23rd Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. John McLeay) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I preface a question to the Prime Minister, as Acting Treasurer, by referring to the unfortunate occurrence of a fire in Canberra, the estimated damage being in excess of £500,000. I ask the right honorable gentleman: Is it a fact that whilst the Commonwealth claims that it carries its own insurance no special reserve or insurance fund has been established in the accounts of the Commonwealth? Will he ask the Treasury officials to conduct up-to-date research into this problem so that prompt replacement of costly losses may be effected without severe impact upon revenue in any one year?
– 1 will be very glad to ascertain what the facts are in relation to this matter, and to advise the honorable member of the results of my inquiries.
– Has the Minister for Labour and National Service received a letter from the secretary of the Woodville and District Ministers’ Fraternal of South Australia expressing the concern of those clergymen for the unemployed, and deploring the use of statistics to make the problem of unemployment seem less than it is? If he has received this letter, what action has Fie taken to meet the wishes of the members of the ministers’ fraternal, particularly the request that unemployment benefit should bear some relation to a man’s need, and especially that a family man with six children should receive more than a family man with one child?
– I cannot remember precisely whether I have received a letter of the kind to which the question refers. I have received one or two letters about some of the subjects to which the honorable member has referred, but whether one of them came from the Woodville and District Ministers’ Fraternal T arn not quite certain.
I will have a look at my correspondence, and if I have replied to the letter I will let the honorable gentleman have a copy of my reply.
– My question to the Minister for Health refers to the funds that were made available by the Commonwealth to the various State governments to assist them in the provision of accommodation for mentally ill patients. Is it a fact that much of this money has not been drawn by the States? Is it also a fact that in Queensland the amount of money available, but not yet drawn upon, amounts to about £900,000? If this is so, can the Minister say whether there is any time limit prescribed by the Commonwealth within which the States must draw that money before the term of the offer expires?
– The amount still available to Queensland is, as the honorable gentleman has suggested, about £900,000. The Commonwealth just offered a certain amount, there being no stipulation as to the time within which the States could take advantage of that offer. Two States have now used their entire allocations and four States have not yet drawn all the money available to them.
– My question is directed to the Attorney-General. Has he read the recent criticism by Mr. Justice Nield of a provision of the Commonwealth uniform divorce law - the Matrimonial Causes Act - which His Honour described as “ vague and uncertain in the extreme “? In view of His Honour’s trenchant comment that “ this is the most extraordinary sub-section that has ever been passed by any legislature in the world “, will the Minister introduce amending legislation to delete the offending provision? Do the learned judge’s strictures not confirm the fears expressed in this House by a number of honorable members respecting the dangers in paragraph (m) of section 28 of the act?
– lt is not, of course, for me to say anything about a judicial pronouncement I can tell the honorable gentleman that I do not propose to bring in any amending legislation, and I remind him that one swallow does not make a summer.
– I wish to ask the Postmaster-General a question. In view of the destruction of the big telephone exchange in Canberra, has planning to prevent the throwing of telephonic communications into confusion in an emergency been considered? In other words, has the decentralizing of exchange activities and the use of a master-exchange link-up been considered?
– The honorable member has referred to a happening which occurred late last week and which, of course, we all regret very much indeed. He has asked whether plans for dealing with any such occurrence in times of emergency have been considered. I think that probably the best answer that I can give is to inform the honorable member just what has been done in the last few days to deal with the situation that has arisen as a result of an occurrence which, admittedly, has placed a great deal of the Canberra community in a situation of considerable difficulty. I point out to the House and to the honorable member that the emergency facilities available to the Post Office were brought into play immediately the exchange was destroyed. Lines which were needed urgently by the fire services, the police, medical and nursing services, hospitals and the like were connected through the Manuka and Barton exchanges within 24 hours. That was done in accordance with the ordinary practices in the Postmaster-General’s Department. Portable exchange units which were available throughout Australia were mobilized immediately and sent to Canberra. Two portable exchange units were here by Saturday, one for 600 lines and one for 300 lines and, immediately, the restoration of the vital services proceeded. As a result, 115 lines were connected yesterday. Another 900-line portable exchange will be available to-day. To-morrow another 700 lines will be available, and within the next few days another four portable exchanges will be coming to Canberra. I have mentioned these arrangements in some detail because these are the arrangements that apply to deal with any emergency that may arise, and information as to how they operate may be of interest. Within the next few days we shall have in Canberra a total mobile capacity of 4,700 lines which will cover the majority of subscribers in the affected area.
I am sure that the House will bear with me while I give some further information. In addition to what I have said was done, work proceeded immediately on the installation of an automatic exchange in the line depot which was just behind the building that was destroyed. The line depot building was simply a shed, unlined, unsealed and unsuitable for the installation of automatic equipment. I pay tribute to the work of my colleague, the Minister for Works, and his department, by staring that by Saturday afternoon the line depot building was lined and sealed. The result is that all the racks which are necessary to instal equipment for an automatic exchange carrying 6,200 lines have been installed. So, coincidental with the operation of the portable exchanges which have been brought to Canberra, work has been proceeding on the installation of a permanent service in the new automatic exchange.
I am glad of this opportunity to pay tribute to the efficiency of my department and to state that in times of emergency and stress this department, in common with others, can meet demands of this nature which may be made upon it.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Is it true, as reported, that the Commonwealth Public Service Board has recommended alterations to the Commonwealth Public Service Act to allow some women to retain, after marriage, full rights as permanent employees? If so, has the Government yet taken any decision on the board’s recommendation? If not, does the Government intend to implement the board’s recommendation during the life of the present Parliament?
– A report by the board on this matter is still under the consideration of the Government.
– My question to the Minister for the Interior relates to land held by the Commonwealth for defence purposes on Garden Island. I refer not to the Garden Island in New South Wales, but to the Garden Island which lies off the coast of that tourist paradise - Western Australia. Is this land to be handed over to the State .Government or otherwise disposed of by the Commonwealth? What will be the effect on the present tenants of land on the island, some of whom have fairly long leases?
– The Department of the Navy, which occupies a large section of Garden Island, has been examining recently the question of what portion of this land may be surplus to its requirements. No final determination has been made yet as to what land, if any, will be declared surplus. I noted with some surprise a statement in the Western Australian press to the effect that this land might be handed over by the Commonwealth to Western Australia. No such decision has been made by my department. Under any arrangement for the disposal of the land the rights of the present tenants under their leases will be considered fully.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Trade. I ask the right honorable gentleman whether any countries in the European Common Market have yet facilitated our exports of primary or mineral products in return for our having facilitated their exports of manufactured goods when we abandoned import licensing in February of last year.
– The question would, I think,- imply that the termination of import licensing provided a basis for trade negotiations. In fact it did not. We are, and were at that time, a party to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which stipulates that no country shall impose quantitative restrictions other than for balance of payment reasons. We terminated import restrictions when our balance of payments no longer justified them. That did not provide a basis for reciprocal negotiation. But I can tell the Deputy
Leader of the Opposition that the Australian Government has lost no opportunity to negotiate bi-laterally with any country where it has perceived an opportunity for better access for Australian goods, whether through better tariff treatment, more liberal licensing treatment or better exchange availability. Periodically we have adjustments with West Germany and with some other countries where some system of licensing, import control or exchange control rather than the tariff is an inhibiting factor. I will see what information in detail I can procure for the honorable gentleman and let him have it.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister for Health, is supplementary to that asked by the honorable member for Lilley. Does the fact that there is no time limit within which the States have to draw the amounts allotted to them by the Commonwealth mean that Victoria will not be eligible for any further Commonwealth assistance towards the capital cost of providing further facilities for the mentally ill until all the six States have spent their allocations? I ask this question as already a considerable time has elapsed since the Victorian Government put the money allotted to it to very good use.
– The position is that a sum of £10,000,000 was made available to the States on certain conditions, but not with a time limit. Under this arrangement, the States submitted their capital works programmes to the Commonwealth for approval, and themselves determined the rate of use to suit their own convenience. The Commonwealth made each State’s share of the total amount from the £10,000,000 grant available to that State. Some States obviously were in the position to utilize their grant more quickly than were others, and the Victorian Government has now used its share of the £10,000,000 grant. Obviously, until some different arrangement is made, no further sum is available from the Commonwealth Government for allocation to the Victorian Government. But that does not say that this is a closed book. In fact, all States have submitted proposals to the Commonwealth Government, and the matter of what assistance, if any, should be provided ii now under discussion. Indeed, the matter was raised at the last Premiers’ Conference and was discussed then.
– My question to the Postmaster-General relates to the fire that destroyed the Civic automatic telephone exchange and put nearly 6,000 telephones in Canberra out of order. I ask the Minister: Will he convey the appreciation of the whole community to the men of his department who at all levels are working so strenuously to restore the services? While commending the work that is being done, will the Minister consider the possibility that early detection and control of the fire might have been possible but for an economy decision he took in 1957 in removing the technicians from exchanges at night and at the week-end? Will he also ascertain whether the wall separating the boiler room from the exchange was made of inflammable material and whether the boiler room itself contained a good deal of inflammable material? Will he consider issuing a direction that the boilers are to be housed in a fire-proof building separate from the building that contains the exchange equipment?
– The honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory has asked me first of all whether I will convey appreciation to all the staff in the Postal Department who have been responsible for doing such a magnificent job in restoring communications. In reply to a question a few minutes ago, I think I indicated that a magnificent job had been done. I assure the honorable member that I went to the site myself this morning and made an inspection. I conveyed appreciation to those working on the job for what they have done already. I will not repeat what I said a few minutes ago, but I will add that we have about 450 men employed on the work now, including 120 Canberra workmen. At the beginning, the men worked twelve-hour shifts, but the shifts have now been reduced to eight hours. The main objective of the engineers and technicians is to ensure that the services are restored as quickly as possible.
The honorable member asked me whether something could have been done to enable the fire to be detected earlier and to avoid the heavy loss that resulted from the fire. He referred to the fact that technicians were not employed in the building at .the time. This is not a matter of employment of technicians, but it might be considered to be a matter .of the employment of a night-watchman. I welcome this opportunity to reply to the honorable member because I read something in the press in which he was reported to have referred to the parsimonious poky of the department. I am glad to have an opportunity to point out that this question of fire risk, not only in the Postal Department but also in other government departments, has received the attention of this Government and also of previous governments. As a result, a policy has been developed. It is a question of balancing risk against the costs that would be involved in staffing an organization such as this continuously. In many cases, it has been found that the cost of continuous staffing would be so high as to be quite uneconomic. Therefore, the Postal Department has given a great deal of atttention to the design of equipment to reduce the incidence of fire. The result has been that over a period of years there has been a very low loss in comparison with the value of the equipment concerned.
We do not staff all the automatic exchanges throughout Australia. That policy has been adopted generally by the major telephonic communications organizations in the world. We staff all our major metropolitan telephone and automatic exchanges, but we do not staff all the smaller country exchanges. In Canberra, for example, the major installation is staffed continuously, but the other installations are fully equipped with fire detection alarm provisions, and are connected by various means with the major installation which is continuously staffed.
This is the justification for the arrangement: It will interest honorable members to know that if we were to set out to provide continuous staffing over week-ends at double rates for all the automatic exchanges throughout Australia, the extra cost to the department would be at least £1,000,000. Already, we are spending £3,250,000 on the staffing of the metropolitan and main provincial systems. I have said that the extra cost of staffing all exchanges would be £1,000,000. During the last ten years the loss in automatic telephone exchanges because of fire has totalled £100,000. That is the answer to any suggestion that our policy is not correct.
– I direct a question to the Prime Minister. In considering the use of a loan from the International Monetary Fund to finance the continuance of operations on the Snowy Mountains scheme, as against financing such work from revenue, what conclusion has the Government reached as to the inflationary pressures that may result?
– Such conversations as have occurred have not been with the International Monetary Fund but with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and all the aspects of the matter, including the one that the honorable member has mentioned, are under consideration. He need have no fear that any of these matters will be overlooked.
– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry whether it is a fact that the Australian Wheat Board has arranged for another sale of wheat to red China to the value of £5,000,000 on a credit basis. If this is a fact, what are the terms of the sale?
– Earlier in the season - I think it was in May - the Australian Wheat Board entered into a second contract for the sale of wheat to red China. This was a contract for the sale of 750,000 tons. Under that contract, red China was given the option of purchasing a further 250,000 tons, if the wheat was available, the option to be exercised, I think, between November and December. As the wheat is available, the Chinese are now being offered this quantity, but certain of the conditions under which this option is to be exercised are still under consideration. I cannot tell the honorable member whether the terms of sale of the 250,000 tons are the same as those on which the 750,000 tons were sold, but I presume they would be much the same.
– I ask the Minister for Health whether he is aware that although the administration of Salk vaccine injections has been resumed on a limited scale in metropolitan Adelaide, it is not intended, because of shortage of supplies, to resume their administration in country areas for the time being. What is the present position regarding the supply of Salk vaccine, and when is the shortage likely to be overcome?
– I am not aware of the details of the position in South Australia, because, as the honorable member will no doubt realize, the Commonwealth makes the vaccine available to the State governments, which then decide the basis upon which it will be allocated within their own States. As the honorable member well knows, there has been a shortage of Salk vaccine supplies, but we were able to release .300,000 doses about a week ago, and these are now being distributed to the States for their use. We earnestly hope that we shall have another very large amount of vaccine available for issue before the end of the year, but, of course, nobody can say with positive certainty that it will pass all tests. We have no reason to think that it will not, but, as I have said, nobody can say with absolute certainty that it will. It might interest the honorable member to know that it is not only in this country that difficulties are being experienced at present in the production of the Salk type of vaccine. Similar difficulties are being experienced overseas. Every effort is being made by my department to see that the full requirements of all States are being supplied.
– I preface a question addressed to the Prime Minister in his capacity as Acting Treasurer by stating that many municipalities in South Australia have the equipment and the know-how for carrying out important street repair and road construction work, and that the streets in newly-opened housing settlement areas, in particular, are in a shocking condition. In view of the fact that in South Australia there is such a large number of unempoyed men in the labouring categories who are willing and anxious to engage in this kind of work, and in view of the fact that the councils only require money to enable them to complete this urgently needed work and at the same time give employment to the unemployed, will the Acting Treasurer consider making special grants to municipalities?
– The honorable member will recall that the Treasurer made a reference to this matter of finance for local authorities quite recently. I do not think there is anything that needs to be added to that but, if there is, I will find out what it is.
– My question is addressed to the Prime Minister, in his capacity of Minister for External Affairs. What stage has been reached in the negotiations dealing with the situation in Laos? Is the cease-fire in that country being strictly observed? Also, is there any prospect yet of agreement on the establishment of a government in Laos subscribing to a policy of neutrality?
– The conference that has been occurring in Geneva still goes on. There are, I regret to say, still considerable areas of difference and disagreement. As far as the cease-fire is concerned, our information is that whilst there may be local breaches of it here and there, by and large there has been a reasonable amount of cease-fire - if that is the right way of putting it. That is to say, there may have been a little affair of outposts here and there, but nothing of a major kind. There have been, of course, considerable negotiations directed to establishing a broad-based unified Laotian government which would fit into the pattern of a country which was independent and neutral. Those negotiations continue. Whether there is any prospect of their achieving success at an early date I do not know nor, do I think, does anybody else.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. As I always read reports of the remarks of the right honor able gentleman with close attention, am I right in believing that he said, at the conference of the Liberal Party, that he welcomed the inflow of foreign capital into this country? If that is correct, does he expect that the inflow of foreign capital into Australia will continue to increase at the same rate as it has increased during the last few years?
– I welcome it. Does not the Labour Party?
– That is not the answer to my question.
– No; it is not the kind of question which you like to have asked of you or which you like to answer. We have stated repeatedly that we favour the introduction into Australia of private investment capital, because we think it has meant an enormous amount to both development and employment in Australia. I am very conscious of the fact that the Labour Party, whenever it has been vocal on this matter, has challenged the importation of such capital. All I can say is that without investment capital in the growing volume in which it has come to this country the development of Australia would not have been anything like as extensive as it has been in the last ten years.
– My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. I desire to know whether he will have prepared and made available prior to the forthcoming general election a table showing the value of the Australian £1 in each year since 1949, taking 1949 as the base year, in order that the general public will be able to assess the measure of success which the Prime Minister has achieved in fulfilling his 1949 election promise to put value back into the £1. Finally, will he please hurry before the value of the £1 completely disappears?
– There are matters which one may safely leave to the imagination of the honorable member for East Sydney. But I just want to remind him and to remind the House that this is a question or a proposition which he began to put quite soon in 1950, and which he has been putting every year since then.
He has screeched it from the housetops at every election since December, 1949, and the result of all this was that the people, who know about these things and know how they live, gave us, at the last of these elections, the biggest majority we have ever had.
– I ask the Minister for Shipping and Transport: What amount of money will be allocated to the Australian States in this financial year under the Commonwealth Aid Roads Act? Is it a fact that the amount allocated under cognate legislation for the financial year 1948-49 for the whole of Australia was less than £8,000,000, whereas the amount allotted this year to Victoria alone will be more than £9,000,000?
– I cannot give the honorable member offhand the exact figures for this year, but I will let him have them later. If my memory serves me correctly, the figures he has cited are quite accurate.
– Does the Prime Minister appreciate the extent of moral indignation in Australia, and the harm done to Australia abroad, as a result of discrimination against coloured people in this country in the matter of deportations and also in regard to public accommodation? Will the right honorable gentleman consult with his colleagues and with State Ministers with a view to having action taken to prevent discrimination against coloured persons?
– The one case of this kind that has received some publicity I made the subject of a statement in order to make quite clear, as I thought, what the general feeling was in Australia. If any similar happenings occur, they will be dealt with, no doubt, as they arise. In case the honorable member is under any misapprehension about the position of the Government with regard to our immigration policy,, let me say that we stand to it just as staunchly as the Labour Government stood to it before us.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Labour and
National Service, and it concerns the 1951 International Labour Organization Convention No. 100 relating to equal remuneration for men and women for work of equal value. Is it a fact that more than 32 nations have already ratified this convention? Has the Australian Government decided against ratification, and, if so, for what reason? Will the Government honour the spirit of the convention by granting equal pay for equal work to Commonwealth public servants, as recommended by the Boyer committee in February, 1959?
– The convention to which the honorable gentleman refers provides for equal pay for work of equal value, subject to the normal processes in force in the countries concerned for deciding such matters. In the case of Australia it is clearly understood that the authority to decide this matter is the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. The Australian Council of Trade Unions is well aware of the position as regards the convention, and it well knows that if it wants to proceed before the Arbitration Commission for equal pay for work of equal value it can do so when applications are made for variations of the basic wage. It has not done so, and there the matter stands. I remind the honorable member, too, that both the Prime Minister and I have made statements on this matter, and that those statements are available in “ Hansard “.
– I ask the Minister for Health: Is it a fact that Queensland has not found it necessary to construct additional hospitals for the mentally ill under the arrangement by which the Commonwealth contributes £1 for every £2 spent by the State? Will the Minister consider a suggestion that the amount of about £900,000 of Commonwealth funds which is available to Queensland under this arrangement may be used for some other hospital purpose?
– The Government of Queensland has indicated that its views at present are that perhaps this money might be spent in some other way. The examination which is being made, and to which I referred earlier in reply to another question, includes examination of this aspect.
– I ask the Minister for Health: As the people who have been deprived of telephone services on the north side of Canberra include numbers of aged and frail people living alone and dependent on the telephone to summon aid and comfort, would he consider whether it is possible to provide an extension of the district nursing service so that where these people notify the Department of Health they may. over the next three months - which is the estimated time before all telephones are reconnected - be regularly visited by district nurses?
– I will ask the department to have a look at this matter and I am sure that, within what resources it has, it will be willing to help.
– My question to the Prime Minister is supplementary to that asked by the honorable member for East Sydney. As the honorable member for East Sydney asked the Prime Minister a question relating to putting value back into the £1, will the right honorable gentleman also have prepared a statement showing the number of times that the Opposition has advocated putting value back into work?
– The honorable member sets me an impossible task.
– 1 ask the Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs: Is he aware of any developments in the policy of the United States of America with regard to the settlement of the problem of Berlin, and is there any justification for the belief that the United States has now adopted a policy similar to or almost identical with that of the Australian Labour Party on this matter - that is, recognition of the division of Germany and the maintenance of the independence of Berlin?
– I cannot answer that question just on the basis of having seen a headline in one of the newspapers to the effect that the honorable gentleman has stated. We have nothing official to that effect. Yesterday, however, a statement - a very long statement - was made by the President of the United States to the United Nations. So far 1 have been able to do no more than glance at the statement, because it was in the later editions of the press. However, I will give it the study that it deserves, and then I might be better equipped to answer a question along the lines of the one put to me.
– I direct a question without notice to the Minister for the Army. With the re-organization of the Army last year, when the old Citizen Military Forces units disappeared, unit and command identifications were removed from uniforms, and at present members of the Citizen Military Forces have no identification patches on their uniforms. I know that ultimately new uniforms will be issued and that some permanent type of identification will go with them, but in the meantime could the Minister investigate the possibility of issuing, as a temporary measure, some corps identification that can be worn by members of the Citizen Military Forces?
– Yes, Mr. Speaker, this matter is under current investigation.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister a question in his capacity of Minister for External Affairs. Are member nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization expected or required to adopt democratic government in their own countries and in the territories under their control? If so, can the Prime Minister explain how Portugal qualifies for membership of such an organization?
– I do not feel any responsibility for the North Atlantic Treaty Oganization, which happens to be one of the things which I do not administer, but I am not aware that membership of that organization depends upon any particular form of government. I would be surprised if it did, because there is immense variety in forms of government even inside the British Commonwealth, to say nothing of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
– I ask the Prime Minister: Is it a fact in regard to war service land settlement that whenever greater amounts have been made available by the Commonwealth Government lesser amounts have been made available by the New South Wales State Labour Government? In regard to any discussions on Commonwealth assistance for education, would the Prime Minister keep this fact seriously in mind, so that the same situation may not develop in that field, with the Commonwealth accepting further financial responsibility, and thus letting the State Government waste money on inessentials?
– The consideration put forward by the honorable gentleman will be borne well in mind.
The following bills were returned from the Senate without amendment: -
Repatriation Bill 1961.
Seamen’s War Pensions and Allowances Bill 1961.
– [ move -
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1960, it is expedient to carry out the following proposed work which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and on which the committee has duly reported to this House: - Construction of two new cadets’ barracks blocks at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, Australian Capital Territory.
The proposal provides for the erection of two three-story brick barracks blocks at a total estimated cost of £341,000. The committee has reported favorably on the proposal, and, upon the concurrence of this House in this resolution, detailed planning can proceed in accordance with the recommendations of the committee.
There are two additional matters referred to in the committee’s report which do not affect the construction of these barracks blocks, but which 1 should like to refer fo briefly. The committee mentioned a building programme for Duntroon estimated to cost £739,360, including the two barracks blocks referred to it. It expressed the view that this whole programme could be described as a planned programme of reconstruction and development, and was concerned that only two items, costing £341,000, were referred to it. When the question of what was appropriate to be referred to the committee was under consideration this programme was examined carefully. The works not referred total fifteen separate jobs, and were normal works that crop up in all works programmes where additions, alterations and replacement of old buildings are constantly taking place. None of them was of such magnitude as to require reference to the committee and they were of a character different from that of the two new barracks blocks which have been referred to_ the committee. In the circumstances I feel that the committee’s concern is unjustified..
The committee recommended, also, that residential development should not overlook the Royal Military College area and that Mount Pleasant look-out remain a public reserve. The National Capital Development Commission, which has worked closely with the military authorities in the siting of the buildings, has assured me that Mount Pleasant look-out is being retained as a public reserve, and that there is no possibility of residential development overlooking the college area.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
In Committee of Supply: Consideration resumed from 6th September (vide page 924).
Prime Minister’s Department
Proposed Vote, £11,461,000.
Upon which Mr. L. R. Johnson had moved by way of amendment -
That the vote be reduced by £1.
.- Mr. Chairman, I support the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Hughes (Mr. L. R. Johnson) when these estimates were last considered on 6th September. The honorable member moved -
That the vote be reduced by £1-
Because the Government has failed to comply with the unanimous request of the Premiers to establish a committee to investigate and assess yie needs of primary, secondary and technical education on a national basis, to suggest a longterm basis of assistance and to make some special assistance as an interim measure.
I congratulate him on proposing an amendment in those terms and so ably supporting it in condemnation of this Government for its failure to provide finance adequate to ensure the proper education of our children. The immigration policy which the present Government inherited from the last Labour Government, and which it has carried on since, has resulted in a large influx of people into this country. The natural increase represented by the Australian birth rate has had a further effect. As a result of the increase in the population, all the States - not just one or two - are in dire need of additional funds for the development of schools. Yet the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) complacently sits by and tells them to do the best they can with what they have. Although this Government has adequate finance available it is not prepared to ensure the proper education of our children. Therefore, the amendment ought to be carried by the committee if it genuinely supports and believes in the education of our children.
Much has been said in this Parliament from time to time about the prosperity that exists and the high standard of living that we enjoy. The Government periodically goes to great pains to tell the people of Australia that they live in a land of milk and honey. Yet the total amount being spent on education in Australia does not compare at all favorably with the expenditure in other countries which are recognized as highly developed. When we compare the percentage of our gross national product which we are spending on education with the percentage of the gross national product which other countries are spending on education, we see that, obviously, we lag sadly behind. At the present time, Australia spends 1.8 per cent, of its gross national product on education, compared with 2.5 per cent, in France, 3.1 per cent, in the United States of America, 3.4 per cent, in New Zealand, 4 per cent, in the United Kingdom and 5.4 per cent, in Sweden. Yet the Government sits idly by and refuses to take up the challenge at the request of the Premiers. This request was made, not only by Premiers who belong to a particular political party, but by all the Premiers - Labour, Liberal, LiberalCountry Party and the Country Party Premier of Queensland. We on this side of the chamber join with those gentlemen in pressing the Prime Minister to do something about the development and the improvement of education for which the people of Australia as a whole are crying out.
I have a particular complaint about the Government’s failure to meet the needs of education at the Newcastle University College, which has grown substantially in recent years. This university college was established in 1952 with an enrolment of some 300 undergraduates. As a result of the exceptional development that has occurred at the college, the enrolment has increased, in 1961, to 1,195 undergraduates and 68 post-graduate students - a total of 1,263. The new South Wales Government asked this Government to grant up to £20,000 £1 for £1 with the State Government. The Prime Minister acknowledged receipt of the request on 30th May of this year, but has since refrained from saying any more about it. This grant was sought in order to undertake the initial planning and developmental work on the new site which has been chosen for the establishment of an autonomous university at Newcastle. But the Prime Minister refuses to do anything about it. In reply to a question which I asked earlier in this sessional period, the right honorable gentleman stated that he would consider the matter at some time in the future. The Newcastle University College is being allowed to continue under most unsatisfactory conditions on the present site, and the Prime Minister does nothing about the matter.
The proposal for the establishment of an autonomous university on a new site is supported not only by the people of Newcastle. The Committee on Higher Education which was appointed by the New South Wales Parliament to inquire into university education in New South Wales numbered among its members many of the leading university figures in the State. The committee’s first report was recently tabled in the New South Wales Parliament, and I should like to refer honorable members to several paragraphs in that report. Paragraph 1.39 at page 17 states -
The Committee recommends that the Newcastle University College be transferred as soon as possible to the Shortland site, and that at an appropriate time it become an autonomous university containing Faculties of Arts, Science and Commerce. The establishment of full courses in Technology would involve the provision of equipment which might prove to be an unnecessary duplication of the facilities at Kensington. In this field the Newcastle University College should continue to operate as a college of the University of New South Wales.
The New South Wales Government purchased the Shortland site, which is substantial in area, from a Newcastle company. The Australian Universities Commission inspected the site and agreed that it is most satisfactory for the establishment of a university. 1 have asked Sir Leslie Martin, the chairman of the commission, a number of questions about the commission’s failure to recommend the allocation of sufficient money for the development of the proposed university on the Shortland site. He has told me that until a clear undertaking that the new university will be established on that site, and that further funds allocated will be used for the establishment and development of the proposed university on that site, is given the commission feels inclined not to recommend any further allocation for the development of the Newcastle University College. Sir Leslie’s objection has now been overcome. The Committee on Higher Education appointed by the New South Wales Parliament has recommended that the transfer of the college to the Shortland site be undertaken as soon as possible.
The New South Wales Government has requested the Prime Minister in writing to make on behalf of the Commonwealth Government a joint allocation with the New South Wales Government on a £1 for £1 basis for capital development up to £20,000 for initial planning and development, since the Commonwealth and the New South Wales Government already make such allocations for the capital development of universities. I ask the Prime Minister to give this matter his earnest consideration as early as possible and to indicate his support and approval of the project which is under way. If the right honorable gentleman discusses it with Sir Leslie Martin, chair man of the Australian Universities Commission, he will find that Sir Leslie agrees that the Shortland site should be selected and that there is a need for its development.
The present rate of enrolment at the Newcastle University compares more than favorably with that of universities throughout the Commonwealth. The present increase in the rate of enrolment in other universities is in the vicinity of 10 per cent. In Newcastle there is an annual increase in enrolments of over 11 per cent. Even on the basis of present enrolments, these figures prove the great need for the provision of the facilities that I have mentioned. At present students are working in deplorable conditions. Technical college students and university students are required, for example, to use the same library facilities. Every one knows that the general layout of the technical college is most unsatisfactory. This state of affairs had to ‘be tolerated in the early years of the development of thi: university because money and building materials were scarce. In order to get the project under way all and sundry in Newcastle agreed to go ahead with the initial work on the technical college site at Tighe’s Hill, but every one now realizes that the technical college itself needs all the available space and should not have to worry about providing for some 1,200 university students.
On the figures that have been made available, it is expected that by 1965 some 1,500 students will have to be accommodated, and that there will be no provision whatever for any residential students. If residential facilities were provided here, as is the case at other universities, quite clearly the number of students would exceed 2,000. On a population basis, Newcastle compares more than favorably with Tasmania which has a fully autonomous university. Why cannot Newcastle, which draws on the large population in the Hunter Valley, which the Prime Minister referred to so fluently when in Newcastle recently, be treated similarly? The Prime Minister tried to take a rise out of the honorable member for Shortland (Mr. Griffiths) when he suggested the other day that the honorable member had applauded every utterance that he had made when addressing a gathering which comprised members of the chamber of commerce. You know as well as I do, Sir, that the honorable member for Shortland could not see anything humorous in the fairy story that you were telling the members of the chamber of commerce and the other people who were present. You tried to take a rise out of him and to dodge the real issue which is this: When will the Government do something about providing additional facilities in Newcastle? We have raised this matter on several occasions.
Both the’ Sydney University and the University of New South Wales are now reaching the stage of overcrowding. An -additional university should, and must, be developed in Newcastle. If this Government really- believes in decentralization, “here is an opportunity to put that policy into effect. The Country Party alleges that it supports decentralization. Let us have a little decentralization of university facilities so that the people of the Hunter Valley will have the opportunity to attend a university in their own district and not have to travel to the Sydney University or the University of New South Wales. The Young Men’s Christian Association has built recently a very large hostel for housing young fellows coming to Newcastle to take up various trades and courses at the technical college and the university. Various Church organizations likewise have set up substantial residences in Newcastle.
Paragraph 8.5 of the First Report of the Committee on Higher Education in New South Wales has this to say -
It is evident that a university established outside the metropolitan area anywhere except in Newcastle would depend: upon the establishment of residential colleges for the enrolment of most of its students. At the present time extensions of enrolment in the University of New England and the Australian National University at Canberra depend upon the provision of these facilities.
It is not necessary to provide residential accommodation for students in Newcastle as would be the case if it were intended to develop a university in Canberra, the New England district or anywhere else where large residential blocks would, be required to house students from other districts. In my opinion the committee mentions this quite forcefully when dealing with the establishment of a university, particularly on the Shortland site, because it will meet the needs of the district. I mentioned earlier that Newcastle has a far greater population than has Tasmania.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- The honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Jones) challenged the members of the Australian Country Party to do something about the provision of a university outside Sydney if we were sincere in our advocacy of decentralization. Who was responsible for the University of New England if it was not my colleague, the honorable member for New England (Mr. Drummond)? This is the only university which has been established outside the metropolitan area in New South Wales. Who was responsible for the University of New South Wales being located in the City of Sydney if it was not the Labour Government of that State? This talk about the Country Party advocating decentralization but not trying to have universities established outside the metropolitan area is just so much poppycock. If the honorable member for Newcastle is sincere in his remarks about decentralization, why does he not mention the matter of freights, which is something within the jurisdiction of the New South Wales Government? If one goes into the country and asks any one what will assist decentralization one will receive the straight answer, “ A reduction in freights “,
The Opposition has moved that the first item in the Estimates be reduced by £1. This gives it the opportunity to discuss education. Honorable members opposite have suggested that the Commonwealth Government should assist education more than it has done in the past. There are many projects that people claim should receive greater assistance. I have heard them say that greater assistance should be given to housing and to the provision of roads. The States claim that if the Commonwealth Government would only open, its pockets everything would be very much better than, it is. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam), in his statement to local government bodies the other day, said that when the Labour Government was returned to power it would wipe out one of the arms of government. He indicated that the State governments would be abolished. If the Labour Party does that, if and when it assumes office, he evidently thinks that everything will be all right because the Commonwealth Government will be the only body supplying money.
Let me now refer to that section of Division No. 121 - Prime Minister’s Department - which relates to the proposed vote of £30,500 to meet the costs entailed in entertaining distinguished visitors and guests, and for other special occasions. That is not a very large amount of money for this purpose when one considers that there is a proposed vote of £160,000 for the Commonwealth Games and that last year there was a vote of £20,000 for the Olympic Games. Tourists are coming to Australia continuously. Our tourist trade is valuable not only from the financial aspect but also from the viewpoint of good public relations between this country and other parts of the world. There is also the matter of Australia’s prestige.
I suggest that consideration be given to the provision in the estimates of some department of an amount to be used for the encouragement of our tourist trade and the establishment of an organization to look after tourists in this country. There is the National Travel Association, but I cannot find that it receives any assistance from the Commonwealth Government. The State Department in the United States of America makes special provision for the exchange of visits between residents of that country and other countries. Many of us in this Parliament have received very great help from the State Department when we have visited America. I am not speaking only of financial assistance. An organization in the United States of America looks after visitors. When we arrive in a town, some one meets us at the train or at the hotel and we are entertained and shown around during our stay. I think much good results from this and I should like something of the sort to happen in this country.
Connected with this suggestion is the provision of tourist facilities in Australia. We are developing in the National Capital here something of which we will be proud as time goes on. The capital city of Australia will be able to entertain and provide hospitality for visitors- and will become the shop window of Australia not only for very distinguished guests but for the average visitor. However, other places in. the back country, in the real heart of Aus* tralia where the wealth of our- primary industries is produced, remain to be developed. I have in mind such places as Burrendong Dam, which is under con’struction in my electorate. When a damis built, the timber often is not killed, though in some instances it is ring-barked. Frequently, the timber is left and when the waters rise the tops of trees can be seen around the edges. That is not very satisfactory for people who operate boats of any sort on that water, We have progressed in the sporting field along with other countries and speedboating, waterskiing and other aquatic sports have become very popular. I cannot imagine anything more beautiful on a bright spring or summer day than the sight of speedboats and other boats engaged in aquatic sports generally on these clear, inland waters. But boating among the tops of trees is hazardous.
The Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission does not feel disposed to spend money on clearing timber which is of no particular value to it, and no one else is very much Inclined to do so. After a dam has been completed and is full, it is almost impossible to remove these trees which detract from its general value for the purposes I have mentioned. I suggest that a travel organization should be formed and funds made available to it for this purpose. This may appear to be a small matter, but in the aggregate it is important if we are to foster the tourist trade. Beyond a small amount for the entertainment of distinguished visitors, I can find no reference in the Estimates to the provision of funds for tourist purposes. I suggest that, in the future, consideration should be given to the provision of greater assistance in this direction. An organization such as I have mentioned to look after tourists would certainly be appreciated by them.
.- The estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department contain an item of £661,000 for the Australian Security Intelligence Organization. I take it that the only reason this appears in the Estimates is because the Government must obtain parliamentary authority for the expenditure. If this were not so, it would not even be mentioned. This Government has placed a complete cloak of secrecy over the organization and no doubt will refuse to answer any criticism of it. However, it has not reached the stage where it can suppress the voice of the Opposition in directing attention to certain activities of the organization.
It was a Labour government that established the security organization, and in doing so it placed the organization under civil control. The Labour government recognized at the time the great dangers inherent in setting up such an organization as this in Australia. However, this Government has made it a semi-military organization and the security service has developed into what might be regarded as a political police force. It is engaging in activities which the Australian public generally would not regard as the proper functions of such an organization.
I want to deal first with the administration of the organization because there is a good deal of dissatisfaction amongst its members about many features of its control and development. In February of this year, Mr. Clive de G. Young resigned. He was one of the oldest members of the organization, having joined it away back in 1950. According to the information furnished to me - it is for the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) or whoever else may want to speak for the Government to say whether my information is correct or not - one reason for this man resigning after being a member of the organization for eleven years and almost one of its original members, was because he strongly objected to the manager of the Australia and New Zealand Bank Limited in Darwin, where he was stationed at the time of his resignation, discussing the private financial affairs of himself and his wife with a Mr. R. G. Meldrum, a member of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization. Mr. Meldrum in turn then reported to Brigadier Spry, who is the director of the organization.
I do not know whether the manager of the Darwin branch of the Australia and New Zealand Bank Limited is a member of the security service. We know that, as well as employing officers directly, the organization has adopted a system of employing agents. Agents can be anywhere in the community where the security service requires them to be, and anywhere it can obtain them. If this manager is an agent of the organization, this becomes a most serious matter. I think we have heard it repeatedly said by members of both sides of the Parliament that the personal affairs of a customer of a bank should be a matter solely between himself and the manager of the bank. This is a very serious matter, if Mr. Young has been forced to resign from the service as a sort of protest against this discussion and the subsequent report to Brigadier Spry concerning the financial affairs of himself and his wife.
Apparently if members of the security service become aggrieved at their treatment, they have no right of appeal. They are not regarded as normal members of the Public Service, with certain avenues of appeal open to them. So they have no redress whatever. This Mr. Young took what he evidently regarded as the only course open to him. When they had made his position in the service untenable and had embarrassed him and his wife, he resigned from the service.
Of course, there are other features associated with these matters. Time will noi permit me to go into them in detail or 1 would be prevented from offering my criticism in respect of other activities of this organization. I am also informed that a gentleman named Dowd who conducted a business in Adelaide has been ruined, both in his business and his private life, as the result of what must have been obviously a false report disseminated in Adelaide about alleged subversive activities on his part. No charge was preferred against him, but it was alleged that these activities had centred about the business he was conducting. So far as I am aware, no action was taken by the security service against Mr. Dowd. b”t some newspaper evidently was able to capitalize on the allegations and published certain stories which ruined his business because once the business was branded as being the centre of subversive activities, the patronage fell away. My information is that of the three agents of the security service who gave the information against Mr. Dowd, two have since been quartered in mental asylums and the third has served a term in gaol. Surely, if there was any basis for the allegations against Mr. Dowd and the conduct of his business, some action would have been taken by the Government or the security service.
Let me hurry on to refer to one or two other cases. Attention has been directed in this House on a number of occasions to the rejection of applications for naturalization and the failure of public servants to get the normal promotion due to them in government departments on the basis of security reports the nature of which is not disclosed to the persons concerned. They are not told either the contents of the reports or the names of the informants. Public servants have been prejudiced in their promotion without a trial or a charge, and they have not been confronted with the persons making the allegations. In the same way, many persons who have been resident in Australia for long periods have been denied certificates of naturalization on reports by the security service which were never divulged to them. Why cannot these people be even informed that their application has been rejected on a security report °
Any honorable member who raises a matter of this sort with the Minister concerned gets two replies when he fina!]” receives an answer from the Minister. On” reply is to be sent to the person who approached him. The other reply obviously is intended to be confidential information for the member of Parliament. I have advised the Minister about one of these cases and have asked him to review it, but so far he has refused to reverse his decision. I have asked him to have some son of investigation made to determine whether there is any basis for rejecting the application. Let me outline the broad features of this case, lt concerns a Portugese family who took up residence in Australia, speaking from memory, nine or ten years ago. The husband and three of the children, the eldest of whom is nineteen years, are naturalized Australian subjects but the wife has been refused a certificate of naturalization. I interviewed this couple on a number of occasions and asked the lady whether she had ever been engaged in any politic.1 activities in Australia or overseas before she came here, or whether she knew of any reason why the Australian authorities should refuse to grant her a certificate of naturalization. She knows of nothing at all which would have any effect on her application. So here we have a family all of whom are naturalized except the wife who has been refused a certificate of naturalization.
I then questioned the husband and I began to see some glimmer of light. Knowing the methods of the security service, I realized that it would not require much evidence on which to base an adverse decision. It turned out that during a period of unemployment after his arrival in Australia this Portuguese settler was informed by a friend that a position was vacant at the Russian Social Club and that he might be able to secure it. The position was that of a waiter and cleaner. The pay was not very good. While the man worked there he was looking for other employment, and when he had been there about three or four months he secured another position and left the Russian Social Club. Unfortunately for him, he secured work in the building industry and joined the Building Workers Industrial Union. He became a job delegate.
The B.W.I.U. is an organization that supporters of the Government have repeatedly dubbed as one under Communist control. This man became an active unionist and a job delegate and, associated with the fact that he had formerly been employed at the Russian Social Club, this evidently was sufficient for the security service to make an adverse report regarding his wife’s application. The husband had secured his naturalization certificate some time previously. This lady, who has been resident in Australia for many years and the other members of whose family have been naturalized, according to the information supplied to me, was refused naturalization on a very positive report submitted by the Director-General of Security. That indicates that the offence of this lady is regarded in some way as so grave that she could not even be granted a certificate of naturalization although she is allowed to remain in Australia. If this woman is considered such a danger to security on the basis of a very positive report by the
Director-General of Security, one would imagine that the Government would take some further action to see that she did not remain a resident of Australia but if the Government attempted to send her out of Australia, obviously it would be obliged to reveal in the courts at least some of the grounds on which a certificate of naturalization has been refused.
I have only a few minutes left so I shall refer to only one other case which concerns a Portuguese gentleman also. He has been resident in Australia for many years. He was deported from Portugal as a young man. He has never been inside a police court in Australia or in his own country. According to him - and I have no reason to doubt him. and knowing what we do about the Government of Portugal it could b3 possible - he was seized and put on a ship because he was the secretary of his local municipal workers union. He was sent to Portuguese Timor, and after a number of years there he managed to come to Australia. For many years he has been working on the Sydney waterfront. This man applied for a certificate of naturalization and, on the basis of a security report, it was refused.
I think there should be some answer to the details of these cases that have been revealed to me. There should be some opportunity for these people to reply to some of the allegations and charges that are made against them. If this is the type of activity in which the security organization is engaged, how can any member of the Australian community have confidence in it? I ask the Prime Minister and the AttorneyGeneral (Sir Garfield Barwick), who share the responsibility for this organization, to give some answer to this criticism.
– I do not propose to detain the committee, but I want to say a few words about what has now become an annual feature of these Estimates - a discussion on education. Before 1 do that. 1 might perhaps relieve the mind of my friend who spoke about tourism by saying to him that if he looks in the estimates of the Department of Trade he will find that this year our subvention to the Australian National Travel
Association is £150,000, having risen to that amount by stages over a period of years.
I am not going to rehearse what I have frequently spoken about before - the attitude of the Government to the education problem - because that is quite well known, but I do think perhaps I might, in a very few words, bring up to date what I have said before. I first of all clear away one or two misconceptions. Several speakers have quoted figures - not always identical - representing the percentage of gross national product which Australian expenditure on education represents, and have compared that unfavorably with expenditure in other countries. It is very dangerous to make these comparisons too hastily because, in fact, in at least some of the countries which have been set up by way of comparison, 90 per cent, of the expenditure on primary and secondary schools and so on is government expenditure. In Australia, it happens that 75 per cent, of expenditure on education is government expenditure and the other 25 per cent, is the result of other causes, and comes from other sources. Therefore, a precise comparison cannot be made. If, in Australia, 90 per cent, were dealt with in what in effect would be government schools and institutions, then the percentage that educational expenditure would represent here would rise quite materially, as must be quite clear to honorable members.
Another honorable member had something to say about the pressure that immigration had put on the capacity of the States in this matter. Indeed, he and several others have sought to create an impression that we are in a critical condition, that the whole State educational structure is in effect in a state of crisis. There are two answers to that, and I shall just mention each of them quite briefly. In the first place, let me say that the increase in government school enrolments was about 7 per cent, in 1952. That percentage has diminished year by year, and by 1960 was only 3i per cent. And that fall is expected to continue until the annual increase represents something of the order of 2 per cent. These figures do not demonstrate a crisis. On the contrary, they demonstrate that the pressure of demand is rising not at the rapid rate at which it wai rising six or seven years ago, but at a very much more moderate one.
The second thing 1 want to say is that it has become quite the fashion now to say that the Commonwealth sits idly by. I have been accused of the most frightful indifference to the educational demands of the country, and I find that a rather odd allegation to be made against me, since I venture to say that no Prime Minister has been so active in this field as I have and that with the complete support of both sides of this Parliament. The fact that to-day the Commonwealth is spending fifteen times as much on universities as it was spending ten years ago is trifling to some, I suppose, but it is worth recalling. The fact that we have done so much in the university field has rather created a false impression in the public mind, an impression which is carefully fostered by some people, that we are making no contribution whatever to the State problem of primary and secondary education.
What are the facts? It is quite true that we do not make specific grants, but, before people become too steeped in gloom, let me say that our Commonwealth general revenue grants to the States have risen during my term - over this decade - from £102,000,000 to an estimated £302,000,000 this year. In other words, they have trebled in that time. The expenditure by the States from Consolidated Revenue on education, this field in which we are supposed indifferently to have starved them, was, in round figures, £38,000,000 in 1950-51, and £140,000,000 in 1960-61. So that, in spite of this beggarly treatment of which we are accused, the States were able to increase their expenditure on education from £38,000,000 to £140,000,000 over a period of time in which our revenue grants to the States were trebled. I venture to say that those are very remarkable figures.
Turning to the capital side, I say once more that although I think that on the whole the States have coped splendidly with their educational problem, they certainly could not have coped with the building demand, the capital establishment of their schools, if it had not been for the treatment provided by this Government for the first time in the history of the Commonwealth, because, beginning with 1951-52, this Government has found from taxation, from the Budget and from general Commonwealth resources, an average of about £80,000,000 a year by way of assistance to State works programmes. In other words, the short fall of loan raisings for approved programmes has always been taken up by us and, over that period, that has in fact averaged no less than £80,000,000 a year. In one year it was up as high as £152,000,000, and in another year it was down to a relatively small figure, but, over the whole period, the amount provided was about £800,000,000. Quite plainly, without that assistance, the States could never have maintained their capital expenditure.
So, on the revenue side, and on the capita] side, it must be perfectly clear to anybody that because of the way in which we have improved revenue grants to the States, because of the new formula that was devised to the unanimous satisfaction of the States, a formula which took into account increases in school population and things of that kind, the States have been enabled to do something of which they are, I think, very properly proud.
Somebody wanted to tell us that at the last conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers the Premiers unanimously wanted us to go into this field, that they wanted emergency grants, that they wanted a fullblooded inquiry. I will take one of them by way of type, because that will be sufficient for my purposes. I shall take Mr. Bolte. After Mr. Heffron had put forward his proposal very briefly, in a mild and disarming way, Mr. Bolte said -
I support their case on the general level, but I point out that in presenting a case for them we may be thought to be admitting in some way that we are not doing a very good job in the field of education. Such an inference would not be correct. I think that the position in other States is much the same as is that in Victoria. In the current financial year, we are spending close on £60,000,000 on education, and a lot of the departments other than that concerned with education are perhaps becoming Cinderellas for the benefit of education. I firmly believe that if we can continue to spend at the present rate we can handle the situation. I am perfectly frank about the matter. I am not here to admit in any way that Victoria is behind the door with respect to making provision for the educational requirements of the present generation and future generations.
Having said that he went on to say -
But I think that one aspect of education should have special attention. That is technical education.
That was his view, and it is an entirely intelligible one. But I have mentioned these figures in order to remind the committee, which hears certain things from year to year with some regularity, that CommonwealthState financial relations have been conducted, I believe, with such justice and liberality that the States have been able to achieve in the educational field the results that we all know of to-day.
– But they all want more money.
– Of course everybody will ask for money from the Commonwealth. That is the easiest thing in the world. You seem to think that we just say “ abracadabra “ and down comes £100,000,000. We have to be a bit responsible in handling the finances. We are not handling them theoretically. I said and I repeat - honorable members will appreciate the significance of it - that these figures demonstrate beyond doubt how false is the argument that we stand by indifferently. I have an old-fashioned prejudice in favour of doing one thing at a time.
We tackled this university problem - an enormous problem - and but for what we did, the universities would have been completely bankrupted and the development of universities would have been frustrated for a decade. I am very pleased that we were able to assist the universities and, I believe, to open up a new future for them. We then established the Universities Commission. You cannot provide for university development a month at a time. You must do it as the commission decided, and as we agreed, in three yearly terms, the triennium, as it is called, and we have just approved in this Parliament of the current triennium expenditure. At the same time as approving of it we told the Universities Commission, under Sir Leslie Martin, that we thought it very desirable to have an examination made of the whole future structure of tertiary education; not just taking for granted that what may be called the traditional type of university is the only answer to the problem, but letting our minds run on to consider whether we might not need special technological institutes of some kind or other. To meet the demands of the modern world there may be a call for various grades or types of tertiary educational establishments. For that purpose we have appointed a special committee, and a very powerful one, I think. It is widely representative, containing in it not only high-quality expert opinion but business experience and financial experience. We anticipate - not in a month or two months, because this will be a long job - getting from that committee, which will sit under the chairmanship of Sir Leslie Martin, a report which we can then take up with the States in order to see whether, for the future, some other system of finance must be worked out.
We do not decide whether there is going to be a new university at, say, Shortland. It is not a political decision by us. This is one of the problems, first of all, for the State Government, because it establishes universities and the Commonwealth does not, and, secondly, for the Universities Commission, which will discuss the requirements and the appropriateness of what is proposed to be done and then make recommendations to us. When all that is added to by the report of this committee on tertiary education generally, which will include technological education, then we will be to that extent further forward.
I do not beguile myself into believing that this is not going to cost more money, because every investigation into a problem of this kind comes up with recommendations which cost money to implement. But having tackled the problem of universities in the broad we did not pause there. We turned to that important branch of medical training, the teaching hospitals and clinical instruction generally. We set up a committee to examine that. I have not seen its report yet, but it came near me one day and it sounded, even at that distance, pretty costly. But. anyhow, it is either in or on the way in, because we realize that the work done by teaching hospitals in the training of medical practitioners is a branch of tertiary education that cannot be excluded simply because it is not conducted actually within the four walls of a university.
I mention these matters to show that, so far from being indifferent, we have had a lively and imaginative mind on these problems. We have pursued these matters as and when we could, and pursued them at great outlay, while, at the same time, our financial arrangements with the States have put the States, to use a homely phrase, “ in funds “ as they never were before, to carry out their educational activities, with the result - I conclude by repeating it - that the educational expenditure of the States on their own purposes has gone up from £38,000,000 to £140,000,000 over the period of office of this Government.
.- I think it is very significant that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has chosen the subject of education on which to speak in relation to the estimates for his own department. This I think correctly and rightly bears the assumption that he considers that of all the subjects he could have spoken about in this debate, education is the most important. He began by saying that he intended to clear away a number of misconceptions and in order to make his speech more effective he started by stating one himself. He stated that the Opposition and other critics had said that his Government had stood idly by and had been indifferent to the needs of education. This was not the position taken by the Opposition or by the other critics. Our view is that during the last ten years the Government has provided substantially for education but that it has not treated the matter with the urgency that it needs and that it deserves and demands. In order to make his answer to our criticisms more effective the right honorable gentleman overstated them. He created his own case so as to be able to demolish it more easily. He had practically nothing to say about our case. But in the course of doing this the Prime Minister attempted to show that there is not any urgency about the problem of education and that there is not a crisis in the present situation. One need not overstate the present deficiencies of education to know that that attitude is not consistent with answering quickly enough the needs of education.
The Prime Minister began by saying that it is dangerous to make comparisons between the proportions of the gross national product spent by different countries upon education. He said that whereas in Australia about 90 per cent, of expenditure on education is by governments, in some other countries the position is very different. All this is true, but it still remains true also that the 1.9 per cent, of the gross national product spent on education in Australia is not any more than half of the amount that is spent by other countries in a comparable position. When one allows for the different significance of the types of expenditure there is still a very great deal in Australia to be concerned about in this respect.
The Prime Minister contended that the proportion of new enrolments had reached the highest point in 1952 and had then commenced to diminish. This is also not strictly true. There has been a variation in the level of enrolments. However, assuming for the sake of argument that the statement is true, the position is that the main case for improvements in education in Australia has not been based upon an increase in the proportion of students each year, but on the existing deficiencies. The various inquiries and reports made by educationists in Australia have been concerned primarily with the large classes, with the insufficient number of teachers, with the insufficiency of buildings and with the large capital requirements, in existing circumstances, without any question of increasing numbers of students. Any one who knows anything of primary education, particularly in this country, knows that the case put forward by the educationists about inadequacies on present standards, leaving aside entirely any increases in numbers of students, has been proved up to the hilt. I suggest that it is not satisfactory or pleasing to those concerned with education in Australia to know that the Prime Minister comes into the Parliament and attempts to make a case, claiming that records have been created and that there is no urgent need to improve the situation.
The Prime Minister has said that the Commonwealth is spending fifteen times as much on universities as it did ten years ago. It is not, however, spending fifteen times as much on secondary schools or on primary schools. Certainly the amount spent on universities has increased, and if the Commonwealth record in respect of primary schools and secondary schools was as good as it is in regard to universities, we would have much less cause to criticize.
– The problem is not solved as to universities, either.
– that is- so. It- nasi not beencompletely solved in- regard’ to- universities, and for some very good reasons. The Prime Minister talks in terms of money. The depreciating Menzies £1 is- what he is. talk* ing about. He speaks of £102,000,000 spent ten years ago on education as against an expenditure of £300,000,000- to-day. But what has really happened? The items on which that money has been spent have increased in cost by 120 per cent, during that time. The numbers of students and others upon whom the money has been spent have increased by 100 per cent. If you have a look at the real value per capita, the increase has not been more than 20 per cent. If you consider the increase as a proportion of the gross national product that has been spent on education, you find that it has been from 1.2 per cent, to 1.9 per cent. It is still a very small fraction of the total gross national product. Is that small fraction satisfactory to the Government? It is not satisfactory to the Australian people or to the Opposition.
The Prime Minister also said that the Opposition made a strong point based on a contention that the Premiers unanimously wanted the Federal Government to come into this field. The Prime Minister denied, of course, that the Premiers had expressed such a desire. He suggested that the Premier of Victoria, Mi”. Bolte, had introduced some modification of the proposition pitt forward by the Labour Premier df New South Wales, Mr. Heffron. Mr. Heffron, the Prime Minister said, put a brief proposal. He did not give us any information about what that proposal was, He did not tell tis that the proposal was brief and to the point, that it was a specific request for a grant from the Federal Government for the purpose of education.
– As a matter of urgency.
– Yes, as a matter of urgency. The people of Australia have listened to the Prime Minister saying in these debates over the last three or four years that no State Premier had made such a request. This year he finds it impossible to continue to adhere to that contention. However, instead of telling us about Mr. Heffron’s specific request for a federal grant as a matter of urgency, the right honorable gentleman simply refers to it as a brief pro posal. He is endeavouring to make the best of tine- situation from a political point of view. He does not want these statements to be carefully analysed.
Let us consider, however, what the Premier of Victoria had to say. The Prime
Minister told us that Mr. Bolte had said, “ I support the case on the general level “. Mr. Bolte, we find, supports Mr. Heffron’s case on the general level, but the Prime Minister hoped to skate over this introductory proposition by Mr. Bolte, treating it as lightly as possible. It is obvious, however, that Mr. Bolte was one of those who joined in Mr. Heffron’s request for a special grant from the Federal Government as a matter of urgency. Mr. Bolte also said that he wanted to point out that his Government and those of the other States were doing a very good job. The specific criticism is not levelled at the State governments. The State governments are limited and restricted by the amount of money that they have available, and I suppose the truth of the matter is that there is not very much difference between what the different State” governments do in respect of education. The criticism, as I say, is not being levelled at the State governments; it is being levelled at the kind of priority that has been established by the Commonwealth Government. Is 1.9 per cent, of the gross national product sufficient for education? The answer we make to that is ari unequivocal, “ No “.
Mr. Bolte was quoted by the prime Minister as having said, “‘If we continue to spend at the present rate We can handle the situation “. That is a statement with which I want to disagree completely. Mr. Bolte is wrong in making that statement. Tt is a statement that is contrary to the views of educationists throughout Australia. We cannot handle the situation if we continue to spend at the present rate. It gives educationists and others concerned With the problem very little satisfaction to know that the Prime Minister is prepared in this chamber to quote the statement of the Premier of Victoria that if we continue to spend at the present rate we can handle the situation.
– The Victorian report asked for £48,000.000.
-As the honorable member for Barton says, the Victorian report said that it is necessary to have an extra £48,000,000, and I remind the committee that it was the Premier of Victoria who made the statement quoted by the Prime Minister.
I believe the contribution by the Prime Minister in this debate has been most disappointing from the viewpoint of all those concerned with education. The right honorable gentleman is more concerned with the reputation of his Government than with the needs of education in Australia. All along the line, over the last five years, he has had to be pushed every inch of the way in rela-lion to matters concerned with education: It was in 1958 that he raised constitutional difficulties. The other night he sought, by interjection, to deny that he had done so, but the record is available in “ Hansard “. The Prime Minister said on 6th May, 195S. as reported at page 1454, that the Constitution stands in the way of the Commonwealth Government coming into this field, as though there were problems involved which, in the absence of the constitutional provision’s, he would have to solve. I suggest that his record in the field of education, apart from the aspect of universities, reveals delay and prevarication and leaves a very great deal to be desired. The right honorable gentleman was called by the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant), “The prince df prevaricators “.
– “ Procrastinators “.
-“ The prince of pro.crastinators “. Let me give one illustration of this. Some little time ago, the Australian Universities Commission held an inquiry into, and made a report on, University salaries. The report was in the hands of the Prime Minister on 6th January of this year. About the middle of February we commenced to question him about the report on these lines: What was he doing with it? Where was it? When would it be tabled? The right honorable gentleman, on every occasion, said that he would look into the matter and would give an answer. The answer did not come, and the report was not tabled until about a fortnight ago. The right honorable gentleman did not explain why this report had apparently been retained iri his hands from 6th January of this year until the beginning of September. It was not a report that would make any great material difference in the salaries of university staffs. It made only a very minor difference to them - but a difference that the Universities Commission itself, last year, had judged it necessary to make. That increase is not, therefore, going to be made until the coming financial year. If that is not procrastination I do not know what it is. If that is the record of a man who is concerned consistently to put the interests of education first, I shall take some convincing on the point.
The Opposition has sought to put before the people of Australia the importance of education - an importance that we believe is not being met by the level of expenditure for which the Government is primarily responsible. We have not said that the Government has stood idly by. We have not said that it is unconcerned with the needs of education. We have said, and said clearly, that the Government does not regard the needs of education urgently enough, and is not prepared to take the necessary action to increase the amount of money made available for education.
.- As far as I know the honorable member for Yarra (Mr.- Cairns) is in the education industry and, of course, his approach to this matter is more one of ideas than of objectives. He is terribly wrong. Education has made great strides in the period of the Menzies Government from 1949 to 1961. The honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds) was interjecting and taking a similar line to that taken by the honorable member for Yarra. I think that he also is, or was, in the education industry. Those’ honorable gentlemen have not got their facts right. In the first place, let me refer, in order to prove this statement, to a letter that I received from Mr. Cahill, the late Premier of New South Wales-, iff reply to a request from me which was the result of representations that I had received from dozens of meetings of teachers, of shire councils and of progress associations for the expenditure of more money on education. In my letter I asked Mr. Cahill whether he was responsible for education in his State, or wanted the Commonwealth to take over education responsibilities. 1 asked him whether he wanted to refer to the Commonwealth the powers in respect of education which his State, or any other State, may do under section 51 of the Constitution. In his reply he said -
It is only labouring the obvious to say that the State Government is entirely responsible for education.
I wrote to him again and pointed out something which might be news to the honorable member for Barton and the honorable member for Yarra. I pointed out that expenditure on education by the Labour Government in New South Wales, expressed as a percentage of total expenditure, was less than such expenditure was twenty years before - though since that time social service expenditure had been taken over by the Commonwealth from the States after a referendum. Expenditure on education during the term of office as New South Wales Minister for Education, in an antiLabour government, of the present honorable member for New England (Mr. Drummond) was a higher percentage of the total funds available than has been expenditure under the New South Wales Labour Government in the decade 1950-60. This is proven by figures.
So the people who have let the community down in regard to education are the party colleagues of honorable members opposite. Yet members of the Labour Party come here with their carping criticism of the Government. The fact is that the term of office of this Government has been marked by the most generous, most liberal approach to education in Australia’s history. It has been a new approach. Of course, members of the Opposition groan now, because they cannot take what is being handed out to them in the way of facts. They can ask for more money for education, but they cannot take the truth - and the truth is that they and their party colleagues are the people who have let the country down. This is provable over and over again.
There is not the slightest doubt that during the Menzies Government’s term the enormous funds made available to the States for education, which is controlled and run by them, have made a difference. In mv electorate, where there was one high school. there are now six high schools; and where there was a high school of a very unfortunate type, with poor amenities, to-day there are lavish amenities. We have all sorts of up-to-date approaches to education now. Only in the last few years has the New South Wales Labour Government undertaken its true responsibility, and then only because the truth was brought home to it that it was spending less on education, as a percentage of total expenditure, than its predecessors spent. This can be proved by reference to the records of the term as Minister for Education of the honorable member for New England, who was a most distinguished and illustrious New South Wales Minister for Education for many years. I am sorry that he is not hearing me make those remarks about him, but T wish to congratulate him on his work.
I wish also to pay a tribute to the Menzies Government for what it has done for tertiary education, and what is has done in respect of the Murray commission and the other commission, both of which are probably well known to the honorable member for Yarra because he is so deeply interested in this matter. As a result of the appointment of those commissions by the Menzies Government there has been a most generous and liberal approach to education in Australia. What does this mean to Australia? What will history show for this period? It will show a new approach to education. It will show Australia racing ahead with all sorts of developments. It will show great increases in scientific, technical and technological education leading to improvements in the standard of living and in high school education, all of which will help this country to be a really great country. This is only the beginning of what will happen as a result of the assistance to universities given by this Government. This assistance has been given by the Menzies Liberal Government, and not by State Labour governments, which have been parsimonious and have cut down expenditure on education, as figures prove year after year. It is only since the new approach was made under the leadership of this Government that attention has been paid to the full needs of education, and as a result we see new high schools springing up. 1 turn now to the estimates for the Public Service Board, the proposed vote for which totals £862,700. Each year on the occasion of this debate I have been moved to say something about the Commonwealth Public Service Board, in some cases in an attempt to improve the efficiency of the Public Service. Figures given in the Public Service Board’s report for the last financial year show that in the year to 30th June, 1961, there was an increase to 165,214 in the number of public servants, and that wages and salaries in that year accounted for £189,457,000. The increase in the Public Service has been very gradual, and has not been commensurate with the increased duties placed on the Public Service as a result of the expansion of our population, the development of Australia and the increase in services that have had to be provided as a result. I think that we can pay a tribute to the people responsible for the modest measure of the increase, because a very close watch has been kept on the expenditure of public funds involved in the employment of more public servants.
I should like the Government to ask the Public Service Board to appoint a Public Service inspector to serve in the Northern Territory. This might be thought to be a subject of debate when the proposed vote for the Department of Territories is before us, but I point out that it is something in respect of which we must start at the top. It is not a decision for the Department of Territories alone. The matter must start with the Public Service Board, and because of the constitutional difficulties under which the Minister for Territories works the whole thing must emanate from this Parliament. In order to bring this matter to public notice, I, as a member of the Parliament, ask the Public Service Board, through the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), who is its ministerial head, to appoint a Public Service inspector to be domiciled in the Northern Territory. The Territory is a responsibility of the Commonwealth Government.
Public servants domiciled in the Northern Territory work under conditions very different from those experienced by public servants who are domiciled in the States. Procedures are different. The Territory is a responsibility of the Commonwealth. The thirty-sixth report of the Public Accounts Committee, at pages 23 and 24, reveals a remarkable thing about the Northern Territory. I ask for the indulgence of the committee to state these facts. This report reveals that the Northern Territory is administered by an Administrator who is responsible to the Minister for Territories and by an Assistant Administrator who is responsible to the permanent head of the Department of Territories. There are functioning in the Territory nineteen Commonwealth departments and instrumentalities which are not subject to the Administrator’s control. In 1937, a board of inquiry pointed out that eleven Commonwealth departments and instrumentalities functioning in the Territory were independent of the Administrator and subject solely to control from head offices in Canberra or Melbourne. This situation presents great problems of coordination, and the only authority that I know of which could effectively coordinate all these activities is the Public Service Board.
At present, a Public Service inspector who is responsible to the board and, I hope, through it, to this Parliament - I say that perhaps rather wistfully - visits the Northern Territory three times a year. I suggest that the Parliament ought to require that the inspector who is responsible for matters in the Territory reside there and experience the conditions for himself in order that’ he may know what Public Service personnel go through in the Territory. It has been said that public servants are appointed to positions in the Northern Territory for two years, and I have been told that the first year is spent in settling in and the second year in looking forward to getting out. I suggest that if the conditions under which public servants are required to live and work in the Territory are put right we shall be able to streamline the Territory Administration and make it efficient. This can be achieved only through the agency of the Public Service Board.
This Government and the Minister for Works (Mr. Freeth) are providing new offices of improved design in the Northern Territory. This is a step in the right direction. However, there is not even a promotions appeals committee in the Territory. I am informed by an officer of the Public
Service Board that action is being taken to establish such a committee there. This is an important move. I suggest that, in the absence of access to such a committee, Commonwealth public servants who are appointed, or who volunteer to go, to the Territory go to a rather depressed section of the Commonwealth Public Service. A Commonwealth public servant who lives and works in Canberra enjoys the best of conditions. Here, he is under the eye of the Public Service Board and of its inspector. He can appeal to a promotions appeals committee. He can look after his promotion and his future. He can look after the conditions under which his wife and children live. But not so public servants in the Territory. Under this Administration, and previous ones, the section of the Commonwelath Public Service which is employed in the Northern Territory has been rather an ugly duckling or a poor sister. It has been the depressed section of the Public Service.
As a first step, in order, as I have said, to direct attention to the situation, I ask for the appointment of a resident Public Service inspector in the Territory. He ought to reside there for a number of years. Living there through the bad months of the year has a bad effect on those who undergo the hardships involved. It may have been a mistake, Mr. Chairman, to have Darwin as the administrative centre of the Territory. Only 200 miles south of Darwin, for eight months of the year the climate is excellent. For most of the year it is attractive to the tourists and is generally a wonderful climate in which to live. However, Darwin, largely because of its climate, it not such a good place to live in. I link these remarks with matters relating to the Public Service Board, of course, as I must do in discussing these estimates. I suggest that a Commonwealth Public Service inspector ought to be appointed to live in Darwin. He would then see what it was like to live there from week to week for two years on end. Only in that way can the board learn the effect of the local conditions on the efficiency of public servants.
The Parliament, the Prime Minister, and the Public Service Board acting on behalf of the Parliament, should insist on a com pletely new approach to the problems of administration in the Northern Territory. The problems of administration there are quite different from those of administration in Papua and New Guinea and the other Territories. The Northern Territory is specifically included as part of the Commonwealth, as are the States, under the Australian Constitution. Yet public servants in the Northern Territory do not enjoy the same advantages that Commonwealth public servants living and working in the States have. Working methods, for example, are very different. Tendering procedures are different. The calling of tenders in Sydney and Melbourne is a different proposition from the calling of tenders in the Northern Territory. For these reasons, there ought to be a completely different approach, based on understanding, to the problems of administration in the Territory. I believe that the people of Australia are beginning to wake up to the need for this new approach, and I am sure that they want the Public Service Board to give effect to their will. The will of the people of Australia is to develop the north before our time rans out. This is no occasion for talk about technicalities in this Parliament.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- Mr. Chairman, the honorable member for Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate) has just followed the familiar pattern of Government supporters in their attempts to answer criticism of the Government’s policies. The honorable member attempted to take refuge from the Opposition’s criticism of the Government’s policy on education in an attack on State governments which happen to be under Labour leadership. On this occasion, he acted as he always does and attempted to belittle the activities of the Labour Government in New South Wales in its efforts to develop education. But the truth is available to all who care to read and assimilate what they read. The facts speak for themselves. The two State governments which, comparatively, are spending most on education are those of New South Wales and Tasmania. Both have Labour governments. The percentage of the budget expenditure devoted to education in New South Wales is far greater than that in most other States. The attempts by the honorable member for Macarthur to belittle the efforts of Labour governments in the States in no way detracted from criticism of the Commonwealth Government for its failure to measure up to its responsibility towards education. Previous speakers on this side of the chamber have criticized this Government most effectively on that score.
This afternoon, I wish to deal with two instrumentalities which come within the ambit of these estimates - the National Library of Australia and the Public Service Board. I am very pleased indeed, Mr. Chairman, to see the progress that the National Library has made since its council was established. This Parliament is very well represented on that body by two parliamentarians. I understand that the council has commenced to draw plans for the proposed National Library. I hope that it is able to push on and to bring this plan to fruition. One of the tragedies of the growth and development of Canberra has been the failure to provide for a permanent National Library. Irrespective of the stage of our development, this subject has always been in the talking stage and it has always been regarded as urgent. As far back as 1952 plans for a National Library were in existence. At that time this was regarded as a pressing and urgent work. To substantiate my statement I should like to read an extract from the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works which was submitted to this House on 11th September, 1952. Paragraph 80 states -
The evidence taken by the Committee in this investigation, in addition to that taken in the 1949 inquiry, points to the urgent necessity for the new building. The Committee recognized this in 1949 and recommended measures for temporary relief. This relief is in sight, but will not be in use for some months yet. The position in the meantime is constantly becoming more pressing, and it is stated that the temporary accommodation being erected will not be sufficient to afford relief beyond 1956, when conditions will become critical, while risk to irreplaceable library material is constantly growing. According to the estimates of the architects it would be approximately seven years before the complete building would be ready for occupation, and it will therefore be necessary to push forward the commencement of the work to the earliest date possible if the library services are to be maintained as desired. The Committee therefore recom mends that ail measures possible may be taken to speed up the completion of plans and the date of completion of the building.
In view of the fact that by 1970 the population of this National Capital will have reached 100,000 people, I hope that on this occasion the drawings at least will be pressed on and that the postponement of these plans will be at an end.
It is most important that we should have a National Library functioning along the lines that we all desire to see. After all, we are all indebted in some way to the Library, and it would not be out of place if I were now to pay a deserved tribute to the staff of the Parliamentary Library for the assistance and courtesy that is always forthcoming to us. Some of us are not very easy people to deal with, but on all occasions the Library staff has assisted us and has been unfailingly courteous. We are greatly indebted to it.. I repeat my hope that no further changes will be made in the plans to establish a National Library in this capital city. As far back as 1927 and 1938, when inquiries were held into the matter, the fact that this was an urgent and pressing problem was always admitted, but always there were reasons for postponing putting the plans into operation. I hope that the committee which is now entrusted with the responsibility of developing the National Library will see its ambitions fulfilled in the very near future.
I should like to deal now with the Public Service Board. On other occasions I have been critical of the board’s functions. I repeat my apprehensions about the status of the Public Service Board and the place that it occupies in our affairs. The authority and power which the Public Service Board wields in Australia is not comparable with that of similar organizations in other countries of the world. A survey will show that no government entrusts to its public service board the responsibility and authority that this Government entrusts to the Commonwealth Public Service Board. The present set-up is dangerous. The Public Service Board in Australia has become an instrument of the Government and, as far as the Opposition is concerned, the board is of little or no value. We should have a system whereby the Public Service Board would be responsible not to the Government but to the Parliament. Furthermore, incidents that are occurring in the Public Service should be investigated. From my investigations, the only inquiry that was held into the Public Service was about 30 years ago. A commission was set up to deal with matters that to-day are in no way within the ambit of the Public Service Board.
A survey of public administrations in other parts of the world - many countries seem to benefit considerably from the operation of their organizations - will show how dissimilar they are to ours. A committee of inquiry should be set up to examine the functions of the Public Service in Australia. Frankly, I believe that too much authority is vested in it. As a case in point let me refer to an inquiry that the board conducted some months ago which resulted in the demotion of a high-ranking public servant. I shall not canvass the inquiry; I merely point out what happened. The man in question was receiving a salary of about £4,000 a year. He was demoted and, therefore, suffered a loss in salary. I have no objection to, or criticism of, the inquiry but to my mind it is completely wrong to have a system whereby people in the higher ranks receive one kind of treatment and people in the lower ranks are subjected to a peremptory or salutary investigation. After all, this is not a matter which should be gauged by a person’s salary. A man receiving £1,500 a year who is demoted or, what is worse, loses his job, is affected to the same degree as is a man receiving £4,000 a year or more. This discrimination based on salary is completely wrong. Other systems prevail in different parts of the world. Mr. Brian Chapman has written a very interesting book entitled “The Profession of Government”. Some honorable members would be astonished to learn how other governments carry on their administration. I should like to make some reference to the principle of what is called “ Ombudsman “. I do not advocate this principle; I merely bring it to the notice of honorable members to indicate to those who may be interested that other forms of public service operate in various countries.
The operations of our Public Service should be investigated. Quite frankly, I am opposed to the principle of appeal from Caesar to Caesar which is basically the concept of the Public Service set-up in
Australia. In addition, I believe that the Government wields too much influence on the approach of the Public Service to matters concerning the Parliament. After all, the Opposition has some rights in this Parliament. Further, it has become an accepted principle that departmental heads are responsible only to their respective Minister, which means that the Opposition is not regarded as it should be. That is a matter which warrants investigation. I do not suggest that the public servant should be completely subject to the whims or dictates of any Minister. I maintain that the public servant is entitled to be protected from the idiosyncrasies of an incompetent or over-zealous Minister, but at the same time I think that down the years the Opposition has suffered very severely from the attitudes of governments, one after another, which have held that the Public Service has become their instrument.
I should like to read an account of some of the methods applying in other parts of the world. I do not advocate them, as I said earlier, but they do establish that other systems are operating very effectively. If an inquiry were held, perhaps we could improve our Public Service. 1 am not in any way attempting to belittle the work of the public servants. They have assisted us in many ways and they do a very good job. But I am not satisfied thai we have reached the apex of efficiency, that we have a service that cannot be improved, or that we have a service that should not be investigated. Because of this and because of some of the observations I have made, I think it would be in the interests of the Parliament for a commission to be set up to inquire into the workings of the Public Service with a view to reporting on any short-comings that may exist or bringing down recommendations that would make for more efficient working. At present, the Public Service Board is the final arbiter in these matters.
I have not the time to read the statement I have here. However, I believe the time is long overdue when we should hold an inquiry along the lines I have suggested.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- 1 share the disappointment that other honorable members have expressed, that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has not dealt more frankly with the committee this afternoon than he did with the Premiers at the Premiers’ Conference when discussing the proposal that a Murray-type committee should inquire into forms of education other than university education. It is to get a decision on this matter, or at least to get reasons against holding such an inquiry, that the honorable member for Hughes (Mr. L. R. Johnson) has moved his amendment. His amendment to reduce the estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department by £1 arises from the Government’s failure to comply with the unanimous request of the Premiers to establish a committee to investigate and assess the needs of primary, secondary and technical education on a national basis, to suggest a long-term basis of assistance and to provide some special assistance as an interim measure.
There is no doubt that all the Premiers made these three requests. It is fruitless for any one Premier to set up a committee of inquiry into primary, secondary or technical education where extra funds are required. Many of the States have already set up committees of inquiry into secondary education. New South Wales and Victoria have certainly done so. All the proposals are limited by the fact that there is no additional State avenue of finance revealed by the committees. Furthermore, if we are to have a national scheme of education, primary or still more important, secondary and technical, it is impossible to carry out an inquiry without the cooperation of the Commonwealth.
The Murray committee is the model for such an inquiry. The Premiers asked the Prime Minister to institute an inquiry into university needs, and the Commonwealth set up such a committee of inquiry. The States have co-operated with the Commonwealth in carrying out the commitee’s recommendations. The Murray committee not only acquainted governments with the needs of university education but also awakened the Australian people to the deficiencies of their systems of education. It is only that sort of committee which can arouse the Australian people to the deficiencies of other aspects of education in the States. It would be difficult for all the six States together to set up such a committee. It is normally desirable that the Commonwealth should participate. I cannot recall any investigation or administration that the States carry on jointly in which the Commonwealth does not also participate. The normal pattern in our federation, as in the American and Canadian federations, is that the National Government participates in any of these inter-governmental activities. That is all that has been asked for now.
It was a real landmark at the Premiers’ Conference when all the Premiers joined in making these requests. They have now come to the point where they all admit that, try as they may, they cannot improve these other aspects of education unless there is similar Commonwealth assistance in those aspects as there already is in university education. None of them admit - and it is not the fact - that they are doing less than is possible with the funds at their disposal. It is true that some States spend less per head on education as a whole or less per head on various aspects of education than do other States. It is very difficult, for instance, for Queensland, which spends less, in general, than do other States, to spend more on education than it does without reducing the amount it spends per head on hospitals, for which its expenditure is greater per head than that of any other State. The States do not have the resources or the resilience in matters of finance to move further than they have already moved in respect of primary, secondary and technical education. They have all asked the Prime Minister to hold an inquiry. He stalled them at the Premiers’ Conference and slid over the question there. He has done it again here this afternoon.
The Murray committee did touch on some of these matters. It made tentative findings on the inadequacies of secondary education in Australia. I refer honorable members to paragraph 48 of its report. It also recommended that there should be a similar committee to inquire into the needs of technical education. I refer honorable members to paragraph 279 of its report. The Prime Minister has relied on the fact that he has now appointed a committee under the Australian Universities Commission Act to assist the commission in relation to the future of tertiary education. He says that the committee will no doubt direct its attention to technical education and teacher training, about which many members on this side have constantly asked him questions. Inevitably, that committee will deal only with those matters at the tertiary level.
Any committee set up under the Australian Universities Commission Act can deal only with education at the university level, because such committees are set up by the Prime Minister to assist the Australian Universities Commission, and quite clearly any recommendations they make must be within the framework of universities as such. They do not deal with these crucial matters of technical education and teacher training except insofar as they concern universitytype institutions.
It is not enough to have the great improvement in university education that has taken place since the Commonwealth held its inquiry and assisted universities, unless we also have a similar inquiry and assistance in other forms of education. It is of no use constantly improving the superstructure of education in Australia unless the foundations are also improved. People of the ages of, say, fifteen and sixteen years must have adequate opportunities to get to the universities. Once they get to the universities, the Commonwealth is interested in them; but it gives no assistance either by grants to the States for teachers or buildings or by scholarships to the students to prepare them beyond the permissible school leaving age until they come to the university entry age.
We have asked for such a committee; the Premiers have all asked for such a committee. The Prime Minister can no longer say that the Premiers fear this is an infringement of their rights under the Constitution or their existing administrative functions. The Premiers have said, in effect, that where the interests of education and federation may conflict, they must now put the interests of education first.
In announcing the composition of the committee on the future of tertiary education, the Prime Minister said it had similar responsibilities to the British Robbins committee. The charter of the Robbins committee, however, is more specific because its terms of reference include the longterm development of colleges of advanced technology, certain other colleges of further education and teacher training colleges. I quote from Keesing’s “ Contemporary Archives “ of last February. We would! be very pleased indeed if this committeehad as wide a charter as the Robbins committee, but it cannot because of the limitations of the act under which it is appointed. But the Prime Minister is not limited tothat act. In co-operation with the States, he could set up. a Murray-type committeeto inquire into all these things. The Premiers have now asked for such a committee and we have asked for one for years, but neither they nor we have beengiven any reason why a committee should not be appointed. The real reason! is that any investigation would show that the deficiencies of technical education,, secondary education and even primary education in Australia are just as great as the Murray committee revealed in university education. It is simply as a matter of economy that the Commonwealth refuses to give the necessary co-operation in this inquiry.
I wish to deal with two other matters which unquestionably concern the Commonwealth. One is teacher training. Reference was made by the honorable member for Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate) to our Territories. Education in the Territories is a Commonwealth function and education in them is inadequate. I quote now from an answer which the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) gave me four weeks ago concerning the number of aboriginal and indigenous children of school age who are receiving primary, secondary and other education in the Northern Territory and in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. It appears that in the Northern Territory somewhere under 60 per cent, of aboriginal children receive primary education. Only one aboriginal child is receiving secondary education at a school in the Northern Territory. None is receiving technical education. Five are receiving assistance for education other than primary, secondary or university education outside the Territory. None is receiving university, secondary or primary education outside the Territory. In the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, it appears that only 20 per cent, of the indigenous children of school age are receiving education which is worth anything; that is only 20 per cent of the indigenous children of school age in Papua and New Guinea are at Administration schools or subsidized mission schools. To show the total enormity of it, when one moves beyond primary education, there are 540,000 indigenous children of school age in Papua and New Guinea, but, of these, 1,022 .are receiving secondary education and 97 are receiving technical education at subsidized mission schools, while 1,303 are receiving secondary education and 565 are receiving technical education at Administration schools.
The great difficulty in education in the Territories is the shortage of teachers. Teacher training in Australia is in the hands of the State governments, but they train teachers for their own education systems. If the Commonwealth wants teachers for the Territories, we have to seduce them or have them seconded from State departments. It is obviously a responsibility of the Commonwealth, and the Commonwealth has not accepted that responsibility. As a result, we see that our wards in the Northern Territory and in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea are not receiving the start in life which they are entitled to receive and which we are internationally obliged to provide.
The concluding matter I want to raise concerns Commonwealth scholarships. They are given only at the universities. They only entitle the recipients to a free education; only in a minority of cases does a Commonwealth scholar receive any assistance towards his living expenses. In 1953, the number of students entering the universities and studying there was at its lowest peak since the war. By that year the exservicemen had left and the war-born had not started to enter. In that year, the percentage of university students who held Commonwealth scholarships was 29.2 per cent. Last year, it had dropped to 22 per cent. In 1953, the number of Commonwealth scholars who enrolled in first year at the university represented 30.8 per cent, of all those who were enrolling for the first year. Last year, the percentage had dropped to 17.5 per cent. Again, in 1953, the number of scholarships available at the universities represented 41.3 per cent, of new enrolments. This year it will be about 22.2 per cent. only. When the scholarship scheme started in 1951, the percentage of Commonwealth scholars who received full living allowances was 16.5 per cent. Last year, it was 13 per cent. Therefore, the percentage of persons who are being assisted with Commonwealth scholarships at the university is constantly declining, and the percentage of university scholars who are receiving assistance beyond free fees is constantly declining likewise.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– I shall not detain the committee very long but I wanted to direct attention to the fact that most of the debate about extra money for the States for education is coming from New South Wales representatives. The fact that the State Premiers asked that a committee be set up is normal politics, because they see in this proposal a prospect of getting more money. I think we should start turning a critical eye on New South Wales in relation to this request. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) said that the States had no more money available for education. He was very forthright. The New South Wales Government, knowing that it was short of money for education, overrode the Arbitration Court and reverted to quarterly adjustments of the basic wage. Because it did that, the basic wage in New South Wales is 10s. to 12s. higher than the Federal basic wage. New South Wales is the only State in the Commonwealth which reverted to quarterly adjustments. Every ls. rise in the State basic wage in New South Wales is equivalent to £300,000, so at present there would have been £3,000,000 more available to New South Wales for education had the Government of that State not overridden the Arbitration Court.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition and other speakers from New South Wales have said there is no more money available for education in that State, yet the New South Wales Government again overrode the Arbitration Commission and legislated for three weeks annual leave at a cost of some £1,000,000 that could have gone to State education. One must remember that in Queensland a Labour government lost office because it refused to legislate for three weeks annual leave. So on the one hand we have a Labour government, the Gair Government, which lost office presumably because it thought that the cost of three weeks annual leave would be better spent on education; and on the other hand the New South Wales Labour Government legislated for three weeks annual leave at the expense of education.
There was also the case of the purchase of two coal mines. It is notorious that State coal mines are much more expensive than those operated by private enterprise; yet the New South Wales Government spent £2,000,000 to buy two coal mines when it could have bought coal to supply the power stations more cheaply from private enterprise. That £2,000,000 could have been spent on building high schools or teachers’ colleges. When a State government with a record such as that demands more money from the Commonwealth for education, the request merits very close examination. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has given an excellent resume of what the Commonwealth has done for education. The matter is now in the hands of the State government, and the sooner the present Government of New South Wales is removed from office, the better it will be for that State.
It has been suggested that another university is required in New South Wales. Because the present political control in that State places emphasis on the development of Sydney, there is every likelihood that the new university will be established in that city. In my opinion, that is the last place where it should be set up. Any new university for New. South Wales should be established in some country area and, having in mind the distribution of universities in that State, I suggest that it should be established in southern New South “Wales. It is ridiculous to concentrate all our universities in Sydney. We must decentralize. Sydney is growing greater and greater, and already represents a tremendous hazard from the point of view of civil defence.
It has been suggested by those who inquired into the university situation that another medical school is not required. If that be so, it is all the more logical to argue that the new university should be established in southern New South Wales. A further argument in favour of its establishment there is the fact that in Australia there is a tremendous dearth of agricultural scientists and other trained agricultural personnel. In those circumstances, it must be admitted that the proper siting of a university for training in that branch of the sciences is a country area. Therefore, 1 strongly urge that if the Commonwealth is asked for money for the establishment of a new university in New South Wales this Government, before granting the request, should make it a prerequisite that the university be established in a country area. Not only would this help to ease our problem of civil defence, but it would also do something to relieve the colossal traffic congestion in the capital city. In New South Wales alone, millions of pounds are being spent in an endeavour to cope with traffic congestion in Sydney. Finally, if the Government of New South Wales is experiencing any problems in connexion with education, those problems have arisen because that Government has misspent the money which has been available to it.
Motion (by Mr. Cramer) put -
That the question be now put.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. P. E. Lucock.)
Majority . . . . 19
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Question put -
That the vote proposed to be reduced (Mr. L. R. Johnson’s amendment) be so reduced.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. P. E. Lucock.)
Majority . . ..18
Question so resolved in the negative.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Department of External Affairs
Proposed Vote, £12,086,000.
– I wish to direct my remarks to the item dealing with the United Nations. As the House knows, I had the privilege last year of being present as an Australian representative at the United Nations. I therefore speak with some first-hand knowledge. Honorable members and indeed the country and the world, were shocked a few days ago by the untimely death of the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations, Mr. Hammarskjoeld, a most distinguished man whose personal influence in the United Nations was very great. We come now to the question of his possible successor. This question is governed by the provisions of the charter and, in particular, by article 97, which provides that the Secretary shall be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. This means, in effect, that no nomination can come forward without the consent of the Security Council. That decision of the Security Council is subject, of course, to veto by any one of the five permanent powers, including the Soviet Union. And so, in point of fact, there can be no successor appointed without the concurrence of the Soviet Union.
The position of Secretary-General of the United Nations is a key position. He is responsible, in accordance with the charter, for the appointment and control of staff as well as for the policy of the United Nations in many respects. He is the executive officer. Without a head the United Nations must collapse into futility. This brings me to the point that at the last sitting of the United Nations we saw a deliberate plot by the Russians to make the United Nations a futile organization and to prevent its operation. They used all sorts of devices for this purpose. They endeavoured to impugn the sincerity and impartiality of the Secretary-General. They endeavoured to “bring forward the thesis that their nationals should be appointed to positions in the United Nations. In regard to . that last matter, the position is plain.
Under the Charter of the United Nations it is required that the servants of the organization should renounce their national ties and act as international operatives rather than as operatives of their own native countries. It has, of course, proved impossible to obtain from the Soviet people who measure up to these qualifications. Normally the United Nations can invite individuals of any nationality to accept posts on the secretariat. With the Soviet countries this is not possible, because the Soviet demands that any Russian appointed shall be those nominated by the Soviet Government.
Even during the short time I was in New York we had one case where a member of the United Nations staff - a Russian in the translation service - was found to have been operating as a Russian espionage agent and thus abusing his position. Indeed - and this is a point which I endeavoured to bring forward in one of the committees in the United Nations - under the Communist system a Communist owes his first and sole allegiance to communism and is required, as a Communist, to undertake all sort of lying and trickery in the interests of the Soviet system. It is almost impossible in these conditions to find a person from the Soviet zone who can be trusted as a member of the United Nations staff.
Let me pass from these minor aspects to the major matters. Mr. Khrushchev, in putting forward his troika proposition has been endeavouring to reduce the United Nations to futility and impotence. Now the accident - if it be an accident - of the death of the Secretary-General has given Mr. Khrushchev a great opportunity to fulfil his desire, because, as I have pointed out, we cannot appoint a successor to Mr. Hammarskjoeld without Soviet concurrence, and while the office of secretary-general remains vacant the organization as such remains impotent. This is what the Soviet wants. This is what it has been trying to bring about. The death of Mr. Hammarskjoeld played right into the hands of our Soviet enemies.
In these circumstances should we not. perhaps, be re-thinking the whole of our attitude to the United Nations? I believe, as, indeed, I think most honorable members will believe, that in this crisis of history some strong and effective and workable international organization is necessary. Perhaps we will have to abandon some parts of our concept of national sovereignty in order to meet the requirements of the new atomic age. This is not a pleasant outlook, but it is inevitable if we are to survive. We need a strong and effective international organization. The United Nations cannot be that because of the defects in its constitution and composition, defects which are now highlighted by the fact that it remains without a head, there being no chance, apparently, of appointing an effective head. If we desperately need an effective international organization can we continue with the United Nations as it is? I believe we cannot. The United Nations is an organization which pretends to be effective. If it can be developed into something effective, well and good. It is reasonable to stand by and hope that it will grow if there is a chance that it can be so developed. But if it cannot be thus developed, if its defects of character are such as to preclude this development, would we not be wiser now to get rid of it altogether, not because we do not want an international organization, but because it is occupying the only ground on which an effective international organization can be erected?
It may be that the United Nations in its present form is not a help in the move towards world government, but an impediment. It may be, indeed, that what we must do now is re-think our position and get rid of the United Nations, with the sole object of putting in its place an effective and authoritative international body, free from the defects of constitution that have marred the operation of the United Nations.
The Russians have exploited these defects. They want to see a futile body in New York because they do not want to have a strong one. They want to proceed with their policies of disruption and aggrandisement, and we, perhaps, by our weakness are helping to achieve their wishes. Should we not rather be grasping the nettle? Should we not rather be saying that we want an effective, authoritative international body, that the United Nations is not such a body and that it cannot be while its constitution remains as it is, and therefore that we should get rid of it in order to put something better and more effective in its place, something that will do the job that the United Nations was set up to do?
It may be that we could change the constitution of the United Nations in order to achieve our purpose. Perhaps, before we took the final step of abandoning it, we should yet make one more attempt to change its constitution, to make it develop into something effective. But time is short. We have not much time; we certainly have not unlimited time. It is of no use for us simply to stand by and hope that the organization will develop when it cannot do so in time, particularly when its constitution suffers from the inherent defects that stop this development. This proposition should be seen against the remarkable, and certainly far-sighted plan, which the President of the United States of America put before the United Nations only a few hours ago. That plan can come to nothing unless there is behind it some authoritative body to carry it through. It cannot be done with the United Nations as it is. In other words, President Kennedy’s plan cannot be implemented effectively unless there is a fundamental change in the United Nations.
Perhaps we should make one more attempt. Perhaps we should make this final and decisive attempt to bring about the necessary changes in the United Nations constitution, and then, if we fail to make those changes which could develop the United Nations into an authoritative and effective body, we should decide to get rid of it, because in its present ineffective form it stands as a bar to the survival of humanity. This is what is implicit in President Kennedy’s statement of yesterday. He said, and quite rightly, that we cannot continue to live with the arms race. You cannot have the atomic race and the human race together - at any rate not indefinitely. Something has got to be done if we are to survive. It is a great price, perhaps, that we shall have to pay, but it is much better to look at the situation in terms of the realities of it than to delude ourselves with sentimentalities or trivialities. President Kennedy has said quite simply that unless there is a proper form of disarmament, with proper controls, the days of man are numbered. This I believe to be true. If it is true, we must get an authoritative body to deal with the situation. The United Nations under its constitution cannot be such a body. We have either to change it or end it, .one or the other.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
Sitting suspended from 5.50 to 8 p.m.
.=- The matter now before the committee - the proposed vote for the Department of External Affairs -is one that, I suppose, really exceeds in importance any other subject, for nothing is more important to us or to the people than our relations with other countries. That is so because it is those relations which .deter* mine such vital and significant factors as war or peace. We know that, in 1961, war would mean destruction of the greater part, if not all, of civilized life. We know that there is a considerable possibility of war.
I believe that the possibilities of destruction resulting from war are not exaggerated; but I believe that the possibilities of war in the existing situation are exaggerated - and are exaggerated by both sides. This, from time to time, has justified in the minds of both sides a more extreme point of view than the facts warrant. But I think that the importance of foreign relations cannot be exaggerated. I believe that whenever we are tackling a subject of this kind it has to be tackled with moderation, and without taking such extreme or dogmatic points of view as those that were expressed, for instance, by the speaker who preceded me in this debate.
One of the problems that are involved in international affairs is that not much thought is given to international problems themselves by the ordinary people who are expected to elect the governments that determine the problems. It is true that most of us who are ordinary men feel that there is not very much that we, as individuals, even by means of our votes, can do in this vastly important question of war or peace. The thing seems to be so mighty, so tremendous, that it overwhelms the individual, and he tends to give up and become apathetic, but not unconcerned with the tremendous possibilities that he finds in the situation.
One other thing that is apparent is that there is no other field where the information upon which we attempt to base our judgments is so distorted as in this one - and I think that very often it is deliberately distorted. I think that here our own Department of External Affairs, whose estimates we are discussing, has a responsibility which is not fully met. We have representatives in most parts of the world but rarely, even as members of Parliament, do we have from our own department objective information on what is occurring. “ Current Notes “, a publication which is issued by the department, is the type of thing beyond which we rarely have gone. Why do we not go further than this? Why do we not have frequent current reports coming from our own department on matters of which we get distorted accounts in the press? I think the attitude is taken that the information is too delicate, too important, too significant, too much involved with security for the ordinary person to be trusted with it. It is of vast importance that that idea should not prevail, and it is of vast importance that our own departments do not become a mere cipher to serve a Minister, but should be a servant of the Parliament and the community as a whole.
I said that this subject was one in which extreme points of view predominate. I suppose it is true to say that those who are influential in determining the situation predominantly accept the view either that the Western powers are always right or that the Communist powers are always right. 1 suggest that the truth is that both sides are very often wrong. I suggest that the truth is that the faults are not always on the one side. Of course, there is a moral factor involved in this situation - the moral factor of assumption of .your own correctness, your own Tightness, your own justification - an assumption and an attitude which, I think, has probably contributed more to conflict, to war and to disorder in the history of mankind than any other kind of attitude. But, apart from that moral factor, the adoption by so many people of this extreme assumption that one side is always right and the other always wrong makes negotiation, if not impossible, certainly most difficult.
That is the background for any discussion of these problems by the United Nations. I think that there is an increasing number of nations in the world to-day who are turning to the point of view that all the faults are not always on the one side. Immediately we look at the United Nations in this respect we see that increasingly the United Nations is not a forum where the Western powers can continuously rely upon having an effective majority, because there are nations in the United Nations that are making a more independent examination of the situation, and are reaching a judgment upon it based upon circumstances which are not relevant to the position of the two great power blocs.
As this has happened the effective majorities that the Western powers have been able to count upon in the United Nations are changing. The Communist powers have never had an effective majority in the United Nations, and so, upon issues that affect their interests vitally, they have used - and have had to use - the veto, the very provision which was recognized by all the great powers as essential for the continuing operation of the United Nations, but which was opposed by the smaller powers. The situation has now changed, and we know that for some time the Soviet Union has tended to turn against the United Nations - not for this reason, but because the situation, very largely on the basis of administration, has not suited it. And now the attitude of the Soviet Union to the United Nations is one that is shared by the extremists on the other side, reflected by the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), who has decided, in his wisdom, that we would be wise to get rid of the United Nations - a position in which he appears to be much closer to Mr. Khrushchev than to the President of the United States.
The honorable member for Mackellar, as a leading example of the extreme point of view on the right, has taken up his present position because the independent judgments that are becoming exercised in the United Nations do not suit the people on the right. They take the view that if they cannot get a sufficient majority in the United Nations, then that organization must be thrown overboard, and a new organization set up in which they can get the kind of majority they want. That is consistent with their reasoning in international relations, and with the movement towards the extreme of war. The United Nations is no longer a place where the Western powers can secure a majority, and this has become extremely apparent in relation to the issue of the seating of Communist China. So the honorable member for Mackellar, expounding the extreme right wing point of view, says that we would be wise to get rid of the United Nations. I would much rather see us get rid of the honorable member for Mackellar.
I refer you, Mr. Chairman, to the introductory remarks of the President of the United States, who said, “ Dag Hammarskjoeld has gone but the United Nations is still with us “. I share that view. The United Nations is still with us, and it is our responsibility to make the United Nations more and more effective, and to see it as an organization in which the inde pendent points of view of the Afro-Asian nations will have more effective expression than in the past. If those points of view do not suit us then the fault is to some extent upon our side. Unless we can see and understand the position of the AfroAsian nations, their need and desire for independence and their suspicion as a result of two centuries of adverse relations with white European powers, and understand the nature of their struggle, the fault lies predominantly upon our side and not upon theirs. There is a possibility of working constructively with every one of those AfroAsian powers if we will seek out that possibility.
I submit, Mr. Chairman, that Australia has been far too one-sided in her international relations. Australia is a new country with an old country’s posture. Australia is a country with different interests that has been willing to absorb and adopt the attitudes of an old, declining Europe, and to transfix herself in those attitudes. We are not .part of Europe. We are part of an area of the world which is very different. We have been willing to put on the clothes of Europe without seeing, first of all, whether they would fit. Having been unaware of the uncomfortable situation that those clothes have created for us, we are fast losing any possibility of working in constructive sympathy and understanding with the countries of the new world.
This attitude of one-sidedness in international relations, of course, is not confined only to one party. This viewpoint is found in all parties and in all places. This extreme one-sided attitude may be appropriate in war, but even in war it has had its defects, its faults and its troubles. It is certainly not appropriate to the prevention of war. What we need in the world to-day is an attitude which is appropriate for the prevention of war and not one which is appropriate for the fighting of war. The Berlin crisis, I think, provides a very good example of this. I think it is true to say that Western policy has been to see and to use Berlin as a point at which to apply pressure against East Germany. That country was economically and socially weak. It was organized in such a way as to have none of the attractions of an affluent society. It was organized in a tightly disciplined form strikingly in contrast with that of the affluent society of West
Germany. So thousands of people a week, perhaps, were: attracted out of East Germany to the West. And the pressure all the time was on East Germany. The pressure was on the weaker side of the social and economic frontier.
– Weak because the Communists-
– The cause of its weakness does not matter. We are trying to resolve the situation without war. The Communists would have to agree to the wrecking of East Germany and this they would not do, I submit. This, in the same- position, we would not do. The stability and the security of the whole o£ Europe are dependent on this situation.
I think, that until recently the Western powers had no basis for negotiation. The intention was to preserve the status quo - to preserve Berlin as a point of friction, a point of pressure, and something with- which to- expose the weaknesses of the other side. Now this can be overdone. Danger can result from this. In 1953, when there were localized’ revolts in- various parts of East Germany, the Western powers, realizing the extreme danger of this situation from the standpoint of world war, had to call off the pressure, and the radio stations beamed out to the people of East Germany messages advising them’ to support their government at the end of that crisis. The Soviet Union, realizing that the thing could be pushed so far that war might come from it, has shown by now that it is prepared, to accept certain conditions.
I think that, as against that, until recently, the Western powers had no conditions as a basis for negotiation. The conditions of the Soviet Union were clearly - in recent weeks in particular - the recognition of East Germany, and the Russians were prepared to concede- Western rights in Berlin. That was the basis for negotiation. But the Western proposal was to continue the Dulles legacy of no compromise - of maintaining the pressure. It was believed, to put it in the best light, that this was in the interests of the people of Europe. All those people who stood for negotiation were in a different position. Predominantly, the party to which I belong stood for negotiation and not for the retention of the status quo in Germany. We did not stand unqualified for Adenauer or for West Germany. We stood for negotiation, and if we were to be in a position of negotiation: there had to be some points about which we could negotiate.
– What points?
– The recognition of East Germany and- the maintenance of Western rights in Berlin.
– Order! The honorable member’s time. has. expired.
– Mr. Chairman, we are discussing a very important matter, for the committee is being asked to vote £12,086,000 for the Department of External Affairs. I can agree with the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) on one point, and that is the vast importance to Australia, now and in the future, of good representation overseas and an efficient Department of External Affairs. But I cannot agree with his opening remarks about the lack of objective information for Opposition members. I suggest to the honorable member that a study of the history of this Parliament over the last eight or ten years shows that an opportunity is open to the Australian Labour Party, to which he belongs, to join in the deliberations of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Had Opposition members participated in the workings of that committee, they would have- had available to them as members of if some very valuable information which, obviously, could not be made available for publication. The reports provided for that committee are mostly of a personal kind, being the personal reports of our representatives in the particular areas under discussion at the time. These reports give our representatives’ personal impressions and, quite obviously, such documents ought to be subject to security restrictions. If they were not, publication of them would cause immeasurable harm not only to the representative himself but also to Australia as the country which he represents.
I suggest to the honorable member for Yarra that, if he is sincere in his assertion that Opposition members should be given a greater volume of objective information supplied by our posts throughout the world, he ought to suggest to his leader and the other members of his party that the best thing would be for them to forget about this ridiculous attitude that they have adopted in the past and to play their part in the workings of this very important Foreign Affairs Committee.
The honorable member also said that my colleague, the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), had stated that in his opinion the trend of events in the United Nations was such as to cause apprehension in the minds of members of this Parliament and people throughout the British Commonwealth of Nations who believe that our system of political administration is the best one. I suggest to the honorable member that, if he followed his logic to its conclusion, he would try to impress on us that the neutralist powers to-day are the ones that really count. I suggest to him, further - because I believe that he has the capacity to appreciate this argument - that if it were not for the strength of the West, and if the West were not standing up to the overriding pressures of world communism, the neutralist countries would not exist to-day. I suggest to the honorable member that he missed that point, which is inescapable when one assesses world politics to-day.
The honorable member also dealt with another point relating to East Germany when he discussed the Berlin situation. It is not my intention, Mr. Chairman, to discuss overall policies, because I do not think that this debate is designed for that purpose. I point out to .the committee that the honorable member’s remarks about East Germany being impoverished are true, because that country was impoverished directly by the exercise of the predatory greed of Russia after the war. The Russians removed every removable asset from East Germany. The situation in West Germany as compared with that in East Germany is only indicative of what happens under a good, solid Western liberal economy.
– It is the result of Marshall aid. The honorable member ought not to be so silly.
– I think that my honorable friend, the honorable member for red China - the honorable member for Parkes-
– I rise to order, Mr. ‘Chairman. Is there an honorable member for red China? An occupant of the chair has ruled previously-
– Order! The honorable member for Corangamite altered his reference immediately afterwards and said, “ The honorable member for Parkes “.
– I see. He knew that he had made a mistake.
– My imagination carried me away, Sir.
I get back now to what I really want to discuss. I think that there are few people in Australia to-day who realize the vast importance of our Department of External Affairs, and the importance to Australia’s political strength, and its future as a force for peace, of having first-class representation! in those parts of the world that we consider are vital to our interests. I think every one will agree that since the end of the Second World War, world strategy, particularly in the South-east Asian area of which we find ‘ourselves a part geographically and inescapably, has thrown much more pressure on Australia to use its influence in this area for the benefit of world peace. That is why the removal of the British influence, the lessening of the French influence and the increasing responsibility placed upon m make it imperative that we should have the best possible representation in that area.
Since the end of the Second World War we have developed a highly competent, skilful and, what is more, sympathetic membership of our Department of External Affairs. Our representation overseas compares more than favorably with that of any other country. Feeling that we must stand on our own feet in our immediate area, it is obvious that we must be strengthened by the confidence of the people of Australia. The various items contained in sub-divisions 4 and 5 of Division No. 141 of the Estimates indicate the kind of engagement which contronts us at present. Australia is playing a major part in overseas affairs. The greater portion of the proposed increased vote in the estimates in this division represents our share of the cost of maintaining the United Nations Force in the Congo. This year’s proposed allocation is £800,000 more than the expenditure last year. We are accepting our responsibilities. As a country we are playing our part in trying to assist other countries out of the difficulties which confront them. This, of course, costs money. But the expenditure is one that we, as a mature country, must accept.
At times our minds are carried away by the importance of our economic relations, our export markets and our overseas trade. No one would deny the vast importance of our overseas trade, and no one would deny the effort that our Department of Trade is making in this regard; but there is a tendency for the people of Australia to disregard the importance of political relations in comparison with the importance of economic and trade relations. Fortunately and, I believe, due to the wisdom of the two departments concerned, the tying-in of the representation is proceeding extremely well. It is obvious that it must continue to go extremely well if the future of our overseas relations is to be secured. If it did not, we would have two departments telling two different stories. This would be neither of advantage to us nor effective in the end result. However important our trade relations are, and however important it is to preserve our balance of trade and to make sure that we are establishing markets in new countries to deal with this extraordinary bouleversement that is going on in the world to-day, particularly in Australia in relation to the European Economic Community, we have this over-riding responsibility to use the staff in the Department of External Affairs to the best advantage to create good relations on which good trade relations can be based.
In the time remaining to me I want to mention the South Pacific Commission to which I have given some study. It will be noticed that item 06 in sub-division 4 of Division No. 141 proposes a vote of £82,400 as our contribution to support the activities of the South Pacific Commission. To state the position briefly, the commission was set up in 1947 under the aegis of the previous government to fill the hiatus that existed in that vast area of scattered islands in which no one was particularly interested in creating economic circumstances, raising the standard of living, protecting health and doing the other things that we believe are intrinsic in the charter to which we have subscribed and which we believe to be the basis of any world peace in the future. With very limited funds at its disposal since 1947, the South Pacific Commission has done very valuable work in that vastly scattered area. Naturally, Australia is interested not only as a Pacific power, but also by virtue of the fact that the portions of Papua and New Guinea which we administer, and Nauru, are included in that area. We contribute the largest amount to the commission.
Australia and New Zealand, as the remaining outposts of Western civilization in this area, are vitally concerned. Whatever strategic appreciation we might have about the importance of New Guinea to the security of the Australian mainland applies equally to the many islands in the Pacific to the north-east of Australia in these days when aerial warfare covers such vast areas and when any island could be the centre from which an attack could be launched on Australia. But the economic circumstances of these islands also must be considered. Right on our doorstep we have very valuable markets which we can develop. By means of trade and people passing through these areas, Australia has had a very close tie with the South Pacific over a number of years. It is true to sa that Australia’s influence is fairly wide throughout the Pacific. This is one pan of the world in which we, as a country, can exert not only an influence for good but also an influence of direction to help th” people on their way. In doing that, we shall make our own trade potential extremely valuable. With a growing population and rising standards of living in those areas, our relations with them could be of immense value to us in the future.
When the South Pacific Commission was first established it had a total budget of about £180,000 a year; to-day it is about £230,000. But when we realize the changes that have occurred in money values, we must agree that it is impossible to match what can le done with £230,000 to-day with what could be done with £180,000 in 1947. The same purchasing power does not exist. We, as a country which has a direct responsibility in this area, must face up to that aspect. We must not hesitate to say that we believe that the commission is a worth-while organization; that it is doing good work for the people of the South Pacific and that as we are the major contributor to the commission, contributing 30 per cent, of the organization’s funds, we are prepared to increase our subscriptions so that the funds available to the commission will be more commensurate with the demands that are made upon it. I do nrmean that we should walk blindfolded and that we should give the commission additional unqualified financial assistance anil leave it to the organization to spend it. The more practical approach would be for the various contributory countries to agree that if the commission studied a certain project and made certain recommendations, the implementation of which would not come within the commission’s budget availability each year, the necessary additional finance would be made available. This would indicate our support of the proposal and enable the commission to put it into effect. That is the practical way to approach this problem in this vast area. Whatever has been done in the past in the South Pacific, I think more can be done. Having in mind the vast sums that have been spent in other parts of the world, the activities of the South Pacific Commission should be extended and its limited budget increased. This would be of immense value to the people concerned.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I desire to direct my remarks to the provision for international development and relief and the various forms of economic aid to underdeveloped countries, particularly the Colombo Plan. I have been interested in the Colombo Plan since its inception in 1950 and have always been disappointed at the apparent lack of interest of honorable members in the working of the plan. It is taken for granted and is looked upon as a very small facet of our international responsibility. But to my mind it is a very important matter. Whether we like it or not, we are irrevocably bound to the countries to our north and our attitude to international aid can be of grave consequence or material assistance to us.
I think it can reasonably be said that developments in Africa and Asia have presented a challenge to the Western demo cracies. New countries, with high aims and aspirations seem to be springing up almost daily. Unfortunately, the economies of these new countries, to say the least, are completely undeveloped. A new state with selfgovernment may be created, but its problems are only beginning, particularly if the new nation was formerly a colony of one of the European powers. Whilst we in this country, with our reasonable standard of living, may say that we are not very concerned about this subject, it is impossible to ignore the difficulties of newly created nations. To ignore their difficulties and problems would be an act of incredible folly.
The course to be pursued by the world in the future could well be determined by the success or the failure of newly created nations. Their techniques, productivity and standard of living are far below those of the Western and Communist countries. This presents very special difficulties to us, particularly if we wish to prevent the spread of communism. Unfortunately, the gap between the highly developed countries and the under-developed countries is widening steadily. Aid to under-developed countries has been a feature of the post-war world. As a matter of fact, it is one of the greatest developments in the foreign policies of all nations, although it has been widely adopted only since 1945.
I hoped that, with the large sums of money that were being poured into the economies of these countries, the gap between under-developed countries and highly developed countries would be steadily lessened, but this has not been so. Because of this, we must take a very good look at the aid we give to under-developed countries to see whether we are doing enough, whether we should do more or whether we should, metaphorically, wipe our hands of the whole situation and worry only about our internal problems. I cannot accept this last view. Whether we like it or not, Australia to-day is, geographically, part of Asia. It is a white man’s country in a yellow sea. If we completely and callously disregard the problems and the miseries of peoples in under-developed countries, because of their kindergarten economies, Australia will pay dearly in the future.
Australia’s contribution to the Colombo Plan since its inception in 1950 has not been very large. We have contributed £35,160,000 in ten years. When the Colombo Plan was first inaugurated, it was to be a six-year plan and we were to spend £32,500,000 in that period. The plan has, of course, been extended from time to time. But although it has now been operating for ten years, we have spent only a little more than £35,000,000. Of this amount, £27,900,000 has been spent on capital aid, £1,300,000 on equipment and £6,940,000 on technical assistance. It may be said that this is a substantial contribution, but it averages only about £3,000,000 a year. There is a school of thought in Australia - it has been mentioned to me on numerous occasions - that we should look after our own people first, that we should spend this money on Australia and not on other countries. That is a very short-sighted view and a view that would, if adopted, be rued in the future.
Though we may consider that we have contributed a munificent sum, it is a mere bagatelle when compared with the contribution of other countries. When compared with the spending of Canada and the United States of America, Australia has very little to be complacent or smug about. Last year, according to the Budget papers, Australia contributed to international aid and -relief £5,536,000. Of that amount, £4,400,000 was given to the Colombo Plan. The gross expenditure on international relief was .1 per cent, of our gross national product. It is not very much, but it pales into insignificance when we look at the amount given by Canada. Canada gave 50,000,000 dollars or . 1 7 per cent, of its gross national product. This is almost twice as much as we gave. The United States of America, contributed 1,265,000,000 dollars or .27 per cent, of its gross national product. So America gave almost three times as much as Australia gave, taken as a percentage of the gross national product.
I take a keen interest in the reports of the consultative committee, which are issued annually. I think it could be said that no honorable member studies them as carefully as I do. In the last annual report, issued after the committee met in Tokyo last year, I notice a faint ray of optimism. The report gives a comprehensive survey of the activities of the constituent countries and it would appear that1 at last some microscopic headway is being made. I could not say that it is substantial headway; that would not be true. But at least some headway, small though it may be, is being made. The Colombo Plan embraces two types of countries - donor countries and recipient countries. The donor countries have contributed altogether £2,857,000,000. Last year, the sum granted by donor countries was £625,000,000. This, of course, is not all for the Colombo Plan. Contributions under the Colombo Plan are intended to prime the pump, to increase the productive processes of under-developed countries so that a chain reaction results and the countries themselves go ahead with the development of their resources. However, assistance from the more highly developed countries is needed to prime the pump.
Many difficulties must be overcome before any appreciable benefit will accrue from the workings of the Colombo Plan. Population creates one of the greatest problems. The countries of the Colombo Plan hold more than one-quarter of the world’s population but cover only one-sixteenth of the world’s land area. Over the last ten years, the population of these countries has increased by more than 100,000,000. The Colombo Plan countries are striving to increase productivity. But we have the rather unedifying fact, if I might put it that way, that in some countries an increase in productivity has been negatived by an increase in population so that the standard of living there has not been lifted. The increased gross productivity has to be spread over a larger population and the net results are nil.
Last year the Consultative Committee made a request to the member countries to assess the contemplated growth of population and its impact on their economic development. The Consultative Committee quite rightly took the important and cogent point of view that this was a matter requiring, special attention. Of course, it varies from country to country. The answer to the problem is something that the interested countries must work out, tout it would appear that unless productivity can be increased at a ‘greater rate than the increase in population, very little benefit will come from the Colombo Plan in the foreseeable future. Another problem facing the Colombo Plan countries, and it is a real one, is the wide fluctuation in foreign exchange earnings arising from sharp variations in prices of primary products. We find nhat primary producers in .the Colombo Plan recipient countries are the victims of widely fluctuating price levels. This is to be expected because .they have to sell their products on world markets and are subjected to influences over which they have no control whatever. But, unfortunately, many Asian countries which are participants in the Colombo Plan have their difficulties intensified because they concentrate their primary production on only one or two staple products. They put all their eggs in one .basket, .so .to speak, and if the price of one staple product suffers in the markets of the world, their income goes down with a sharp bump. They have no other methods of countering a decrease in their export earnings from one of thenstaple commodities. lt appears to me that before any of these Colombo Plan countries can show any reasonable rise in the standard of living, there has to be more diversification in their production. They have to have a variety of methods of increasing their export earnings and must not depend upon only one or two primary products. The same position does not apply in industrial countries like Australia, the United States of America or Canada. The adverse position of primary producers in relation to other producers, such as those employed in secondary industries, is recognized and counteracted by price supports, subsidies and other concessions. We can make those provisions because our national income is not dependent entirely on one or two staple commodities as are the Colombo Plan countries. I suggest that if the Colombo Plan countries are going to do anything effective with their export earnings, they must adopt a policy similar to that of the industrialized nations. There must be a policy of support for the farmers by price stabilization to assist the sale of the products of under-developed countries on international markets. That is the only way that occurs to me by which primary producers in Asian countries can get some guarantee of a regular, steady income for their primary produce. It is done in Australia in connexion with certain products and also in many other countries.
That is recognized as a contribution that can be made to assist these countries, but up to the present, it .seems that no -concerted or practical plan has been hammered out by the Consultative Committee or international aid organizations to being this about. Until there .is some .method of stabilizing the prices of products .of Asian countries on export markets, this will .always be a fatal flaw .-in the policy of aid to the under-developed countries. The original plan inaugurated in 1950 had only -thirteen members. It has grown to 24 or 25, but 1 believe the time -has arrived when we must extend the ramifications further to include the African countries within the Colombo Plan. If we did that, it might not still be called the Colombo Plan then.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– First, I should like to pay a tribute to a gentleman who is no longer a member of the House of Representatives. I refer to Lord Casey - Mr. Richard Gardiner Casey as we knew him previously. It is well to recall that it was his initiative which enabled Australia to have the beginnings of a Department of External Affairs. During his rather lengthy term of office, he filled the position of Minister for External Affairs in a manner that indicated a tremendous grasp and understanding of the problems of international politics and more particularly of the politics associated with South-East Asia. I think it is well to recall these facts and the debt that Australia owes to Lord Casey for his leadership, his hard work and the goodwill that be inspired among the people of the South-East Asian countries and other nations by his intelligent and courteous approach to matters of importance in the international sphere.
I should like to refer briefly to a statement that was made by the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) on the subject of East Germany. It was my good fortune in 1952 to visit Berlin and to compare Wes’ Berlin with East Berlin. On the East Berlin side, it was quite obvious to me that the conquering power, Russia, was taking it out of the hide of the East German people, to use a vulgar phrase. When it is suggested - and this point was picked up by the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. Mackinnon) - that somehow it is the evil influence of the West that has brought about the difference between East Berlin and West Berlin and between East Germany and West Germany, I think that is straining an argument that cannot be sustained. People do not flee from a place where they are happy; they flee to it. It is just as well to face up to the fact that there is something radically wrong with the way the East German people are treated when so many of them seek refuge in the west. 1 agree on one point: I do not think the present situation can continue indefinitely. Perhaps I might hark back to a man whose wisdom in these matters is a household word - Abraham Lincoln. He coined a phrase, if I remember it correctly, to the effect that no nation can continue half slave, half free. If it is objected that the people of East Germany are not half slave, T must say that they made a pretty vigorous demonstration, which had to be quelled by tanks and by Russian and East German forces to show that they were certainly not happy, whether they were free or not.
I do not think we can repeat some of the mistakes of the First World War and have people divided between different countries without eventually having an explosion. What the answer to the German situation is I do not know. I have a strong feeling that the solution put forward by the Western powers is a reasonable one. It is that there should be free and supervised elections with a view to bringing the two sections of the German people together. T think that is axiomatic. You cannot split a people in half. They tried to do it after the First World War, and it led to the inevitable explosions which threw the world into flames again. So, I am hopeful that, out of the exercise of statesmanship and of forbearance by both parties, there will come a solution of a problem which otherwise can only become more and more explosive.
I heard one honorable member volubly declaim that he himself would not give one Australian soldier for the whole of West Berlin, or words to that effect. Certainly that was the sense of what he said, and it made my blood run cold, because that was the kind of thing that was said when Czechoslovakia was in the balance; that was the kind of thing that was said when, unfortunately, Great Britain and her allies let Czechoslovakia go. I was in Czechoslovakia shortly before the balloon went up - before the war started. At that time, the Czechs were ready to fight and wanted to fight, if they were attacked, but the first thing that confronted them was the statement that Czechoslovakia was not worth the blood of a single English soldier. Eventually, after a period of appeasement, Germany, under Hitler, was allowed over the Czech mountains into Sudetenland and the result was the inevitable swamping of a country that would have fought. Certainly she would have been battered - make no mistake about that - but at least she would have retained her self-respect, and we would have retained ours. Although that is past history, whenever I hear that kind of phrase used, I begin to wonder whether failure to face up at the correct moment, not in weakness, but in strength, to what is required will lead us into similar difficulties.
In the time at my disposal, I turn briefly to what is being done in the area referred to by the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Bird), the area embracing South-East Asia and the near Asian countries. I recall with pride that the initiative for the Colombo Plan came from Australia, and when we look at what has been done in the past ten years, mainly under the aegis of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, we see that something like £9,500,000,000 has been spent on capital development in those countries. We see, too, that, for 700,000,000 people, this has meant an increase in average annual income of £4, from £21 to £25 a head. Considering this matter in terms of what has been done, that seems encouraging, but when we consider it in terms of what our own income is, we realize just how far behind those countries are.
We are engaged in many activities. One is the organization known as Seato, by which Thailand, France, the United Kingdom and Pakistan have gathered together for the purpose of maintaining in strength the position which we now enjoy in SouthEast Asia. That brings me to the link-up between what we are doing under the Colombo Plan and the historic facts of life. Those honorable members who have read Carlyle’s “ The French Revolution “, written 124 years ago, will remember that imperishable truth in which he said that in spite of the frightful atrocities in France, of her 25,000,000 people, probably not fewer than from 13,000,000 to 15,000,000, if I remember rightly, were never better off in their lives. We have to face up to these facts. It is not sufficient that we should have military preparation, defence preparation and security preparation. Certainly they are important, certainly they are absolutely essential, but if we depend on them alone we will shortly fall with our allies. It is for these reasons that I believe that the Colombo Plan, with its splendid conception of assistance to the people of this part of the world, under which we are training in Australia this year some 900 students so that they may take back to their own countries the techniques which will help raise their standards of living, is most commendable, but there is no denying the fact that the governments of those countries themselves must assist by introducing the reforms necessary to combat those things against which men of decency will rebel. It is a fact that communism fishes always in troubled waters. Therefore, why give the Communists troubled waters in which to fish? We can do much to calm those waters by an extension of the work which we are doing under the Colombo Plan, supplemented by military assistance, so that in all these countries there shall be that inner strength without which no country can be helped and no country can be defended.
I am convinced that what we are spending on the Department of External Affairs is being well spent, and I believe that, with a continuation of that expenditure, we shall obtain and maintain contacts with nations on the other side of the world. We shall obtain an understanding of their problems, develop our trade with them and establish good international relationships. In pursuing that policy we come up against the fact, as we have already done, unfortunately, with the United Kingdom, that their requirements and our own do not necessarily march together, but there is a certain identity of interest, and there is always room for warm co-operation. If Australia is going to be a nation, she has to pursue the policy wisely initiated by Lord Casey, a policy which recognizes that a country- must have its own points of contact, and its own representatives who can state the Australian point of view and consider it in relation to other problems which may arise. I support this proposed vote.
.- Australia is a remote country and a middle power. It is not within her province or her means to approach or settle the great issues single-handed. She should offer to take her share of world responsibilities. International organizations, like governments, were originally designed to secure law and order, but are now increasingly dedicated to social justice and economic development. In future, such organizations will be charged with preserving the peace and supervising disarmament, with equalizing the standard of living, and with stabilizing the terms of trade, thus carrying out those functions which governments have successively come to perform with their police forces, their welfare services and their economic agencies. Through international agencies and by steady surrender of sovereignty, Australia and- similar Atlantic communities must reduce inequalities and inequities and consequent tensions between nations, as our individual parliaments have done in the first half of this century by taxation and social services. I shall now cite issues in which Australia can play a significant role in association with other members of the United Nations. Two admirable examples in the last year have been the Antarctic Treaty and the Indus Basin Development Fund Agreement.
Firstly there is the question of boundary adjustments. The boundaries between countries in Africa, the Middle East and SouthEast Asia were laid down last century, not by the indigenous inhabitants but usually in Paris and London. These boundaries have no more economic, strategic, racial or historical reality or relevance than the boundaries which were determined for the Australian States over a century ago in Westminster, without consultation with Australians. A major contribution would be made to political stability among the emerging nations if some regular international procedure were devised for reviewing all such boundaries.
I come next to nuclear and missile experiments. It may at present be legal for countries to test nuclear weapons in the atmosphere over their own territory, asFrance and Russia have done recently, irrespective of the fall-out over neighbouring territories. Again,, it is- legal for America to experiment with missiles in the Atlantic and! Russia in the Pacific. Australia herself was a party to the atomic explosions in the Monte Bello Islands and participates in missile experiments from- Woomera. More initiative- is’ required to bring such experiments under international supervision and control.
Thirdly, there is the question of an international police force. Australia’s armed forces are becoming notably more compact, professional and mobile. They would’ have been ideal components of United Nations forces after the crisis over the Suez Canal, the Lebanon and the Congo. Australia, however, is looked upon as. being as much a voluntary satellite of the United States as Czechoslovakia is of the Soviet Union. Accordingly, Australia is too compromised and committed for her troops to be acceptable in such ideologically tender spots. This is regrettable since Australian troops have never subverted a government and have a strong citizen tradition.
Fourthly, there is the matter of transit and fishing rights. There is an everincreasing need to regulate peaceful transit through international waterways, whether artificial canals within the territory of one nation, such as the Suez and the Panama canals, or natural straits and archipelagos, as in the Aegean or to our north, or international rivers such as the Danube, Rhine and Parana. Similarly, efforts should be continued to regulate pelagic fishing and whaling as has already been achieved with sedentary fishing on the continental shelf. We should recall that one more vote, perhaps that of a Commonwealth country such as India, would have been sufficient to save the second Law of the Sea Conference from failure. Australian indifference to such Commonwealth countries may well have made the difference between success and failure.
Fifthly, there is the international regulation of commodities. The under-developed countries rely almost entirely on their exports of primary products, and often a very few varieties of primary products, to earn them foreign exchange which is necessary for their development. In our own interests, but more particularly in the interests of the poorer primary-producing countries, we must endeavour to ensure that the prices- for these products are kept at- a high and stable level. Some small but encouraging efforts have- been made since the war, for instance, in regard to wheat, tin and1 sugar. The progress that has been made-, however, is small in relation to the need’. If a much bolder plan for international commodity stabilization is not devised the industrial countries will continue to- exploit, perhaps unwittingly, the poorer primary-producing countries. Australia’s economic problems are surprisingly similar to those of the Afro-Asian bloc and Latin America. While our internal economy, like that of North America and Europe, is primarily and increasingly industrial, our external economy is still overwhelmingly dependent on mineral and primary products. In shipping and post-war industrial investment Australia conforms to the colonial pattern. We need to iron out international economic fluctuations, as our stabilization and pooling arrangements have done within our own country.
Sixthly, there is the matter of international regulation of investment. International shipping, mining and oil companies are frequently more powerful than the governments of those countries whose commodities they develop, transport, process and market. The place and pace of development of Africa’s copper belt and Australia’s bauxite deposits are not determined in Africa or Australia. There are very few governments which are able to supervise the whole process of oil supplies from drilling to selling. Most governments are only strong enough in combination to regulate the operations of the corporations which handle the commodities upon which most countries depend for their external income and their hope of industrialization.
Seventhly, there is the international development of resources. Just as Australia and all its neighbours have a common interest in the international regulation of communications and commodities, so too they realize that a high degree of cooperation is required to develop the natural resources which they share. As much diplomacy was “required to arrange the harnessing of the Mekong and Indus rivers as has been required to set on foot the Snowy mountains scheme which affects the three south-eastern States of our continent. The problem -of the second half of the twentieth century is to increase food supplies and employment opportunities in the tropics and to promote their agricultural :and industrial development. Only Brazil and Indonesia control as large a tropical territory as Australia does. If Australia were to develop the agricultural, pastoral and industrial potential of the islands she rules and of the 40 per cent, of her own continent which lies within the tropics, she would be able to develop the techniques and train the technicians to enrich life for all the peoples on the shores and islands of the Indian Ocean.
Eighthly, there are the international welfare bodies such as the World Health Organization, the International Labour Organization, Unesco and the like. Our Government is notably tardy in contracting and fulfilling international obligations of this character. For instance, Australia has ratified only a quarter of the International Labour Organization conventions. Few countries have so pitiful a record. Australians often claim that they are unable to compete with other countries on the world’s markets because of the low industrial standards which prevail elsewhere. Self-interest therefore would combine with humanity in urging Australia to be among the foremost in raising and co-ordinating international industrial standards through such conventions.
Lastly, there is the International Court of Justice. Australia accepted the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice with qualifications. President Eisenhower, in his last hours of offices initiated moves to abandon similar qualifications which the United States had made. It is to be hoped that Australia will follow or provide a lead in this matter, Because of her geographical position and’ her trading pattern, Australia stands to gain more than most nations from the growth of the institutions of world government; because of her historic associations and her skilled population she can contribute more than most nations to the establishment and operation of such institutions.
.- I do not speak often in this Parliament, but this will be the Second time that 1 have spoken in a debate soon after the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Bird). I would again like to congratulate the honorable member, as 4 did oh the previous Occasion, on the thoughtful ‘contribution :that he has made. 1 “was very interested in his remarks, because they related to matters that I want to deal wi’th to-night. The honorable member has obviously given the ‘Colombo Plan a great deal of careful attention, and 1 would like how to do likewise. The Colombo Plan is ten years did. Most of us regard it with such veneration that we seldom look at its performance, to see whether it is doing what it Was originally designed to ‘do, that is, to raise the standard of living of our Asian neighbours to a level more closely approaching our own. It seems very clear that this objective is not being achieved. The gap between our standard of living and that of the Asian peoples continues to widen, although I grant that the standard of living of those peoples is rising to a certain extent.
Why is the Colombo Plan hot doing what we hoped it would do? The first reason is that we are not doing enough. We are’ inclined to assume ah air of virtue about bur part in the Colombo Plan. Listening to us, one would get the impression that we were really making an immense contribution, but this year’s Budget figures show that we will be giving £7,000j000 in all forms of international relief. Although that may sound a lot of money, it represents only one-half of 1 per cent, of our national budget. During the last few years the Colombo Plan has cost us, man, woman and child, only about 7s. a head. This does not impress me as being an immense contribution towards such a high ideal. The second reason why the Colombo Plan has not been successful in closing the gap between the Asian standard of living and ours is that a lot of what we have done has riot been well done. This year I had the opportunity to see the Colombo Plan at close quarters - from underneath, as it were - as it is working in Nepal, and some of the things I saw alarmed me. I grant you that Nepal is a good deal more primitive than many of the other countries we are trying to help, but the general criticisms I will offer apply in the case of most of the Colombo Plan countries, particularly the undeveloped countries.
The first criticism is that it is largely a waste of resources to try to help countries that have not a government and an administration capable of handling the aid that we have to give. Let me illustrate this by referring again to conditions in Nepal. That country has practically no roads at all. Goods are carried over truly awful mountain paths on the bent backs of patient people. Australia has sent to Nepal some road-making equipment, and one would think that in a country where roads are badly needed this equipment would be working ceaselessly. It is not. Why is this? There are many reasons. One is that the equipment is too large to work in the narrow valleys, and some of it is actually too large to be taken in over the truly awful road that links Katmandu to India. The chief reason, however, is that the Nepal Government cannot make up its mind which road it wants to build first; and it has not learned the technique of acquiring land to make the roads. Indeed, when the bulldozers went in to make the first road the operators found the farmers lying in front of the machines. They would rather lose their lives than their land.
This gives point to my contention that it is no use trying to give aid to undeveloped countries until they have a government and an administration capable of using the aid when it is given. If we have limited resources - and there is no doubt that this is so - it is important that the aid that we have available should be used where it will do most good, and should not be frittered away in some place where little benefit will be obtained from it. This policy of withdrawing aid from the countries that need it most and concentrating it on those where the need is not so great seems a pretty grim kind of philosophy. It is a kind of “ to him that hath shall be given “ idea, offending against all concepts of a fair share. But let us look at this matter clear-eyed. India has an administration capable of using the aid when it is given. Would it not be better to send our limited resources to India, Sarawak, North Borneo, Singapore, Pakistan and
Malaya, and get those countries off the ground - get them airborne? Later, when the undeveloped countries have learned to govern themselves, India and the other countries I have mentioned will probably have a lesser need for aid, and we will be able to make more assistance available to the emerging countries.
I do not suggest that we should withdraw all our aid from the really undeveloped countries, but I believe we should concentrate on an examination of the natural resources of those countries. Let me refer again to Nepal. The only natural resource that that country has beside the quality of the common people is an immense hydro-electric power potential. What we should be doing, I believe, is examining that country’s rivers, taking stream gauge readings, and so on, and estimating the potential, so that in the future, when the people of Nepal have learned to govern themselves, we will be able to make a useful contribution to their development. We should not delude ourselves that we can help them to learn the art of government by offering them aid before they have an administration capable of using it properly. The art of self-government is something that they must teach themselves. It is like learning to ride a bike; a man must teach himself to do it. Indeed, if we pile the handle bars high with goods when the man is learning to ride, we simply make it more difficult for him. Leaving the undeveloped countries to learn to ride their bikes at this stage may seem a pretty grim proposition, but it is better than what we have been doing, wasting a considerable part of our limited resources in trying to help those countries that are not yet able to help themselves.
The second reason why I would say that the Colombo Plan is not living up to our high expectations is this: I think we have been inclined to be too starry-eyed about tying strings to Colombo Plan projects. I do not think we ought to tie political strings, saying. “ We will give you such-and-such aid if you promise to be good boys and not go Commo.” But I think we are justified in saying to Nepal, for example, “We will not send you equipment unless you can acquire land to make roads, or unless you build workshops in which to house the equipment that we give you “. It is true that we will not make friends by such a policy but we will help to build roads, and that seems to me to be important. We should remember that the only really effective United Nations agency that does any good in relation to these development projects is the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and that organization lays down conditions that really hurt. It does, however, get things done, and that seems to me to be important.
Even the Colombo Flan training scheme, about which we are all so vocal, does not always work well. The Director of Agriculture in Nepal is a shining example of what the Colombo Plan training scheme can do. He is a first-class officer, hard-working and decisive, and he was trained in Australia. We met others like him, but we also met some who had returned from their Colombo Plan training with the grim determination to do nothing so menial that would dirty their hands. We met those who obviously would not risk their places on the promotion ladder by giving a clear decision or by moving out into the provinces. We met some who had used, in their Colombo Plan training, laboratory equipment that was not available to them in their native countries, and who had allowed themselves to become frustrated and embittered thereby.
We came to the conclusion, too, that many agricultural students would have been better equipped to give assistance on their return to their homelands if they had done their training in an agricultural college or under a good farmer, learning to use thenhands. They would not then have come back with the exalted idea that they were too good to do the menial tasks that farmers have to do.
We should recognize, too, that in many cases the selection of trainees is not perfect. There is always the possibility that the n;phew of a minister will be selected just because he is the nephew of the minister. But the second danger is much more real. A student who comes to Australia is, of course, more easily taught if he knows English. The problem is that if he knows English before he comes he is more likely to be from an upper stratum in his own country, and because he is from an upper stratum there is a very big chance that he will have too exalted an idea of his own importance, and so be less effective. So I think we ought to do more than we are doing. We ought to do as much as we can to ensure that the right students are selected.
– We do not pick the students.
– No, but we can have some influence in the matter. I should like to see a more critical examination of the success of the projects in which we have already helped. Is the equipment being used in the right way? Are the students doing the job in their own country that we have helped to train them to do? Are the methods of selection as good as they can be? That is the kind of examination of past performances which, I think, would be a proper function of individual members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, provided they went as individuals - and certainly not as V.I.P.’s. They would return with a wider knowledge of their subject, and would help with the smoother working of the Colombo Plan. If they do not do it some one else should.
The remarks 1 am about to make are not intended to be in any sense a criticism of the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton), who is assisting the Prime Minister in the administration of Australia’s part in the Colombo Plan. I know that he is aware of the need for a critical examination and is effecting some improvements. But a great deal remains to be done. I do not think we ought to delude ourselves about the friends we are making as the result of the Colombo Plan. I know that the Colombo Plan was not established with the object of making friends. It was established to help people, but I guess that most of us hoped that the people we helped would love us a little. I am not sure that that follows. We know that the quickest way to lose a friend is to lend him money. It is also possible to lose the friendship of a country by lending it equipment which does not work, or by training its students in such a way that they do not work either. It is worth remembering that India gives more aid to Nepal under the Colombo Plan than we give to India - yet the Nepalese despise the Indians.
I also think that we are often overimpressed with the size of projects. This is a trap we all fall into. Again reverting to my experience in Nepal: Easily the most efficient aid project I saw in that country was a small experimental farm at a place called Jiri. This Was certainly not a big project in budget or in acreage. It was run by a Swiss and his family who lived among and loved the people he aimed to teach. That was the secret of the success of that project. There is no substitute for the common touch, for the human factor in leadership. I think we ought to remember this and not be so inclined to judge the importance of a project by its size. 1 will say that the Government seems to be becoming more aware that it is not sufficient to mean well; that it is more important, though more difficult, to do well. Indeed, the reason for my visit to Nepal was just that. I was asked to go there to make an examination of the sheep industry for the Government, in relation to the Colombo Plan. This is the right approach, one that is being used more now that we have learnt the difficulty of doing good simply by being starry-eyed.
In conclusion I want to say this: We are very vocal in our desire to help Asian countries. The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Molt) only this month in Accra said this about international aid-
Important though aid is to a developing country, it is not so important as prosperous trade.
Yet, as soon as India starts to climb out of the morass and to do the big thing that can really help her - start to become industrialized and produce more cotton and lightweight canvas and duck - we impose a crippling duty that closes our market to her.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- It was interesting to hear the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Kelly), who has been overseas in his specialist capacity as well as his parliamentary capacity. I am sure that he was able to make a contribution at both ends. I hope that the contribution at this end is going to be of some profit to the nation itself, because the very points he made about the failure or the weaknesses of the Colombo Plan stem, I believe, as much from the failure of the Government to appoint a separate Minister for External Affairs as from any workings of the plan itself. On this side of the chamber and, I believe, probably on the other side, as well as in a great body of responsible public opinion, there is a belief that no man - not even a man with the capacity that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) probably honestly thinks he is endowed with - can do the job that is expected of a modern Minister for External Affairs, as well as the jobs of Prime Minister, Acting Treasurer and all the rest of it. That is just a simple statement of fact. Any position in the Commonwealth Parliament is a full-time job. Just being a back-bencher in the Opposition is a full-time job.
– More than full-time for you.
– The Minister for the Interior (Mr. Freeth) has just given plenty of evidence, by the recent over-payment of one of the contractors working for his own department, that he cannot do his full-time job adequately either. These are just simple demonstrations. I do not blame the Minister in that particular instance, but I think that it is idiotic for any of us to think that, superimposed upon our jobs as members of the Federal Parliament, we can do other major jobs as well. It is impossible. The administration of the Colombo Plan is just another case of that.
– Mr. Chifley was Treasurer as well as Prime Minister, and Dr. Evatt was Attorney-General as well as Minister for Externa] Affairs.
– 1 know that the Minister at the table will rally to the defence of his leader. He has got to. He is a yes man. That is symbolic of the whole structure on the other side of the chamber. But I am not concerned with the byplay of interjection in this debate. I am concerned with Australia’s status as a nation standing up and looking after its own concerns. We have heard the honorable member for Wakefield pointing out some of the deficiencies of the Colombo Plan. We have heard the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Bird) advocating, as has been his custom ever since I came to this Parliament and well before it, greater Australian assistance under the Colombo Plan. I agree with the honorable member for Wakefield that it is probably disappointing to go overseas and find actual instances of money wasted. But whose responsibility is that? That responsibility lies back here in this Parliament, and with the Minister responsible for the supplying of the aid, because I understand that this is the way that it goes: A government with a certain project in mind brings it to the notice of some other government which will supply material or technical assistance or capital aid. Then, after a proper examination of the feasibility or practicability of the project, and whether it fits in with what is reasonable under the Colombo Plan, this government - or any other government - agrees to carry on with its part of the project. If this Government supplied to Nepal material or equipment which it was impossible for the Nepalese to use, then this Government has to accept responsibility. In this case the person responsible in this Parliament is the Minister in charge of the department concerned. That is a simple demonstration of the fact that no man, no matter what his capacity, can undertake that task and the task of being Prime Minister of this country at the same time.
I believe that the Colombo Plan is part of the hope of the future. International assistance on this scale is a new idea. I do not think that there was a great deal of international co-operation to assist other countries, under-developed or otherwise, before the last war. We are exploring a new field. This is a new frontier of administration - the finding out of how one nation can assist another. You do not need to be a richly endowed nation in order to assist another nation. Indeed, as the honorable member for Wakefield pointed out, India’s assistance to Nepal is greater than Australia’s assistance to India. I am not terribly enamoured of the idea of setting up a great bureaucracy or establishment which would operate under Parkinson’s Law, by which you create some mammoth empire to operate the Colombo Plan. But the Colombo Plan is indeed a tiny instrument to carry out what is in concept and in fact a great international task. It is disappointing to realize that Seato head-quarters in Bangkok has a staff of something like 100, but that the Colombo Plan staff runs just into double figures. Running the Colombo Plan is a task that only a full-time Minister would be able to tackle. He would be able to see into these things. He would know what was going on. He would be able to deal with these problems effectively. We believe that this country is being short-changed by having the Prime Minister acting as Minister for External Affairs. And that is all that he can do; he can only act.
We have a great and exacting task before us in this part of the world. We live in times in which, to the north of us, there is what I suppose may be described as a sea of poverty, misery and underdevelopment, and anything that we can do can be of only small moment in the sum-total of it all. But if we just assist another 1,000, 2,000 or 3,000 people to find a better life, like the ripples which the pebbles thrown in the pond cause, and which spread over its entire surface, the effect finally spreads throughout communities. If we do this, we shall do something that we ought to do.
It is highly unsatisfactory and dissatisfying to any Australian who has some consciousness of his international duty to know what a miserable sum we are spending on international assistance. We propose to spend about £7,000,000 on the Colombo Plan this financial year. That is only a mite compared with our gross national product, which, this financial year, will perhaps total somewhere about £6,500,000,000. A sum of £7,000,000 would buy perhaps three Boeing 707 aircraft. And that is the total of our international assistance in these times? I think that, just after the end of World War II., we were spending twice or three times as much when we had a much smaller national income and much greater domestic responsibilities in re-organizing the community. So none of us can take much satisfaction from this, except for the fact that a number of devoted public servants and a number of Australian technicians are working to help people of other countries, and that thousands of Colombo Plan students will come here and profit from being among us.
And let us not play down the advantage that these students gain from their studies here. Of course, some of them will return to their homelands and not care to get their hands dirty. I have no doubt that they are just like other human beings. The brotherhood of man extends to Asia just as much as it does to any other part of the world. There will be some people who prefer to sit behind a desk rather than plough a straight furrow. But the Department of External Affairs has informed me that the average achievement of Colombo Plan students in the universities of Australia is higher than that of Australian students. And that is something of which we can be proud. I suppose that, as a side bonus, this year, there will be in Australia some 9,000 people from Asia who will not be brought here by assistance under the Colombo Plan, but who will be attracted by the whole scheme and thereby induced to come to Australia by their own means. All these people are ambassadors for this country when they return to their homelands. So, on that score, the Colombo Plan is not to be written down. We have to implement it in a much more thoroughgoing way.
We have to raise our sights. The Australian Labour Party has committed itself to the principle of expending 1 per cent, of our national income as a reasonable objective of expenditure on aid to underdeveloped countries. At the present time, that would probably mean about £60,000,000 a year. There is also, of course, our trusteeship in New Guinea, the people of which could benefit by a great deal more assistance than they get from us at present. However, we shall be able to deal with the Government’s deficiencies in that regard when the estimates for the Department of Territories are being considered.
We on this side of the chamber believe that Australia ought to have a full-time Minister for External Affairs. It would not be of much use to appoint one now, when this Government’s course has only a few weeks to run. But the present situation is a serious reflection on the Government parties. It is a sad reflection to think that among more than 100 members in all on the Government side in both Houses of the Parliament there is not one in whom the Prime Minister has sufficient condence to repose the high office of Minister for External Affairs.
We believe, on the grounds that I have stated, that the administration of the Department of External Affairs cannot meet the needs of Australia. But that is only a simple matter compared to the problem of the Prime Minister’s own status as an international statesman - a status which brings into discussion his right to speak for this nation. On all occasions, the right honorable gentleman has managed to drag us into almost impossible positions in international affairs. I believe that he has done this country incalculable harm in his handling of the portfolio of External Affairs on his jaunts overseas. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) was quite correct when he said that the Prime Minister had put Australia in the position, in the eyes of the rest of the world, of being just a satellite of, to a certain extent, the United States of America, and, to a lesser extent, the United Kingdom. We do not look as though we have an independent voice. We do not look as though we have anything to offer. In fact, on every possible occasion, the Prime Minister has made us look as if we had no opinion of our own.
– What childish nonsense the honorable member talks!
– 1 wonder whether the Minister will care to go back to his electorate, knock on the doors of his comstituents and say, “ I am here this afternoon to advocate the policies of Australia’s Minister for External Affairs, who is also our Prime Minister “.
– Compared with the Australian Labour Party’s policy, the Prime Minister’s policy will get us more votes than anything else.
– Turn up the “ Hansard “ reports and see what the Prime Minister said about the veto in the United Nations when Dr. Evatt was fighting against the establishment of the principle of the veto in that organization. The present Prime Minister then thought that the veto was an eminently reasonable thing. But he is not so keen about it these days. Turn up what he said when it was announced in England that India was to be granted independence. He was shocked, he said. As the “ Hansard “ reports indicate, this is the sort of thing that he has said in the past. On every possible occasion, he has stood behind the belligerent, bellicose, reactionary forces of the world and given tongue to the philosophies that they espouse. What was the first great international affair in which he played a part after I became a member of this place in 1955? It was the Suez Canal affair. Would any Government supporter care to knock on the doors in his electorate and say, “ I am here to advocate the position taken by the Prime Ministers of Australia and the United Kingdom and the leaders of France over the Suez Canal affair”? Can anybody justify the position that the right honorable gentleman took up then? Can anybody justify the position that he took with respect to South Africa and the way in which he spoke in the councils of the world? Can anybody possibly justify the altitude that we adopted in voting in the United Nations in one way and then finally–
– The answer is “ Yes “. The Prime Minister has done it himself in this chamber.
– It is nice to know that at least the Prime Minister will have at his side the Minister for the Interior when he says, “ The last government to stand beside the Government of Portugal is the Australian Government “. These things cannot be justified. I believe that the Prime Minister, on every occasion on which he has had to make decisions on our behalf, has been found wanting, and that his position will be identical whenever decisions have to be made in the future.
This, of course, is a serious matter. ! believe that Australia has something to offer in world affairs. The 10,000,000 of us in this country need not be continually baffled by our limited numbers. All through history, the big battalions have not always carried the day. Athens was not a great city in terms of the number of its people. It just had a lot of great people, and its influence extends right down through his tory. So, even to-day, if one wishes to build a great building one will very likely look back to the Greeks for inspiration. England itself was only a small island off the coast of Europe 300 or 400 years ago. and there were only 4,000,000 people speaking the English tongue. Yet, to-day. English is the language of the world and the institutions and philosophies of England have spread across this planet. England’s influence was spread not by weight of numbers but by what the English people had to offer and by their fundamental integrity. So I do not believe that we need be ashamed of ourselves when we step intothe councils of the nations. We ought to speak up for ourselves. But the Prime Minister does not seem to look at international affairs in this way. In his speech on the Berlin situation on 7th September, he said -
As to Australia, we shall of course continue to support the Western position in Berlin . . .
Throughout that speech, we findcontinually expressions of the attitude of other nations, although I have no doubt that the right honorable gentleman could bring hisgreat capacity, skill and experience to bear on the situation. He ought to be giving to the world an expression of the Australian view, but, instead, in the speech which I have just mentioned, on one page alone, we find phrases such as these -
The Western attitude towards the Berlin problem . . .
The Western attitude has also been based-
– Order! The honorable member’s timehas expired.
.- I gather that the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant) does not like the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) or the Government. He has taken the trouble to refer to the policy that was followed ten or twelve years ago, but I remind the honorable member that the three statements made by the Prime Minister on the European Common Market, the Berlin situation and the testing of nuclear bombs, show a breadth of vision which unfortunately has been entirely absent from the speeches that have come from Opposition members to-night. Both the honorable member for Wills and the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) apparently feel that in relation to Berlin nothing in the Western viewpoint is right and everything in the Communist viewpoint is right.
– Mr. Temporary Chairman, the statement which has been made by the honorable member for Chisholm is offensive to me. I object to it, and I ask that it be withdrawn. I did not attack the Western viewpoint.
– Of course, I shall withdraw anything that the honorable member feels is offensive, but I believe that he said that the Western viewpoint in relation to Berlin has been entirely wrong.
– I did not get that far.
– I shall leave the honorable member for Wills and come to the honorable member for Yarra. He said that the West was using Berlin as a pressure point and that we should recognize East Germany. As long as we stick to the main principle, certain things may have to be negotiated, but it seems rather stupid to talk about East Germany as a political unit when not less than twenty Russian divisions are stationed there. What say can East Germany or its supposed government have when there are twenty or more foreign divisions on its soil to ensure that it obeys a foreign dictator? There are 50,000 troops on the 850-mile boundary which runs from the Baltic to Czechoslovakia to ensure that no one escapes from any of the Soviet satellites. According to the last speech that was made by Mr. Khrushchev, everything in the world will be free except freedom. Along that boundary is a 100 yards in width ploughed and raked strip, so that the footprints of any one walking on it will be visible. There is a 100-metre wide death zone behind that, and a forbidden zone 5 kilometres in depth, behind that again So, any talk about .East Germany being a political entity or a separate nation is utterly farcical when one applies the ordinary meaning of the word “ freedom “.
That is not to say that there may not be some matters on which we can negotiate. But, as the Prime Minister said not so long ago, there are certain very definite principles which Great Britain, America, ourselves and other people who are parties in one way or another to the original agreement, feel are vital to the security of the free world and are not negotiable. I hope that in the future certain people will be a little more moderate than they have been in the past. The honorable member for Yarra never seems to barrack for the home team. I strongly suspect that last Saturday he barracked for Footscray and not for Hawthorn.
I do not want to debate the major international problems to-night because a discussion on the Estimates is neither the time nor the place to raise them, but I should like to remind honorable members that one thing Mr. Khrushchev does not want to see come into being, even in an embryonic form, is a United States of Europe. Last June when Great Britain first mentioned that she was considering joining the Common Market he commenced his bluster and threats about Berlin. After the Prime Minister of Great Britain announced that he intended to negotiate entry into the Common Market, the threats increased in intensity and Mr. Khrushchev threw around the landscape atom bombs, the kitchen sink and everything else that he could lay his hands on. He has done his best, by fear and terror, to destroy at the start something that he feels might succeed - a United States of Europe. This union will not come about quickly. It will not be a tightly-knit federation. Probably it will be a very loosely-knit federation, but Mr. Khrushchev knows that if it does come about - already there are signs that it has advanced far more quickly than most people thought it would - his efforts with fear, terror, trade and the other weapons of the total cold war which has been waged, will be far less effective than they have been in the past.
That is another reason for this Berlin crisis. After all, in West Berlin there are about 2,250,000 people. What does the honorable member for Yarra, and those who think as he does, propose to do with them? Does he propose to stand up> for the right of entry into Berlin and for the right of the people to run their own industries and their own form of government as has been the case in the past? These are all very important matters. I venture to suggest that the Prime Minister, in his speech on Berlin, indicated that he knew far more about what was involved than has been indicated in any speech to which we have listened to-night.
Other problems could be dealt with, but I want to mention only the necessity to keep our minds and’ our methods of administration elastic. Since I have had the opportunity to visit many of our posts, I have acquired a very deep admiration of the work that the officers there are doing and a very close realization of the difficulties under which some of them operate, particularly in relation to staff. But in this day and age when practically every dawn brings its new challenge, it is necessary that we keep our minds and our methods elastic so that we can not only adapt the old but also adopt the new. Let me mention, for instance, the position in Great Britain to-day. In London I heard many people express the opinion that their method of administration is getting out of date because of the large number of new nations joining the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Relations Office has become almost a second Foreign Office and there is a danger, so I was told, of there being two departments deciding foreign policy. Many people seem to think that the Minister for Commonwealth Relations and his department should be made a part of the Foreign Office. It is not for me to say whether that is right or wrong, but I suggest to the Government that it seriously consider remodelling and expanding our own form of administration. In this modern world, with its constantly changing problems, the Department of External Affairs and the Department of Trade have become two of the most important bodies in Australia.
The Minister for External Affairs must have time to concentrate on the major problems. He must have a number of discussions with ambassadors and with his own officers; he needs quiet, and he must devote thought to matters of great importance because it is very difficult to keep pace with the major problems. But it is also vitally important that we should be able to keep our contacts alive. Being a smalL country, this is perhaps more important than it would be in some of the larger countries. If we cannot set up legations or embassies in every country of the world we should have a deputy Minister or a vice-Minister, under the control of the Minister for External Affairs, to do most of the contact work and to attend some of the less important conferences. Naturally, the Minister for External Affairs would attend the major discussions. In effect, the deputy would be a peripatetic Minister whose job it would be to confer at first hand with our legations and embassies and to make the personal contacts which are so important in present-day affairs. May 1 say that my very recent experience has impressed upon me that by going around to these countries yourself, you gain a large amount of knowledge and understanding. Although as the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I have had more opportunities than most to keep in close contact with events in various parts of the world, my trip was of great value.
We should also have, as I believe we have at the moment, a junior minister to deal with the ordinary, daily routine, such as the administration of the Colombo Plan, with possibly a Secretary for Commonwealth Relations under him. In other words, I would suggest that consideration be given to the appointment of three Ministers for External Affairs, one a senior, one a deputy who would be the contact man and one a junior minister, together with a Secretary for Commonwealth Relations. In this day and age, with the cold war being waged as it is, and with the problems that arise in international affairs, it is far more important to have three Ministers in the Department of External Affairs than to have five Ministers in the defence departments. In many ways, all of us want disarmament, all of us want to ban the bomb and all the rest of it; but in the mean time we must have a Department of Defence. As Lord Home said, the only way any one can deal with dictators is to deal from strength. Unfortunately, we have not reached the stage where we can dispense with defence departments or reduce them beyond the present limits.
I believe that a re-organization of the nature I have suggested would be of much assistance to the Cabinet and to the Prime Minister, who must always make the final decisions on the most important problems.
But it would also be of great assistance to Australia, which would be represented directly and would carry its full share of responsibility in matters that vitally affect its own security. I refer to the matters that are dealt with in this part of the world as distinct from those with which we can have not so close an interest, shall we say, because they are happening in Europe or on the other side of the world.
That is all I wish to put before the committee to-night. I do put these proposals with respect and I hope they will receive consideration. I believe that the officers of the Department of External Affairs are doing a grand job, often under very great difficulties. The department is understaffed at the moment. We cannot, I know, spread our wings all over the world, but I think with a re-organization and with a little more assistance from the Parliament, the officers of the department will be able to do their job even more effectively to-morrow than they have been able to do it up to the present.
– The honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes), who has just resumed his seat, has recently returned from a trip abroad.
– Not at your expense.
– No. I was about to say something nice about the honorable member. I was about to say that he is probably the one who, apart from the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), has seen as much of the other side of the world as any one in this Parliament has in recent weeks. One would not expect the Prime Minister to agree with all that the honorable member said. He almost, in a very delicate way, told the Prime Minister that he is a dismal failure as Minister for External Affairs. The Prime Minister may be surprised to know this, but we think very much the same as the honorable member does. We look back to the Prime Minister’s escapade on the Suez Canal and we remember the way he reprimanded Nehru for daring to express an opinion on important world affairs. We think much the same as do the people with whom evidently the honorable member has been talking on the other side of the world.
I do not necessarily agree with the conclusion drawn from this by the honorable member for Chisholm, that it is impossible for a Prime Minister to discharge the responsibilities of the Minister for External Affairs. On the contrary, 1 can look around the world and see that some Prime Ministers have, for their own countries, done the job with very great effect. Krushchev, for instance, from the point of view of his own country, has done an excellent job. He has done the job himself rather than entrust it to a Minister for External Affairs. Kennedy is doing it personally. He is going to the United Nations to speak personally; he is not leaving it to some Minister for External Affairs. Even the Prime Minister’s old friend, Colonel Nasser, speaks personally for his country when he goes to the United Nations. I see that the Prime Minister is smiling at my reference to his friend from Egypt, but he will agree with me that the most effective voice in the councils of the nations must be that of the Prime Minister or the President of a country.
– That is fair enough.
– If the honorable member agrees with me, I think it is silly to suggest that the Prime Minister, of necessity, ought not to be Minister for External Affairs. On the contrary, I think he should be Minister for External Affairs, and if he does not do his job, he should not be Prime Minister.
Reference has been made in this debate to the expenditure of £800,000 in the Congo. The honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. Mackinnon) mentioned it. I agree with him. I believe we must support the expenditure that the United Nations finds itself committed to make in maintaining peace in the world. My criticism of the United Nations in respect of the Congo is not that it has spent too much; it probably not only has spent too little but has done too little to give effect to the will of the United Nations in the Congo dispute. I cannot help but believe that the tragedy of Lumumba is to some extent due to the failure of the United Nations properly to discharge its responsibility in the Congo. It seems to me to be unpardonable that the United Nations should have allowed the Belgian imperialists and the Belgian investors and capitalists in Katanga to get away with this business of secession for so long without halting them. Belgian officers are still leading the Katanga army. The United Nations should have marched in there at the very beginning and dealt with this character Tshombe in no uncertain manner, and made these people realize that, just because some imperialist power wants to secede the valuable mineral deposits of Katanga province from the rest of the Congo, they will not be allowed to do so if this in any way threatens the peace of the world.
We in this Parliament must realize that the Afro-Asian powers represent more people, though less wealth, than the whole of the Western and Communist blocs together. In this new world of ours, which is rapidly changing, people are beginning to count for more than wealth. The Prime Minister apparently does not approve of that statement. He seemed to look disapprovingly at what I said.
– You must be shortsighted.
– I am sorry; the Prime Minister, I am glad to say, does agree with that statement. If the Prime Minister agrees with the statement that people are more important than wealth-
– Hear, hear!
– The Prime Minister says, “ Hear, heaT! “ If he agrees with that statement, he must pay more attention to the Afro-Asian powers than he has paid to them in the past. We cannot afford to go on completely ignoring them. I believe the trouble in the world to-day is that many of the nations that are showing at least some consideration for the Afro-Asian countries are not doing so because of any change of heart, because they love the African or Asian people any more than they did many years ago or any more than their forebears did 100 years ago. They are doing it for one reason only, and that is because they realize that unless there is a change of attitude - a change of heart is too much to ask for - more and more of these nations will come under the domination of the Communist powers. It is to stop them from going Communist that we are changing our attitude towards them; not because we want really to see them get a better deal.
We will delude ourselves with these cliches and slogans about the free nations of the world. We say, “ We of the free nations of the world must do this or that “. When we talk about the so-called free nations of the world, let us look at the two great military pacts that operate among, those nations. One is the North AtlanticTreaty Organization which includes Portugal. In Portugal, we have the worst form of dictatorship that one could imagine. Look at Portuguese East Africa if you want to see a prime example of exploitation of under-privileged people. Have a look at Portugal itself where there is no such thing as a democracy in the sense that we understand the term. Look at Greece. It is a little better than Portugal, it is true, but it is far short of what we would expect as a proper form of democracy. Look at Turkey and the former Prime Minister of that country hanging from the gallows, and you can understand how democracy operates in Turkey. Yet these are part of the Nato bloc that is supposed to include the free countries of the world.
– Would they hang Mr. Menzies?
– In Turkey, the first thing they would do after 9th December would be to hang the Prime Minister. Let us look at the powers which form the South-East Asia Treaty Organization. These are also among the wonderful free countries of the world. First, there is South Vietnam. We were going to have a referendum and free elections there to allow the people to decide who would form the government of South Vietnam. We agreed to it, in fact. It was part of the cease-fire agreement. Then we had a look at the numbers and said, “ If we have an election this year, we will lose it. We will scrub the idea of an election.” The Russians are doing exactly the same in Germany. They say, “ If we have an election in Germany, we will lose, and therefore there will be no free election “. I do not know what anybody on the Government side would say if I said, “What about letting the people of China decide whether there will be one China or two? Suppose we let the people of Formosa and continental China go to the polls and decide by a majority who will be the government of China.”
So we have all this hypocrisy about “ We of the free nations. We are all free and the others are all hindered.” It is all just so much nonsense when you look at the people of the so-called free world. Let us look at Pakistan. A friend of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) is the dictator of Pakistan. Probably he is quite a nice gentleman to meet at Chequers or Buckingham Palace to have dinner with or rub shoulders. I daresay he is a good fellow. But the fact is that he is not a democrat. He is the very antithesis of democracy. Who can say that Siam is a free country in any sense of the word? Look at Syngman Rhee of South Korea, another part of the free world. Can he be considered a democrat? Of course not. So let us stop this hypocritical nonsense and this talk of the free world when the greater part of the so-called free world is just as unfree as the Communist blocs and the Spanish and Portuguese countries. Before we leave the so-called free world, let us have a look at the Middle East. Let us look at King Saud of Saudi Arabia, the Sheik of Muscat and all the other tinpot oil sheikdoms of the Middle East. Let us remember the white slavery and other forms of slavery that go on there unhindered without any protest from outside.
So I say that it is about time we put our house in order before we start talking as though the others alone are to blame and we are blameless. The trouble in the world to-day is that both sides fear war but both sides believe that the other is responsible for the fear that is being generated in the world. They believe the other side is to blame. I believe there has to be a modification of the attitude and the points of view taken by both of the great powers. There must be a modification of the attitude of both sides. It must be forced on either side. It must come from within as a consequence of pressure from within or within as a consequence of world opinion from without.
– What nonsense.
-It is not nonsense if you have the capacity to understand what words mean. We have altered our attitude towards the New Guinea natives. When I went there on my memorable trip to New Guinea a year ago, the natives were receiving the magnificent sum of 6s. 3d. a week and their keep for themselves, but nothing for their wives. As a result of world opinion, we have made terrific strides in New Guinea. We have increased their wages by 3s. 3d. a week. That is a 50 per cent, increase in less than a year. So they are now receiving 9s. 9d. a week and keep. That is not the result of any desire on our part to make the white planters pay this enormous increase in wages. It is because the Afro-Asian bloc-
– I rise to order. What the honorable member is saying has no relation to external affairs.
Order! The honorable member started a discussion on external affairs, but it has been allowed to develop into a general debate. I suggest to the honorable member that he should not wander too far from the question before the Chair.
– I am saying that we are changing our attitude for these reasons. It is a good job that we are changing our views. I am not one who says, “ Is it not good that these fellows who are sabre rattling have to back down over Berlin? “ I am glad that they backed down, and not because it shows lack of courage, because I believe it takes more courage to back down on something that would lead to the extermination of mankind than to go on sabre rattling and say, “ We will not back down under any circumstances “. Any body can do that if they have atomic bombs and no regard for their own lives or the lives of other people. President Kennedy has now said -
We are committed to no rigid formula.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- It is extraordinary how members of the Opposition do everything in their power to drag down the free world. They do so at every opportunity. The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) spoke about world opinion forcing this and that. What world opinion comes out of Russia? What world opinion comes out of China? Everything that comes from the Opposition is against the free world. The committee is discussing the estimates for the Department of External Affairs. That department has a tremendous responsibility because the world is in a state of great tension. The international policy of the Government must be directed from the Department of External Affairs. Not the least of our problems to-day is the fact that the United Nations Organization has lost its Secretary-General. The Soviet is now suggesting that there should be a panel of three SecretariesGeneral, and I suggest that it would not be wasting time to examine the Russian system itself. We all remember how, after the death of Stalin, the hierarchy determined never again to have a personality cult, and established a praesidium of eleven people. We also remember how, within a very short time, one man alone assumed power. The result of it all is that to-day in Russia exactly the same position obtains as obtained during Stalin’s regime. Khrushchev, the one man controlling Russia’s affairs, is now recommending that a committee of three be placed in charge of the United Nations Organization. The only logical interpretation to place upon Russia’s suggestion is that Russia is seeking to stultify the work of the United Nations Organization. I fail to see how a committee of three could be successful when the voting on all questions has to be unanimous. One cannot help but be suspicious of the motive behind such a suggestion from a man who has learned from his own experience that in cases such as this it is essential that only one person occupy the position.
What frightens me is the fact that hitherto the Australian Labour Party in this Parliament has always criticized our defence system and argued that we should rely upon the United Nations Organization for our security. Surely its members must realize the danger of such a policy. Surely they must realize that merely by exercising the right of veto, one great power can throw the whole of the United Nations Organization into a state of chaos.
The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) attacked the Government of West Germany. He said that the whole of the trouble in Berlin was caused by the Western world’s policy of making Berlin a pressure point. Surely he will admit that East Germany had the same opportunity to develop as did West Germany. I remind him that East Germany is not a primitive nation. East Germany is just as advanced as is West Germany. The reason why West Germany is so embarrassing to the Communist world is that in Berlin we have the contrast between the free world and the Communist world, and the people of East Germany are most anxious to get out of the Communist world. The best way of describing it was the manner in which the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) described it. He referred to the dreadful fortifications which were erected to keep the Communists in their paradise and the wretched capitalists from entering there. They have a free election in West Germany. Why can they not have it in East Germany? I am always interested to hear honorable members opposite demanding the right of self-determination for the newly emerging nations, the primitive people just reaching nationhood, but it is significant that, while demanding this right for primitive people, they do not demand the right of self-determination for civilised people like the East Germans. Do honorable members opposite think that if there were a free election in East Germany the Communist regime would last for five minutes? Of course it would not! The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) spoke about giving the right of free election to Communist China and Taiwan. Does he think that the Communist regime would remain in power in China if the Chinese were given the right of free election? I remind him that when Mao Tse-tung spoke about 100 flowers blossoming there was an immediate expression of public opinion against the Communist world. Honorable members opposite are continually attacking the free world. For instance, the honorable member for Yarra keeps on saying that the fault is not always on the one side. He suggests that we of the free world should be dragged down to the level of the Communists, to the level of untrustworthy people.
What is the objective of the free world? And, by that, I mean the free world. It is that every nation shall have the right of free determination, that the people of every nation shall enjoy freedom of speech, free elections, that the press of every nation shall be free and that there shall be free expression of public opinion. We enjoy all these freedoms in our own country, and we demand them for every other country. Whatever else may fall, the whole of our efforts are directed towards the establishment and maintenance of those freedoms in every country. That is one side of the ideological talk of to-day.
Now let us examine the other side - the Communist objective. Both Stalin and Khrushchev have said, “ We are going to achieve world domination “. In other words, the Communist world is aiming not at freedom, but at slavery, for the whole world. 1 emphasize that I am not expressing theories now. The Communists have said that this is what they will do. They have said that their aim is world domination. How can there be negotiation between people like ourselves, who believe in freedom, and people like the Russians, who demand world domination? That is the question that the world is asking to-day. It is significant that the honorable member for Yarra did not mention one point on which we have failed. He said that there were faults on both sides, but he failed to name one of our faults.
To-day, we have a world divided by two completely opposite theories. We stand for freedom and the Communists stand for slavery. On what can we come to a compromise with the Russians in any negotiations? What freedom can we sacrifice in order to achieve agreement with the Russians? Is there one thing in our way of life that we can sacrifice in our negotiations with the Russians? Of course there is not! There are many who ask why the leaders of the world cannot get together like ordinary sensible people and settle their differences. The reason is that there is nothing that we of the free world can sacrifice in order to arrive at an agreement with the Communist world. Just as it is impossible to mix oil with water, just as it is impossible to mix night with day, so is it impossible to negotiate with the Communist world on that basis.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) delivered a most pedantic speech. I understand that he was reading from notes of an address he gave to some students at the university in Brisbane. During the course of that address he said that we have become a satellite of the United States of America. Would he have us understand that the Australian Labour Party does not like the United States of America? Certainly I never heard one member of the Opposition compliment the United States of America. I remind the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that the United States of America has made enormous sacrifices for the free world and for our freedom. What does the Opposition think would happen if the seventh fleet were removed from the Pacific?
Then we had the careless thinking of the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant). We know, of course, that he has not yet reached the position of leader, but he said that our Prime Minister disapproved of the granting of freedom to India and Pakistan. That is not so. I remind the honorable member for Wills that the Conservatives in England, and we on this side in Australia, never believed that England should retain sovereignty over those two countries, but we did believe that there was a proper time at which to relinquish it. We did not believe that the proper time was when the Labour Party in England, supported by the Labour Party in Australia, gave those two countries their freedom. We all know that the granting of freedom at that time resulted in the death of approximately 3,000,000 people and injury to 10,000,000 more. Had the Labour Party in England waited for another two or three years before relinquishing sovereignty over those countries, that would not have happened.
I come now to the speech delivered by the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Bird). It was a good speech. He spoke about giving more help to the newlyemerging nations, and I agree with what he said. I also commend to honorable members opposite the speech made recently by our Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) to the International Monetary Fund on the question of the prices paid on world markets for the primary products of developing nations. The honorable member for Batman suggested that we should make more financial aid available to developing nations. I agree with him to some extent there, but I do suggest that a better way to assist them would be to give them better prices for their exports. And that applies with equal force to the products of countries like Australia, which are developing to nationhood in the southern seas. If the European Common Market is going to close its doors to exports from other countries, or make it so that their products, going on to the vast market in Europe, are sold at unremunerative prices to the uncommitted nations, the world will suffer in the long run. I think that the way our Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) has spoken in this matter should give food for thought to those people who are supporting Britain’s entry to the Common Market and encourage them to provide a better price for primary products. A better price is most important, not only to us, but also to those other countries which are near to us.
Before concluding I emphasize again that the free world cannot sacrifice any of its freedom in negotiating with Communist Russia. One of the reasons why East Germany has not been recognized is that we, in the free world, believe in a united Germany. So long as Germany is divided it will be a source of continual irritation and trouble. Russia is determined to keep Germany divided simply because in East Germany she has been able to force on the people, against their will, a Communist regime which could never survive if there were free elections in that country. It seems to me a great pity to find, when we are discussing items relating to foreign affairs, a wide divergence of opinion on foreign policy between members on the Government side of the chamber and members of the Opposition. It is a tragedy indeed, because on these matters Australia should be completely united. I agree with the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) that Australia is being served extremely well overseas by its ambassadors and the staff of the Department of External Affairs. This is all the more remarkable because it is a department of comparatively recent origin. A great compliment should be paid to it for the quality of the staff it employs.
.- The debate on the estimates of the Department of External Affairs affords the committee an opportunity to review not only questions relating to the administration of the department but also Australia’s relations with other countries as well as matters of great concern in international affairs. Before entering on the principal part of my address I would like to amplify, to a point, certain things that have been said during the debate,, as I feel that, it is only right and proper that that should be done. The honorable member for New England (Mr. Drummond) indicated, that the expansion of our overseas representation was undertaken mainly- by the former Minister for External Affairs, now Lord Casey.
I have the greatest appreciation of the splendid efforts that Lord Casey made and the industry and devotion which he brought to that very important post. But I feel that there is one who has not been, mentioned and whose name should be placed on record for the great service he rendered to this country, particularly- in the field o£ foreign affairs. I speak of the former member for Barton, the Right Honorable H. V. Evatt. When Labour took over the government of this country in 1941, Australia had high level diplomatic representation in only three countries. One of those was the United Kingdom, where we were represented through a High Commissioner; the second was the United States of America, where we had a Resident Minister; and, I believe, the third was Canada, where we had a High Commissioner. Earlier, Australia had been represented in Tokyo, Japan, by Sir John Latham , the former Chief Justice of Australia, who did admirable work there. Up to that stage, that was the full extent of the representation of this country at external posts: The basis of all the expansion which has occurred in the work of our Department of External Affairs was the energy, effort and enterprise of the Right Honorable Herbert V. Evatt, when Minister for External Affairs.
I know something about this matter because I was Assistant Minister for External Affairs and probably had as much to do with the administration of the Department, of External Affairs as with- the administration of the other departments that wereentrusted to my care. Many of those men who are to-day our professional diplomatsand occupy positions of responsibility asoverseas representatives of this country were appointed to, and trained in the essentialsof the work of the department, under the guidance of the Right Honorable H. V. Evatt. Much as he may have been criticized. by honorable gentlemen, on. the Government side of the chamber, it can always, be said to his credit that he rendered great service to this country in the way in which he developed, the work of the Department of External Affairs. It- was he who introduced the cadet system of training which has- contributed so much to the staffing, of our overseas, posts with competent officers. I believe therefore that Dr. Evatt deserves the very best of commendation for theservice which- he rendered to Australia in that way.
– He. had two portfolios,, too.
– I probably had’ even, more- than- that, but that does not alter the circumstances which I- have mentioned. Dr. Evatt was not only a capable Minister for External Affairs but’ also an outstanding Attorney-General’. I d’o not know whether that will satisfy my honorable friend”.
The: situation arising- from the tragic death of the- Secretary-General1 of- theUnited Nations was discussed by the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth). We deeply deplore this tragicsituation and, furthermore, the complications which it seems to add to an already distraught and confused world. I was. astonished to hear from the honorable gentleman that he- thought the time had come to sweep away the United’ Nations, organization and to. set up in its, stead some new form of international authority. We have the right to know whether he was committing the Government to those views and I am hoping that the Prime Minister and Minister for External- Affairs (Mr. Menzies) will, give us some information inthat regard: before this debate concludes..
– The Prime Minister appeared quite disgusted.
– I think I did notice some unwillingness to accept the proposition which the member for MacKellar put forward. However, I would like the right honorable gentleman to rise in his place and tell this committee and the nation exactly what is Australia’s attitude towards the existing United Nations organization. The honorable member for Mackellar would sweep away our present United Nations organization, but he has given us no concrete idea of what he would set up in its place. The honorable member spoke of certain difficulties connected with the working of the United Nations, but surely this is not the time to destroy this important medium through which world differences have been resolved. If the United Nations were wiped out we would never be able to establish another world assembly. Possibly we would finish up with three different sets of nations, and such a situation, surely, would accelerate the march towards war. Instead of having one organization to mould world opinion, we would have three, each one of which would be competing with the others, and all manner of complications would arise.
I wholeheartedly agree with statements made by Mr. Dean Rusk, Secretary of State for the United States of America, in a public address last July, when he said -
Another aspect of the passing parade of events . . these are more likely to be resolved by quiet conversation than by a public quarrel . . .
We have become accustomed to think of our foreign relations as a series of large and small crises.
He then said something that the honorable member for Mackellar might well ponder: -
The inevitable disputes were to be settled by peaceful means. Let us not forget that the charter supposed that the tried processes of negotiation would prevail over violence and fruitless debate.
Consider the opportunities given under the United Nations charter for the settlement of disputes between nations. Mr. Dean Rusk said, further: -
There are three major conditions we must seek to overcome - war, tyranny and misery.
These are not my words; they are the words of the eminent gentleman I have mentioned.
– He forgot unemployment.
– That would come under the heading of misery. This is no time to pull down the temple, which is what the honorable member for Mackellar, I am afraid, would have us do. I warn this committee, and any other person who may be listening to me, of the dangers of adopting the suggestion of the honorable member for Mackellar.
No doubt when the honorable member referred to frustrations resulting from the United Nations constitution he had in mind the availability of the veto. It is interesting to note that the honorable member and others associated with the Liberal side of politics did not raise their voices against the veto instrument when they might have achieved something, at the time when the former Minister for External Affairs, the Right Honorable Dr. H. V. Evatt, fought against the incorporation of the veto in the United Nations constitution. That was at San Francisco, in the early days of the United Nations. The right honorable gentleman spoke against the proposition of affording the veto to major powers, because he contended that it would prevent the implementation of decisions arrived at by a majority of member nations of the organization. As I say, honorable members opposite did not raise their voices in protest at that time, and they only do so when they come face to face with’ the unfortunate results of the inclusion of the veto instrument. The Labour Party has nothing to answer for in this regard, because it was a representative of this party who was foremost in protesting against the veto principle in preliminary meetings of the United Nations.
For all the difficulties that it has had to face, the United Nations has justified itself time and time again by being able to resolve various international situations. lt has ministered to the needs of nations emerging from the original bewilderment that they felt upon attaining the status of independence and nationhood.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I was astonished - and one must have a great capacity for astonishment to be so affected after being a member of this Parliament for many years - to hear the speech made by the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) on the United Nations. Before us is an estimate covering the expenditure of a great deal of public money in relation to our membership of the United Nations, and the honorable member tor Mackellar rises in this committee and suggests that we should get out of the organization. He wants to get out of it for one reason - he is no longer on the winning side. I am sure the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) would repudiate him in this matter, and so far as the Labour Party is concerned, our point of policy is “ unswerving loyalty to the United Nations “.
The matter for consideration here is surely not whether we have the numbers in the United Nations. I know that the Prime Minister, who is now at the table, has represented Australia honorably in that august body, but the honorable member for Mackellar simply plays politics in the crudest and hardest way possible. When he sees that his particular paranoic attitude towards Russia is not achieving anything, and that his team does not seem capable of marshalling the numbers, he wants to get out of the organization. Surely the United Nations means more than this to Australia, to the democracies and to the world. If the honorable member feels that there are no jobs left to be done by the United Nations, let me remind him of only one. I will confine myself to one because I have only fifteen minutes in which to make my point.
If the honorable member agrees that we are a democratic community of people, believing in justice, the rule of law, the right of self-determination of peoples and the charter of human rights, then he must agree that we should remain in the United Nations and apply ourselves to the tragedy of Angola. If he believes, in his humanity, that something should be done by the democracies of the world, let us all apply ourselves to the problem of Angola. Before
I refer to the tragedy of that African community let us have a look at what has happened in relation to our representation at the United Nations. I ask the Prime Minister: What is the use of sending expensive delegations overseas? It is a long way to the United Nations head-quarters in New York. Sending delegations there involves a lot of time, and the training and development of foreign affairs personnel to represent us there. Then we find that on vital issues we abstain from voting.
One of the worst things about Australia, on the perimeter of Asia in the Pacific, where we could be a potent force, is that when issues are strong we bail out. We do not vote. In 1960-61, we ran away from the vote on the declaration on the granting of independence to colonial peoples. We ran away from the vote on racial discrimination. We ran away from the vote on South-West Africa. We ran away from the vote on Algeria. We ran away from the vote on nuclear weapons and disarmament. We ran away from another vote on South-West Africa. We abstained from the vote on the Congo. We abstained from the vote on the admission of new members - Mauritania and Outer Mongolia. We abstained, to our eternal discredit, on the question of Angola.
In the few minutes that remain to me I want to talk about Angola. In not supporting the United States and the minister specially appointed by President Kennedy to guide American thought in the United Nations - Mr. Adlai Stevenson - we deserted the Americans, whom we trumpet forth as our allies. When they came out strongly on self-determination and human rights, and for having some sort of a look at what was happening in Angola, we abstained. Why waste our money? This is a debate on the Estimates, and is concerned with money, and surely we should do something about our representation. If we are going to be eternal absentees on matters of high moment then we ought not to be at the United Nations. However, I do not agree with the honorable member for Mackellar, who just wants to bail out in fear of something that might happen. We ought to stay there and fight, but we cannot fight by abstaining from casting a vote.
What happened in relation to Angola? The most naked and terrible example of colonialism is presented to us in all its ugliness in Angola. It is so bad that it was the subject of debate in the United Nations as early as 17th June of this year, and the Security Council called on Portugal to “ desist forthwith from repressive measures in Angola “. The vote was nine to nil. with the United States supporting. Great Britain and France abstained, and so did Australia. Do you not believe in human rights? Do you not believe in anticolonialism? Do you not believe in all the principles which are involved in our association with the United Nations? You cannot abstain. You must state your case. You are for Portugal-
– You said that we abstained in the Security Council. We are not on it.
– That is the situation now. We are not on it. But you abstained later in the General Assembly. There was the case of a small “ 1 “ liberal, Mr. Adlai Stevenson, influencing the right and real essence of the United Nations, which was that wherever there is colonialism of such a rabid and terrible nature as in Angola something should be done. Otherwise the United Nations is futile. A five-power committee was appointed. What happened to it? Salazar, the dictator of Potrugal refused entry to Angola. You can talk in New York, you can talk in Lisbon, you can talk in London and anywhere else, but you cannot get to the seat of the trouble. And here is Australia, sitting in the conference of the United Nations just, as the colloquialism puts it, sawing wood. The Russians tried to get through a motion of complete condemnation of what was happening in Angola, but they were defeated by four votes to three as a result of abstentions. It is necessary to have seven votes in the Security Council.
Then the matter came before the General Assembly. It was agreed, by 67 votes to 2, that we should do something through the United Nations, as a peace organization, as an aggregation of nations which would look upon injustice in the round wherever it occurred. By 67 votes to 2 the assembly decided that something ought to be done about the tragedy of Angola. The two nations which voted against that were Spain and South Africa. Thirteen nations abstained - including France, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand. That is not a very good record. Why did we not support the United States? Where do we declare ourselves to stand? In this House the Prime Minister, from time to time, becomes perfervid in his advocacy. We must stay with the United States, he says. We must, above all things, stay with the United States. And then, when the test came whether we are fair dinkum about colonialism, and whether we thought that the tragedy in Angola should be looked at, we sat mute and dumb. That is a shocking thing to happen to a young country like Australia, and the Government has been arraigned for the way it instructed its delegates to the United Nations. You were there at the United Nations, Mr. AttorneyGeneral, though fortunately you were not allowed to speak on this matter. The point is that we, who profess a stout democracy, did not have the fundamental guts to speak up about Angola.
What happened in Angola is completely inexcusable, and the Prime Minister knows it as well as I know it. Portugal is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and it has used the arms supplied to it by Great Britain and France and its allies to drop parachute troops among the natives to burn the jungle and scare them out, to shoot them and destroy them. Let us have no mistake about it. The revolt in Angola was a revolt of the natives. It was the same sort of revolt as the revolt of the Mau Mau, and the same sort of revolt as the revolt in the Congo. But if you look for first causes you see the inevitable thing in history - that it had to occur. There is no use in being pious or platitudinous about it. It happened because people were living in circumstances which were completely shocking in this year of grace 1961, but they were beaten down by Nato forces. This is the thing to remember, because much of our philosophy in regard to peace in the world has been rapidly changing. What has President Kennedy said to-day in regard to peace? What have the democracies said? There is a change of front, because they desire, above all, to keep peace and amity among the nations, and whilst there exists a corrosive influence, wherever it occurs, working in a contrary direction, it has to be dealt with.
What worries and concerns me is not so much the bailing out of the honorable member for Mackeller, but the bailing out of the Australian Government by abstaining from vital votes in the United Nations. We know that the outburst in Angola was terrific, and that the natives committed atrocities. But let us look at what happened to them. Villages were bombed, the inhabitants were machine-gunned - all by Nato arms - grass fires were started in the jungle to smoke the natives out, and in some cases hands and feet were tied and the natives were thrown into the ocean. People were also burned in oil drums. Always, during the last 50 years, the natives of Angola were subjected to forced labour and slavery. Yet Nato paratroops, supposed to be the pacific forces of Europe, were used for the subjugation of natives who did not have a rifle among a whole tribe.
– Are you speaking of something that happened in the Middle Ages?
– You would think so, but this is what was done by Portugal only recently. The whole of this case was revealed by the Baptist missionaries. Very efficient work was done by missionaries of all kinds, including Catholic missionaries. The Baptist missionaries sent statements to the United Nations about these things. They were horrified to find that 30,000 natives had been killed, and that 103,000 refugees had gone into exile in Rhodesia because of the punitive action taken against them by the Portuguese Government. Why did the natives rise? That is not just a thing that would happen. They have been pacific. They have been subject to slavery. They were sold into forced slavery for 1,000 escudos, the Portuguese equivalent of 2s. to perform agricultural labour. They did not own their farms. They had no vote. They were essentially the slaves of the Portuguese Government. Yet we sat in the United Nations and made wise and deliberate conventions about these things and ignored the real problems, because, as I said before, we did not have the fundamental guts to fight for these people who were under fierce colonial rule.
I have had a look at a survey of the facts relating to Angola. I find that 98 per cent. of the natives there are illiterate after many years of Portuguese rule. In some villages, a death rate of 60 per cent. is usual. The average wage is £20 a year. The natives own no property, although the tribal laws entitle them to own every acre of land in Angola. All the land has been taken over by the European conquerors. The natives have no vote. They have no homes. Yet people say, “ Let us get out of the United Nations “. There is a lot of work to do in the United Nations on behalf of the people of Angola. They are sold into slavery. Slavery is so commonplace that the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Angola protested to the governor, to whom he said, “ I have evidence that natives are being sold as slaves at 1,000 to 1,500 escudos a man “.
– Did the honorable member make any statement on Tibet at the time of the Chinese invasion of that country?
-I certainly did. If the honorable member reads “ Hansard “, he will see it recorded. However, he is like the Dalai Lama - well behind the eightball!
When the archbishop of the chief religious organization in Angola protested to the governor that natives were being sold into slavery, the governor replied: “ We have not sold the natives. We have simply rented them to the Portuguese employers.” We see this kind of colonialism being practised and yet we hear talk about an exodus from the United Nations. I ask the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick), who is now at the table and who has been to the United Nations: “ What about human rights? What have you to say about this matter?” The “Economist” states that Portuguese rule in Angola is the most horrible example of eighteenth century colonialism that has ever existed. Yet our representatives go to the United Nations and say: “ We had better not say too much about this. We had better send a cable back to Canberra and see whether we can– “
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- Mr. Chairman, the points that the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) has made with respect to Angola underline an important point that was made by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) in a previous debate. That point was that where the Western powers have managed to bring independence to African nations and other nations in a dignified and sane way there has been an advance of Western influence in the world. The Leader of the Opposition mentioned Nigeria, Morocco and Tunis, and gave Cyprus, in the later stages of developments there, as another example. He also pointed out that where there were running sores, such as IndoChina had been and Algeria was, the position of the Western world in relation to its ability to appeal to the uncommitted nations was greatly weakened.
The point that the honorable member for Parkes has made about Angola is important, because it highlights one of the factors which, I think, is preventing us from winning the mind of Asia. While the Western world has any moral stains at all, we cannot win the mind of Asia. I do not think that anybody in India, Pakistan or anywhere else has any illusions about Hungary, but the Asian people are likely to remain morally neutral in the battle for their minds so long as we have within the Western framework scandals equivalent to that of Angola. Some voices that one would normally regard as conservative are making these points and, I feel, are not being heeded in this Parliament. The honorable member for Parkes mentioned the Catholic Archbishop of Angola. Equally significantly, the Catholic clergy in the Rhodesias have had something to say about racial attitudes there which were akin to nazi-ism. The voices of these people are not voices that can be discounted as those of leftists whose interests are inimical to the West. These are voices of warning. I think that we need to be clear on the kinds of things which prevent us from having an appeal in Asia.
What are the possibilities of Australia influencing the world situation? I sometimes think that our debates in this place on Berlin and European affairs count for very little in the world. Our possibilities of influencing the world are greatest if we work through the Commonwealth of Nations. We tend, I think, to regard influence in this body exclusively as influence on the United Kingdom exercised through conferences of Commonwealth Prime Ministers and through correspondence which passes between this country and the United Kingdom. That, however, is only one aspect of it. There are possibilities of influencing India, Pakistan and Malaya, which, also, are members of the Commonwealth of Nations. I believe that these countries are crucial, because they provide the gateway by which the influence of the Commonwealth of Nations can enter the mind of Asia. I think that was one thing that Lord Casey, the previous Minister for External Affairs, fully realized. His realization of it was at times one of the better aspects of this Government’s foreign policy, although I think that a lot of the Government’s influence in Asia was negatived by its foolish policy in the Suez Canal crisis.
The struggle for the mind of the world is basically the struggle for the mind of Asia. If Australian policy can in any way be identified with racialism, Australian diplomats are bound to have no influence in Asia. Any policy of real friendship with India, Pakistan and Malaya may increase Australian influence in Asia. India is crucial in Asia, because that is a country which is trying to solve by democratic means enormous problems of backwardness. It is always much quicker to shoot a man out of hand than to conduct a trial by jury. The Chinese Communists are shooting out of hand those who oppose them. India is trying to use the approach of mobilizing consent, even the consent of people who have been upholders of caste systems and those features of Indian society which the modern Indian Government is trying to eliminate.
I feel that we should take into account some of the points made by Barbara Ward in her book, “ India and The West “. Referring to those areas where communism has advanced, she writes of Communist power as being able to develop in situations of chaos in Asia. She finds a common factor in
Communist take-overs wherever they have occurred in Asia or, previously, in Europe. Of the Communists she writes -
They had the discipline, the will to power, the coherent ruthlessness needed to turn chaos to their own account.
Abject poverty is an invitation to chaos. Barbara Ward deals with the attractive terms of Communist aid in Asia where a policy of long-term wooing is necessary. She mentions, for instance, the low interest rate of 2i per cent, which applies to Soviet loans compared with the rates of 6 per cent, and 8 per cent, charged by some other lenders such as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which is known shortly as the World Bank. Barbara Ward then comments -
The Soviets are wealthy enough to finance their own exports of capital, and where their assistance is invited, they can combine instructions on the techniques of economic growth with lessons in the arts of politicial repression. The more disorganized the society in which they operate, the greater the chances of infiltrating their own pattern of control.
The Congo situation since independence is an example of every point in that quotation.
The points made by the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Bird) when stating the percentage of our gross national product being devoted to such projects as the Colombo Plan and United Nations aid need to be considered. After all, the whole economy of Western Europe was salvaged by Marshall Aid in the post-war period. You cannot buy countries out of communism, and I do not think that Marshall Aid bought Europe out of communism, but I do think it was evidence of concern by the United States of America for the rehabilitation of war-damaged economies. This had a salutary effect on the people of Europe. If we think of such things as the Colombo Plan as either salves to our conscience or efforts to buy off communism, then the Colombo Plan will be completely ineffective. But if it is evidence of our intelligent concern about the problems of countries which are saddled with tremendous backwardness, then I think that it will win friends for the West because it will show that the West is capable of concern. The economic problems of Ceylon ought to come within the ambit of the Colombo Plan. Can anything be done to stop this economy being geared, as the honorable member for Batman suggested, to a single crop? Can we do anything to further India’s five-year plans? The great experiment is to find out whether problems of backwardness can be solved without coercion.
The next argument, in essence, is that these problems can be solved only by sweeping aside all opposition - all the things thai we have come to identify with democratic freedom - and going ahead with projects of force in the belief that they will solve the problems. For a time India appeared to be attracted towards the Chinese experiment. I do not think that she now is attracted so much since the border disputes and since the incidents in Tibet, lt cannot be contended that the Chinese commune methods have solved China’s food problems in the face of the present wellknown droughts, the collapse of her agricultural economy and her tremendous need to import grains from the rest of the world. But notwithstanding all that, 1 do not believe that in the thinking of the Government or of the Australian community generally there is any perception of how much capital India needs to develop her secondary industries to give her a chance to survive. India really has the worst of both worlds although some of the things to which I shall refer are good.
The British brought unity to the country - at least until it was divided between India and Pakistan - a legal system which produced stability, and methods of health and hygiene which wiped out the worst diseases. But the British economic policy in India did not encourage India to stand on her own feet and, until as late as 1919, she did not have the right, for instance, to impose her own tariffs. Although the British solved many of India’s health problems and wiped out the worst infectious diseases, the tremendous fall in the death-rate and the resulting increased population were not offset by any great development of secondary industries on the scale that India needs. The five-year plans are efforts to catch up quickly with the population growth and the general problems of economic backwardness. We should do more than adopt the American approach to these things. We need to consider the plans which India herself has proposed as a means of advancing her economy. We should ascertain how much capital we can assign towards assisting India in this direction.
We are always being treated in this House to statements that Australia needs to be developed. That is true, but after all for every £1 of Australian income the Indian equivalent is lid. India’s needs are so much greater than ours. Australia has forms of capital - I refer to physical goods - which it can export. For instance, we have sent railway vehicles to Pakistan to assist in rehabilitating that country’s railway system. We should consider exporting similar articles to other countries. The economic side of the Department of External Affairs could be strengthened. There is some reason to hope that the world will not resort to the use pf uncontrollable nuclear weapons. The essential battle which is being waged between the West and the East is ideological. If one of the battlegrounds of the world is to be the uncommitted area of Asia, then the matters to which I have referred are the weapons which we must use in that fight for survival. If in concern for that survival we recognize what is wrong with the Western system, recognize that it is a liability and not try to soft-pedal it on the model of Communist propaganda, then we shall proceed much further than we otherwise would.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.
House adjourned at 11.8 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
s asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
n asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: -
In conformity with the contract of sale between the Combined Development Agency and the Commonwealth, financial details of the project have not been released. All known economic copper ore has been mined and is currently being treated.
d asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
d asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following information: -
1957, 70,531; 1958, 79,927; 1959, 86,548; 1960, 94,794.
In its survey the department made estimates of housing need based upon the annual net increase in Australian families. From these estimates and from later calculations by the department, it is clear that the annual rate of dwelling construction since 1957 has been well in excess of the need for dwellings which arose from the formation of new families. Even if allowance (which must of necessity be very approximate) is made for the need to replace dwellings which are lost to the housing stock by demolition or by conversion to other uses, and for the use of some houses as holiday homes, it is clear that since 1957 the rate of dwelling construction has allowed a marked improvement in Australian housing standards. However, it is impossible by any statistical calculations to state the time when the housing backlog has been or will be eliminated.
m asked the Ministerfor Territories, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Commission on the Status of Women.
m asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
Why did Australia not reply to the questionnaire sent by the International Labour Organization for the Commission on the Status of Women concerning legislation prohibiting or restricting the employment of married women?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
I presume that the honorable member is referring to the questionnaire mentioned in the report submitted by the I.L.O. to the Commission on the Status of Women (Document E/CN. 6/379 dated 19th January, 1961). As is evident from paragraphs 36 and 37 on page 17 of that document the I.L.O. questionnaire was not directed to the Australian Government.
m asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
What progress was made at the conference of fisheries ministers on 1st September towards uniform fisheries legislation?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
The conference did not have before it for consideration any specific proposal relating to fisheries legislation. However, in resolving that, subject to agreement by the Commonwealth and State Governments, an Australian Fisheries Council should be formed, the conference recommended as one of the functions for the Council cooperation to secure uniform management policy.
m asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following answers: -
Note. - In considering the particulars of applications received it should be kept in mind that about 35 per cent, of applications are refused or withdrawn because the applicant is unable to comply with the requirements of the War Service Homes Act or are withdrawn by the applicants for various reasons.
At 30th June, 1961, the waiting periods for assistance under the act were as follows: -
Assistance to build or purchase a new home - No waiting period.
Assistance to purchase an old home -
Additional assistance to enlarge a home or to provide utility services - Eighteen months. (Since 30th June, 1961, action has been taken which will result in the elimination of the waiting period at an early date for additional assistance to enlarge a home or to provide utility services.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
n. - The Minister for National Development has supplied the following answers: -
e asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
What loss was incurred by the Commonwealth Railways in the carriage of coal from Leigh Creek to Port Augusta, South Australia, during the year 1960-61?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is -
The total quantity of Leigh Creek coal conveyed during the year ended 30th June, 1961 was 986,752 tons. Of this quantity, 1,683 tons was consigned to Adelaide. The revenue received from the coal traffic was £567,992, of which £1,577 was in respect of the coal consigned to Adelaide. The remainder of the coal (985,069 tons) was conveyed to Port Augusta at the special freight rate of lis. 6d. per ton charged the South Australian Government. Operating results for the Leigh Creek-Port Augusta section of the Stirling North-Marree railway are not separately recorded, but, based on costs for the whole of this section of railway, the actual cash cost of hauling the Leigh Creek coal is estimated to be between £250,000 and £300,000. However, the cash cost referred to makes no provision for depreciation, deferred charges or return on the capital cost of that portion of the railway and rolling-stock directly related to the coal traffic. It is estimated that to cover these costs (including a reasonable return on capital) in addition to the cash costs, the rate which would have to be charged for the haulage of coal from Leigh Creek to Port Augusta would be in excess of £1 per ton.
d asked the Attorney-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
z asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 26 September 1961, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1961/19610926_reps_23_hor33/>.