia. The honorable member for Griffith spoke about this matter and said that he supported the Prime Minister, but the Prime Minister is not doing anything to develop these areas.

If we have a look at these areas, we will find that the Government has done nothing to develop them. As a matter of fact, only two development projects have been undertaken by the Government. One is the Snowy Mountains project, which was started by the Labour Government. Members of the present Government parties sneered at the scheme when it was mentioned first and refused to attend the official opening. If it had not been for the Labour Party, the project would not have been started. The only development in Queensland is the Tinaroo irrigation scheme. The Labour Government of Queensland started this. It is the only scheme started and completed in northern Queensland. All the Menzies Government’s promises have proved to be hollow and they remain unfulfilled.

In February, the Australian Council of Trade Unions brought a deputation to Canberra to meet the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) and to bring to his notice the serious unemployment position that had resulted from the Government’s credit squeeze. The deputation had little satisfaction. The Treasurer acknowledged the seriousness of the position, but warned that it would become worse. We now know that the Treasurer was right and the position has become much worse. T shall read some newspaper headlines which give an idea of the position. There are more horrifying headlines, but these will serve to show what is happening. One read, “ 60,000 textile hands face loss of pay “. They will either be retrenched or will work a shorter week.

Mr Curtin:

– In what newspaper does that appear?


– The Hobart “Mercury”. The Sydney “ Sun “ reported that the Premier of New South Wales was upset and disturbed because skilled workers were leaving New South Wales. These men had lost their jobs m industry because of the credit squeeze. On a previous occasion, unemployed workers had to travel to New Zealand to find work. Then, a friend of the Government is reported as having said that 150,000 may lose their jobs. He said -

Unemployment could rise to between 150,000 and 200,000 as the result of the measures adopted by the Federal Government last November.

This was said by the noted economist, Sir Douglas Copland, who is a friend of the Government. At the deputation to the Treasurer, Mr. Monk, the president of the A.C.T.U., made some practical suggestions to correct the tragedy of unemployment and the financial stresses that exist. In my opinion, his suggestions provide the only means of correcting the position. He said that price control should be introduced, profits should be limited and many profits not at present subject to taxation should be brought within the field of taxation. He advocated the institution of a capital gains tax, the control of hire purchase and the limitation of profits made from it. He pointed out that measures to curb hire purchase would counteract the loss of purchasing power and would expand the real purchasing power of money by increasing real wages. He suggested that more credit be made available at low interest rates to promote home building and that effective action be taken to channel the necessary finance for the construction of schools, hospitals and essential public works.

I am sorry that time does not permit me to elaborate on these points, but in my opinion the suggestions made by the leader nf the trade union movement would not only curb unemployment but would also prevent its occurring again. They would, further, restrict inflation. However, it is well known that this Government takes little notice of suggestions made on behalf of workers and pensioners. It responds only to pressure from insurance companies, private bankers, brokers, big business and leading monopolists. As a matter of fact, t is well known that this group runs the Government and unless the Government responds to pressure from these people, it will lose office. I think the group is getting sick of the Government.

Earlier, I mentioned the sound economy built up by the Labour Party before it went out of office in 1949. The Labour Party succeeded in doing this because it had power under national security war-time regulations to control prices and costs. The Government’s statistical records show that from 1940 to 1949 the cost of living increased on the average by about 5 per cent., and from 1949 to 1959, under this Government, the increase average about 10 per cent. These are points that should be remembered. If the community is to benefit by experience, the Government should look back at the state of the nation’s economy from 1946 to 1948. I believe that the root of our economic trouble is to be found in the cost structure. I know that Government spokesmen will repeat, as they have done for the past eleven years, *he old excuse that the Government does not possess the necessary constitutional powers. However, it is time that the Government realized its responsibility, and sought from the people, by way of referendum, the powers that it needs. If the position were properly explained, I am sure that the people would grant any request of the Government for more powers. The Government should cease treating the people as a pack of gullible irresponsibles. It should take some positive steps to prevent Australia’s economic position from worsening.

It is obvious that the measures taken by the Government last November and some time before that have failed to achieve their objective. Let us examine them. First, sales tax on motor vehicles was increased and this has already been abandoned because it failed. Then the requirement that 30 per cent, of the funds of insurance companies must be invested in Commonwealth loans has been abandoned. The credit squeeze, which is still with us and which has resulted in unemployment, is causing economic chaos. Finally, the adjustment in the deductibility for income tax purposes of interest payments is under review. The Treasurer, apparently, is to have more talks with the hire-purchase industry in an attempt to unravel the tangle of Government thinking on this matter, lt appears likely that the right brand of pressure will be applied and this measure will be abandoned or modified.

The only other matter is the lifting of import restrictions. This also has proved a failure. It is creating unemployment in Australia but is creating employment for foreigners in other countries. It is also having its effect on our balance of payments. Our overseas balances are now at their lowest level of £299,000,000 and they are likely to decrease further.

I believe that this monopolistic and capitalistic system which this Government has been trying to prop up for the past eleven years is coming to the end of its reign. Not all the barracking of 74 members opposite and all their friends can save this system. It is a system of capitalism that is failing all over the world to help the many who are poor and it can never be saved for the few who are rich. It is like a perished tube; as fast as one hole is patched, it blows out somewhere else. I am glad that the election is to be held this year. I believe that the people now realize the mistake that they made in 1949 when they missed a great opportunity to keep in office a government that would have done many things to help the country. I am sure that they will return Labour to office in December next so that it can once again do the things that it was doing so splendidly before it left office in 1949.

Sitting suspended from 5.S5 to 8 p.m.

Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to associate myself with the programme for the progress of Australia outlined in the Administrator’s Speech. That programme represents this Government’s approach to the development of Australia and it outlines the actions which it proposes to take to protect the economy. Many aspects of the Speech have been touched upon by preceding speakers. In the main,

I want to refer to two particular statements contained in it. The Administrator stated: -

In the economic sphere, it remains the firm aim of the Government to maintain soundly based national expansion, immigration and full employment . . .

The attainment of our national objective of expansion must go hand in hand with an expansion of our export trade. Positive steps are being taken to improve Australia’s external trading position.

In the penultimate paragraph of the Speech,

His Excellency said -

I spoke earlier of the need to develop quickly this country’s capacity to export. National development has always been a major objective, and indeed an achievement of my advisers. As a further contribution to national growth and the development of exports, the Government is considering some important specific development proposals, and will co-operate with the States concerned in detailed planning so that, as circumstances allow, actual construction may proceed without delay. The projects under particular and sympathetic consideration are road development in the north; improved port and loading facilities to assist the coal export trade; standardization of important railways in South Australia’ and Western Australia; and proposals to stimulate the search for oil and minerals generally.

I want to say something about the proposal respecting roads in the north which is contained in the last-mentioned paragraph. I think it is recognized even more to-day than in our earlier pioneering days that adequate transport is essential to the opening up and developing of the country. I am happy that the Government is favorably disposed towards the State of Queensland and will co-operate with it in the development of transport. The Commonwealth will also accept its own responsibilities in the Northern Territory and, in association with the Western Australian and Queensland Governments, has in hand a proposal to link roads in western and northern Queensland with the roads system of the Northern Territory and, in turn, with that of the northern part of Western Australia. As has been mentioned, the Government’s proposals embrace the standardization of the gauges of important railways in South Australia and Western Australia.

These proposals in themselves may not directly bring about so much development as will be caused by the industries encouraged by them. I should mention, also, the rehabilitation of the railway between Townsville and Mount Isa, in northern Queensland. This will be like a shot in the arm to the northern part of the

State. The operations of Mount Isa Mines Limited and other companies there have brought life and hope to the north of that great State. In addition, there is the potential for development arising out of the opening up of the Weipa bauxite field. We hope that that field will be developed as successfully as forecasts would lead us to believe. The provision of adequate means of transport by road and rail encourages settlers to invest their money and their efforts because it affords them means of marketing their products. One of the possibilities that the Government has in mind as a result of this programme of road development is the expansion of beef production. Every one knows the great difficulties involved in marketing beef from animals which are pastured so far from the markets. But the latest methods of transport by road, rail and other means make marketing much more economical and enable better beef to be put on the market because the beasts do not lose so much weight and condition through being walked out. I shall have something more to say about beef later, but I think we all can agree that the expansion of the output of this commodity would be of great benefit to us.

I want to deal briefly with the wool situation now. The 1960-61 clip totalled 1,600,000,000 lb.- somewhat less than the record clip of the preceding season, which totalled 1,690,000.000 lb., but still about 10 per cent, higher than the average production in the five years 1954-55 to 1958-59 inclusive. Estimates place the decline in the gross value of the 1960-61 clip at £67,000,000. This will be offset by an increase of approximately the same amount in the sales of other commodities owing to increased values of those commodities, of which I mention three. Wheat is expected to bring in £42,000,000 more in 1960-61 than in the previous year, barley £10,000,000 more and sugar £5,000,000 more. The volume of exports of primary products should reach the second highest total ever achieved - only 2 per cent, or 3 per cent, below the record level of 1959-60. But the total output of primary products is a record.

I turn now to the wheat industry in particular. We have just harvested a crop of about 265,000,000 bushels of wheat- easily a record - of which about 250,000,000 bushels will reach the Australian Wheat Board. A percentage, of course, is always retained on the farms for seed and other purposes. There will be a record overdraft of £125,000,000 to meet the first advance. If we add the administrative expenses, we get a total of approximately £150,000,000. Payments to the growers will exceed the total of last year by about £26,000,000. At the end of the last wheat season, we had a surplus of 60,000,000 bushels, with a bank overdraft of about £30,000,000, and I think it is fortunate indeed that new markets have opened up this year. To date, sales to mainland China have totalled 1,050,000 tons of wheat and 40,000 tons of flour. In addition, China has bought our surplus production of barley, amounting to about 300,000 tons, and 50,000 tons of oats.

Returning to the subject of wheat, Italy has opened up as a market, to our advantage this year, because of adverse seasonal conditions there. Normally, Italy is an exporter of wheat, but this year she has taken, to date, 450,000 tons from Australia. These sales are in addition to sales on our traditional markets. It seems that, even without any extra new sales, our carry-over this season will not exceed the surplus holding at the end of the last wheat year. We have from now until the end of November to sell additional quantities, and the prospects are bright for our doing so.

Butter production, estimated this year to be about 180,000 tons, will be about 15,000 tons less than last year’s production. Cheese production will be about 43,000 tons, much the same as last year’s. The reduction in butter output was caused by the dry conditions in Queensland and northern New South Wales and, quite recently, in the western districts of Victoria. The instability of an export market applies particularly to butter. Over the last three years, as honorable members will recall, the export butter price was as low as 205s. sterling, rose to 409s. and is now back to 249s. At the moment the market has firmed, and we are selling substantial quantities, but the seasonal flush in Europe has not yet started. 1 said that I would mention something more about meat. The Bureau ofAgricul tural Economics says that the outlook for the beef industry is particularly bright. Prices are still high, and demand both abroad and at home is still strong compared with the available supplies. Beef output this year is expected to reach 700,000 tons, or about 67,000 tons less than last year’s output. I think that the figure in our record selling year two years ago was over 900,000 tons. I am not quite sure of the figure, but in that year, when culling was so heavy, we sold quite well on the American market. However, I am pleased to note that there has been no reduction in the breeding of cattle, because statistics show that in spite of heavy sales two years ago the numbers of our beef cows and heifers rose by more than 4 per cent, between 31st March, 1959, and 31st March, 1960.

Primary industry, Mr. Speaker, must be to the forefront in our minds when considering expansion of exports because it already accounts for more than 80 per cent, of this country’s export income. The real problem of our primary industry to-day is to move its products into consumption markets at payable prices. Having regard to competitive marketing, as well as the increased number of suppliers operating against us in overseas markets, production is not now a serious problem for us. The development schemes we have in view will assist in rounding out production, particularly in commodities for which there is a healthy demand, more particularly in regard to beef.

The problem of selling our production is being tackled by the Government on many fronts. I mention only a few. Of course, the wool industry, in its disorganized state - if I may be so brave as to so describe it - is of prime concern. Some agreement has been reached in that industry, and we now have in operation the Wool Marketing Committee of Inquiry. Through the Australian Wool Bureau we have plans for more vigorous promotion on a world scale. I compliment the bureau on its activities and I hope that it will be successful in implementing the promotional scheme that it has in hand.

Then we have the sugar and canning fruits committee of inquiry whose findings, we hope, will assist the sugar and canning fruits industries not only to earn better returns, but also to determine a fair relationship between themselves.

The dairying industry also has its plans for the promotion of its products. A fortnight ago yesterday, I had the honour of opening a research centre in Melbourne which is to act as the nerve centre of a drive to popularize dairy foods. Twelve months ago, the promotional campaign in regard to cheese had a measure of success. Also as part of its promotional activities the dairying industry has established a research library. I wish the industry well in its various promotional ventures, and I feel sure that it will not regret what it has done to encourage sales of its commodities on the domestic market.

The Australian Wheat Board has been very active in its search for new markets - mainland China and Italy are examples of such recently acquired new markets - and has shown great determination to exploit every possible opportunity for the sale of our very huge wheat crop. The present crop is such that, if we had sold only the same quantity of wheat this year as we sold during the last wheat year, we would have been left with a surplus of about 125,000,000 bushels. That would have been serious indeed. Fortunately, because of the new markets opening up, and also because of the board’s energetic activities in selling to these and other markets, it looks as though we are going to be better off, in spite of our record crop, than we were at the end of the previous wheat year last November.

The Australian Meat Board has also been successful in keeping the markets that it has recently won, as well as opening new markets like Japan. We feared at one time that we faced a threat in regard to our sales of meat to America when American mutton and lamb producers succeeded in convincing the United States Tariff Commission that imports of mutton and lamb from Australia and other countries should be subjected to heavy duties. We put our best foot forward as a government, in co-operation with the Australian Meat Board, and secured the co-operation of the American importers, and finally we were successful in convincing the United States Tariff Commission that it should not penalize these imports from this country. Honorable members will readily recognize that had the American mutton and lamb producers won final success before the United States Tariff Commission the matter would not have rested there, but would have had further effects on our overseas sales, because American beef producers might have been emboldened into attempting to secure the same result in regard to beef.

Also engaged in the promotion of sales of primary products is the wine industry’s wine centre in London, in which the Australian Wine Board has an interest. There has also ‘been successful domestic promotion of that commodity. The canning fruits industry is levying itself for promotional purposes.

The Commonwealth Government is contributing to Australian trade publicity in the United Kingdom, and this year the Budget makes provision for £456,000 for that purpose - about one-third of the total being spent on it in the United Kingdom. In addition to the allocation for promotion in the United Kingdom, a total of £301,000 is being contributed to the costs of publicity in other countries. The producers are also contributing substantial sums for promotion through the various commodity boards, and so have played their part, just as the importers in the United Kingdom have also played theirs.

Wool-producers have given the lead in promotion. The trade commissioner service has been expanded in order to help ro open up potential markets and to expand existing markets. The Department of Trade has come more and more into promotion activities so as to help us to sell our goods in markets which are now highly competitive and at times not very favorable for us.

All phases of production and marketing at home and abroad are constantly under critical review. The dairy industry inquiry is a case in point. The Government set up a committee to inquire into the industry’s activities. The committee has furnished its report to the Government and the recommendations contained in the report have been acted upon. I want to emphasize that the Government regards stability of the dairy industry as a very vital factor. That is the basic requirement if any phase of primary production is to succeed. The existing stabilization scheme will end in

June, 1962. The Government will honour to the full its obligations under that scheme, and is prepared to discuss with the industry a further five-year scheme. Of course, no one can commit a government so far ahead, nor would the industry want to commit itself at this stage as to what it may want to be included in the next scheme. The matter is left open for discussion and negotiation in the normal way when the existing scheme comes to an end. The Government will face up to its responsibilities in the interests of the dairy-producers.

The Government is prepared to do what it can to strengthen the equalization scheme that is operating in the dairy industry. Every one knows the difficulties associated with that scheme because of the constitutional position, but no bounty is paid to any factory that does not associate itself with the scheme. That is a very helpful factor in creating a uniform agreement. It is of great benefit to the factories; it is of great benefit to the consumer and undoubtedly it is of great benefit to the producer.

The committee’s report indicated that some dairy-farmers are in unsatisfactory economic circumstances, and it made certain recommendations. The Government wants this situation to be rectified, and it is willing to discuss with the State governments and the industry the question of reconstruction, taking into consideration the views of the industry itself. Obviously, if one wants to obtain the co-operation of an industry and ensure its success, the industry must be taken into partnership. This Government believes in working in partnership with the primary producers.

This brief survey, Mr. Speaker, indicates that the primary producers have met the challenge by increasing production to a record level, and have played their part in assisting the economy. They have had to face increased costs, yet they have not only supplied the domestic market but also have contributed greatly to the export credits of £880,000,000 which it is estimated Australia will receive for this year. They well deserve any assistance that the Government’s economic measures have given them in combating rising costs.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– The other day the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen) declared that the issue between the Government and the Labour Party is the issue between freedom and slavery. He warned that the Labour Party is seeking to change the way of life in Australia. This, he said, is the supreme issue confronting the electors. I believe both statements to be true. I should like to examine for a little while this question of freedom. Certainly, the Labour Party is a party of change. It seeks changes which will increase the freedom and wellbeing of the ordinary family. Already it has effected many changes which have brought this about, and it intends to seek many more.

The proof that the great changes made by the Labour Party have enlarged the area of freedom and security is that while the Liberal and Country Parties bitterly opposed every one of those changes when proposed by a Labour government, their governments have never dared to repeal them. This applies, for example, to age and invalid pensions, child endowment, full employment, compulsory arbitration and public control of the credit system. When Labour passed its banking legislation in 1945, every member of the Liberal and Country Parties then in the House fought it all the way. The legislation had no more violent opponent than the present Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt). That bill took control of the credit system out of the hands of the private banks and placed it in the hands of the Commonwealth Bank, subject to policy direction by the Treasury. When concluding his speech, which fiercely opposed governmental and public control of the credit system, the present Treasurer stated -

In this bill we have an instance of private enterprise being destroyed almost at a blow, and its destruction will involve the destruction of the liberty of the individual. Where private enterprise has flourished, freedom of mind and body has been guaranteed. Where private enterprise has been murdered by collectivist laws and government strangulation, freedom of mind and body has died. This bill strikes a deadly blow at private enterprise and at Parliament. It casts the dark cloud of regimentation across the clear blue sky of Australian freedom.

Mr Duthie:

– Who said that?

Mr Allan Fraser:

– That statement was made by the present Treasurer when opposing the Labour Party’s bill which in 1945 established public control of the credit system. So much for the catch-cry of freedom. Other members of the then Opposi tion parties spoke in similar strain. They pledged themselves to repeal the provision relating to Treasury control of the banking system. Of course, they have never done so, and it is worth mentioning only because experience has made nonsense of what the present Treasurer then said to the Australian Parliament in the name of freedom.

To-day it is recognized on all sides that control of the credit system is essential in the public interest. I do not suppose there is one member left of the then Opposition parties who to-day would deny the value of what the Labour Party was establishing in this country for the first time in peace-time in 1945.

Mr Adermann:

– Does the Labour Party still propose to nationalize the banks?

Mr Allan Fraser:

– The Minister made his speech and I shall make mine, but let me ask him this question: Does he still oppose public control of the credit system?

Mr Adermann:

– I still oppose nationalization of the banks as the Labour Party proposed.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– The Liberal and Country Parties oppose every progressive step that is taken by a Labour government until it is implemented, and then they support it and allow it to continue. Control of the credit system promotes, instead of injuring, the freedom and well-being of the people, and it assists healthy enterprise. To-day, the Treasurer who condemns it so loudly is exercising that same power himself and is justifying it to the hilt. In our view he is exercising that power very clumsily, very inconsistently and very foolishly. He will not use the other controls that should accompany it. By his maladroit use of his powers he has produced an army of 80,000 jobless men, representing 2 per cent, of the labour force. The community is demanding its right to full employment, which can be guaranteed by wise economic control, and the people are incensed at the mismanagement of the Treasurer and of the Government. But the point I wish to make is how greatly public control of the credit system has enlarged the area of personal freedom and security, by comparing the 2 per cent, of unemployment which now shocks the public conscience with the 10 per cent, of unemployment which was taken as inevitable in all the pre-war years of private control of finance and credit and, indeed, the 14 per cent, of unemployment which existed in this country on the day World War II. broke out and the 30 to 32 per cent, of unemployment which existed under the private credit control system throughout the depression years. I hear Government supporters claiming that this happened under a Labour Government. It did not. It came about at a time when the credit system was under the control of a bank board almost entirely made up of representatives of the private financial institutions, which were the supreme rulers of this country throughout those years.

So, it can be seen that when the present Treasurer was denouncing the change to governmental control of the credit system as a blow to freedom, he was referring correctly only to the freedom of the directorates of private banks, many of them with headquarters in London. Their freedom was certainly reduced by the change to public control of the credit system, but the freedom of the ordinary Australian family was immensely enlarged. I make that as the first point I would like to bring to the attenttion of the House. I now quote from a review published in the most recent issue of the “Sunday Mirror”, last Sunday. It says -

Americans spend £500,000,000 a year on food, drugs and cosmetics that have no real benefit.

They are the victims of a vast confidence trick, a conspiracy by manufacturers, promoters and advertising agencies who exploit the despair of the sick, the fear of the healthy and the folly of the vain.

Day after day, week after week, they pay for obesity remedies that do not reduce weight, arthritis cures that do not even relieve the pain of arthritis, no-cholesterol foods that have no bearing on heart disease, toothpastes that do not prevent tooth decay and filter tip cigarettes that do not yield less tar or nicotine and health foods and vitamins that are superfluous.

What exists in America we know exists in this country to-day. So much, then, for the virtues of a free and uncontrolled economy. This is freedom to cheat, to dupe, to exploit and to advance the sacred cause of monetary profit at the expense of human suffering and misery. If the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen) and his supporters wish to take challenge with the Labour Party before the elections on the issue of controls or no con trols on evidence like that, I think the proof is that controls are all in favour of the enlargement of the area of freedom for the individual man in this community, and are only at the expense of unscrupulous profit makers and profit takers. This typical illustration is of immense importance in assessing the statement of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) that for the sake of freedom his Government believes in the absolute minimum of economic controls in the national economy. When he speaks of the issue as being between freedom and slavery, he invites the reply that except for the changes wrought by Labour governments the people would still be enslaved in unemployment and insecurity, and that in the present challenge to the prosperity of the nation, brought about by present Government mismanagement, the economic freedom and safety of the people can only be ensured by the wise exercise of all necessary public controls, because it is no longer a question in this country of controls or no controls. This Government can no longer claim to be a government which does not believe in controls. lt is frankly ridiculous for the Acting Prime Minister to pretend that this Government does not believe in controls. There is no longer any free enterprise party in Australia in terms in which the Liberals were, until recently, able to speak.

Mr Killen:

– Don’t you believe that.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– I note the interjection and make this reply to it: This Government has gone further along the road of controls than any previous government in peace-time Australia. What limit to control can be envisaged when a government, as this one has done, publicly proposes to exact forced loans from insurance companies and superannuation funds? Where is the answer of Government members to that question? Where is the answer of the honorable member who was so loud a few moments ago? I am not speaking of the merits of that proposal, although it is worth noting that not one Liberal or Country Party member rn this House dared to announce his intention to vote against it, even though it violated all his most cherished political convictions. The one Liberal man who dared to do so in another place was threatened with all sorts of penalties and punishments for his audacity.

Mr Adermann:

– Wait until you hear the proposal.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– No, I am not waiting to hear the proposal but am speaking of the terms of the proposal which were publicly announced in this House in November of last year and to which every member of the Government parties, by his silence, gave his assent. True, the Government is now bringing forward something totally different.

Mr Adermann:

– There is no apology for what we are bringing forward.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– You will take whatever is handed out. Whatever Liberal principle of no control of free enterprise once existed in this Parliament no longer exists, and all thoughtful listeners to the debate on the Government side of the House know what I am saying is perfectly true. So, the question for the Australian people is no longer “ controls or no controls “. It is “ What controls? “ In whose interests shall those controls be operated and by what government are they most likely to be operated in the interests of the cause of freedom of this nation as a whole?

It is to this aspect I wish now briefly to turn. The present Government has shown every willingness to exercise control over the freedom of the ordinary people. For example, it has sought to use court control to freeze wages and to keep them down. It has been perfectly willing to use controls there, but it has absolutely refused to seek any controls over costs and prices. It has been ready to control at every stage the activities of the trade unions, but it has failed to take any action whatever to control the power of monopolies in this country. It has been ready to control the incomes of employees, but it has in no way controlled the activities of speculators and commercial profiteers. So far as possible it has kept wages down, but it has let interest rates shoot up. In other words, it has exercised controls, certainly, against the interests of the freedom of the many and in the interests of the freedom of the few. And the freedom that it has given to the few has been freedom to exploit the many.

To support my thesis, I quote an illustration from my recent personal experience as a member of this Parliament. A night or so ago there came to me a 25-year-old man, seeking my aid to obtain housing in Canberra for himself, his young wife and their three-weeks-old baby.

Mr Mackinnon:

– Why did they not see their local member?

Mr Allan Fraser:

– This man did see his local member. Both he and his wife are natives of this city and have grown up here in Canberra. They registered for a house two years and seven months ago, as soon as they became engaged, but still have not been able to obtain one in this city in which this Government has complete financial and economic power. In desperation they have had to move to Queanbeyan, where they are living in a fibro shack with a concrete floor, with unlined walls, with no bath and no drainage and one outside tap which freezes in the winter. In truly dreadful conditions they are endeavouring to make their home and bring up their child. The housing officials in Canberra cannot tell them when a house will be available for them.

Mr Adermann:

– Did a Labour government ever build a house and give it to you? Of course it did not.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– I do not know just what that interjection means. Apparently it means that governments should not build houses and give them to people, even to people in desperate need, such as the ones I have mentioned. The difference between the view of this conservative and reactionary Minister and the view of the people of Australia is most marked, and it will bc clearly demonstrated at election time.

You might say that there is nothing unusual about the case of these young people of whom I have spoken, who are in such dire need of a home for themselves and their three-weeks-old baby. True, there is nothing unusual about it. There are 3,000 families in somewhat similar plight in this national capital. I simply make the observation, when we are discussing controls and personal freedom, that this occurs in an area in which the Federal Government has absolute authority. No question of State powers intervenes. The Federal Government can do everything necessary to provide housing for all its people.

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– We have provided a record number of houses.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– The extent of the neglect of this Government to provide housing in its own areas is staggering. The honorable member for Wannon says that the Government has provided a record number of houses, but the fact remains that in the National Capital there are 3.000 families on the waiting list for houses, and the housing officials can give no indication when houses will be available for them - and this in the only area in Australia in which the Government has complete financial and economic control.

Mr Killen:

– Are all these families in Canberra?

Mr Allan Fraser:

– Yes. But the point I make - and I am glad to see that the honorable member for Moreton is interested in this matter - is that as this young fellow made his desperate appeal to me in my home, we were within 100 yards of a £1,000,000 luxury hotel recently completed in this city, at which any one can stay if he can afford £50 a week. While we are speaking of freedom and controls, let me remind the House that the Government gave freedom to the entrepreneur to build this luxury hotel for the wealthy tourist. It gave him freedom to call upon the money, the material and the labour which would have been sufficient to build more than 100 homes. If this refusal to exercise controls was in the name of Freedom, then it was in truth freedom for the exclusive few at the expense of the freedom of the ordinary Australian family. Would not the freedom of that young family have been increased if control had been exercised to ensure priority in Canberra for home building until homes were available for all the families who needed them - not that one young family alone, but for hundreds like them? The baby would have had a chance to grow up in healthy, instead of most unhealthy, conditions. Did it not deserve that freedom?

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– Where the these 3,000 families homes?

Mr Allan Fraser:

– Every one of them is noted on the waiting list for houses. You can go and examine the housing list for yourself. When the cry of freedom is raised, it is essential to ask whose freedom is involved. What may be freedom for one may be the opposite of freedom for many others, as in the case I have cited. And, I contend, this case illustrates perfectly the policy that the Government is applying throughout the Commonwealth. This Government has no compunction in applying controls against the family, but it firmly refuses to apply controls against its own friends.

In this connexion it is noteworthy that :n the speech made by the Acting Prime Minister, which I have used as the text for these remarks - and I refer to page 104 if “ Hansard “ of 9th March - he was annealing to the friends of the Government not to be completely carried away by any one aspect of the Government’s policy that may hurt them or with which they may not agree. He was warning them - the friends of the Government - that they would be far worse off if the Labour Party regained power, as he said - “ to enable it to change the way of life of the Australian people. That is the critical issue.” I agree that it is, and I ask: Who are the friends of this Government? To whom was the Acting Prime Minister then addressing that frantic appeal the other day? Surely it was the hire-purchase companies, the speculative financiers, the take-over monopolists and their ilk, for over these people the Government has shown itself most unwilling to exercise any control. Instead, it has left those interests free for years to plunder the people until mounting economic problems have forced it into some dilatory and stupid form of action.

The Government knows, and admits it, that the operations of so-called fringe banking institutions have done much to bring about the present disastrous position, yet for two and one-half years it has refused to act on the recommendations to obtain constitutional power to curb those institutions.

Mr Bandidt:

– Why did not the States act?

Mr Allan Fraser:

– Could there be any weaker excuse offered in a national parliament by a defender of a national government! “Why did not the States act? “, says the honorable member. Why does not this Government act? Why does it not have the courage to act? Why is it afraid to oppose these powerful interests and institutions? The Government knows that the usury of some hire-purchase companies has inflicted the utmost suffering on many decent Australian families, yet it has refused even to allow the Commonwealth bank to enter the field in competition with them. For whose freedom has this control over the Commonwealth Bank been exercised? Has it been for the freedom of the greedy financier, reaping where he has not sown, or the freedom of ordinary families, to which hire purchase is a necessity, and which are being ground down under exorbitant interest rates and wicked terms?

I simply ask: In how many cases have innocent, decent men been driven to the point of illness and despair because by government control they were denied access to hire-purchase facilities from the Commonwealth Bank? Let me refer to the case of a man who bought a truck and paid ?500 deposit and two monthly instalments of ?45 each before he became 01. He was unable to resume work and was forced to apply for the invalid pension. When the hire-purchase company was informed that he was now receiving the invalid pension it wrote to him, saying, “ We refuse to accept your excuse”. I have seen the correspondence. It took legal action to seize whatever assets he had, but he had none. It then forced him into hospital in weakness and despair. At that stage his wife came to me. I took the matter up, and finally the company was dissuaded from putting him to the further unnecessary and quite useless ordeal of a public examination as to the assets that then remained to him.

Finally let me point to the flood of takeover bids which in recent months have driven many smaller businesses out of independent existence and built the fortress of monopoly in this country. Is not the tide of monopoly capitalism flowing more strongly in this country now than ever before? And is it not true that the Government still refuses to seek the constitutional weapon which could protect small, healthy, competitive private businesses? In so many towns and cities in Australia to-day the small, independent man has already been crushed and forced out of business. Still this Government sits idly by, and still the representatives of the small businessmen, who are on the other side of this Parliament, sit idly by. The small, independent businessman has seen the fruits of all his work and enterprise destroyed as the monopoly chain store rose up beside him. In so many other towns and cities small, independent businessmen are still struggling to prevent being crushed to death in the grip of this octopus. Here, surely, the exercise of control over monopoly will promote the freedom of the ordinary man and the ordinary family, rather than curtail it.


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


.- I wish, first, to congratulate the two honorable members who made their maiden speeches in this Parliament recently. I refer to the honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp) and the honorable member for Calare (Mr. England). I feel that all members of this Parliament must have been impressed by the standard of their speeches, and I am sure we all wish them well in their parliamentary careers. I should also like to be associated with the expressions of loyalty to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth XI. which those honorable gentlemen so ably expressed.

Mr. Speaker, the want of confidence motion which was moved by the Opposition recently and which petered out so ignominiously last week showed quite clearly just how different axe the policies of the various political parties. I hope that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) will take heed of what I say. On the one hand, Sir, we have an experienced Government which has given unwavering support to private enterprise and freedom from controls. On the other side, we have an Opposition which is pledged to a theory of democratic socialism of which we hear very little these days but which, nevertheless, is still in the platform of the Australian Labour Party. When the honorable member for Eden-Monaro was asked by the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) whether he supported bank nationalization he hedged by saying that he would deal with that later in his speech, but he failed to do so. Is not bank nationalization still in the platform of the Australian Labour Party? Of course it is!

The honorable member talked about controls. There is a big difference between controlling credit and the banking system generally, and bank nationalization. At least the people still have a choice, but under the blanket control policy of the Labour Opposition the people would not have a choice at all. In fact, they would be shackled by controls. There are one or two aspects of the speech of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro to which I shall refer later on and I shall not hedge, as he did.

The honorable member admitted that the Labour Party seeks federal control of prices, capital issues and other things. Here we have a man who professes to be against controls, but would control even the brand of toothpaste that a person buys, the kind of cosmetics used by women, and the type of arthritic cure that people can use! If this is not a reflection of the Labour Party’s policy of control and of taking freedom of choice from the people I do not know what is. At the same time, the honorable member built up a great case for his brother who is quite an able member of this House. Goodness gracious me! Why does the honorable member for Eden-Monaro have to try to make his brother’s seat safe? I feel that hrs brother is quite able to take care of that himself.

The other interesting thing about which the honorable member for Eden-Monaro spoke was tourist hotels and hotels for the people. In this respect he seemed to differ from some other members of his party. For instance, the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) has raised one of the loudest voices in this Parliament for the erection of luxury hotels in Sydney where there are already a number of them. Here again, we find the Labour Party divided. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro asked why we did not do something about interest rates charged by hire-purchase companies. He knows that these come within the administration of State governments. This shows the lengths to which he will go to usurp State sovereign rights. If he would take over control of hire- purchase activity from the State governments, why not take over transport, education and other State functions as well? This is the man who, as an executive of the Labour Party, would undoubtedly be in a Labour government if we were unfortunate enough to have one elected. This is the kind of balderdash that he is trying to sell to the Australian people.

The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) has supported further taxes and controls. He has said, quite frankly, that he is in favour of the federal control of interest rates and capital issues. Honorable members will remember his action in relation to the press of this country when he was a member of a previous government. If that was not the kind of control which usurps the freedom of the individual I do not know what is. In their endeavour to take a short-cut to socialism, members of the Labour Party want to burden the people with the cost of socialism. How they would do that was plainly stated in a recent television broadcast by the Leader of the Opposition. The honorable gentleman said that he would, first of all, restore the federal land tax. He also said that he would introduce a capital gains tax. We have heard very little about this capital gains tax from the Opposition. I should like to hear from honorable gentlemen opposite how it would be applied. I believe that it would apply to a man who sold his own home at a profit because he would have a capital gain.

The Leader of the Opposition also said that he would increase death duties and increase company taxation by between 1s. 9d. and 2s. in the £1. All this would be the cost of socialism which Opposition members are endeavouring to foist on the people. I do not want to say that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro is a prevaricator, but nowhere in the “ Hansard “ report of the speech of the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen) on the wantofconfidence motion can I or two other members on this side of the House find the word “ slavery “. If the honorable member for Eden-Monaro. by interjection, can inform me on this point I feel sure that the House and the public would be pleased to know where that word appears in the speech of the Acting Prime Minister. This shows the depth to which he goes.

The Australian people, over the last ten or eleven years, have become accustomed to a Government of the Liberal and Australian Country Parties. They have become accustomed to freedom from controls. They have become accustomed to a way of life which is the envy of many millions of people in this world and I believe that they will not easily forego this freedom and prosperity. I believe that they will not stand for the type of control which has been advocated to-night and which is inevitable under socialism. Perhaps I might remind honorable members opposite that in 1957 the Federal President of the Australian Labour Party, Mr. Chamberlain, made a speech in which he said -

The target must not be parliamentary seats at any price, but parliamentary seats to be occupied by members of this party, who will go fearlessly into the electorates of this country and expound the cause of democratic socialism.

In this election year, not one member opposite has mentioned the words “ socialism “ or “ democratic socialism “ in his speech. Why are they not honest with the people and admit where they stand in this regard? If socialism is in the platform

Of the Labour Party, why are they ashamed of it? I do not think that this Labour Party - this rabble which sits opposite - has the nous or the responsibility to be honest with the people, or, in good Australian parlance, to be fair dinkum with them. Opposition members, each and every one of them, subscribe to socialism, but they carry on as if it did not exist.

During the debate on the censure motion it became more and more evident to the people of Australia that a deliberate attempt was being made by the Australian Labour Party to weaken the confidence of the people in this Government by unwarranted predictions of depression and economic chaos. The Labour Party which so often has attempted to spread gloom has made so many predictions of unemployment that its members are now like the little boy who cried wolf. I think the workers themselves, whom the Labour Party wrongly claims to represent, should take particular cognizance of its attitude during this debate. However, I do not want to deal further with this matter. I believe the Australian people will be the judges.

I want to turn to what I believe “are .constructive suggestions to the Government in relation to its economic policy. During the second half of 1959 when boom conditions began to gather strength, it became apparent to most thinking persons that these conditions could not go on ad infinitum. Some people trimmed their cloth accordingly, but others continued to take risks. It became quite clear that the Government would soon have to take additional economic measures as neither businessmen, buyers nor hirepurchase companies could prudently continue to take as many risks as they were taking. Retailers and distributors became involved in a spree of selling. Goods were being sold indiscriminately and consumers were becoming heavily over-committed. This was not in the best interests of either party, and if it had not been stopped, many more people would have found themselves in financial difficulties. The building industry began to expand far too quickly. Prices for homes were rising and labour and materials were at a premium. The price of land was already high. All these conditions made it most difficult for young people to acquire a home.

For these reasons, I think that the economic measures adopted by the Government were sound. However, I feel that some of the measures took effect more quickly than we expected; but if action had not been taken, undoubtedly there would have been widespread hardship. It is inevitable, too, that some temporary hardship should occur as we regain stability; but the continuing low rate of unemployment under the administration of this Government is the envy of the world, and I am confident that it .will continue that way. There is a growing awareness that the Government acted correctly. Possibly, if its measures had been taken earlier - say in the middle of 1959 and in February, 1960 - they could have been a little less drastic in their application and the period for re-adjustment and recuperation could have been a little longer. Honorable members might say fairly that it is easy to be wise after the event, but the course I have suggested would have had two other effects. In the transition period, we could have more easily made up our minds when the measures had gone far enough and decided what was necessary to prevent violent fluctuations. For the businessman, I think gradual changes are much to be preferred to violent ones. In my opinion, the economy is now soundly based and there is no reason why we should not have quiet confidence in the future.

It is regrettable that many critics have painted too black a picture of what was likely to happen. In so doing, they have created a temporary lack of confidence in the Government’s economic measures. This has been most hurtful to the country and, m some cases, to the critics themselves, and has created an unnecessary psychology of gloom. One of the most important problems facing the Government at present is a matter of timing - when to release credit again. This must come. Although the Government’s flexibility of thinking was demonstrated in the removal of the additional 10 per cent, sales tax on motor vehicles and we are assured that the subject of credit restraint is continually under review, I suggest to the Government that the time has come now when it should consider whether it would be wise to reverse the Reserve Bank directive to the trading banks that they reduce their overdraft limits. I think we should, rn fact, be permitting them to extend overdrafts.

I say this for two main reasons: First, while some manufacturers have good orders, retailers cannot get the credit to take deliveries. This is creating a build-up of stocks by the manufacturers who themselves are subject to the restraint on credit. They have to keep their factories open while, at the same time, retailers in some cases are refusing to take deliveries and are asking for goods to be forward-dated. This, in effect, means that the manufacturer is becoming a short-term banker to the retailer; and, of course, he cannot stand this arrangement for any lengthy period. A building-up of stocks is taking place in the manufacturing industry and a general SlOW.me1.1 D in activity is quite apparent, particularly in textiles. If this is allowed to continue, the consequences could be unpalatable.

The second reason is this: Rather than take unnecessary risks, manufacturers are temporarily retrenching their employees in order to get into a more secure financial position after two or three years of exuberance. In many cases, key employees are being lost to manufacturers. On the other hand, because of lack of banking accommodation and failure by retailers to take deliveries and pay on time, manufacturers are uncertain about their future. Consequently, I suggest to the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) that the time is ripe for a firm statement as to when credit policy will be relaxed. I note that in his address in Queensland, the Treasurer said that, provided the banks acted reasonably in reducing overdrafts, not only would their liquid assets be maintained but also there would be an easing of credit restrictions, perhaps in June. As the effects of some policy measures have become apparent more quickly than was expected at the time of the statement, I should like the right honorable gentleman to consider permitting a slight easing of credit now. This would have enormous benefits psychologically and industrially. After all, this country has had unprecedented prosperity. We want to maintain it; and certainty is a basis of prosperity. It would be a big help now if manufacturers and allied businesses could get some idea of what is intended as, in many cases, they have to plan their activity months ahead.

I do not absolve retailers and manufacturers entirely from blame for the position in which they find themselves. Many have stock-piled goods from overseas in an attempt to be in a favorable position should import licensing be re-introduced. Retailers have acceded to public demands for overseas goods in preference to goods of Australian manufacture and have committed themselves heavily in advance. It must be remembered that the manufacturing industry is the greatest employer of workers in Australia. Retailers and manufacturers are interdependent and contribute to each other’s prosperity as well as to the prosperity of the people. There has been far too much buying of goods from overseas when we manufacture in Australia many goods comparable in quality and price. It may be thought that if manufacturers and retailers were both to set an example and have a far greater component of Australian goods in their store-rooms, and if they encouraged the public to purchase Australianmade goods, they would contribute to their own stability by creating an increased demand for internal labour. Consumer spending would rise and, at the same time, they would assist our balanceofpayments problem.

Let me turn now to housing. We all know that during the last ten years .there has been magnificent development in Australia. One aspect of that development which deserves praise is the housing programme of the Commonwealth and State Governments. I believe that the housing and building construction industry overexpanded in 1960; in the September quarter, houses and flats were started at the rate of 100,000 a year. This rate was 16 per cent, higher than that for the previous year. Construction of commercial, industrial and public buildings was proceeding at an even greater rate with enormous demands on building resources. A large percentage of building was speculative in nature. Speculation was causing too many hazardous enterprises to be undertaken, with unpleasant consequences for far too many. However. I believe that the sudden slowing up in new building permits and commencements in 1961 has been too great. I should like to see between 75,000 and 80,000 homes commenced each year, and I urge the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen) to look at this problem carefully and endeavour to ensure that sufficient money is released from the special deposits of the trading banks and money obtained from other sources to permit these housing objectives which I have mentioned to be achieved. According to figures published recently in relation to building permits there has been a substantial ?nd unacceptable drop in the number of permits to build. The impetus of building going on in the September quarter and as late as December has begun to be overtaken, and we all know of the wide effects that the building industry has on our economy. The question is not just one of the building of a home and the timber used in its construction. Such things as linoleum, furnishing, sheets, blankets, towels and all the prime cost items enter into the problem. All these things are made in Australia and are equal in quality to any that we might import from overseas.

Mr Kearney:

– Are you admitting now that the Government has failed?


– I advise you to read what the “ Century “ had to say about you to-day. I am sure that if action were taken now, not on a grand, but on a moderate scale, to make more money available for this key industry, it would pay handsome dividends in enhancing the Government’s reputation and in solving one of our great social problems.

Finally, the Government has made it clear that its constant policy is to maintain full employment, to continue our national development and immigration programmes, and to keep the value of money sound. The financial measures which have been adopted are all designed to achieve these aims. It cannot be thought that the Government has rejoiced at having to bring down these measures, especially in an election year. I believe that the Government is to he congratulated on being prepared to take such measures as ?re necessary, even though they may be temporarily unpopular because, in the long run, they will prove most beneficial for the people of Australia.

The position is now the reverse of what it was in 1958, and quick and sensitive action now could save a lot of trouble in the future Action now might prevent the need for more drastic action later, and not a great deal needs to be done. I repeat that our economy is sound. I do not think there is much that needs to be done to keep us prosperous, but I do think that some slight changes in our economic measures are needed to achieve the things that we wish to achieve. I should like the assurance of the Acting Prime Minister that the question of credit will be looked at in the categories that I have mentioned and that credit will be made available to permit home building to proceed on the scale that is desired. I am sure that if the Government, did these two things, any residue of gloom that still exists would quickly abate, that the confidence of the people in the Government would be advanced and at the same time this Government would be clearly demonstrating that its thinking is flexible, that its policy is designed to maintain our aims of full employment and expansion.


.- At the outset, I extend my congratulations to the new honorable members of this House, the honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp) and the honorable member for Calare (Mr. England) upon their maiden speeches, which were nicely delivered to overcome the first hurdle of their careers in this House. They both handled rather well the sticky and difficult task of finding some real grounds upon which to support the policies and intentions of the Government, both expressed and hidden in the Administrator’s Speech, with which we are dealing. In short, they made the best of the poor record enjoyed by this Government in the past and at the moment, just as they made the best of the feeble measures it proposes to take in the future. While wishing both well personally, I trust that my expectations prove soundly based - that both will enjoy short terms as supporters of the Government and its policies.

The honorable member for Higinbotham represents the last of the old brigade of crusted liberalism in this House. The new member for Calare is a cuckoo in the Liberal nest. Sent here, unfortunately, to represent many farmers and men on the land in his area, he has quickly tossed aside the mask or false face of the Country Party and, with gusto, is ready to do the bidding of raw liberalism in this House and to pursue policies which, in the main, are freezing to the marrow the desire of the Australian people to keep their country ever prosperous for all sections and to pursue the paths of planned, balanced progress for the common good.

My personal best wishes go to the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden) who, under stress of illness, resigned his office as Chairman of Committees. He did a grand and tolerant job while in that office. We wish him a speedy recovery to good health. T also congratulate the new Chairman of Committees upon his election. I trust, however, that at the end of this year some member of the Labour Party will take over that position.

We were all saddened by the death of the Governor-General, Viscount Dunrossil. On behalf of the people of the important electorate of Cunningham, I express sorrow at the passing of this talented man who, in the briefest period, established unique popularity. Now that the Government is faced with the need to appoint a new GovernorGeneral, I do not hesitate to express the view of the majority of the Australian people that the Government should - that in fact it has an obligation imposed upon it to do so - appoint to this high office an Australian. There exists no sound reason why an Australian should not be appointed GovernorGeneral. There is every reason why an Australian should be appointed. There is certainly plenty of scope for the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) to explain why it is not his intention to select a distinguished Australian for this office.

Mr Anthony:

– Whom would you suggest?


– There are many whom I could suggest. This country has many talented Australians in varied walks of life. I certainly would not suggest any of the current members of the Liberal Party. The important point I wish to deal with is the statement by the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Aston) in which he twitted the Labour Party for being shy, as it were, in respect of support for democratic socialism. That claim, of course, is an absurdity. We support democratic socialism. In a short and a very definite way, I say that if the tenets of that policy were applied to this country to-day, they would revolutionize the stagnation that this Government has created in all walks and shades of life. Democratic socialism, properly applied, would never permit the take-overs that we have seen in industry of recent times. It would never permit the conditions that exist in New South Wales at the moment, where a team of financial experts, in no way associated with the milk industry of New South Wales, in no way producing one pint of milk, is seeking to take over the New South Wales Dairy Farmers Co-operative, a £20,000,000 industry owned by the milk producers of southern New South Wales. I have yet to hear one member of the vaunted Country Party in this Parliament criticize this action. The members of the Country Party are gui tv of support for this sort of take-over. Hut democratic socialism would not permit it to happen. It would not permit the present position in which hundreds of thousands of people in this country suffer agony through having no homes, a position in which hundreds of thousands of people have been driven into a condition of social decay because there are no homes for them. If would not permit such a thing as a 74-year-old pensioner in the Cunningham electorate living in a tent at Stewart Park. These things could not happen under a policy of democratic socialism. I repeat that all these conditions would be eliminated under the policy which the Labour Party espouses and supports - the distribution of the wealth of this nation in such a way that no person shall be denied his just share of it.

This Government’s social welfare programme is a blight upon this young and wealthy nation. Under its programme, aged people are asked to exist on a miserable 5 a week. Under this Government’s policy, the number of unemployed has jumped to nearly 100,000, and these unfortunate people, if married, are being required to live on the base rate of £3 5s. a week. While all this misery is around us, this Government sits in stony silence permitting to continue a situation in which people are hungry, suffering mental torture and physical breakdown, or dying before their ;me because they have not got £1 in their sockets with which to ‘buy the simple necessaries of life and medical supplies.

The Administrator’s Speech, prepared by the Government, represents solely the intentions of the Government in respect of future activities. Much of the central theme of that Speech deals with measures intended by the Government to find a way out of the quagmire of economic difficulties into which it has driven the nation in the sphere of international finance because of the disastrous balance of payments position. The Prime Minister has stated that all the troubles arose from the fact that Australia has been living beyond its means internationally. If this is so, where does the responsibility rest at governmental levels other than at the door of the present Government which has been controlling the affairs of this nation for the past eleven years?

Mr Duthie:

– That is too long.


– Of course it is too long. Surely if there is responsibility anywhere at governmental or executive level it is with this Government because it has had unfettered control of the Commonwealth Parliament for eleven years. In seven out of the last eight trading years, excluding the present year, we had a trade deficit. In the ten years from 1949-50 to 1959-60, during which Australia was controlled by this Government, our trading was on the wrong side to the extent of £1,100,000,000. That is where we have been going steadily and definitely year after year under this Government. This year, for the eight months ending in February, we are down £182,200,000. Over twelve successive months, there has been a trade deficit, without taking into account the invisible items - that is, insurance, freight, interest on loans sent overseas, dividends paid to foreign investors and so on. In 1959-60, these invisibles reached the very high total of £233,000,000. This is an increase of £33,000,000 on the previous year. This year invisibles will cost us £250,000,000. Added to a trading deficit of £330,000,000, the total deficit during this year will be in the vicinity of £550,000,000.

That, briefly, is the history, the record and the accounting of Australia’s affairs under this Government. The Government hopes to get around this position by further foreign investments, including undistributed profits of the major foreign companies established in this country. Any claim that we will get more than £250,000,000 from such sources and investments in government loans from overseas would be extravagant. This £250,000,000 will represent a further Australian debt. This debt and all the debts that have gone before will have to be paid and are being paid. Australians will be plunged further into debt bondage by this action, just as the wage-earners, the home-builders, the farmers and the young families are daily being forced by circumstances into debt bondage.

There is not one young Australian about to be married who does not go into heavy debt before he sets up a home. There is not one farmer in New South Wales or any other State who is not in debt up to his ears because of the maladministration of the financial affairs of the nation. The farmer does not own a bale of wool or a bag of wheat. He is in debt before he starts and this

Government, aided by its unholy coalition segment, the Australian Country Party, is allowing the country to fall into this economic decay. It has failed to attack the problem at the core. If the Country Party representatives were worth their salt, they would not stand up in this House and give lip service in a humbugging way but they would vote the Government out of office or take action which would result in this being done.

On the figures I have given, we will still be short of some £300,000,000. This will have to come from our financial reserves which at present stand at £299,000,000. At this moment, Australia is insolvent internationally and during the current financial year faces international liquidation. As a nation we must face that position and should not side-step it. Much humbug has been spoken by members in high positions in the Government. They suggest that we can borrow money overseas to overcome our difficulties. But every penny we borrow overseas places us further into the mire of debt, and we must realize this. It goes further than that. We could easily reach the stage that was reached in 1929 and in some later years when overseas financial interests dictated the policies of Australian governments, in both the Federal and States spheres. That situation is again becoming evident.

Once investors find that they cannot get their money, that we are not able to pay back what we owe, they will put an official receiver into this country. The elected government would then not be worth a crack of the fingers. History proved that in New South Wales and it proved it in this Parliament in the 1930’s. The Federal Labour government of the depression years could not get the then Governor of the Commonwealth Bank, Sir Robert Gibson, to agree that the bank should make available a miserable £18,000,000 to help the 300,000 Australians who were on the dole. Any one who went through that period will never forget those days and will understand that the factors now present in Australia are identical in their effect with those that existed on the eve of the great depression. We are already well along the depression road and as sure as night follows day in three months our unemployment situation will shock the conscience of even the most thick-skinned people in this country who are inclined to think that because a man is out of work it is his fault. Nothing could be further from the truth than such a view concerning those forced into unemployment and obliged to depend on the dole, which is the unemployment benefit.

The Acting Prime Minister has stated that we can borrow from the International Monetary Fund. This is an international organization set up some years ago under the Bretton Woods Agreement. We have a stake of £50,000,000 in the fund but we are hundreds of millions of pounds down in our trading. That seems to be the position. We have no rights to borrow except on the terms and conditions imposed by the international authorities - foreign people - who control these funds. They can demand that the living conditions of the Australian people be lowered, that our social services be reduced and that our method of government be altered to comply with the framework of their economic requirements. This can happen. It has happened before and there is no power on this earth to prevent a repetition if we pursue the road that the Government has been following and appears certain to continue to follow.

The hard core of our economic troubles has been the absolute ineptitude and failure over eleven long years of this Government to control inflation. It was originally elected on what has proved to be a deceitful cry. The slogan was, “Elect the LiberalCountry Party coalition and we will put value back into the £1 “. What is the £1 worth to-day? It is not worth 20s.; it is worth only 7s. or 6s. 8d. Ask the average family man how far his money goes and whether he is able to get 20s. worth of goods and services for every £1 he spends. Obviously, he cannot! This Government has permitted the inflationary trend to continue. The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) is reported as having said that creeping inflation is not in itself harmful. He said that an increase of 3 per cent, per annum in price levels is not unreal. But ask the person on a fixed income whether it is unreal; ask the person who has invested money in government bonds whether it is unreal! They will say that the gradual whittling down of their investments or the superannuation for which they paid many years ago has resulted in them receiving only one-half or one-third in value of what they received years ago. Let us put the simple economic equation to them. We do not need an egg-head economist to provide the answer. This is a question that the housewife can answer without trouble. Yet the exalted Treasurer of this Parliament gives a fictitious and false presentation of the facts in the hope that it will be accepted as sound reasoning.

The principal ingredient in inflation, as every one knows, is the failure of the Government to control profits, capital issues, monopolies, land racketeers and the like. From time to time, in this Parliament and elsewhere, much emphasis is placed on expressions of opinion by counsel representing this Government in the courts on the argument that the high wages being paid are responsible for the deterioration of the value of money in Australia. That is the greatest fallacy and untruth that has ever been uttered by the lips of man. The simple truth is that an analysis of the costs of any commodity, or of any item such as a home, if one analyses the situation fairly and accurately, will reveal that the profits taken out by the various people who have taken part in the production of the commodity or the construction of the home and land costs are the real reason for the unbridled inflation that we have.

This Government has failed utterly and completely to deal with those who seem to regard their divine purpose in life as the reaping of profits, and it has no intention of dealing with them. Democratic socialism is the answer to this situation. Under democratic socialism, we would interfere and prevent this sort of thing from occurring. We see this unreasonable grasping after profits in all kinds of activities in the business world. We see it on the part of the L. J. Hooker organization and Genera] Motors-Holden’s Limited, and wherever else we like to look in the business world. There is no need for me to waste time reciting chapter and verse in these matters. Honorable members in this place, as citizens of the Commonwealth, are intelligent enough to know that what I am saying is completely true.

The Government proposes to correct the adverse trading development, which, as 1 have proved, has been allowed to go unchecked for the past eleven years, by insti tuting what it terms an export drive, hi addition, it proposes to grant tax concessions of up to 16s. in the £1 in respect of additional export trade. Is this sort of thing to apply to, say, the steel industry, which is selling Australian steel overseas and thereby forcing us to import steel at prices much higher than those of the Australian-produced article which is sold overseas? Is this kind of concession to apply to the sale of copper concentrates to Japan, as a result of which we have to buy back the finished pre-fabricated article at a much higher price than that at which it could be produced and sold in Australia? We should be smelting the concentrates and fabricating the metal in our own factories which already exist and could do the job. This is the sort of consideration that is wrapped up in these issues, and we should understand clearly what it involves. The Bureau of Census and Statistics has revealed that, in the seven months ended January, 1960, we imported £9,724,000 worth of steel and exported £19,544,000 worth. Steel exports could be increased, but in the main only at the cost of having to import steel at prices higher than those of the local product. And the overseas product would probably be inferior to Australian steel, at that.

What is the position of the primary industries? There we see the grand absurdity of a situation in which, the more we produce, the less we earn. That is the situation in which the primary producers now find themselves, regardless of whether they produce wool, wheat or almost any other agricultural product. This is what we have been told by two important members of the Australian Country Party who are subserviently followed by the other members of the party. The Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Trade said last year that in the previous four years the primary producers had increased production by 11 per cent, but their incomes had decreased by 11 per cent, in the same period. During this debate on the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply to the Administrator’s Speech, and during the debate on the want-of-confidence motion, I have not heard from any Country Party representative in this Parliament any expression of critical opinion on this matter. A few weeks ago, the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) said that last year the primary producers had produced 5 per cent, more and earned 5 per cent, less. Country Party leaders generally are traitors to the interests of the primary producers.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Falkinder:

– Order!


– That is the truth of the situation. These are the damning facts which must be faced. They are not being faced by the politicians on the other side of the House, but they are being faced by the man on the land - by the primary producer. In the electorates of Calare and Richmond and in a number of other country areas where I have participated in by-election campaigns and other activities in the last couple of years, many country men have told me that they are in debt to the eyes and that they cannot get £2,000 to buy a chaff-cutter, a binder or a reaper. They have been pushed by the banks out of the ordinary overdraft field of finance into the maws of the hire-purchase sharks, whom the private banks are supporting. At one end of the counter, the manager of a bank says to an applicant for finance, who may be a banana-grower, a wheatgrower or a wool-grower, “ We cannot give you an overdraft, but if you go to the other end of the counter you can get the money on hire-purchase terms “. Those terms are at rapacious rates of interest of up to 16 per cent, or 20 per cent. This is a complete and deliberate financial racket, but members of the Australian Country Party in this Parliament remain silent about it. They apparently lack the ability to recognize the facts, and they refuse to criticize these things. In truth, they are putting a shrewd deception over the average man on the land who votes for them in good faith and sends them to this Parliament to put a proper case in the interests of the primary producers. And. after all, who is a greater worker than the average primary producer?

I turn now to the unemployment situation which has developed, Mr. Deputy Speaker. This is important. I come from an industrial centre. In Port Kembla and Wollongong, we have the umbrella of protection which is provided by the steel industry for the moment because of the great expansion programme which it is undertaking. But a similar umbrella of protection does not exist throughout the rest of New South Wales, particularly in the building trade and the industries which depend on it. A week ago, I was interviewed by the representatives of ten building trades unions who graphically portrayed for me a picture of what is happening to bricklayers, plasterers, carpenters and others in the building industry. The only thing that is holding back a flood-tide of unemployment in that industry is the number of new houses and new commercial buildings which are being constructed with money borrowed some time ago. Next to no new money is being made available for the construction of homes, and the result is that in two or three months we shall see the full impact of the credit squeeze.

What is happening in the building industry in Port Kembla and Wollongong? The average skilled tradesman, seeing his normal livelihood in the building industry evaporating, is entering the steel industry in order to become an ordinary operative in that big industry in which he sees continuity of employment and secure wages. But Australia will pay the price in the future, because those skilled tradesmen will be lost to their trades when they settle in as workmen in the establishments of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, Australian Iron and Steel Limited and other big steel and allied companies. That is the simple truth of the situation.

The number of workers unemployed has jumped to 73,000, as was indicated by the figures released at the end of February. But those are the Government’s figures, and one ought to double them to get the correct number of unemployed. Obviously, a great number of people do not rush in and register immediately as unemployed. Married women who lose their jobs do not register, and the man on short time does not register as unemployed, but he loses ‘economic earning power. Many single women who are kept by their families and1 many men whose wages are reduced cannot register as unemployed. And so the story goes on and the situation becomes worse and worse. We now have no fewer than 20.900 people living on the dole, as has been indicated by the official figures released by this Government. That is not good enough. Yet I have heard honorable members suggesting to-day that the Government has reason to be proud of the low percentage of unemployment in this country.

Mr Duthie:

– Only 1,500 people were unemployed when the Labour Government went out of office.


– As the honorable member suggests, the situation was very clear in 1949. Something like 100,000 job vacancies were offering and only 9,000 people were registered for work. That was a ratio of about eleven to one. Yet the Treasurer had the effrontery to suggest to me this afternoon that a ratio of five to one was dangerous and bad for the country. We were a happy nation when the Labour Government was in office. We had money to spend and we were eating more bananas, more meat, more flour, more bread and more cakes. Everybody possessed purchasing power. The situation of to-day is radically different, and our position will continue to deteriorate alarmingly under the administration of the present Government. In a nutshell, the Government is asking the wage-earner, the family man, the pensioner and the other ordinary people to bear the brunt of the present financial debacle. I say on behalf of the trade union movement and the Australian Labour Party that we do not accept that onus, and 1 suggest that all the organized forces who are able to resist the Government should resist it - and especially resist unemployment.


– Order!


– I wish to join with other honorable members in expressing very warm and, I think, very well deserved congratulations to the mover and the seconder of the Address-in-Reply and also in wishing them well in their parliamentary careers.

Because of the very nature of the debate on the Address-in-Reply many subjects are discussed. The honorable member for Cunningham (Mr. Kearney) has made a very impassioned speech on social security. I remind the honorable gentleman and a lot of other honorable members, as well as people outside, that social security is not worth very much unless we also have national security. While we are arguing over social security, I am afraid that we are forgetting what is happening in the world to-day. I know that the state of the economy is very important for every man, woman and child in the country, but since the handling not so long ago of the new financial relationship between the Commonwealth and the States I have perfect confidence in the ability of the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen) and the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) to do what is necessary so that Australia’s prosperity may continue. I only hope - perhaps a little optimistically - that they have been given full powers of attorney during the absence of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies).

I would remind anybody who has any doubts about the economic position to-day that I well remember the depression years that started fifteen and a half years after the end of World War I. When we compare the last ten years and our present prosperity with the conditions in 1933 I think we will all agree that not only the civil servants, but also this Government’s members, have learned a lot from experience and have done a magnificent job as far as the economy is concerned. I only wish that the security nerve were as sensitive as the hip pocket nerve, because if it were we would be much more concerned by the rapidity with which the Communists have been proceeding with their great leap forward to take over the trade unions and the Australian Labour Party with their united front and unity ticket tactics, and also the white-anting tactics of the red termites. The trouble is that there are so many kind-hearted and humanitarian people in this country like honorable members opposite who are either unable, or refuse, to face the facts, or are ignorant of the facts and therefore, unknowingly, become the tools of the Communists and are therefore much more dangerous than card-carrying members of the Communist Party.

Take, for example, my honorable and literary friend, the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), who not so long ago visited red China and on his return, being an author of some distinction, wrote a book called - what was it? - “ Love is a Many Splendoured Thing “. I am sorry, that was not the title. I am confusing the mistresspiece of another author with the. masterpiece of the honorable member for Parkes. His book was called “ Chinese Journey “.

I listened with great interest to the speech made by the honorable member for Parkes on the Crimes Bill 1960 when he said what a terrible travesty of justice it would be if the known character of the accused were taken into account in any trial held under the provisions of the Crimes Act. During the recess I read “ Chinese Journey “ and was astounded when I found on page 124 that the honorable member for Parkes had visited the Shanghai municipal court. I have forgotten what the actual trial was that he witnessed, but in no equivocal language he praised the fact that the known character of the accused was taken into account by the judge before the sentence was delivered. In other words, the double standards of the Communists must be a very infectious disease, and the honorable member for Parkes should be careful that he does not come into the category that I mentioned earlier.

Take the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns). He nearly had apoplexy at one stage in the House last year when I said that as a result of the Communist advance through its unity ticket tactics at Yallourn, Victoria, we would soon be faced with threats of total black-outs. I think that at the time there was a dispute at the Melbourne City Council’s power house. The mind of the honorable member for Yarra became as disturbed and discolored as the Yarra in full flood. He almost had a stroke and he said that it was nonsense for me to talk in that way. After what has happened in Victoria in the last two or three weeks would any honorable member say that I was talking nonsense then? The workers in the State Electricity Commission were fooled by the Communists, through their shop stewards or committees, into going against the disputes committee of the Trades Hall Council and attempted to stage a black-out. The Communists aim is to return to trial by terrorism under the cloak of collective bargaining. Surely the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Melbourne Trades Hall Council know of the resolutions that were passed by the World Federation of Trade Unions at its world conference and of the directives that have been issued to every Communist Party in every country to employ these tactics in order to tike the trade unions over as far as possible, and destroy conciliation and arbitration courts.

If the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) who is interjecting now, does not believe me he should read the trade union journals and the Communist Party publications. Mr. L. L. Sharkey’s book, “Trade Unions “, published the Communist bible in 1949 and recently in a revised edition, devotes a whole chapter to the campaign to destroy the arbitration court because it is a barrier to Communist ambitions.

One could go on with similar examples. For instance there was the Victorian railways dispute. That, unfortunately, was settled out of court. As a result, this success was followed by threats to the State Electricity Commission. Then the Communist secretary of the tramways employees’ union tried the same thing with the Minister for Transport. Then there were the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited and the rolling strikes on the waterfront. One can easily see the pattern of what is going on.

Does the Labour Party know what is going on? If it has any idea of the truth then it must be condoning what the Communists are doing. All these matters, and many more, are incidents of varying importance in the cold war which is being waged with greater and greater severity against us, both ‘internally and externally.

The danger of communism in Australia did not disappear with the defection of the Petrovs.

Mr Bryant:

– We will call for Admiral Dowling.


All right, I know this is not very popular with you, and may not be very popular with other people. In 1935, 1 spent a whole year saying what the Japanese military authorities were, and what they were going to do, and the fact that I proved right did not make me any more popular. In 1941. when some boys in the A.I.F. in Malaya wanted to go to the Middle East, I told them that they would get all the fighting they wanted before the end of the year. During the Korean war I was not popular when I said what would happen in Indo China if we did not proceed right through to the Yalu River. In 1955, in Hong Kong, through certain lines of intelligence, I was informed about a smuggling ring which was importing diesel engines for landing craft transshipping them and sending them up the coast in British ships. These engines came into Hong Kong on ships’ manifests as replacements for the Kowloon ferry and then went up the coast in British ships just at the time of the Tachen Island evacuation. The British authorities did not like me when I told them I thought it was worth looking into. The American authorities did not laugh at all when I told them my information was that 10 per cent, of the engines were American and 90 per cent. British. A week later the Hong Kong “ Standard “ published a paragraph saying that on the previous day the Japanese and the Americans had raided a ship loading m Yokohama for Hong Kong and had taken 193 cases of spare parts for diesel engines for landing craft off the ship and had uncovered a smuggling ring in Japan.

Of course, it is not popular to hold certain views and to say certain things, but as long as I am in this Parliament I intend to say about foreign affairs what I feel it is right for me to say, because at my age unless you do that you may as well be out of Parliament altogether. If honorable members opposite do not believe me perhaps they will believe the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary, Lord Home, whose remarks were reported by the Melbourne “ Herald “ of 9th February as follows: -

The Foreign Secretary, Lord Home, warned the West to-night against letting itself be fooled by the Soviet. “ The Communist aim is world domination. Only their methods have changed,” he said. “Peaceful co-existence is neither peaceful nor co-existence.”

Referring to negotiations with the Communists Lord Home said that some accommodaton with them might be possible, but only if it suited their interests and their conditions were fulfilled.

Mr Jones:

– Do you support the decision of the Government-


– If you want to back the Communists, all right, go ahead, but like a hot war, the cold war cannot be fought by being continually on the defensive. Nor are spasmodic excursions into the realms of rhetoric a suitable substitute for a foreign policy.

I should like to mention how we have fallen further behind in the use of various weapons in the cold war. The first is public relations. We are away back, plodding a long, long trail awinding behind Moscow and Peking in the matter of public relations in the international sphere. Moscow and Peking have a lot of influence on the opinion of the world to-day because of their efficient and continuous radio propaganda. Take the trade position. One of our trade leaders stated the other day that trade with the Communists had nothing to do with politics. That statement was made out of abysmal ignorance. He has never heard of the Burma rice deal or of what happened in Finland in 1957 when the Finns had to change their ministry as a result of a boycott of their goods by Russia which normally took 25 or 30 per cent, of their total exports. Apparently he has never heard of what happened to Japan in 1958. Now I learn that the Government has to decide whether it will sell wheat on credit to red China. As far as I am concerned - I have said this before and I repeat it now - I would rather make a gift of our wheat to feed the starving people of China than sell it on credit, particularly as Ceylon has not yet been able to collect its money for rubber that it sold to the Chinese Communists some time ago.

The other matter which one should mention but on which one cannot speak at any length is the strategic lie which has been followed right through from the time that the Communists in China in the ‘forties were represented by Moscow as agrarian liberals. Take another example, the fictitious letter supposed to have been written by an American, Admiral Frost, supporting the Indonesian rebels. The exposure of that strategic lie took place when Kasnakeyev defected from the Russian embassy at Rangoon. I believe that what happened in Suez - the disagreement between Great Britain and France, on the one hand, and America on the other - was brought about largely by a similar document planted on a plane. The French were tipped off about it and eventually brought the plane down. But that cannot be proved. However, in view of the tactics that have been employed in the past I should like very much to see the document which was taken from the plane.

If honorable members do not believe what I have said, they should have a look at the Communist sheet which was published in

Melbourne on 8th March, 1961. It carries the headline -

Secret UK cabinet report bares rightwing union leaders betrayals and intrigues.

This fake document was distributed in Lagos, Nigeria, in an endeavour to oust the International Council of Free Trade Unions, a free trade union organization, in favour of the World Federation of Trade Unions, a Communist organization.

So it goes on. If we do not use much more effectively in this cold war the modern weapons that I have mentioned, we shall be like the people to whom Stewart Alsop referred the other day in an article when he said, “Nice guys finish last”. It is no good saying, “ It is not done, old man; it is not done “. Those days have gone. One cannot fight knuckle-dusters with boxing gloves. We have to approach this matter much more seriously than we have done. We are confronted with the big problems of the Commonwealth, the United Nations, Laos and the Congo, and I cannot understand why the Government does not realize that the External Affairs portfolio is a fulltime job for any one, not a second-class job to be done in the spare time of a busy Prime Minister, as it has been for a long time in India. The portfolio needs two Ministers - one a junior Minister to attend to routine daily affairs, and so free the Minister himself to give his full attention to constructive thinking on the big problems of the day and to discussing them with the representatives of our allies here in Canberra, who, I should think, hardly ever see the present Minister for External Affairs. He should be able to give plenty of time to constructive thinking on these problems which vitally affect our future. Instead, as has been the case in the past, we have drifted from crisis to crisis and have dealt with each crisis hour by hour as it arrived. That is not good enough. These problems have to be thought out; a lot of attention has to be given to them and a lot of reading done. You cannot pick up these things as one would a brief, argue the matter before a jury, however excellently, and then drop it the next day. I consider there should be many more debates on foreign affairs. We very seldom have them, md when we do they are very restricted. How can the people of Australia understand what is happening unless we tell them?

Last week I asked a question about Laos. Perhaps I was wrong in my interpretation of the manner in which that question was. answered, but I felt like the dunce in the class being answered by teacher’s bright boy. I do not think the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) meant to make me feel that way, but that is how I felt. If that was the impression the people outside received, then they will not be able to understand the danger which is now evident in Laos, the gateway to South-East Asia. If Laos goes to communism, we shall be faced with a situation similar to that which confronted us at the time of Pearl Harbour. I have taken part in one surrender in Singapore and I do not want to take part in another, even if the Singapore is the size of Australia. If we do not pay more attention to these problems and try to make Australians see the difficulties and become more interested, we shall be in a very dangerous position.

I am tired of taking part in a retreat from Moscow - blinded and befogged by blizzards of appeasement, benumbed by the soporific effect of the soft snows of apathy, and frozen into immobility on the ice of inactivity. Is Seato what Peking calls it - a paper tiger? If we continue along the track that we have been treading, I suggest that next Anzac Day we think about the 60,000 men in one war, and the 30,000 in another, who made the supreme sacrifice so that we could remain free, and then we ask ourselves whether, as politicians, we are not just tossing away day after day the very principles for which those fellows died.

The year 1961 is definitely a year of crisis. The United ‘Nations is on trial; Christianity is on trial; democracy is on trial and freedom is in danger. The Commonwealth, as we knew it before, is dead. What though have we given to expanding it and to making it a more useful conference or instrument of a similar kind? The United Nations seems to be dying of the red cancer that is already in it. What is the use of some one talking about expelling South Africa from the United Nations organization and in the same breath talking about admitting red China? We do not agree with apartheid, but nevertheless it is not as bad as the genocide that has taken place in Tibet.

What has happened in the Congo? How long can an organization continue to function when some of its members, having voted for action in the Congo and not liking the results, refuse to accept any financial obligation but leave the others to pick up the price tag, and then start a civil war on Congo territory between members of the United Nations? How can an organization exist in such an atmosphere? It is already dying of red cancer. To change the metaphor, if it is a structure worth saving, we must realize it is built on the shifting sands of unreality, and needs some constructive thought or policy for under-pinning and rebuilding the foundations. This subject requires a great deal of thought.

I should like to discuss these problems at greater length, but there is not the time in which to do it. I can understand, for instance, the difficulties in the Congo. I think that the United Nations to a certain extent has reached the stage that the League of Nations reached when it approved the imposition of sanctions against Italy on the question of Eritrea and could not enforce them. We seem to have reached the same stage in relation to the Congo. I can understand President Kasavubu’s feelings on the matter, just a little, when you realize that the voting in his favour on 22nd November last was 53 to 24, with 19 abstentions, and that more than half the force that was supplied by the United Nations came from nations which voted against him whilst Uno’s chief administrator in the Congo has a double loyalty to his own prime minister, who also voted against Kasavubu on that occasion. But nine French-speaking African countries voted for him, in spite of the fact that Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Morocco and the United Arab Republic voted against him. The position is full of difficulty. The whole of Africa and the Congo are tribal - very much like the position we have in New Guinea. All these problems will not be solved if we are merely going to leave them and think they will solve themslves.

No Australian wants, for one minute, to use force as a means of aggression, but at the same time it is very dangerous to bow before the force of an aggressor. Do not start talking about brink-of-war policies, because the Communists started the brink-of-war policy. The whole idea is to keep the world in nervous tension and try to bluff us out of our inheritance so that the Communists can win by default what they do not dare win by a hot war. I do not think they want a hot war any more than we do, but we have to learn to play international poker for high stakes and if we are going to have Munich after Munich, one of these day we will have to toe the line. I therefore urge the Government, the members of this House, and all Australians to keep a much closer eye on the international situation. We ought to be giving the lead from this House, instead of practically never discussing the international situation.

West Sydney

.- I have carefully perused the Administrator’s Speech. I trust that it will not be as fruitless as the speech that was delivered by the late Governor-General, Lord Dunrossil, a man whom Australia loved. He read that speech on behalf of the Government with the greatest sincerity; but that was the end of it. No one word of it was carried into effect during the ensuing twelve months; and this Government stands condemned for having brought the country to its present condition.

My mind goes back two and a half years ago when, with the honorable members for Canning (Mr. Hamilton) and Corangamite (Mr. Mackinnon) and former Senator Harris, I represented this country in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro was our first port of call, and a week later we represented the Australian Government at the opening of the governmental palace in Brasilia, 420 miles from Rio de Janeiro. We went by plane and bus. The length of the palace would be about equal to the distance from this building to the hotel Kurrajong. Brasilia has large lakes and swimming pools. One would be ungrateful to our Brazilian hosts if one were to say anything other than that we were received with the greatest kindness that any country could offer to its official guests. From the time we reached Brazil until we left that country we received nothing but the best treatment.

However, when travelling about the country one could not help but note that it was a land of extreme wealth and extreme poverty. Tram drivers receive a wage of £15 a month and that is far above the wage paid to most other classes of workers. I was sorry to read in last Sunday’s press that 10,000,000 people in Brazil live in abject poverty with no abode of any description. They sleep under trees at night and no road leads to where they live. When we questioned our driver on this point he replied, “ They get up there the best way they can “. At night you would think you were looking at the stars when you saw the lights of Brasilia which is situated at a very high altitude. I was reminded of this contrast of wealth and poverty in Brazil when earlier to-night the honorable member for EdenMonaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) stated that 3,000 people in Canberra are still waiting for homes, and despite that fact the Government is building a lake here which is estimated to cost £4,500,000. I am in favour of the Canberra lake scheme, but I believe that project should be postponed until all of the people in Canberra are adequately housed.

The Administrator’s Speech states -

My advisers keep the whole structure of social services under review. The revised means test for age, invalid and widows’ pensions is now in operation.

I give full marks to the Government for introducing the merged means test. However only 20 per cent, of pensioners in this country are deriving any benefit from it. Many pensioners are homeless, and in any event most of them are unable to subsist on the present pension. This Government should follow the example of the Victorian Government in its treatment of pensioners. The Victorian Premier, Mr. Bolte, has offered to grant the more needy pensioners £1 a week in order to help them pay their rent. It is impossible for these people to exist.

The Administrator’s Speech also states -

The importance of immigration in Australia’s development is recognized by mv Government and it will proceed with its vigorous programme.

All of us, regardless of party recognize the importance of immigration; but when 200,000 people are at present out of work in Australia we should not bring in 115,000 immigrants annually to add to the number of workless. I understand that last week a deputation representative of the timber industry waited upon officials of the Treasury and that it informed those officials that 2,000 persons had been laid off this year in that industry. If that deputation had come from my electorate of West Sydney - from the water-front or from pensioners’ organizations - the first thing Government supporters would say would be that the deputation was inspired by Communists. However, no one will accuse the deputation from the timber industry which urged the Government to undertake a programme of home building of being inspired by Communists. It remains to be seen what results will flow from that deputation.

Let me now make some comments about the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement, which is due to expire, and will then be renewed, next June. When this Government came to power there was an agreement in existence which still had a few years to run. All States were then building homes for the people, and this Government was bound by the agreement. The Chifley Government had arranged for the necessary money to be made available. In subsequent years, the present Government has made changes in the terms of the agreement, and during the last three months the number of homes being built has shown a decline of about 50 per cent.

Mr Fairbairn:

– Why don’t you throw in a few of your pubs?


– The honorable member has said something about pubs. It takes all kinds of people to make a world, and it takes all kinds of jobs to keep that world going. I am here to represent the people of West Sydney, not to adopt the role of psalm singer, as some other honorable members do, such as the one who has just interjected.

Now I want to refer to the three months’ flutter in connexion with the sales tax on motor vehicles. The Government condemned the men who stood up in the other place and opposed the increase of sales tax, but now it has changed its mind, and it will be interesting to see whether the Government will repair the damage that it has done by refunding the extra sales tax paid by people who bought motor vehicles during that three months, and who were unjustly charged the extra amount.

I want to say something also about the housing of aged persons. I am fully in accord with the Commonwealth’s scheme of homes for the aged, and I support it just as I did when the scheme was first outlined in this House. I am sorry to say, however, that in the seven years during which this scheme has been in operation, under which the Government provides £2 for every £1 provided by an applicant organization, only £1,000,000 a year has been provided by the Government for these homes.

Mr Cash:

– That is not true, of course.


– It is true. I would suggest that if the Government was honest in its approach to this matter it would provide money for the people who have offered to house our elderly citizens, such as municipal councils. The State Government has told me that for every £2 the Commonwealth will give, it will provide £1, so that elderly people may be housed in the places in which they now live, instead of groups of them being taken away and given accommodation in one building. However, I do not want to suggest that there should be anything but praise for the people who have taken on the job of looking after the elderly. They have done great work, but unfortunately they have not been able to cope with all the work that has had to be done.

The next matter to which I want to direct attention is that of medical cards for pensioners. This Government in 1955 perpetrated the greatest fraud that has ever been seen in any country in the field of social services. At that time a pensioner was getting £4 a week - or perhaps it may have been a little less - and he was allowed to earn £3 10s. a week. The Government thought that this was too much, and so it said to the pensioner, “ If you earn more than £2 a week in addition to receiving the pension you will lose your medical card “. Aged people in ill health and poor circumstances cannot afford to pay £1 10s. for a visit to a doctor, and then, perhaps, another £1 10s. for pharmaceutical supplies from a chemist. Yet this Government wantonly took the medical cards away from them. In some homes we find that there are certain old people in possession of medical cards, while others have not had them since 1955.

Mr Wilson:

– That is not correct.


– That is the position, and I can give you evidence of 100 cases to prove it

I shall say something also about unemployment. Sir Douglas Copland has said that we will have 200,000 persons out of work before June. Incidentally, this same gentleman, who cannot be classed as a Labour man, said in the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission to-day that is is a shocking thing that quarterly adjustments of the basic wage have not been restored.

Mr McColm:

– What makes you think he cannot be classed as a Labour man?


– Well, you have claimed many times that he is on your side.

I now want to speak of Lord Howe Island. We hear a good deal about foreign affairsIt is a pity that the Government does not send a Minister for External Affairs to the island to see the situation in which people are living. The people there pay income tax, payroll tax and many other kinds of taxes, but they are deprived of an airstrip. You can pick up the newspaper and read that the “ Runic “ has run aground, o, some other vessel has had a similar mishap. The worst feature of the situation is that this Government spends £90,000 a yeal on the flying boat bases at Rose Bay and at the island. During the past two years it has subsidized that flying boat service to the extent of £188,000. I was on Lord Howe Island ten days ago. The trip costs £17, although the island is only 420 miles from the General Post Office in Sydney. A boat calls at the island once in ten weeks. When perishable goods have to be transported by flying boat the costs are prohibitive. I was shown a bill by the proprietress of the guest house at which I stayed. For six bags of vegetables, which cost £40 odd, the freight charge was £50.

Mr Reynolds:

– How do they live?


– This Government does not care how they live. It has done nothing at all to meet their requirements. We get a good deal of valuable information with regard to the weather and other matters of interest in our daily life from installations on Lord Howe Island. The Commonwealth Government has quite a large work force there, and it could build an airstrip for less than £500,000. Every year it is paying £100,000 to the Ansett organi- zation. I would like to investigate that matter further when I have more time.

Let me say that there is no electorate in the Commonwealth which provides more work for the member representing it than does West Sydney. Day in and day out there are hundreds of people coming into the electorate. When they come to see me I ask their addresses, and frequently I find that they have arrived only last week. West Sydney reminds me somewhat of Canberra, and somewhat of Rio de Janiero, Luxury hotels costing millions of pounds are being built, while many people are out of work and practically starving. I hope and trust that something will be done in that regard.

I am disappointed with the half-hearted replies that have been given by the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Davidson) to questions concerning the restoration of the General Post Office clock in Sydney. Last week the Postmaster-General said that the cost of this work would be £130,000, but twelve months ago it was stated to be £230,000. This indicates the way in which the Government compiles its estimates. I agree with the Lord Mayor of Sydney on this subject. He said that it was the Commonwealth Government’s responsibility. It has been claimed that the money could be better used for housing. Some people also believe that the sum of £4,500,000 which rs to be spent on the lake scheme in Canberra could be better spent on housing. If the Menzies Government is still in power after the next general election! there will be plenty of people anxious to see its members jump in the lake.

I would like the Postmaster-General, the Lord Mayor of Sydney, and the Premier of New South Wales to meet and discuss the possibility of restoring this clock to the General Post Office. If these people were to meet I feel sure that they would find ways and means of restoring this clock with its beautiful chimes to the city of Sydney. I am sure that all will agree that the top of the men’s convenience in Martin-place is not an appropriate place for a clock in the second largest city in the British Commonwealth.

I have covered Lord Howe island and the disgraceful way in which the pensioners are treated. Now I come to another problem in my electorate of West Sydney which concerns accommodation for schools. I have in my electorate Blackfriars Correspondence School. It is the largest school of its kind in the world, having 7,000 pupils at present. In addition, there is a kindergarten for young children attached to it which is a credit to the management of the school. The school accommodation is anything but modern. The teachers have many problems. But perhaps government supporters will say that this, too, is a concern of the State Government.

Now I come to the position of young children who attend denominational schools and whose parents get no aid of any kind from this Government. Australia is the only country in the British Commonwealth which refuses such aid. When I was in England three years ago I found that it had been the practice both of Labour and Conservative Governments to contribute 75 per cent, of the cost of building schools for all religious denominations. In Scotland, 100 per cent, of the cost is paid by the Government and nobody would accuse the Scots of wasting their money. At least they pay for justice. 1 hope and trust that the time will come when aid will be given to denominational schools in this country. If a war broke out to-morrow the Government would not ask the young fellow who was called up for service what school he had gone to. It would soon build a camp in which to put him. Yet the Government denies certain people the right of educating their children as they think fit.

Mr Pearce:

– Why does the New South Wales Government not do something abou; it?


– The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has suggested that. Whenever he is asked for aid of any kind he says that it is a State matter. After the next general election, he will be looking for another excuse. When the Prime Minister was going overseas twelve months ago, I asked him to settle the question of Australian representation in Ireland. He said, “ Fancy asking a Menzies to do what a Casey failed to do “. Yet he had the colossal nerve to try to fix the Suez crisis. He interfered in the Congo and in the

United Nations and he drew a blank in every instance. Perhaps the job of sending a representative from Australia to Ireland is too big for him too. Canada and the United Kingdom have done it. Why the great Prime Minister of Australia is adamant on this question I do not know. When the Liberal Party was campaigning in Queensland in 1949 it promised a very notable dignatory there that as soon as the general election was over a qualified representative would be sent to Ireland. It would not be in order to mention his name but he was to be a judge. That judge has never come tolight. After the next general election, the Labour Party will be in office and it will give justice to all.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Turnbull) adjourned.

House adjourned at 10.27 p.m.

page 439


The following answers to questions were circulated: -

Army Properties: Grazing Licences

Mr Beaton:

n asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -

  1. Were public tenders lodged with his department on or prior to the 24th January, 1961, seeking a grazing licence or grazing licences over the A.F.V. and artillery ranges at Puckapunyal, the Seymour military camp, and the Compton Vale proof range at Graytown?
  2. What were the (a) names of the tenderers, (b) prices of the tenders, (c) areas or ranges for which the tenders were submitted, and (d) particulars of the tender accepted?
Mr Freeth:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -

  1. Yes.
  2. The information is provided in the following schedule: -

Public Service

Mr Ward:

d asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. What promotions appeal committees exist within the Commonwealth Public Service?
  2. How are these committees constituted?
Mr McEwen:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -

  1. There are promotions appeal committees in each State and the A.C.T.
  2. Public Service Regulation 109d provides that a promotions appeal committee shall be constituted by-

    1. a chairman appointed by the Board who, while acting as chairman, shall not be subject to direction by any person or authority under the act;
    2. an officer nominated by the permanent head of the department in which the provisional promotion has been made; and
    3. an officer nominated by the appropriate organization.

Primary Industry

Mr Peters:

s asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

  1. What was the number of farms in Australia on the 30th June, 1939?
  2. Can he say how many (a) civilian and (b) ex-service personnel settlers have been assisted by governments to secure farms since that date?
  3. What has been the cost to the governments?
  4. How many farms are there now in Australia?
Mr Adermann:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -

  1. Statistical information issued by the Commonwealth Statistician refers to rural holdings which are defined as land of one acre or more in extent used in the production of agricultural produce, the raising of live-stock or the products of live-stock. At 30th June, 1939, there were 253,536 such holdings, excluding the Northern Territory for which figures are not available.
  2. Civilian land settlement is the prerogative of State governments. The nature and extent of assistance to civilians to secure farms since 1939 is not available to me. Ex-service personnel have been assisted to secure farms through the war service land settlement scheme and loans for agricultural purposes under the provisions of the Re-establishment and Employment Act. To 30th June, 1960, 8,974 farms had been allotted under the war service land settlement scheme and 14,307 applicants had received agricultural loans. Of this latter number, 4,840 used these loans to assist in the purchase of land.
  3. As indicated in the answer to the second part of this question, details of civilian settlement are not available to me. The costs of the war service land settlement scheme are shared on an agreed basis between the Commonwealth and States. To 30th June, 1960, the direct expenditure on the scheme by the Commonwealth and States was approximately £184,000,000. In addition, agricultural loans made under the Re-establishment and Employment Act total £10,200,000 of which £4,000,000 is estimated as being used for purchase of land.
  4. On the same basis as the answer to the first part of the question the number of rural holdings at 30th June, 1960, was 251,974. While this number shows a decrease on the 1939 figure, the aggregate area of rural holdings increased from 897,000,000 acres in 1939 to 989,000,000 acres in 1960; that is by 92,000,000 acres.


Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that for the first nine months of 1960 Australia had a nett gain of 70,011 migrants, of whom less than 211 per cent, were from Britain?
  2. Did 33,297 migrants arrive from Britain in that period and 13,370 return; this latter figure representing a little over 40 per cent, of the total of these arrivals?
  3. Are these figures regarded as being unusual; if so, what is the explanaton
  4. When calculating the cost of bringing and settling a migrant in this country, is any allowance made for the loss incurred in respect of migrants who subsequently return to their homelands?
Mr Downer:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1, 2 and 3. No. These figures appear to be taken from the Australian Demographic Review No. 121 published by the Bureau of Census and Statistics. In this review, the Commonwealth Statistician states quite clearly that “it does not purport to indicate ‘ permanent migration ‘ as such “. The honorable member will be aware that no limit is placed on the overall number of British people who can migrate to Australia, and that a large number come to Australia each year at their own expense. Therefore, the measure of the success achieved by the Government in bringing migrants to Australia can be more clearly judged on the results of its assisted migration programme. Of 51,778 assisted migrants who arrived in the first nine months of 1960, 24,547, or 47.4 per cent., were British from the United Kingdom alone. The proportion of British migrants from the United Kingdom in the assisted migrant intake for the financial year 1960-61 is expected to be at least 50 per cent.

  1. In assessing the cost and benefits of Australia’s immigration programme, the Government is aware that the returnee movement is relatively low and that it is more than offset by births in Australia to migrant parents. All available evidence, including research by the Australian National University, indicates that the effective returnee rate for assisted British migrants is about 6 per cent. For other assisted migrants, it is about 3 per cent. Moreover, assisted migrants leaving Australia within two years of their arrival here have to repay the amount contributed by the Government towards their passage costs.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 21 March 1961, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.