House of Representatives
25 October 1961

23rd Parliament · 3rd Session

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

page 2419




– I direct a question to the Prime Minister. How far has the Commonwealth Public Service Board proceeded with the re-organization of professional engineers within the service? Can he assure engineers employed in the Public Service that any re-organization will not result in their receiving lower salaries than they would have received under the recent award of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in the engineers’ case?

Prime Minister · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

– I expect to say something about this matter before the House gets up to-morrow. An exchange of documents is proceeding at present and I do not want to say anything offhand.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Repatriation. Some time ago he made an announcement about proposed additions to the Repatriation General Hospital at Springbank, South Australia. As no work has been done in relation to this project to date, can he give an indication of when the work on this hospital is likely to start?

Minister for Repatriation · EVANS, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– I know that people interested in the welfare of repatriation cases in South Australia, and notably the honorable member, have been for some time anxiously awaiting the building of this new psychiatric ward. I am glad to be able to tell him that the work is now going ahead. Tenders for the construction of the new building have now been called and will close shortly. The new building will accommodate 40 patients and, what is more important, will have all the treatment rooms and other facilities that are required for up-to-date treatment of psychiatric cases. I can assure the honorable member that as soon as the building is completed the South Australian Repatriation General Hospital will have Australia’s most up-to-date facilities for treatment of this sort.

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– I direct my question to the Treasurer. I want to know why the Government instructed the Commonwealth Trading Bank to charge a mortgage fee to each of its customers with a mortgage. I have in my possession a letter from my bank manager informing me that I will be charged an annual fee of £6 on my mortgage. I ask the Treasurer why, in view of the big profits disclosed in the latest annual reports of the three Commonwealth Bank sections, this fee is being imposed. Is it a fact that this plan originated with the private trading banks, which have been charging the fee for years, and was enforced upon the Commonwealth Trading Bank in order that it would have no trading advantage over its private bank competitors?


– In the first place, no instruction emanated from the Commonwealth Government in relation to this matter. The Commonwealth Government does not interfere with the normal managerial operations of any element in the Commonwealth Banking Corporation. As honorable members know, the bank is required to maintain active competition with the trading banks. I understand that some, if not all, trading banks are adopting a sort of service fee in relation to overdraft arrangements with their customers. This procedure has been followed in the past in other parts of the world, but I understand that it represents an innovation in this country. One of the problems which the banking system has to contend with in trying to ensure greater stability of operations is the existence of outstanding overdrafts, which, in many cases, result in sums of money being idle or unused for a considerable time. I believe that one of the purposes of the new procedure is to ensure that overdraft limits are reduced at the appropriate times. I do not know whether any further information of interest to the honorable member can be supplied by the chairman of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation, but I will make suitable inquiries.

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– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. In view of the fact that this week marks the fifth anniversary of the rising in Budapest against the Communists, and of the use of troops of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to crush the revolt and subject the people of Hungary to an alien regime, and as the Prime Minister will recall that the United Nations appointed-

Mr Ward:

– Ask the question!


-Order! I ask the honorable member not to give information and offer comment, but to direct his question.


– I am only explaining my question. Sir, and I understand that the Opposition is taking objection-


-Order! The honorable member will ask his question.


– 1 am asking only for the privilege to make an explanation, which is normally accorded to all honorable members.


-Order! The honorable member is now debating the subject.


– Does the Prime Minister recall that the United Nations appointed a special commissioner, in the person of Sir Leslie Munro, of New Zealand, to investigate those events in Hungary and to make a report to the United Nations? Is it a fact that the Hungarian Communist authorities excluded the representative of the United Nations from that country? Is he still excluded, and is there any reasonable prospect of a change in the Russian attitude towards this matter?

Mr Calwell:

– Yes, yes, no, no.


– You speak for yourself. Sir, I remember these events very well. It is quite true that the representative of the United Nations was excluded from Hungary by the authorities. He is still excluded. This is one more indication to the world that while the Soviet Union itself is committing these acts of repression and bloodshed it still poses as the advocate of peace in the world, and has persuaded some people in other countries that it is acting in good faith. The matter is not forgotten. I am happy to say that it is listed for further discussion in the United Nations, and when it comes up for debate we will be among the many nations that will take careful steps to ensure that this act of tyranny and bloodshed is not forgotten.

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– I ask the Prime Minister: Because of what the honorable member for New England said yesterday in the debate on the Airlines Agreements Bill 1961 about the attempt of the Minister for Civil Aviation to force the directors of East-West Airlines Limited to accept a take-over bid by Ansett-A.N.A., will the right honorable gentleman now agree-

Mr Killen:

– On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: Am I correct in assuming that the matter being raised by the Leader of the Opposition is still under debate in this House and that, as a consequence, he is not entitled to ask a question about it?


– Order! The Leader of the Opposition is not, I hope, referring to the debate. He is endeavouring to obtain information.


– I shall re-phrase my question. Because of certain disclosures made subsequent to the question which I asked yesterday about the attempt by the Minister for Civil Aviation to force the directors of East- West Airlines Limited to accept a bid by Ansett-A.N.A. to take over their company’s interests, will the Prime Minister now agree to the appointment of a royal commission to inquire into the administration of the Department of Civil Aviation? In the meantime, will he, in accordance with long-established practice, relieve the Minister for Civil Aviation of his duties pending the presentation of the report of the royal commission?


– I can be quite categorical about this. First, I do not propose to suspend the Minister for Civil Aviation.

Mr Calwell:

– It does not matter what charges are made against him? He can be as crooked as a dog’s hind leg and you will do nothing about it.


– Order! I ask the Leader of the Opposition to withdraw that remark.

Mr Calwell:

– 1 withdraw it, Mr. Speaker. bli. MENZIES.- Do I understand that th; honorable gentleman withdrew and apologized, Sir?


– No, I did not apologize. I was not asked to apologize. I do not have to apologize.


– All right, Sir. This is a very illuminating sidelight.

Mr Calwell:

– I did not say that he was.


– That is a very snide remark - “ I did not say that he was “.

Mr Calwell:

– No!


– Yes, a very snide remark. The honorable gentleman, who has aspirations to be the Prime Minister of this country, says across the table, knowing that his remark will be reported, knowing that it will be down on the record whether withdrawn or not, “ He can be as crooked as a dog’s hind leg “.

Mr Ward:

– Hear, hear!


– I would expect that from the honorable member who has just interjected.

I want to say this about the Minister for Civil Aviation: He has a remarkable record of service to this country. He has coped with problems in the Department of Civil Aviation which have never been easy. He has dealt with them to the complete satisfaction, not only of the Government, but also of the people of Australia. If anybody supposes that I will go through the process of suspending him and appointing a committee of investigation to determine whether something which happened eighteen months ago, and which is raised now in what I have described, and which I once more describe in this House, as an absolute political stunt-

Mr Calwell:

– What about the honorable member for New England? Is he stunting, too?


– It is an absolute political stunt. The honorable member for New England may speak for himself. All I do is to speak for my colleague, the Minister for Civil Aviation, every word of whose statements I unhesitatingly accept. I am very happy to say, since the Leader of the Opposition is curious-

Mr Whitlam:

– What-


– Order! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will remain silent.


– He is inexperienced1, Sir. He does not know anything.

This is a wonderful thing! We are getting along towards an election, and the Opposition, driven to distraction, says, “ We must try to whip up something “. So with the aid of a few people, it exhumes some allegation of eighteen months ago - an allegation which has been completely refuted by the Minister for Civil Aviation.

Opposition Members. - Oh! ,


– Cackle as you may, it still remains true that the Minister for Civil Aviation has made statements on this matter, and the absolute truth of those statements is accepted by me and, I believe, all decent people in this House.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Trade. I preface it by saying that the Government has helped industry in many ways, not the least help being the legislation relating to emergency hearings by deputy chairmen of the Tariff Board. I ask the right honorable gentleman: Will he consider a proposition that, in the event of an emergency hearing being unfavorable to an applicant industry, an officer of the Department of Trade with knowledge of the industry’s product and its related sphere be made available for discussions with representatives of the industry in order to help overcome difficulties with which the industry may be faced? I realize that this would add to the already heavy responsibilities of the Department of Trade, but I think that this assistance, which might be called personal assistance, would be invaluable.

Minister for Trade · MURRAY, VICTORIA · CP

– In practice, when an industry proposes to make a request for a hearing before a deputy chairman of the Tariff Board in relation to the imposition of a temporary duty there is, first, close consultation between the industry concerned and skilled officers of the Department of Trade, and I have no doubt that during those discussions - into which I am brought, if necessary - such advice as may be helpful is tendered to the industry. That practice will continue. The honorable gentleman’s question is related, in particular, to the circumstances that may exist if the application for a temporary duty is not granted. I can give an unqualified assurance that if it is considered that there is scope for the Department of Trade to offer useful advice and aid to any Australian industry, perhaps in the exploitation of export opportunities or in any other matter, the whole resources of the department will be available to aid that industry.

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– In addressing a question to the Minister for Labour and National Service I explain that I have received a complaint from a building union in South Australia in respect of federal arbitration award inspections in the building industry. Will the Minister obtain a report with the following details: - How many building construction sites have been inspected in South Australia during the past twelve months? How many employers’ wages books have been inspected? How many breaches of federal awards have been detected?

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

– I will be only too happy to obtain for the honorable gentleman the information relating to the three questions that he has asked. I think that in recent weeks I have had a report on award inspection and I can say, for the purposes of the honorable gentleman, that I have not had a report to me of any breaches of the award that call for any action on the part of my department.

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– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy. Is it a fact, as represented, that concurrent with the raising of academic standards for Cadet Midshipmen (Royal Australian Navy) and following the Naval Board decision to appoint two additional masters to the professorial staff so that this can be achieved, the Royal Australian Naval College is having great difficulty in obtaining suitable men to fill these vacancies? Is it a fact that it has been represented to the Naval Board that, because of the salaries offered, the Royal Australian Naval College has had, and is having, difficulties in retaining suitable teaching staff? Is it a fact that it has been represented that there should be a salary rise for the professorial staff? If the answer to any of these questions is in the affirmative, what is being done to alleviate the situation, and when is it expected that such action will be implemented?

Minister for the Interior · FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– I have not the answer to any of those matters within my own knowledge, but I shall refer the questions to my colleague in another place and see that the honorable member receives an answer as soon as possible.

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– In asking the Minister for Social Services a question, I remind him that last Thursday night, during the debate on the motion for the adjournment of the House, I akcd him to have another look at the question of the payment of unemployment benefit to those men who are involved in the dispute at Mount Isa. I placed before the House reasons why payment should be made. I now ask the Minister: Has he reconsidered his decision in this matter? Has he now agreed to the payments to the claimants?

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

– I have reconsidered the question, but I regret to say that it is impossible for me to agree that men who, by their own act, or the act of their own trade union, have terminated their own employment

Mr Ward:

– They have not. They are locked out.


– Order!


– It is impossible for me to agree that those men can be eligible for unemployment benefit under the Social Services Act when their employment - their remunerative employment - is available to them from day to day. I can sympathize with the honorable member for Kennedy, and I can understand his anxiety to have a solution of this problem. I would gladly help him if I could, but the matter is out of my hands. It is in the hands of the men who are involved directly in this industrial strike.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Has the Minister’s attention been directed to the serious position of the Western Australian wine industry caused by a section of the South Australian wine-producers selling bulk wine in Western Australia at prices well under the cost of production? Is the Minister aware that South Australian wine was being sold in Western Australia at 9s, 6d. a gallon, whereas identical wine was sold in South Australia at 13s. 6d. a gallon? Would the Minister agree that this form of interstate dumping could ruin the smaller Western Australian producers? Would he agree to investigate urgently this short-sighted policy, and, if possible, to intervene in the matter because serious harm could be done to the whole Australian wine industry?

Minister for Primary Industry · FISHER, QUEENSLAND · CP

– The matter mentioned by the honorable member has been brought to my notice. I must say to him that the Australian Wine Board has no authority to intervene in the matter of prices. That matter is entirely in the hands of the State wine-makers’ organization and there it must reside.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Has the Minister studied unemployment figures for the July-September period in the years 1959 and 1960? Is the Minister aware that the seasonal improvement for that period in 1959 totalled 13,400, and in 1960, 11,600, and that the figures were, in fact, far in excess of this year’s figure of 2,600? If so, even if the numbers on stand-down from General Motors-Holden’s Proprietary Limited are included in the 1961 figures, do not these figures indicate that if seasonal factors are disregarded, a deterioration in employment has taken place? Further, will the Government take more positive measures to give back to the unemployed their basic right - the right to work?


- Mr. Speaker, I have studied the figures very carefully and have discussed them with the technical experts of the Department of Labour and National Service. When we take into consideration the fact that there were temporary standdowns at the works of General MotorsHolden’s Priprietary Limited, Mount Isa and other places, we must come to the conclusion that the improvement in the employment situation is much better in September than it was in the previous year. But, having said that, I think the important thing is in the trend of employment. I have mentioned before in this House that the trend is expected by the Government to show a steady improvement. I believe, more optimistically now than I have before, that this opinion is the correct one. If honorable members opposite will only wait a few weeks more, they will find that they are the most disappointed crew it is possible to find in this community.

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– My question to the PostmasterGeneral is supplementary to a matter I raised in this House last week. Is the Postmaster-General aware that since the introduction of the Extended Local Service Areas scheme, quite a number of trunk calls have now become local calls to the advantage of subscribers in general, but that the number of units earned by operators of nonofficial post offices has been reduced? Can the Minister assure the House that every endeavour will be made to see that these essential personnel will not be unduly penalized in this connexion?

Postmaster-General · DAWSON, QUEENSLAND · CP

– When the Elsa scheme was planned and introduced the Postal Department realized that the level of the annual payment of many non-official postmasters could be reduced as a result of a fall in the number of trunk line calls, because certain trunk line calls would become local calls under the scheme. Consequently, although the number of calls would remain the same, the units on which payment is assessed would be reduced. Realizing this, the principle was adopted that there would be no reduction because of this factor in the level of payment to existing non-official postmasters below the level obtaining in the year before the introduction of Elsa. There has been no reduction and in fact as a result of this principle quite a number of special allowances have been paid to postmasters.

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– Has the

Minister for Primary Industry agreed that his department will take over the meat inspection service at the abattoir of the Metropolitan Meat Export Board at Gepps Cross in Adelaide? Can he assure the meat inspectors in his department - they number about 600 - that they will not in any way be disadvantaged in their seniority and promotion as a result of the take-over of the State meat inspectors whose experience and service may in some instances be inferior to that of employees in his own department?


– From time to time, arrangements are made between my department and the various State departments for inspectorial services and I understand that the position in South Australia is as has been mentioned by the honorable member. The matter of seniority and promotion is really one for the Public Service Board. I hope that no one will be disadvantaged by any action taken at this time, but this will depend on the decision of the Public Service Board.

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– I ask the Minister for Territories whether he is aware that school children from Papua and New Guinea attending boarding schools in north Queensland and other parts of Australia are required, on returning to their homes in the Territory either for school holidays or for any other purpose, to be equipped with a permit to enter the Territory and a taxation clearance. Will the Minister consider taking some action to simplify this procedure, which, through administrative failure either by the Government or sometimes by the parents, has resulted in some children missing portion of their holiday at home?

Minister for Territories · CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– The situation described by the honorable member arises from Australian law and from Territory law. Under the Australian law, any one leaving the mainland of Australia must have a taxation clearance, and under the Territory immigration law, any one entering the Territory must have a permit of entry. The officials cannot escape the obligation that the law places on them. We have tried to overcome any unusual difficulty either to the principals of schools in Queensland or to the parents of children, by making provision, after consultation with the Australian Taxation Branch, to enable the principal of a school from which several pupils are returning on holidays to apply to the Taxation Branch and obtain almost automatically a group taxation clearance for all the returning pupils.

All that needs to be done to obtain a re-entry permit is for the parents of the children in the Territory to apply to any local Customs Office, and on request they will receive for the children a re-entry permit with a currency of twelve months. If the parents will do that before the children go down to school and if they will pass the re-entry permit to the principals of the schools, there will be no difficulty and no delay.

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– My -question is addressed to the Treasurer. Is it a fact that the United Kingdom Government has ho real option but to join the European Common Market? Is it also a fact that the Treasurer and his Government are already aware that Great Britain’s entry into the Common Market will doom any real preference for Australia’s primary production in Britain? If these are facts, can the Treasurer deny that his Government is deliberately keeping silent on these matters until after the election on 9th December?


– The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and other senior Ministers of his Government, have made it clear that the United Kingdom does not propose to enter the European Common Market unless it can do so on conditions which safeguard the vital interests of the Commonwealth, of its partners in the European Free Trade Association and ot British agriculture.

The Government of this country, both through the persons of Ministers and by direct communication from the Prime Minister, has been in regular consultation with the United Kingdom Government. We are following closely the developments as they occur. A standing committee of the Cabinet meets regularly on these matters. We know that the United Kingdom Government will take no final decision as to entry without giving this Government adequate opportunity for consultation.

Mr Calwell:

– What does that mean?


– That means that our interests are being fully taken into account, as are those of the United Kingdom itself.

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– I ask the Prime Minister whether he has received a communication from the Premier of South Australia regarding the future of the uranium mine at Radium Hill in that State. If he has, can he tell me whether the Government has been able to see its way clear to assist in keeping this mine in operation?


– I have exchanged some communications with the Premier of South Australia, but I am not sure at the moment whether he will have received my latest answer. It is my practice, of course, not to disclose the terms of an answer until the Premier concerned has received it. However, I shall find out about the matter and will answer the question definitively to-morrow when the House resumes.



– I address a question to you, Mr. Speaker. In view of the considerable interest in the speech made by the honorable member for New England last night on the Airlines Agreements Bill, which he commenced at 10.20 p.m., and which does not appear in the copy of “ Hansard “ issued to-day, will you make special arrangements for copies of the speech to be made available to all honorable members to-day so that the House may have an opportunity of judging whether the Minister for Civil Aviation or the honorable member for New England is a person of honesty and integrity?


– The procedure with relation to the publication of “ Hansard “ covering yesterday’s proceedings is in accordance with a practice that has been followed intermittently since the introduction of the daily issues. There is no provision for varying that procedure on this occasion.

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– I ask the Minister for Shipping and Transport: In the interests of achieving not only a uniform road traffic code, but also the best uniform traffic code, will he endeavour to have the Australian Transport Advisory Council review its recommendations with a view to recommending the adoption of the Victorian rules as to right-of-way at intersections in substitution for the rules now recommended; that is, the absolute obligation to give way to the vehicle on the right, as now enforced in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory? I ask the question, not in a spirit of interstate rivalry, but only because I understand that statistics disclose that the number of collisions at intersections is greater in the Australian Capital Territory than in any other part of the Commonwealth.

Minister for Shipping and Transport · CORIO, VICTORIA · LP

– Perhaps I should clarify the position with regard to the Australian Transport Advisory Council. This council is considering an interim report submitted by the Uniform Traffic Code SubCommittee, which consists of representatives of expert authorities on transport from the various States. The matters to which the honorable member refers - the giving way to traffic on the right, the number of accidents and their causes - were all taken into consideration by the Uniform Traffic Code Committee before it submitted its interim report to the Australian Transport Advisory Council.

The report to which the honorable member refers was made to the Australian Transport Advisory Council. It was only a matter of reviewing that report. At the next meeting of the council, we hope to have the final draft of a complete traffic code and it will be at this meeting that the council will consider the adoption of the report of the Uniform Traffic Code Committee. The Commonwealth has no overriding control in this matter. If the report of the Uniform Traffic Code Committee is adopted by the Australian Transport Advisory Council, it still will not be incumbent on any State to adopt the code, but it would be a pity if, after all the work that has gone into its preparation, after all the consultations that have been held and after all the arguments that have been discussed, we do not have a uniform traffic code throughout Australia. I repeat, it is still a matter for the States to decide what they will do after the report of the Uniform Traffic Code Committee has been adopted.

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– Will the PostmasterGeneral consider commemorating the centenary of the New South Wales Police Force next year by issuing a special stamp?


– I have advised the House on a number of occasions that we have many applications from persons and public bodies for special stamps to commemorate centenaries and certain events. However, the department’s policy is to have only a limited number of special issues each year - we do not plan for more than a dozen - and that they should be kept to certain well-defined subjects. I regret that this stamp requested by the honorable member does not seem to come within the scope of the special issues which we make.

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– When the PostmasterGeneral announced plans in relation to the phase 4 of television did he say that applications would bs called for a licence for one commercial station in each area? If he did, when will the applications be called? Must the establishment of the commercial stations await the commencement of national stations, or can it proceed as soon as the local companies are licensed and ready?


– The Australian Broadcasting Control Board will call for applications for commercial licences in the areas which 1 have mentioned previously as soon as it completes certain preparatory work. This would be not earlier than one month, but not much later than that, so within about one month we- should be in a position to invite applications. A period of from four to six months will be left by the board to enable intending applicants to prepare their cases. Then the hearings will take place, as required under the act, to determine the successful applicants. The licensees then will be able to proceed to obtain equipment and install it.

The date on which a successful applicant can commence operations will not depend on the commencement of the national station in that area. The same position will apply to the phase 4 as to the third phase. All commercial stations in phase 3 will be commencing operations, I think, before the national stations do.

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– I address my question to the Attorney-General. In circumstances where it has been alleged that security service reports indicate that a citizen has been implicated in subversive activities when in fact he has not been so implicated and no such reports exist, is it possible for the Attorney-General, in the interests of justice, to indicate that the allegations are not true in fact?


– I have great sympathy with people about whom other people say false and unwarranted things, but I do not propose to divulge positively or negatively in such a case any information that is in the possession of the security service.

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– I address a question to the Minister for Repatriation. I have received a report that considerable staff changes are occurring at the Repatriation General Hospital at Greenslopes, in Brisbane. Can the Minister inform the House of the purposes of these changes in the terms of employment? Have they any relationship to plans which the department may have for the use of the Rosemount Hospital?


– Some preliminary consideration has been given to the establishment of a hospital for elderly patients requiring a lesser standard of care than the average repatriation patient in a general hospital. Some thought has been given to establishing that hospital at Rosemount in Brisbane. It would be on the same lines as that established in Western Australia and the one in New South Wales. I do not recall specifically whether the staff changes in Brisbane relate to this proposal. I do not think they do because the plans are not yet far enough advanced. I think the changes more probably relate to the practice of making a number of temporary appointments in the medical staff in repatriation hospitals in order to encourage the recruitment for a short period of young doctors who are studying for higher degrees and are prepared to come into the service for a while, but who do not wish to join it for their whole career. We believe that in this way we are helping to keep up the very high standard of medical treatment, knowledge and skill in repatriation hospitals.

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– I direct a question to the Prime Minister. I ask him whether the ultimatum issued by the Minister for Civil Aviation, first, to East-West Airlines Limited that its subsidy would be discontinued and, secondly, to the Government of New South Wales that it would be responsible for the upkeep of airstrips if it proceeded with the rationalization plan, had his approval, as Prime Minister, and the approval of the Government.


– The honorable gentleman is talking about some ultimatum that has been delivered. I happen to know something about the first matter that he inquires about because, as I think 1 said yesterday, a letter was written to East-West Airlines Limited and a letter was written to AnsettA.N.A., indicating to each of them that as an air routes re-allocation in the State of New South Wales was apparently under consideration by the Government of that State the problem of subsidy would not arise until that problem had been determined. That was a perfectly proper and businesslike announcement and to call it an ultimatum indicates what extravagance can be resorted to even by a moderate man such as my friend from Macquarie.

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– I address a question to the Minister for Territories. Has his attention been directed to a statement made by the wife of the well-known British novelist, Mr. Priestley, to the effect that natives in Australia are living in a state of semislavery? On the assumption that Mrs. Priestley has, among other things, a welldeveloped sense of feminine curiosity, will the Minister send to her a copy of the report of the all-party committee on the voting rights of aborigines and other relevant information so that she may gain some first-hand knowledge of the policies being pursued by the Minister, particularly in the Northern Territory?


– It will give me a great deal of pleasure, if I can discover the address of this very talented lady, to send her a great deal of information about the aborigines in Australia. It is quite obvious, from the published statement, that she is grievously in need of information.

page 2427


Report of Public Works Committee


– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1960, I present the report relating to the following proposed work: -

Construction of Permanent Barracks and Administrative Accommodation, H.M.A.S. “Kuttabul”, Sydney.

Ordered to be printed.

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.- I present the following reports of the Public Accounts Committee: -

Fifty-seventh Report - Treasury Minutes on the Twenty-fourth, Twenty-ninth, Thirty-sixth, Thirty-seventh, Forty-third, Forty-seventh and Fifty-first Reports.

Fifty-eighth Report - The Reports of the AuditorGeneral - Financial Year 1960-61. and move -

That the paper, be printed.

The fifty-eighth report is the last to be presented to the twenty-third Parliament. The committee is pleased to acknowledge the assistance it has received from departmental observers and witnesses and from the Principal Parliamentary Reporter and his staff.

Attention is invited particularly to the final chapter of the report in which we have recorded our appreciation of the outstanding work done for the Parliament and for the committee by the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Bland).

Question resolved in the affirmative.


– by leave - Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a statement in regard to a letter published in the Sydney “Daily Telegraph” of 23rd October, 1961, by Mr. V. Gamazeishchikov, Press Attache of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Embassy in Australia, in which I have been misrepresented. The letter to which I refer was published in the Sydney “ Daily Telegraph “ on Monday, 23rd October, 1961, over the name of Mr. V. Gamazeishchikov, Press Attache of the Soviet Union Embassy to Australia, Canberra. With the concurrence of honorable members I incorporate the letter in “ Hansard “. It is as follows: -

I would like to make some remarks about the interview given by Mr. F. M. Daly (Lab., N.S.W.) to your reporter, and published in the “ Daily Telegraph “ on October 10. [Mr. Daly said Russia had repudiated pledges that he and Senator Jahn Armstrong, a Minister in the Chifley Labor Government, would be able to explore Russia and the Russian way of life.1 “ They refused to issue us with visas except as tourists knowing that way we would see nothing,” Mr. Daly said. “ Because of the .limitations imposed by this form of visa, we declined to go to the Soviet. “ Yet before we left Canberra we were told that we would be given facilities such as are given to people who are known to be fellow-travellers to make a worthwhile examination of the Soviet and the Soviet system.”]

I do not know what Mr. Daly had in mind, but he distorted the facts in allegedly claiming that he was not given a chance to visit the Soviet Union.

Mr Daly:

asked the U.S.S.R. Embassy in Canberra to give him assistance regarding his visit to the U.S.S.R.


Mr. Daly was told that his visa would be issued forthwith after his passport was received by the Embassy and the Embassy would take measures lo facilitate Mr. Daly visiting those places in the U.S.S.R. he took an interest in, and in meeting the Soviet officials -he would like to talk with.

We feel perplexed about Mr. Daly’s assertion that the members of the Soviet delegation at the Brussels Inter-parliamentary Union conference, as he claims, made it clear to him that his visit to the U.S.S.R. was undesirable.

I know the Soviet delegates did not make any hints regarding the undesirability qf Mr. Daly and his colleagues touring the Soviet Union.

On the contrary, they were told by the U.S.S.R. parliamentary group that they would be given all possible assistance if they went to the Soviet Union as tourists.

Not a single Australian has been refused entry to the U.S.S.R. The real fact is that the Soviet Union has been advocating a broad exchange of visits with all countries of the world, including Australia.

Such prominent Australians as Lord Casey, Senator Mrs. Nancy Buttfield, Mr. J. N. Nelson (M.H.R., N.T.), the B.H.P. chief general manager (Mr. Ian McLennan), the Governor of the Reserve Bank (Dr. H. C. Coombs), and others have recently visited my country.

In reality, it is Mr. Daly himself who has not apparently wished to go to the Soviet Union and has made a pretext of the fact that it was proposed that an ordinary visa would be issued to him, which allegedly imposed some limitations on foreign visitors.

As we understand it, some misunderstanding or merely insufficient knowledge of the situation has induced Mr. Daly to make such an assertion.

It is well known that the foreigners visiting the Soviet Union are not subject, compared with some other countries, to any special limitations.

To be certain of that, it should be sufficient to read the articles published in Australian newspapers by Australian tourists about their impressions of their visits to the U.S.S.R.

They have been given every opportunity to get knowledge about all aspects of the life of the Soviet people.

It goes without saying that Mr. Daly would be given the same opportunity if he wished to go to the U.S.S.R.

According to the interview by Mr. Daly he expected to get some special invitation, although the Soviet Embassy did not give him any promises on the matter.

As already mentioned, the Embassy intended to request the proper authorities in Moscow to give Mr. Daly all facilities while he was staying in the U.S.S.R.

I would like also to mention that Mr. Daly’s arguments on the situation in the German Democratic Republic and on Communism in general are pursuing certain political ends and cannot contribute to the development of better relations between nations.

The letter is inaccurate in many respects. This could no doubt be attributed to the fact that Mr. Gamazeishchikov is, so far as I know, unknown to me personally and had no direct dealings with the matter in question, and evidently based his letter on second-hand information. I consider, therefore, that I should put the matter straight, and outline for members the facts of what I consider to be the repudiation of an undertaking given by the Soviet Embassy officials in Canberra concerning my application for permission to visit the Soviet Union.

These are the facts of the matter: Following my election as a member of the delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union conference in Brussels, I expressed a desire to visit, amongst other countries, the Soviet

Union Subsequently, I approached the Soviet Embassy authorities in Canberra and, quite frankly, was given every encouragement to make the visit. As a matter of fact, whilst on a visit to the Soviet Embassy with my leader, the Honorable A. A. Calwell, and other members of the Parliament, I discussed the matter with the Soviet Ambassador and he assured my leader that every assistance would be given to me and my colleague, Senator Armstrong, to study the matters in which we were interested in the Soviet Union.

Following this discussion. I understand, the Ambassador arranged for Mr. Alexei Makarov, Second Secretary of the Embassy, to call at Parliament House and discuss the matter with me. As a matter of fact, we had two or three discussions subsequently at Parliament House. I advised him of my interests, of which he took a note, and also stated that I desired to be given the same opportunity to see and observe and study in the Soviet Union as was given to my colleague, Mr. J. Nelson, the distinguished honorable member for the Northern Territory. I also stated that I would- spend ten to fourteen days at least in the country.

I make it clear that at no stage was I worried, nor was Senator Armstrong for that matter, about the cost, as I was quite prepared to pay my way provided facilities were given to me to observe and study on an unrestricted basis. At no stage was I offered, nor did 1 expect to secure, an official invitation with all expenses paid.

It was also arranged that I would decide on my itinerary on my arrival in Moscow, this being preferable to making long-distance arrangements from this end. I also indicated that I would probably reach Moscow towards the end of September. These arrangements were evidently quite satisfactory to the Soviet Embassy officials in Canberra as I was told to send my passport to the embassy as soon as possible and a vise would be issued.

On 30th May, 1961, I wrote to Mr. J. Odgers, secretary of the Inter-Parliamentary Union delegation, regarding my passport and other matters. In the course of this letter I stated -

  1. . Re visa to U.S.S.R. I have already spoken to the Ambassador and have been advised that they would like to have the passport as soon as possible and a visa will then be arranged.

On 8th June, 1961, Mr. Odgers wrote to the Secretary, Department of External Affairs, Canberra, enclosing my passport and advising him of my request regarding a vise for the Soviet Union in the terms quoted above.

On 23rd June, 1961, the Department of External Affairs contacted Mr. Odgers by telephone, arid he wrote to mc on the same date as follows: -

  1. . Now about this difficulty with the Russians. They have told External Affairs that a visa cannot be issued for more than three months from the date of issue. This may not be long enough, because probably you will not visit Moscow until October. The Russian Embassy here suggest that your passport be presented to their Embassy at Brussels or other European post, and a visa obtained there. The External Affairs man here just cannot get any further with them than that.

This seemed strange in view of previous advice from the embassy in Canberra.

At this stage I telephoned Mr. Makarov to see whether it would be possible for me to visit the Soviet prior to going to the conference. However, I could not get any satisfaction at all with my request and had no alternative but to drop the proposal and proceed with my original arrangements to go after the conference. I might say also that in view of early discussions with Soviet officials in Canberra I had already taken out a ticket through Qantas Empire Airways Limited including on the itinerary Berlin, Budapest, Prague, Moscow. This ticket involved me in additional expense, but I retained it until the very last moment in the hope that I would be able to make the visit.

On arrival in London, J made application, together with Senator Armstrong, through our office in London for vises to visit the Soviet Union. For the benefit of the House I read the reply, dated 1st September, 1961, to our application, as conveyed to us by Mr. H. McGuinness, Chief Migration Officer at Australia House -

I refer to discussions in regard to possible visits to the U.S.S.R. by Senator and Mis. Armstrong and Mr. Daly, M.P.

As our Passports Officer indicated upon your speaking to him the requirements laid down by the Soviet Embassy in London in connection with applications for tourist visas are: -

the submission of a completed visa appli cation form accompanied by one photograph,

evidence of hotel bookings in the form of a letter from a travel agent confirming purchase of “ accommodation vouchers “,

details of proposed travel arrangements, and

visa fee of 30/-.

Upon your indicating that Senator Armstrong and Mr. Daly had raised the matter with the Soviet authorities in Australia and had been informed that visas would be made available to them in London, I had telephonic enquiry made of the Soviet Embassy here emphasising their membership of our legislature.

The reply given is that the Embassy has received no information from Canberra or elsewhere about the issue of visas to Senator and Mrs. Armstrong and Mr. Daly and that in the circumstances the normal requirements have to be observed before the issue of visas by the Embassy.

Enquiry has also been made by the Czechoslovak Embassy as to whether Mr. Daly must observe all the normal requirements to obtain a visa to visit Czechoslovakia. The answer is that all requirements must be met and these are similar in nature to those of the Soviet Authorities.

As Australia does not recognise the Hungarian Regime it is not possible for Australia House to make any official approach to the Hungarian Representative in London concerning the possible visit to that country by Mr. Daly.

I refused to accept these decisions as final, as regards both the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia. On arrival in Brussels we discussed the matter with our Deputy External Affairs representative, who suggested that in view of the London decision, which seemed very definite, we should approach the leader of the Soviet delegation, Mr. Paletskis, direct. Senator Armstrong and I immediately contacted him, but, to say the least, he was anything but cooperative. In fact, we got no encouragement or satisfaction from him whatsoever, despite the fact that we advised him of the previous discussions with Soviet officials in Canberra. During the course of the week we could not make any progress with him and I actually approached a member of the Czech delegation asking if they could assist in view of previous developments. The delegates stated that they would try, but were not very hopeful that they could alter the situation. This ultimately proved to be correct.

I digress at this stage to say that I had a very outspoken discussion with the Czech delegates concerning their stipulations regarding the issue of a vise to me. Arising out of this, I received a vis6 to visit Czechoslovakia for four days from the Ambassador in Brussels, without any of the restrictions that the Soviet sought to impose on” me and Senator Armstrong.

It is also worth mentioning that Senator Armstrong was issued in Sydney with a vise for Czechoslovakia immediately on application, without any of the terms and conditions demanded by the Soviet authorities. Later in the week, in an effort to reach finality, Senator Armstrong, deputy leader of our delegation, again approached the leader of the Soviet delegation to ascertain whether we were to be given vises on the basis discussed and arranged in Canberra. Mr. Paletskis insisted that we go tourist, on the basis laid down; in other words, we could take it or leave it. At no stage would he give any undertaking nor did he promise to assist us in any way whatever during the time we were in the Soviet Union. In other words, we received no encouragement whatsoever from the Soviet delegation at the Inter-Parliamentary Union conference to proceed with the visit.

These facts speak for themselves, and show that for some reason or other the Soviet delegates at the conference had no intention of fulfilling the undertaking given to us by the Embassy officials in Canberra. I place these facts on record in order to answer the letter and so that the full circumstances will be known to honorable members and the public. In the light of my experience it is difficult for me to escape the conclusion that selective treatment is evidently given to visitors according to the points of view that the Soviet believes they will express on their return.

For my part I am prepared to visit any country and express quite fearlessly and honestly my impressions, provided full opportunity, without restriction or direction, is given to me to see, to observe and to study. The restrictions to be placed upon me, as outlined in the reply from the Soviet Embassy, by the issue of a tourist vise, did not give me this scope, and much as I would have liked to visit the Soviet Union

I could not accept an invitation couched in those terms. I feel that I should also say that it is a matter of great personal regret to me that for the reasons mentioned I was unable to visit this country on possibly the only opportunity that will ever come my way.

I now briefly return to the letter written by the Press Attache of the Soviet Embassy in Canberra, referring to that section in which he says -

  1. . a visa would be issued forthwith, after his passport was received by the Embassy, and the Embassy would take measures to facilitate Mr. Daly visiting those places in the U.S.S.R. he took an interest in and meeting the Soviet officials he would like to talk with.

As mentioned earlier, the passport was submitted, together with that of my colleague, Senator John Armstrong, and it was not granted. Furthermore, no advice or details regarding any assistance to be given during our visit was ever received.

The letter goes on to say that we were told by the Russian parliamentary group that we would be given all possible assistance if we went to the Soviet Union as tourists. This statement is quite contrary to fact, as rarely have we received less encouragement to visit a country than we did from the Soviet representative at the Inter-Parliamentary Union conference. Certainly, no such undertaking was ever given by their delegate.

I refer to that section of the letter listing notable Australians who have visited Russia. This only makes it more difficult for me to understand why Senator Armstrong and I were singled out for special treatment, particularly after the undertakings given in Canberra, and why we were not given the same opportunities to observe and study as were the people mentioned, particularly persons like Lord Casey. After all, Senator Armstrong and I are members of the National Parliament dealing with world problems. The statement in the letter that “ it goes without saying that Mr. Daly would be given the same opportunity as others if he wished to go to the U.S.S.R.” is not borne out by fact, as the history of the case indicates.

In the final paragraph of the letter, the press attache of the Russian Embassy states that my comments on certain aspects of the German Democratic Republic cannot contribute to the development of better relations between nations. The press attache is quite entitled to his opinions on this matter. Furthermore, here, unlike many other countries, he has the right to express them. For my part, I doubt whether he could enjoy similar freedom in some of the countries which evidently have his active support and allegiance.

I leave the people to judge whether my comments do more damage to better relations between nations than is done by the actions of countries which threaten the future of mankind by continual experimenting with, and exploding of, bombs with a power of many megatons. I have no fear on whose side the judgment will fail.

page 2431



HigginsTreasurer · LP

– I move -

That Government Business shall take precedence over General Business to-morrow.

If there has been the progress that we hope to make with Government Business, we could then proceed to General Business to-morrow if honorable gentlemen opposite wished.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 2431


Approval of Work - Public Works Committee Act

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

– 1 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: - Erection of a Weapons Workshop at H.M.A. Naval Dockyard, Garden Island, Sydney.

The proposal provides for the erection, at an estimated cost of £420,000, of a workshop building and amenities block to accommodate the several engineering activities which are scattered at present over various parts of Garden Island, and to provide increased space and modern facilities for carrying out such operations. The building will be of steel frame encased in concrete, with brick external walls.

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.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 2432


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 19* October (vide page 2299), on motion by Mr. Menzies -

That the bill be now read a second time.


.- Mr. Speaker, this bill will ratify an agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the Government of the State of New South Wales for the carrying out of certain port improvements in that State. It envisages the spending of £2,650,000 of Commonwealth money on this work. The improvements on which the Commonwealth money is to be spent are part and parcel of a general port improvement programme being undertaken by the New South Wales Government. That programme involves the spending of some £3,000,000 on a coalloader in the port of Newcastle and £5,000,000 on the deepening of the harbour entrance; £2,140,000 on a coal-loader and £360,000 on the dredging of the port at Port Kembla; and £160,000 on the improvement of coal-loading facilities at Balmain in Sydney Harbour. The Federal Government will be required, under the terms of this agreement, to meet £2,650,000 of the cost. Of this amount, up to £1,000,000 is to be made available from the Coal Industry Fund of Lee Joint Coal Board by way of a grant, and up to £1,650,000 is to be provided as a loan from Commonwealth revenue. The port-improvement scheme as a whole is one which we must support. The New South Wales Government ought to be commended on its foresight in bringing this plan forward and undertaking the scheme.

Several points ought to be looked at. What benefit are we to derive, by way of increased exports, from the Commonwealth’s participation? What ought to be our commitments in meeting the expense of the scheme? In what way can we assist the Government of New South Wales or, for that matter, the government of any other State in works such as these? Finally, has the Commonwealth Government taken this action at the present time in a genuine desire to assist New South Wales, or is this action brought on by the forthcoming election on 9th December? Is that the paramount thing to which this Government looks? Is it considering more than anything else how much political kudos it can gain in the dying days of the present Parliament? Is this assistance being given to the New South Wales Government for the same purpose as that behind the smear campaign which we have seen being conducted in this Parliament over the last couple of weeks? As late as last evening, we saw that campaign blow up in the face of the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), who was shown to be a smearer of the lowest type.


– Order! The honorable member will withdraw that statement.


– The statement that the Treasurer is a smearer of the lowest type?


– Order! That is unparliamentary language, and I ask the honorable member to withdraw it.


– All right. If it is objectionable to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I withdraw it. Last evening, the Treasurer was shown up in a very bad light over the smear tactics that he adopted. I am questioning whether this bill has been brought forward with the same object as that for which those tactics have been adopted. I shall deal with that matter further later when I come to some of the Government’s propaganda and point out the delays that have occurred in bringing in the bills.

Discussing the bill now before us, I wish to deal, first, with the Commonwealth’s right to participate in the development of ports. Has it any right to do so? Has this Government, over the years, shirked its responsibility for assisting the States in national development? 1 wish to refer the House to section 51 of the Australian Constitution, which provides for the powers of this Parliament. It states -

The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to: - (i.) Trade and commerce with other countries, and among the States:

The very purpose of ports is to provide the means whereby trade can be undertaken between States and between Australia and other countries. So there is no doubt that the Commonwealth Government has power under the Constitution to assist in or, if necessary, to accept full responsibility for developing all the ports of Australia. The Commonwealth has the responsibility, first of all, for developing our export trade. Therefore, it ought to ensure that the ports are sufficiently developed for the needs of trade, to say nothing of the needs of defence. On those two counts, ports are the responsibility of the Commonwealth Government and this Parliament. No one can truthfully say that the Commonwealth has not the responsibility for participating, or the constitutional power to participate, in this development. So there is no doubt about the Commonwealth’s right to participate in this work of port improvement.

Much the same can be said of the Joint Coal Board. The Commonwealth is a party to that board. Section 14(1.) of the Coal Industry Act 1946-1956 prescribes the powers and functions of the board in these terms -

  1. to ensure that coal is produced in the State in such quantities and with such regularity as will meet requirements throughout Australia and in trade with other countries;

Section 14 (2.) provides that the board is to have power to make provision for or with respect to - “

  1. the introduction, modification, replacement and operation of machinery, plant and equipment for use in connexion with the production and distribution of coal, and the manufacture, procurement, improvement and standardization of such machinery, plant and equipment;

Once again we have the power. The same sub-section provides that the board shall have power in relation to -

  1. the effective and economical distribution of coal, including its purchase, sale, marketing, acquisition, disposal, supply, storage, reservation, pooling, transport, carriage, conveyance, delivery, handling, loading, discharge and reception;

So there is no question as to the constitutional responsibility of this Government and this Parliament to assist in the development of the coal industry and the development of the ports required. When we have this agreement brought to us for ratification we will be dealing with something that we should have accepted as our responsibility some years ago. As late as 16th June of last year I wrote to the Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner) in the light of statements made by him, the Minister of Mines in New South Wales, Mr. J. B. Simpson, M.L.A., Sir Edward Warren and other persons engaged in the coal industry, wherein they said that overseas there was a new development in coal cartage. At one time colliers of 1,000 tons or 2,000 tons were quite satisfactory, and later colliers of 5,000 tons and 6,000 tons were satisfactory for the handling of coal, but it is necessary for larger ships to be employed nowadays, just as larger ships are now employed in the oil carrying’ industry. We have seen the ships used in oil carriage grow from 6,000 or 7,000 tons to 15,000 tons, and now some ships used are of 106,000 tons or 114,000 tons.

The coal industry has progressed similarly, and to-day we find that unless a country can provide the harbour and port facilities necessary to handle coal carrying ships of from 25,000 tons to 45,000 tons it cannot compete with countries that carry their coal in such ships. We are in that position of being unable to compete properly because our coal carrying ships are of about 12,000 tons to 14,000 tons. The maximum tonnage of a ship that can be handled in Newcastle is 15,000 tons. Having all this in mind 1 wrote to the Minister for National Development in the following terms -

I therefore request you, as the Federal Minister in Charge of the Joint Coal Board, to make available through that Authority, sufficient money in conjunction wilh the New South Wales State Government to immediately carry out this national project of deepening the Newcastle Bar.

There is the position that I put right to him. The reply, dated 26th July, from the Acting Minister for National Development, stated -

However, as far as the Commonwealth is concerned . . . the financial responsibility for improvement of the ports remains, as it always has been, one for the Government of New South Wales. There is, therefore, no question of the Commonwealth making funds available to the State either through the Joint Coal Board or in any other way for this purpose. Loan Funds are of course available to the State through the operation of the Australian Loan Council and the allocation of these funds for any particular project is the prerogative of the State.

That was the attitude of this Government only a matter of sixteen or seventeen months ago, when it was requested to make money available for the development of ports at a time when it was realized that unless there were available to Australia port facilities to enable the handling of ships of a tonnage of 25,000 tons to 40,000 tons we could not compete with overseas coal interests. This Government stood completely aloof from that. It was not prepared to come to the party in any way, even through the Joint Coal Board and its power under the Coal Industry Act or under the constitutional power that it has. So I suspect the honesty of the Government. It is bringing many bills forward now when an election is in the offing. Examples of those bills’ brought before this House in the last fortnight are the Railway Agreement (Western Australia) Bill, Western Australia Grant (Beef Cattle Roads) Bill, Railway Equipment Agreement (South Australia) Bill - which will be debated later - the Railway Agreement (Queensland) Bill and the Queensland Grant (Beef Cattle Roads) Bill. In a little publication put out by your party, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for distribution in the coming election campaign we find the following statement: -

Now to coal: The Commonwealth Government, on a £ for £ basis will provide the Government of New South Wales with £2,650,000 to improve coal handling facilities at Newcastle, Port Kembla and at Balmain.

This is a developmental scheme leading to bigger coal exports - and remember, we have the finest coal deposits round the whole of the Pacific Basin.

Why did you not come to the party eighteen months ago when I wrote to the Minister for National Development? At that time it was not the Government’s responsibility, according to that Minister. But at that time there was not an election in the offing. I think that that is the salient fact. At that time, too, this Government was not held in the low esteem in which it is held at present, when it knows that its stocks were never lower. The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) and the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) have been manoeuvring in this Parliament in an effort to retrieve the position which the Government has lost over the last eighteen months because of its handling of the economy. The Government is resorting to these snide political tricks on the eve of an election in an endeavour to curry favour with the voters. I am afraid, however, that time is running out for the Government. lt has made its run too late, and the people as a whole will realize that it is now resorting to political trickery in order to retrieve the position. The leaflet put out by the Government parties is dishonest, because it says that the Commonwealth Government is making available £2,650,000 on a £l-for-£l basis. That is a lie and a complete mis-statement of fact, because a reading of the agreement shows that that amount is to be made up of £1,000,000 from the Joint Coal Boardwhich will come from the Coal Industry Fund- and a loan of £1,650,000. A loan! Where are you giving anything? You are not giving £1 to this project other than the £1,000,000 that is coming from the Joint Coal Board. The Government will lend New South Wales £1,650,000 on which that State will have to pay interest amounting to £465,630 in the next ten years. Nobody can deny that fact. And not only will New South Wales have to pay £465,630 in interest on that, but also, in respect of the remainder of the programme amounting to £10,660,000, it will have to pay interest. That money will be from the normal loan fund allocation. So this Government has now moved into the banking industry, and is lending the people’s money. This money which is to be made available will be derived from revenue which the Government will have raised from taxation or from money allocated to it by the Reserve Bank of Australia. So the Commonwealth is using the people’s money to lend to the State Government for its works, which are of a national character. The Government should be condemned for this. It is using the finances of this country to assist it in an electioneering programme on behalf of the Liberal Party.

We realize that 10 per cent, of our coal production is being exported. In 1960-61 a total of £1,849,000 worth of coal was exported and, incidentally, we are building up a nice little export trade, the major part of it with Japan. The annual report of the Joint Coal Board shows that last year exports were -

In fact, we are building up a substantial export trade in coal from which we are deriving valuable overseas exchange. Our exports to Japan are paid for in dollars and that helps us to meet our adverse balance of trade with the United States of America. The export coal industry is not only providing employment for 10 per cent, of the present work force, but also earning about £7,500,000 annually for our overseas reserves. The Minister for Mines in New South Wales, Mr. J. B. Simpson, said recently that when he visited Japan he was assured by Japanese interests that their requirements of coal would grow by 1965 to 3,000,000 tons, costing about £12,000,000. That, in itself, is sufficient justification for this Parliament interesting itself in the development of the ports of the Commonwealth.

Another matter to which I direct attention is the cost structure. Costs come into everything, and I agree that this matter must be examined because no industry should be permitted to go along in its own happy way charging what it likes. Sir Edward Warren, chairman of the Australian Coal Association, predicted in a statement made on 20th September last that American competition would become even tougher. He said that America was hostile because we had taken some of its Japanese trade and that America was determined to get its trade back. The Americans are interested in port development in Australia.

I do not believe that any country should subsidize its products. At present, the Australian coal industry has to contend with a subsidy of four dollars a ton paid by the Canadian Government to its coal industry in order to enable it to compete with Australia. We can assist in the development of our industries, however, and particularly the coal industry. The honorable members for Hunter (Mr. James), Shortland (Mr. Griffiths), Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti) and Cunningham (Mr. Kearney) are interested in this matter because their electorates are involved.

New methods of production are having their effect on the industry. More coal is being produced with only two-thirds of the previous labour force, and the export market is important to the industry. If we can help the development of the export trade by reducing costs in the coal industry, we will assist our export trade generally. Supporters of the Government often tell us how we can build up our industries and our export trade. I suggest that we could help our export industries by reducing handling charges and port charges generally. This need not necessarily be done by way of grants. If the Government wants to persist with its policy - with which I disagree - that the development of ports is the responsibility of the State governments, at least the Government could make money available to the States at the rate of interest that is paid by the Commonwealth. As a matter of fact, the Commonwealth Government pays no interest. It pays nothing for the money it raises and disburses to the States because most of our work is paid for with money obtained from taxes.

Money should be made available to the State governments for port development by way of interest-free loans or loans at a maximum rate of 1 per cent, which is the interest rate that we pay the Reserve Bank of Australia on deficits and advances. My suggestion is that we could reduce prices and the cost of handling coal with advantage to the export industry by reducing interest rates. The Government proposes to lend to New South Wales £1,650,000 on which the State Government will pay £460,000 in interest. If the interest charges were eliminated, the New South Wales Government would have £460,000 more for the development of ports. It could not only improve Newcastle and Port Kembla but also open up new ports on the north coast or along the south coast.

Another factor a- the cost structure is the profit that is being made by the coal industry. It is quite obvious to honorable members that, from coal owners’ point of view, the coal industry has never been more prosperous than it is to-day. Profits were never greater. Money was lent to them years ago at 4- per cent, and generally at a lower interest rate than the Commonwealth is prepared to advance money now for developmental purposes. These are things that should be examined when we are considering the cost structure and the price of coal that is shipped overseas.

The position is that the Government has not accepted its responsibility to assist in the development of our ports, lt should have done so years ago. I say this, not because I wrote to the Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner) on this matter eighteen months ago, but because I believe that the Commonwealth should assist in the development of ports generally in Australia. The winning of coal has been improved by mechanization and new methods of production, but port handling methods have not kept pace with production because this Government was not prepared to face up to its responsibilities. We have had to be satisfied with ships of 6,000 and 8,000 tons rising to 10,000 and 11,000 tons, but that is not good enough. The ports must be improved and we must be prepared to handle ships of 25,000 to 40,000 tons.

I support this bill because it will make money available for port development, but 1 criticize the Government for its failure in the past to accept its responsibilities and 1 question its political honesty. Does it really wish te assist the industry or is it merely making funds available for New South Wales ports, for railways and for so-called beef roads in an attempt to recover ground it has lost throughout Australia because of its bungling of the economy?

Debate (on motion by Mr. James) adjourned.

page 2436


Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 32); Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 33); Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 34); Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 35); Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 36); Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 37); Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 38); Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 39); Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) Amendment (No. 5); Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Amendment (No. 5); Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) (No. 6)

In Committee of Ways and Means:

Minister for Repatriation · Evans · LP

– I move - [Customs Tariff Amendment (Ne. 32).]

Thai the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1961, as proposed to bc amended by Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the twelfth day of October, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-one. be further amended as sci out in the Schedule to these Proposals and thai on and after the twenty-sixth day of October, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-one, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly. [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 33).] {: type="1" start="1"} 0. That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1961, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff Proposals, be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that, on and after the twentysixth day of October, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-one, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly. 1. That in these Proposals, " Customs Tariff Proposals " mean the Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the following dates: - 12th October, 1961; and 19th October, 1961. [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 34).] {: type="1" start="1"} 0. That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1961, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff Proposals, be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that, on and after the twentysixth day of October, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-one. Duties of Customs be collected accordingly. 1. That in these Proposals, " Customs Tariff Proposals " mean the Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the following dates: - 12th October, 1961; and 19th October, 1961. [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 35).] {: type="1" start="1"} 0. That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1961, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff Proposals, be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that, on and after the twentysixth day of October, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-one. Duties of Customs be collected accordingly. 1. That in these Proposals, " Customs Tariff Proposals " mean the Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the following dates: - 12th October. 1961; and 19th October, 1961. [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 36).] {: type="1" start="1"} 0. That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1961, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff Proposals, be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that, on and after the twenty-sixth day of October, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-one, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly. 1. ',That in these Proposals, " Customs Tariff Proposals " mean the Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the following dates: - 12th October, 1961; and 19th October, 1961. [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. J7).] {: type="1" start="1"} 0. That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1961, as proposed to bc amended by Customs Tariff Proposals, be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that, on and after the twenty-sixth day of October, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-one, Duties or Customs bc collected accordingly. 1. That in these Proposals, " Customs Tariff Proposals *' mean the Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the following dates: - 12th October. 1961 ; and 19th October, 1961. [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 38).] {: type="1" start="1"} 0. That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1961, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff Proposals, be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that, on and after the twentysixth day of October, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-one, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly. 1. That in these Proposals, " Customs Tariff Proposals " mean the Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the following dates: - 12th October, 1961; and 19th October, 1961. [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 39).] {: type="1" start="1"} 0. That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1961, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff Proposals, bc further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that, on and after the twenty-sixth day of October, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-one, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly. 1. That in these Proposals, " Customs Tariff Proposals " mean the Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the following dates: - 12th October, 1961 ; and 19th October, 1961. [Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) Amendment (No. 5).] That the Second Schedule to the Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) 1960-1961 be amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that on and after the twenty-sixth day of October, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-one, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly. [Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Amendment (No. 5).] That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) 1933-1961 be amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that on and after the twenty-sixth day of October, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-one, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly. [Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Amendment (No. 6).] That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference> 1933-1961 bc amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that, on and after the twenty-sixth day of October, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-one, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly. **Mr. Chairman,** the tariff proposals which I have tabled relate to proposed amendments of the Customs Tariff 1933-1961, the Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) 1960-1961, and the Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) 1933-1961. They will take effect to-morrow morning. The tariff proposals implement the Government's decisions on a number of Tariff Board reports which will be tabled at a later stage. For the guidance of honorable members I will give a short summary of the proposed alterations. Canned tuna and similar fish such as albacore and bonito are accorded protection at rates of 7d. per lb. under the British preferential tariff and 9d. per lb. mostfavourednation. The protective duties on spirit levels and bolt cutters are removed and rates of free British preferential tariff and 7i per cent, otherwise will now apply. Trucks such as fork lift trucks, of the types used for loading, unloading, stacking and tiering of goods, are now accorded tariff protection irrespective of lifting capacities. Previously only work trucks with a lifting capacity of 10,000 lb. or less were subject to protective duties. In its report on poultry, the board recommends no change in the overall level of existing duties under the customs tariff and the primage duties. In accordance with the Tariff Board's suggestion, primage duty is being removed and incorporated in the customs tariff. With floor coverings some minor drafting amendments are being introduced, but, in accordance with the Tariff Board's recommendations, the duties are unchanged. I now deal with epoxy resins. One type of epoxy resin that is produced from bisphenol A and epichlorohydrin is being made in Australia and tariff protection is recommended for this product and for the bisphenol A from which it is made. Protection is accorded at a level of 25 per cent, against imports from most-favoured-nation countries on the resins and 9d. per lb. on the bisphenol A with the British preferential tariff rates fixed according to international commitments. In regard to bean seed increased protective duties are now imposed on beans imported for purposes other than for cultivation. The new rates will be 25s. per cental regardless of the sources of production. No change- is proposed for seeds imported for cultivation. {: .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr Kelly: -- Is the provision in relation to bean seed subject to a decision of the Tariff Board? {: .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr OSBORNE: -- It follows a recommendation from the board. On the board's recommendation the range of chains subject to protective duties of 27i per cent. British preferential tariff and 45 per cent, mostfavourednation has been extended. However, with the exception of chains made in Australia such chains will be admitted at non-protective rates of free British preferen tial tariff and *1* per cent, otherwise, under customs by-laws. In addition to the Tariff Board reports covered by these tariff proposals, I will also table shortly the board's report on penicillin and streptomycin. The Government has accepted this report and action is being taken to impose dumping duties as recommended by the board. The Government attaches considerable importance to the continued production of antibiotics in Australia. It will therefore watch the trend of imports carefully and if they continue to rise notwithstanding the imposition of dumping duties, the Government will be prepared to consider referring the need for a temporary duty for inquiry and rport by a deputy chairman of the board. I commend the proposals to honorable members. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 2444 {:#debate-29} ### TARIFF BOARD Reports on Items. {: #debate-29-s0 .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr OSBORNE:
LP -- I lay on the table of the House reports by the Tariff Board on the following subjects: - >Bean seed (phaseolus vulgaris). > >Bisphenol A; epoxy resins. > >Bolt cutters. > >Chain and chains. > >Fish in airtight containers. > >Floor coverings. > >Penicillins and streptomycin. > >Poultry. > >Spirit levels. > >Work trucks, mechanically propelled. Ordered to be printed. {: .page-start } page 2444 {:#debate-30} ### CUSTOMS TARIFF VALIDATION BILL 1961 Motion (by **Mr. Osborne)** - by leave - agreed to - >That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to provide for the validation of Collections of Duties of Customs under Customs Tariff proposals. Bill presented, and read a first time. Second Reading. {: #debate-30-s0 .speaker-KMD} ##### Mr OSBORNE:
Minister for Repatriation · Evans · LP -- by leave - I move - >That the bill be now read a second time. **Mr. Speaker,** this bill provides for the validation until 30th June, 1962, of the collection of customs duties under the following customs tariff proposals: - >Customs Tariff Proposals Nos. 30 to 39. > >Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Proposals Nos. S and 6. > >Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) Proposals No. 5. The proposals which the House is asked to validate comprise the eleven proposals which I have moved to-day in the Committee of Ways and Means, one proposal moved last Thursday concerning temporary duties on certain weftless fabrics and air-cooled fourcycle engines and one proposal moved on 12tn of this month providing for temporary duties on distributors, high-tension ignition coils, automatic voltage regulators and starting motors. Honorable *members* will appreciate that time will not permit these proposals to be debated before the close of the session, but they will be re-introduced early next year and an opportunity to debate them will be made available to honorable members in the next Parliament. The bill therefore validates the collection of duties until 30th June, 1962. I commend the bill to honorable members. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted. Bill - by leave - read a third time. {: .page-start } page 2445 {:#debate-31} ### COAL LOADING WORKS AGREEMENT (NEW SOUTH WALES) BILL 1961 {:#subdebate-31-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed (vide page 2436). {: #subdebate-31-0-s0 .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES:
Hunter .- In making my contribution to this debate I pay tribute to the Government for bringing down this measure, but I also take the opportunity of condemning the Government for delaying so long in bringing it before this Parliament. As honorable members know, the predominant industry in my electorate is coalmining, and the coal-mining industry in that area has had one of the greatest economic shocks it has experienced since 1952 as the result of changes in the industry and a decline in the demand, both in Australia and overseas, for gas coal. I suspect that the Government has two reasons for bringing down this legislation at this late stage in this Parliament's term. First, I feel that it is being introduced on the eve of an election because the Government believes that it might gain some public popularity from it, and, secondly, I believe that the measure is introduced as the result of pressure from the coal owners' association, which is led by **Sir Edward** Warren. In my opinion, as well as in the opinion of the great majority of the people I represent in the Hunter electorate, **Sir Edward** Warren's attitude towards the common man is merciless, cold and definitely insincere, otherwise he would have made greater efforts to prevent the closing down of mine after mine on the South Maitland coal-field in recent years. Only recently, Stanford Main No. 2 mine was closed down and 150 men thrown out of employment. Many of them have been unable to secure employment in the township of Paxton, about 12 miles from Cessnock. If **Sir Edward** Warren had been a public-spirited man with some feeling in his heart for the good of the community, he would have endeavoured to persuade the coal-owners to contribute towards the cost of keeping the Paxton open. It allegedly became necessary to close it down because it had become uneconomic to operate. As a result of the closing down of this mine, the whole town of Paxton is in economic chaos. Within the next fortnight, 1 have to interview some small businessmen there to explain to them my attitude towards the merciless actions of the coalowners in the area. We now find that the Government believes, probably quite properly, that the carrying out of certain works and the improvement of coal-loading facilities at the port of Newcastle would stimulate the coal industry in that area. No doubt there will be some improvement, but it will not be so great as to lead to the employment of more men in the industry or the easing of the burden that has been imposed on the unfortunate people in the northern coalfields, because the northern coal-fields predominantly produce gas coal and the purpose of this legislation is to promote the sale of coking coal for which there is a great demand at the present time from the Japanese steel industry. I believe that it is accepted by all evenly balanced thinking men that when the United States of America signed the peace treaty with Japan, her main interest was to get first bite of the trade cherry with Japan. Of course, she also had in mind swinging the Japanese people and Japanese Government away from adopting communism. In her first attempts at getting first bite of the trade cherry, the United States negotiated for and obtained from Japan large orders for gas coal. In my opinion, the gas coal produced on the northern New South Wales coal-fields is almost as rich as the best quality gas coal in America. As a result of America's getting the first bite of the trade for gas coal with Japan, and of the intrusion of residual oil into the gas-making industry, many of the South Maitland coal mines have closed down. I believe that had the Government seen fit to introduce this bill some years ago bulk carriers of from 35,000 to 40,000 tons capacity would have been able to enter Newcastle harbour and possibly we could have developed a trade in gas coal with Japan because we could have sold at a price which would have made it more attractive to Japanese buyers to purchase from us than to bring gas coal from the United States of America, as they are doing now. As proof of the fact that the gas coal produced on the coalfields of northern New South Wales is acceptable to the Japanese industries, I mention that the Caledonia company of Cessnock has successfully negotiated for the sale of coal to the Osaka gasworks in Japan. As most honorable members will know, Osaka is the second biggest city in Japan and has a population of approximately 4,000,000. But the gas coal producers in northern New South Wales have been unable to penetrate the market for gas coal in Tokyo. That city obtains all its gas coal from the United States of America. That is due mainly to the fact that we have been unable to supply gas coal to Japan at a sufficiently low price to compete with America because we have been unable to get the big bulk carriers into Newcastle harbour. In 1960 the Minister for National Development **(Senator Spooner),** held the view that it was the sole obligation of the New South Wales Government to carry out these port improvements. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R Johnson: -- He made a press statement about it. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- Yes, he made a press statement to that effect. Let me read the report which appeared in the " Sydney Morning Herald " of 7th May, 1960. It is in these terms - > **Senator W.** H. Spooner said last night the New South Wales Government should improve port facilities to help boost coal exports. **Senator Spooner,** the Federal Minister for National Development, said Japanese businessmen were planning to import coal in colliers with a capacity of about 30,000 tons. > >Neither of the two major coal exporting ports, Newcastle and Port Kembla, could handle ships of this size efficiently. > > **Senator Spooner** said work would have to be carried out at Newcastle, Balmain and Port Kembla to maintain exports of coal. "The provision of port facilities is a matter for which the New South Wales Government is entirely responsible", he said. "It seems likely the work would cost about £6,000,000 ". > >He said New South Wales was exporting 750,000 tons of coal yearly to Japan. This provided employment for about 750 men. > >Those engaged in the export trade had high hopes it could be expanded considerably, perhaps to 2,500,000 or 3,000,000 tons a year. It was imperative to improve port facilities at major ports if New South Wales was to compete successfully with overseas coal exporting countries. "Instead of setting about this task, the New South Wales Government, through State instrumentalities, is to spend £3,500,000 on the construction of two new coal mines for the Vales Point power station ", said **Senator Spooner.** " The sensible thing would be for the State Government to spend the money on the improvement of the ports, or to have begun negotiations with the colliery proprietors to provide the capital for the mines ". The view that **Senator Spooner** held then is quite clear, but the Government's action in introducing this legislation now indicates a complete change of attitude. In addition, the introduction of this bill makes it obvious that the views which the Minister held last year were wrong. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R Johnson: -- It was the Commonwealth's responsibility all the time. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- Definitely and positively it was the Commonwealth's responsibility all the time, as the honorable member for Hughes has reminded me. The Minister condemned the New South Wales Government for spending £3,500,000 on opening new coal mines, and I have heard other members of the Liberal Party, both in this place and in the New South Wales Parliament, also condemn the State Government for that expenditure, but I am proud that it has done so because very soon coal will be coming out of the mines and travelling only a couple of hundred of yards into a modern power station at Vales Point. The people of New South Wales generally will receive the benefit of the State Government's action by obtaining cheaper electricity. The New South Wales Labour Government is aware of the huge profits which the coal-owners have made in the past, and the fact that the coal-owners have no intention of opening new mines also prompted the State Government to open its Own. {: .speaker-JLU} ##### Mr Anderson: -- That is not right. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- Yes, it is right. The fact is that the coal-owners will not be able to exploit the New South Wales Government in supplying coal for its power stations. That is why the State Government is opening its own mine. Had the Commonwealth Government seen fit' to meet its obligations in this field some years ago by improving port facilities, the chaos which now exists on the northern fields would probably not be as bad as it is. Tn the report of the Joint Coal Board for the year ended 1960-61 - the latest report available - the chairman, for the first time to my knowledge, has forecast greater chaos on the northern coal-fields. When speaking about the position in South Maitland, the chairman stated - >Further chances must be expected on the South Maitland field. The end of an era is being reached. Some of the old mines will probably close. The total level of output from the field may well be maintained at about present levels but in due course this will probably be provided by as few as five or six mines. Further increases in output per manshift are necessary. To ensure that this is achieved the opening of a new modern mine may be necessary on the field. Most of my constituents will believe in the opening of a new mine when they tee it. From time to time they have been misled and hoodwinked by governments and responsible government officials such as the Minister for National Development. Now they doubt very seriously the truth of any statement which is made by prominent people, irrespective of the political party to which those people belong. The honorable member for Hume **(Mr. Anderson)** interjected a short time ago and said that it is not true that the coal-owners make substantial profits. {: .speaker-JLU} ##### Mr Anderson: -- Over the years they do not make as high profits as are made in other industries. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- Now the honorable member is going back on what he said. I thought he would. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R Johnson: -- He is shifting his ground. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- Yes, he is shifting his ground. I was going to reply to his interjection in a certain way, but now I shall use milder language than I intended to use. The Wallsend Coal Company ceased production some time ago and now its interests in coal mines are very small. However, it is now, if not the biggest shareholder at least it is very close to being the biggest shareholder in the Peko mine in the Northern Territory. The money which the company accumulated over the years has been invested in that mine. That gives some indication of the profits which have been made in the industry. The coal-owners on the northern fields have acquired considerable wealth. {: .speaker-JLU} ##### Mr Anderson: -- One swallow does not make a summer. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- Well, none of the persons who invested in the coal industry has the backside out of his pants, but many of the unfortunate coal-miners have. They have suffered economic repercussions from time to time and have been thrown on the economic scrap heap, but they have made extreme wealth for their bosses. This has occurred throughout the history of coalmining. One has only to read the history of Scottish coa] mines, as contained in a book entitled "The Hungry Heart", which is available in the Parliamentary Library, to learn how the wage-earner has been the victim of the profiteers ever since there have been coal mines in the British Commonwealth of Nations and in other countries. And he always will be under the system under which we live. The honorable member also spoke about profit-making in the coal-mining industry. I believe that over the years the coal owners should have improved the port facilities at Newcastle in order to continue to sell their commodity and make profits. The provision of money by the taxpayers of this country so that the coal owners can sell their commodity and make greater profits is somewhat in conflict with my political principles, which I hope will never change. Reverting to the newspaper article of 17th December, 1960, I draw attention to the following passages which report statements by one of the leaders of the Miners Federation: - >Huge profits cannot all be hidden. It is difficult to pinpoint precisely the actual profits of companies because there are so many ways in which a real covering-up job can be done but it is impossible to completely hide the great profits that have been made. > >Federal **President Mr. W.** Parkinson made this point in concluding his final address at the Coal Industry Tribunal in the 35 hours claim. The main point **Mr. Parkinson** made reads as follows: - >The B.H.P. is Australia's biggest monopoly, and the most powerful. As at September 30, 1960, the Stock Exchange valued its paid up capital at £304 million. However, the real value of B.H.P. assets is shrouded in mystery, and could be in the region of £500 million. It is well known that the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited owns a considerable number of mines on the northern coalfields. These include Lambton B, John Darling, Burwood and Stockton Borehole. If the company's coal is to be shipped overseas through port facilities which have been improved at the expense of the taxpayers while the company continues to make great profits, I feel that a gross wrong will be inflicted on the Australian community. It is wrong that the community should be taxed to pay for improved port facilities that will benefit the coal owners. Whilst 1 am not prepared to oppose this legislation I feel that, had it been brought down some considerable time ago, there would have been a better chance of keeping the mines on the northern coalfields open and of preventing the economic chaos which now exists there. Thai is all I desire to say. 1 support the bill. {: #subdebate-31-0-s1 .speaker-LLW} ##### Mr DEAN:
Robertson .- I gathered from the concluding remarks of the honorable member for Hunter **(Mr. James)** and also from what the honorable member for Newcastle **(Mr. Jones)** said a little while ago, that they will support this measure despite some of their criticisms of it. I think it might be a good idea if, very briefly, I put into proper perspective some of the criticisms which these two honorable gentlemen voiced. Some time ago, in another debate on the coal-mining industry, I said that I gave full recognition to the fact that in the beginning of that industry in Australia, the conditions under which the coal-miners worked were very bad indeed, and that the policies of the coal mine owners in those ear,V days left much to be desired. Indeed, some of those policies were not good for the industry as a whole, let alone for those working in it. We have also to realize, however, that that era ended and that there was quite a long period during which the coalminers themselves were very badly led and badly advised in their actions. As honorable members will recall, this country suffered a great deal through shortages of coal which affected our domestic living as well as our industrial development and progress. Interruption of coal supplies due to bad leadership of the miners caused industry to look for alternative fuels. In addition, other States which had been good consumers of New South Wales coal were looking for ways and means by which they could develop coal deposits within their own boundaries, even though that coal was of a grade inferior to that produced in New South Wales. As examples of this I quote the development of the brown coal industry in Victoria and the development of the Leigh Creek deposits in South Australia. With regard to the loss of our coal exports, the honorable members for Newcastle and Hunter surely remember, as I do, the days when many ships lay at anchor at the Dolphin, in Newcastle harbour, waiting their turn to go to the coal loading berths in order to take coal overseas. Because of the bad leadership to which I have referred, and the consequent interruption of supplies, we lost our overseas markets. The honorable member for Newcastle knows this to be true. So, it is not correct for him to refer to the coal exports which we are now developing as something new in the coal industry. We lost our earlier coal export trade, but now, due to the planning of this Government and the financial assistance it is giving, we are regaining our markets. The honorable member for Newcastle even went so far as to use the words " political trickery " when referring to this measure. He, as well as the honorable member for Hunter, criticized the delay in bringing down this legislation. Both said they thought this bill was being introduced at this time, on the eve of an election, to try to obtain some popularity for the Government. That is not true at all. They must realize, as I do, that discussions on this matter have been going on for a number of years. The honorable member for Hunter quoted the Minister for National Development **(Senator Spooner)** as saying that the provision of port facilities was the responsibility of the State governments. He then said that **Senator Spooner** had now changed his mind. That is not true at all. The provision of port facilities is the responsibility of the State governments, and, by bringing down this measure, the Minister has in no way changed his mind. What we are doing is to make financial assistance available to the State of New South Wales so that these improved facilities can be brought into operation earlier than would otherwise be the case, thus helping us to gain new export markets. This is part of the export drive in which this Government has been engaged for a number of years, lt is only part of a longterm programme *and* is nothing new. The Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** reminded the House, when he made his statement on 3 1 st August last, that the provision of these moneys for assistance to the Government of New South Wales was incorporated in the Budget. I repeat that these financial provisions to help the Government of New South Wales to improve port facilities at Newcastle, Port Kembla and Balmain arc part of a long-term and well-planned programme to assist us in our export trade. In concluding my remarks on this portion of the legislation, let me say that our programme for progress at these ports is a continuing one. It is carried on whether there is an election in the offing or not. It would be a very bad thing if, having commenced this programme some few years ago, we were to stop it suddenly a few months before an election. Much has been said in this House about our export programme, particularly during the debate on the prospective entry of the United Kingdom into the European Common Market. It is obvious that it will become more and more necessary for Australia to obtain a greater share of overseas markets. As we realize the competitive nature of these markets, surely we can see why it has been necessary for the Government to take steps over recent years to keep down costs in our industries. It is only in this way that we can hope to compete with other countries in overseas markets, and it is in this way. too, that we can assist the development of our industries, both primary and secondary. The economic measures that have been taken, therefore, become more and more understandable as we realize more fully the importance of our drive for increased exports. Under this legislation the Commonwealth agrees to provide financial assistance to the New South Wales Government, with the concurrence of that Government. I just want to return to what I said a while ago in reply to the honorable member for Newcastle. The provision of these port facilities has been discussed for a number of years. The Commonwealth has engaged in conferences with the New South Wales Government, and the necessity for improving port facilities has been emphasized. It is only in recent months, however, that the Commonwealth has been able to reach an agreement with the New South Wales Government on the way in which assistance will be given for the provision of coalloading plant and equipment. The maximum amount of Commonwealth contribution under the agreement will be £2,650,000. This will be provided for expenditure at three ports. At Newcastle the amount to be provided is £1,500,000, at Port Kembla £1,070,000, and at Balmain £80,000. Of the total amount, up to £1,000,000 will be by way of grant, to be provided from the Coal Industry Fund held by the Joint Coal Board. The credit balance in this fund arose, as I think most honorable members realize, as a result of activities carried on by the board with money provided by the Commonwealth. It has been further agreed that the remaining amount of Commonwealth assistance, of up to £1,650,000, will be provided by way of advances, each of which will be wholly repayable, as the honorable member for Newcastle pointed out, together with interest, within ten years from the date on which each advance is made.. There will be no sinking fund contributions by the Commonwealth in respect of repayments by the States to the Commonwealth. This is the second major step that has been taken by the Commonwealth Government to assist the coal-mining industry to expand its overseas trade. It will be remembered that a few months ago a bill was introduced to remove the levy that had previously been imposed on exported coal. While the levy did not represent a very great amount, its removal was still of some assistance, and was another demonstration of the way in which the Government tries to help the coal-mining industry. Having regard to uncertainties regarding the volume of trade that will develop in coal, and the costs of handling the product, the Commonwealth has decided to give part of this assistance by way of the grant that I have described. This will be applied to reduce the coal-loading charges that would otherwise be levied for the use of facilities at the three ports. Before I conclude I would like to direct the attention of the House to the fourteenth annual report of the Joint Coal Board. Paragraph 141 of the report says: - >In contrast with the declining market interstate, the growth in overseas exports has been remarkable. These sales are substantially, though far from wholly, based on long term contracts. In the main, the exports are to Japan and comprise hard and soft coking coal for the steel industry, and selected coals for the gas industry. Considerable tonnages of steaming coal were also shipped to Japan in the July-December, 1960, half year, but whether coals for this purpose can find a sustained market is doubtful. Some people believe that this will be possible, and, as you know, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** we are making investigations overseas to ascertain whether it can be done. I conclude by expressing my support of this measure and congratulating the Government on having been able to make this very suitable arrangement with the Government of New South Wales. I believe that it will greatly assist the coal-mining industry. I agree with honorable members opposite that it is an industry which needs our attention and all the help we can give it. {: #subdebate-31-0-s2 .speaker-KFG} ##### Mr GRIFFITHS:
Shortland .- I cannot agree with the remarks of the honorable member for Robertson **(Mr. Dean)** to the effect that the miners can blame only themselves for much of the hardship they have experienced. {: .speaker-LLW} ##### Mr Dean: -- I said the miners' leaders were responsible. {: .speaker-KFG} ##### Mr GRIFFITHS: -- Nor can I agree that bad leadership has been primarily responsible for what has happened in the coalmining industry. I believe that the miners have had some of the greatest industrial leaders of all time. I think back to Charlie Nelson and Bondy Hoare, to mention only two of them. The fact is that the exploitation of our coal reserves by greedy and avaricious mine owners caused much of the trouble that occurred in the early years of the mining industry. On more than one occasion the miners found themselves locked out of employment. This happened in the 1920's, for instance. The conditions that the miners enjoy to-day would not be available to them but for strike action that was taken in years gone by. It was not until 1952 that the Coal Industry Tribunal, **Mr. F.** Gallagher, now **Mr. Justice** Gallagher, recognized the disabilities suffered by employees in the mining industry and granted a special allowance to coal-mine workers. The legislation before the House is of immense satisfaction to me in more ways than one. It shows that at long last the Menzies Government has recognized that State governments, having been divested by the uniform taxation legislation of their sovereign right to levy taxes, are no longer able to finance from their own resources the works necessary for the development of major industries which are of importance to the nation as a whole. A new attitude is being taken to works such as those contemplated under this legislation, which were once regarded as ordinary developmental undertakings. For this reason my remarks in this debate will be related to the part of the speech of the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** in which the right honorable gentleman said that this project is one of the major State works to which he had previously referred as being projects that should make a significant contribution to the promotion of increased export earnings, and that increased and diversified exports are essential. The remarkable fact is that those comments are in direct contradiction to what the Prime Minister has been saying for years. Ever since I entered this Parliament, I have been bringing to the notice of the Government the condition of the port of Newcastle. More than six years ago, I asked the Prime Minister a question without notice about port development and its effect on export trade. At that time the right honorable gentleman was completely unresponsive to a suggestion that the Commonwealth could help the States in port development. I think that I ought to read the question and the answer to the House. They are recorded in " Hansard " as follows: - {: .speaker-KFG} ##### Mr GRIFFITHS: -- Does the Prime Minister agree that the production of steel and coal, and the export of wheat and wool, are important to the development and the defence of the nation? If so, is the right honorable gentleman aware that, as a result of severe flooding in the Hunter River over the past few years, the harbour at Newcastle is becoming unusable by large ships? Does the Prime Minister know that at present a punt service to Stockton is unable to run, and that this means that direct communication by road with the Royal Australian Air Force station at Williamtown is cut off? Does the right honorable gentleman also know that as a result of a continuance of the present silting in the Hunter River and Newcastle harbour, it is possible that a national calamity could occur in some future emergency? In view of this, does the right honorable gentleman intend to allow the position to get out of hand, until it is too late to act, or will he consider having Commonwealth engineers sent to Newcastle for the purpose of having an overall examination made to see whether, in the national interests, the Government should invoke its defence power and take the action necessary to keep Newcastle harbour open, so that it would not become a hazard to snipping in time of war, or interfere with the production or export trade of the port? , {: #subdebate-31-0-s3 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES:
LP -- I feel bound to say to the honorable member that I am not unfamiliar with representations by State governments that the cost of their functions should be taken over by the Commonwealth while they retain the functions themselves, but I hope we are not coming to the pass where the responsibilities of harbour boards and harbour authorities are simply to be planked down on the doorstep of the Commonwealth, because I venture once more to warn honorable members that if the time comes when the Commonwealth has all financial responsibility there will be an irresistible demand for the Commonwealth to have all power, and that would be a disaster for Australia. {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Jones: -- I wonder whether the honorable member for Robertson will still deny that this is an election issue. {: .speaker-KFG} ##### Mr GRIFFITHS: -- I do not think that he will. We can find in " Hansard " questions directed to the Minister for National Development **(Senator Spooner)** on the importance of this port to Australia's export trade. Throughout the years, the Prime Minister has refused to acknowledge the importance of this port. It is refreshing to note that what the Prime Minister said in his second-reading speech is proven not only by the bill that we are now discussing but also by the Government's assistance to the States in the field of university education and by the proposal to assist in the building of the Chowilla dam. New ground having been broken by this measure, I hope that this bill will be the forerunner of many more such measures. I hope, also, that future governments will assist, by similar legislation, in the expansion of education generally throughout the Commonwealth. Enormous works could be undertaken in every State if funds were available. All the States have plenty of manpower and great amounts of material available. Yet the Commonwealth Government has consistently refused to provide the finance to enable developmental works to be proceeded with. This bill is a very short one. Its sting is in the tail - in the agreement itself, which appears as a schedule to the bill. I believe that the Prime Minister would like us to think that the Government is being somewhat chivalrous in its approach to the present proposal for port development. But, in my view, it is being nothing of the kind. The Government's intervention in the development of port facilities is simply based on a hard-headed business deal, because, ultimately, the Commonwealth Government will benefit more than will any one else by the increased trade through ports where facilities are improved and by the development of new industries which will require economic access to ports. Newcastle is a special example of the kind of development which results from port improvement. The deepening of the water over the bar at trie mouth of the harbour and the dredging of the harbour and the river will make available to industry and commerce more than 7,000 acres of the best industrial land to be found anywhere in Australia. I welcome this bill. I hope that the New South Wales Government will be able, with the funds available to it, to undertake all the work that is envisaged in this bill. However, I doubt whether it will be able to do so. I hope that this Government will see fit to amend the bill in order to make contingent provision for the Commonwealth Government and the State Government to get together and agree to provide any additional money needed to complete the work in the event of anything unforeseen happening. For instance, additional cost could be incurred in the removal of rock at the harbour mouth or as a result of basic wage increases. It will not do to have the work held up later because insufficient money is available to complete it. I know that the New South Wales Government for years has wanted to undertake port improvement work, but has not been able to do so because funds have been lacking. The condition of the port of Newcastle is a disgrace because of the degree of siltation, the bar across the mouth, the lack of harbour works and transport facilities and the condition of the Hunter River. The present state of affairs can be fairly said to be due to the fault of previous governments of Liberal persuasion in both State and Federal spheres which refused to do anything about port improvements. I well remember the time in the middle 1930's when thousands of people were out of work. Liberal governments allowed them to live on the dole while dredges rotted in Throsby Creek for want of use. The Stevens Government ordered the dredges " Sandgate ", "Waratah" and "Hexham", as well as others, to be taken out to sea and scuttled because the cost of their upkeep was too great. Only those of us who have lived and worked on and beside the Newcastle waterfront over many years can really understand what happened in the port during the years when the governments of which I speak were in office. I have seen great changes take place since 1917 when I began work beside the Newcastle waterfront in the railway workshops. In my view, much more work will have to be done to restore the port even to the standard that existed in 1920. We shall need to do much more than is envisaged in this measure and much more than the finance being provided for the present scheme of port improvements will permit. We all know that over the past fifteen years the Labour Government in New South Wales has spent much money on wharfage facilities and the opening up of the Throsby Creek section of the Newcastle waterfront to oil carriers and general merchant shipping. But, while that work has been going on, the harbour and the river generally have become more silted up than ever before. The cost of dredging has been enormous. The harbour should never have been allowed to reach the disgraceful state of siltation that it is now in. As I have said, the blame for this rests fairly and squarely on previous governments of Liberal persuasion. The present Labour Government in New South Wales, throughout most of the first six years during which it was in office, was plagued by war. It was physically impossible for that Government to do more than it did up to 1947 in improving Newcastle harbour. The following years saw some of the worst floods in the history of New South Wales. These floods greatly increased the degree of silting of the harbour, with the result that, periodically, cargo and ore-carrying vessels have run aground. These groundings of ships from time to time have caused terrifically heavy losses to industry. In his second-reading speech, the Prime Minister spoke of the need to dredge the channels and the leads info the berths which shipping will occupy. The right honorable gentleman referred also to the need to erect extensive coal-loading plant so that the quick turn-round of ships will enable costs to be reduced, whereby contracts for a much greater quantity of export coal may be obtained. I say to the Government that for permanent improvements to be made to the port of Newcastle much more work will need to be done than the Commonwealth now envisages or which can be performed with the funds which the Government is now proposing to provide. It is true that a sum of £1,000,000 is to come from the Joint Coal Board in the form of a grant. ,It is equally true that a sum of £1,650.000 is to be made available by way of a loan repayable over a period of ten years at 5i per cent, interest. In view of the fact that it will be the Commonwealth Government which will derive the greatest benefit from the increase of our coal-export trade I say most emphatically to the Prime Minister that with the financial assistance it proposes this bill is something of a threecard trick. Once again the people of New South Wales, in particular the people of Newcastle, are to be the dupes of this Government. For more than twelve years the people of Newcastle have received one of the worst deals that any government could hand out. For years we waited for a regional office of the Department of Social Services before such an office was established last year. We are still awaiting the provision of an allweather airport, but there seems to be no likelihood of our getting it from this Government. As I say, the financial assistance that this bill proposes for permanent improvements to the port of Newcastle is far too small in the light of the trade and commerce which might flow through that port in the future. It is certain that if we are to win new markets for our coal, and if we are to compete with American industry for whatever trade is available in Asia, particularly Japan, the trend will have to be towards the use of bigger ships. The Prime Minister envisages ships of up to 25,000 tons being used, but I believe that ships of up to 45,000 tons will be more in accordance with the trend. It will be quite useless to provide coal-loading plant for the quick and efficient loading of vessels if every now and then it is to be found that the channels and the berths where the ships load are silting up. For the past few years there have been no big floods in the Hunter. Nothing unusual has occurred in that respect since the Glenbawn dam was completed. I only hope that we shall see no more of the floods which have caused such a great amount of silting in the Hunter valley in the past. The leaders of industry, commerce and agriculture in Newcastle and the Hunter valley have always had to gamble against the occurrence of the next flood. Because of that, I contend that, for a permanent and lasting solution to the problem of the port of Newcastle, work of a far greater magnitude than is proposed in the bill will have to be undertaken by the New South Wales Government. I suggest that such a task is completely beyond the resources of any State government, irrespective of its political colour, especially with the rivers in their present condition of siltation. I want to pay a special tribute to the work being done by the Hunter Valley Research Foundation in the field of siltation and the problems of the Hunter; but that organization's work is limited by lack of funds, despite the help given by the general public. I remember Newcastle harbour when shipping could move fairly freely in all parts of it. Ships such as the " Euripides ", the " Orcades ", the " Nestor " and many other big ships could move in and out of the harbour without their masters ever having to fear running aground. That was away back in the 1920's.' In the past few years numerous ships have run aground, and some of them have been aground for days. In order to end those conditions, much more money has to be made available to the State for the necessary work. The Hunter River rises in the Great Dividing Range, more than 150 miles from its mouth. Many other rivers are tributaries of the Hunter, and because of the massive area of its great watershed floods from time to time cause great havoc and damage. Many millions of tons of earth break from the banks of the many rivers which flow into the Hunter. In fact, the banks of the Hunter itself are continually breaking away and causing increasing siltation. Only last week, I saw the river bank at Tomago, where my brother-in-law has a dairy farm. At that point the scene speaks for itself. Acres and acres of land are being lost to production, not through floods, but through the stupidity of skippers of colliers who sail their vessels much too fast through the narrow channel of the river. Each vessel sends a surge of water rolling to the banks as it changes course when navigating the channel, and every now and again large chunks of earth feet deep crumble into the stream. Farmers spend huge sums on the building of retaining walls and on depositing heavy boulders on the foreshores of their properties, only to see their work disappear into the river rrom time to time. I often wonder why the farmers do not combine in a court challenge to the right of shipping companies to allow their vessels to cause destruction to the banks of the Hunter River in the NewcastleHexham area. In my view the port of Newcastle will never be free of the hazard of grounding until the river is made free of silting. For that to be done the movements of ships in the river itself must be controlled more rigidly. The Hunter River and its tributaries - the Williams, the Paterson, the Cockfighter, the Goulburn, the Pages and others all empty their waters into the port of Newcastle, and I believe that sometime they will all need a series of dams and weirs to control the flow, particularly in flood time. The control of the Hunter River in the manner that I have indicated could have a very beneficial effect on the whole country. Vast areas of excellent land could be opened up to irrigation and pasture improvement, from which the dairying and rural industries generally would benefit handsomely. I believe that the conservation of water in a region as vast as the Hunter valley would open up great possibilities for decentralization. Control of the Hunter and the de-silting of Newcastle harbour would ultimately save great expenditure on dredging. It is hard to estimate the extent of the saving, but I know that the saving each year would be considerable. No port of any consequence in Australia could be compared with Newcastle for ingress and egress if only the Commonwealth and State governments would give the port a fair go. In the past Newcastle has had a greater tonnage of goods pass through its port than either Sydney or Melbourne, and if ever the time arrives when the Commonwealth Government recognizes the importance of Newcastle to the Australian economy, and the commercial interests of Sydney lose their pettifogging parochialism and acknowledge Newcastle as a port capable of meeting their requirements more economically than Sydney. I have no doubt that Newcastle will come into its own and become permanently Australia's No. 1 port. {: .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr Lucock: -- What about Port Stephens? {: .speaker-KFG} ##### Mr GRIFFITHS: -- Probably in twenty or 30 years' time. The funds proposed under this measure are only peanuts compared with what is required to do justice to port development at Newcastle. If the port is to be developed to its maximum capacity, and if advantage is to be taken of the rural capacity of the Hunter valley, the Commonwealth will be compelled to find the finance necessary. Each year for the next ten to twenty years millions of pounds will have to be spent on cleaning up the mess that has been allowed to accumulate over the past 40 or 50 years. The present condition of the Newcastle harbour and the Hunter River is a legacy of other days. In the years between federation and 1940 all that big business was interested in was the making of colossal profits. It was not concerned with the future of the waterway or the orderly development of industries in the area. The coal industry alone is a typical example of that, but time and the Standing Orders will not allow me to expand on that aspect of the matter. From about 1915 when I became interested in industry until more recent years, I have seen the slow but gradual decline of the Newcastle harbour. When the State Labour Government was elected to office 'n 1941 it not only was confronted with a decadent waterfront but also had to grapple with a world war of the worst type. For six or seven years, very little could be done to effect general improvement to the port. If the Prime Minister really wants to do something tangible to develop our overseas trade, and if he wants to see the port of Newcastle in true perspective, I invite the right honorable gentleman to take a day or two off from his office and allow some of us who know the port and its beautiful river to show him some of the fundamental causes of the silting of this magnificent waterway. The cluttering-up of the river in the 1920's and 1930's with old hulks and discarded vessels, together with the rotten engineering of earlier years in the building of breakwaters and harbour works, have all contributed to the present state of the harbour. If the Prime Minister wants any proof of the bungling that occurred in those years, let him have a look at every river in northern New South Wales. With the exception of the Hunter River, not one of them is navigable to shipping beyond the size of a launch. They are the Tweed, Richmond, Clarence, McLeay, Hastings and Manning. At one time, sailing ships and steamers could be seen tied up to the Stockton dolphins four or five abreast waiting to load coal, but that sight has long since passed. To-day, you can tie up only small craft at most of those places. On the Stockton side of the harbour, silting has reduced the depth of water to nil at low tide. As a consequence, about three years ago the Newcastle City Council was compelled to build a 300-ft. walk-way out into the harbour for pedestrians to walk along in order to catch the ferry to Newcastle. In wet weather and when a stiff southerly is blowing, every one gets a ducking. I say to the House that the need for the council to undertake that work is an everlasting reflection on this Government, irrespective of what some people may think. I have said previously that Newcastle harbour is the most accessible port in Australia. I repeat that statement because I believe that there is in the making on the Stockton foreshore from North Stockton to beyond the mental hospital some of the best industrial sites any industry that requires waterfront anchorages from which to load and unload merchandise and materials could desire. Of course, there are many ifs and the main one is this: If the Federal Government would provide the finance, the work could proceed. At present, for two or three miles up stream the river is badly silted for about 200 yards from the shore. Thirty years ago there was 3 feet of water where mangrove trees are now 20 feet high. Mangroves are also growing out in the river where at one time there was 10 or 15 feet of water. It is my opinion that if the river is to be blotted out of the view of people using the highway to Nelson's Bay, then it should be blotted out by industry and not by mangrove trees. I suggest that hundreds of acres of mangrove-congested silt at Stockton could be economically reclaimed for industrial sites by the use of a number of small mobile dredging units pumping silt from the Hunter River onto the mud. A little further up the peninsula there are large areas of low swamp land on which silt could be pumped and the land brought into use for either agriculture or building purposes. In that way, industry and commerce would leap ahead. However, if the State Government is to be expected to pay *5i* per cent, interest on the major portion of the money which is being made available to it, then the general expansion and development of the port will suffer. There is plenty of work to be done in and about the port of Newcastle and there are plenty of unemployed who could do it. Therefore, I suggest that it is up to the Commonwealth Government to reduce the interest rate to about 1 per cent, and allow the State Government to give the unemployed useful employment. {: #subdebate-31-0-s4 .speaker-KE7} ##### Mr KEARNEY:
Cunningham -- The Coal Loading Works Agreement (New South Wales) Bill 1961 which was introduced by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** is not opposed by Opposition members. Our criticism is directed at the financial provisions of the bill and at the Government's delay in reaching a decision. The Government belatedly has recognized that such forms of national development as are envisaged in the bill impose an obligation on it to join the State government concerned - in this case the New South Wales Government - in promoting and planning them and also in providing financial grants. There is a great need for the introduction of modern mechanical equipment to enable Australian coal exports to compete with coal from other nations, particularly the United States of America. I support other honorable members who say that the pattern of the legislation that has been introduced by the Government in the past week shows that the Government is engaged in an extravaganza of window dressing. It has provided funds for Western Australia and Queensland railways and for beef roads in both States. The financial provision in each case has been meagre and belated and of the Kathleen Mavourneen variety. The need for the work that is covered by the bill before the House has been obvious to the Australian Labour Party for years but this Government has dillydallied. It has forgotten its obligation to provide funds for such works until this late hour before the general election at which the fate of the government will be decided. The bill is to provide coal-loading facilities, and its introduction at this stage in the life of the Parliament shows clearly that the Government is electioneering on this matter as it is on other projects. That is obvious to any person with an eye to reality. Certainly the provision that is being made by the Government is too small. Whether it is also too late will be determined by the success of our plans for the promotion of sales of coal abroad. The Government's attitude on this matter was made clear in March last when the Minister for Trade **(Mr. McEwen)** answered a question by me and demonstrated the inert, reactionary and sluggish thinking of this Government on this and other proposals for national development promoted by the Opposition. I asked the Minister whether the Government was giving attention to this matter and what decision had been reached. I asked also whether the Government had made a firm decision to ensure that money was made available to effect considerable improvements to the coal-loading facilities particularly at Newcastle and Port Kembla. I wanted a firm statement. I did not want any pie in the sky or airy-fairy evasions from the Minister. In his reply, the Minister did not actually answer the question. As is common practice with him, he evaded many issues of fact. I shall quote part of his reply but the passage does not misrepresent him - >Port facilities, and the loading facilities in the ports, have since federation been a matter . . . entirely within the responsibility of the State governments, and this responsibility is delegated to special port authorities. As late as March, the Minister was putting up a defence against the proposal. At that late hour in the life of the Parliament he said that since federation, these things had never happened in the federal sphere and he asked, in effect, "Why should they happen now? " He went on to say that his colleague in another place, the Minister for National Development **(Senator Spooner)** was looking at the matter and added - >Hie Commonwealth has now come in and has Intimated in the first place, I think, to the State of New South Wales that it is willing in principle to contemplate some special financial arrangements which would enable the expeditious and adequate improvement of port facilities at coalloading ports. One would assume that that meant the Government planned to provide a very respectable sum of money to take the burden off the State Government, whose finances are already strained, and do something really big and national in its scope. But what do we find in the bill? In his second-reading speech, the Prime Minister referred to an earlier statement he made to the press. This was on 31st August and not on 29th August, as he said in 'his second-reading speech. In his press -release, he said that of the total Commonwealth contribution of up to £2,650,000; an amount of up to £1,000,000 would be by way of grant and would be provided from the Coal Industry Fund held by the Joint Coal Board. I point out that the credit balance in this fund arose as a result cf the board's activities using moneys provided by the Commonwealth. The right honorable gentleman said - >It has been agreed that the remaining Commonwealth assistance of up to £1,650,000 will be. provided by way of advances, each of which will be wholly repayable together wilh interest at *Si* per cent, within 10 years of the date of each advance. > >Repayments by the Slate to the Commonwealth will not be subject to any sinking fund contribution by the Commonwealth. I put it to you, **Sir, that** the Government is not stating its attitude on this matter correctly. The Commonwealth in point of fact is providing £1,000,000 only for a programme that will cost the New South Wales Government £10,660,000, according to the schedule to the bill. That is a stupendous misrepresentation of ils interest in national development. It will provide only one-tenth of the total amount. As the honorable member for Newcastle **(Mr. Jones)** said earlier, not one penny piece will come fromConsolidated Revenue. The Government has not tickled the Commonwealth peter for any sum to help the New South Wales Government. It has masqueraded and falsely tried to mislead the people into believing that it will provide some of the £2,650,000. {: .speaker-JWV} ##### Mr Chaney: -- You cannot say that. {: .speaker-KE7} ##### Mr KEARNEY: -- You can do it; you have the power to make grants. If you put that point of view, the sooner you become the Opposition in this Parliament, the better for the nation. The whole attitude behind that thought is one of utter negation in the national scene. You should not stagnate and you should not hide behind what has happened since federation. You should provide some new thinking on these matters. just as you provide new thinking on matters that affect you. As J* said in my opening remarks, the Government is not going far enough. It is not being wholly honest in its presentation of the bill. That is made clear by the statistics. The New South Wales Government, on behalf of the people of that State, must repay £1,650,000 within ten years. Interest on this sum at *5i* per cent, will amount to £465,000 or almost £500,000. {: .speaker-JWV} ##### Mr Chaney: -- But the Premier signed the agreement. {: .speaker-KE7} ##### Mr KEARNEY: -- Of course it is scandalous and it is wrong. It would have been different if you had had the honesty to tell the people of New South Wales that you were lending them the money. I would not disagree with such a bold and brazen attitude. At least it would have had the basic virtue of sheer honesty and possibly dogged determination behind it. We could have understood such an attitude, but the Government does not do that. It makes a complete travesty of the presentation of legislation which is based on negotiations at governmental level. The New South Wales Government has not only to pay back this £1,650,000 plus £500,000 interest in ten years; it must also obtain from some other source an extra £8,000,000 to complete the scheme. The scheme does not involve coal loading alone. {: .speaker-JWV} ##### Mr Chaney: -- The Premier of New South Wales let you down. {: #subdebate-31-0-s5 .speaker-KSC} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon John McLeay:
BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA Order! The honorable member for Perth will remain silent. {: .speaker-KE7} ##### Mr KEARNEY: -- The Premier of New South Wales and his Government have done a wonderful job in this matter, and in a moment I will read a statement to support this assertion. At least the New South Wales Government and the Minister for Public Works **(Mr. Ryan)** are honest and have a sincerity of purpose in this matter. {: .speaker-JNZ} ##### Mr Bandidt: -- Why did the Premier sign the agreement? {: .speaker-KE7} ##### Mr KEARNEY: -- Of course he signed it, just as he is compelled to sign the ill-fated housing agreement. These agreements are jammed down the gullets of the States, and the States have no option but to sign them. They cannot avoid doing so. The States are mendicants to the Commonwealth and that is the obvious role they must play. The members of the Commonwealth Govern ment should be scrupulous and should honour their responsibilities in these matters. Dealing with Port Kembla, the schedule requires - >The provision of new coal loading plant and ancillary works, including wharfage, rail, road and storage facilities, capable of loading coal onto a ship at a rate of at least 1,500 tons per hour. The estimated cost of this is £2,140,000. The second work is - >Dredging, so as to provide a depth of at least 36 feet of water to the coal loading plant. This work is estimated to cost £360,000. But the work to be done does not stop there. The Council of the City of Greater Wollongong has further obligations. I must concentrate on Wollongong and Port Kembla, because they are in my electorate, but these points are common to Newcastle and will be common to the City of Sydney in respect of development at Balmain. Ancillary roads and water drainage must be provided by the local council and the county council must provide additional electricity reticulation, cables and all manner of equipment to enable the huge coalloading plant to function where it is to be located. In other words, a small new world must be constructed for the plant. The plant is not one isolated spot; there is a complete background of related equipment. Further enterprise is necessary before the unit can work. But no grant is made, either directly or indirectly, by the Commonwealth to the quasi-governmental authorities to enable them to do this work. The Illawarra County Council has written to me saying that additional works associated with the coal-loading plant will involve it in the expenditure of between £120,000 and £150,000. The allocation to the council is about £600,000, and it must meet all its obligations from this sum. Obviously, the allocation is wholly inadequate. But the council cannot refuse to help this development, because it is of great national importance. Production in the Wollongong and Port Kembla districts affects the lives of all persons in the community. Except for Newcastle, no other area in the Commonwealth has industries of more importance to Australia than have Wollongong and Port Kembla. There we have the steel industry and the ancillary industries associated with it. The funds available to the county council are already ear-marked for other works in the area and it has no surplus available to undertake the work associated with the coal-loading plant. Now, under this scheme, it is faced with finding an estimated £150,000. But there are no grants from the Commonwealth. There is no bigness on the part of the Commonwealth. All we have is a pigmy-like attitude adopted by this Government in refusing to realize these things and do something about them. The Government proposes to subsidize these works to the extent of only 10 per cent, of the entire cost to the State concerned, but no percentage whatever is to be provided for such local government instrumentalities as the Illawarra County Council in meeting their costs. That is obviously an unjust condition that should be remedied. I have made representations to the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** on that matter, but so far have not received his reply. One point to remember is that the State governments have moved with alacrity, perception a determination in connexion with these matters and I suggest that the statement made by the New South Wales Minister for Public Works, the Minister charged with the responsibility of executing the details of government decisions in these matters indicates clearly what will happen. As I feel that it is relevant, I shall quote what he had to say on 12th September about Port Kembla in particular. He said - >Modern coal-loading facilities costing £2,500,000 will be provided at the new Inner Harbour at Port Kembla. That is what it will cost the State - £2,500,000. Yet the Prime Minister's statement indicates that the allocation for the work at Port Kembla is something over £1,000,000! There is certainly a big discrepancy there, and, no doubt there is a proportionate discrepancy in connexion with the work to be carried out at Newcastle and Balmain. The New South Wales Minister for Public Works went on to say - >Wharfage and coal-handling equipment would be constructed capable of coping with the requirements of the export coal trade, and in particular, the Japanese trade. Rail and road access would be provided. > >This is the first phase of port development for the coal trade at Port Kembla, Newcastle and Balmain to be undertaken by the Government at a cost of about £10,000,000. > >Finance for the project has been allocated by the State Government, supplemented by assistance from the Commonwealth. I think that the Minister for Public Works was over-generous, that he over-stated the position, in making that statement without reservations. I think he should have qualified his statement by pinpointing exactly what was going on in relation to financing these works. He went on to say - >The work at Port Kembla has been programmed so that the new coal loader will be brought into operation by September 1963, i.e. two years from now. That is an important point, and I shall come back to it later. Are we too late in doing some of these things? These improvements will not be effected between now and the new year. Apparently two years will elapse before this new mechanical device will be put into operation at Port Kembla. This is a fast-changing world and the other coal exporters and coal-owners of the world will not wait for two years. They will not sit sweetly aside waiting until we are able to compete with them. The Japanese demand for coal will not be allied in any way to the fact that we are doing something which will not begin to operate for another two years. The Japanese need that coal now for their rapidly developing steel industry. They want it to-morrow, next week or the week after. They do not want it in the sweet bye-and-bye. By the language he has used in his press statement and in his second-reading speech, the Prime Minister has indicated that there is a vein of caution in his mind with regard to the success of this whole venture. Very clearly he does not propose to have the Commonwealth's financial fingers burnt; but he is quite prepared to dump the whole responsibility on the mother State of Australia - New South Wales. The New South Wales Minister for Public Works went on to say - >The main features of the scheme include a wharf 700 feet long sited on the eastern side of Port Kembla's Inner Harbour, adjacent to the entrance. > >The harbour will be dredged to a depth of 38 feet. Vessels carrying 35,000 tons of coal and more will be able to use the berth. > >The facilities being provided will therefore accommodate the largest-sized vessel which the Japanese Steel and Coal Mission indicated would , in obtaining supplies of coal from > >Australia. Let us pause there and refer back to the statement made by the honorable member for Newcastle **(Mr. Jones),** who pointed out that the coal-carrying vessels of to-day have altered greatly. Recently I read an authoritative statement to the effect that the American coal-carrying vessels are capable of carrying 70.000 tons of coal. There is a vast difference between that capacity and the capacity of the vessels for which we are preparing our Inner Harbour - those of 35,000 tons. The New South Wales Minister for Public Works has said that the Japanese have stated that facilities for vessels with a capacity of 35,000 tons would be satisfactory, but I dispute the wisdom of that. It is only common sense to argue that this provision may not be sufficient because the whole structure with respect to the selling price of coal overseas is very narrow. Indeed, it is almost razor-edged and every possible saving must be effected in order to compete with coal from the United States of America in particular. The United States is looking sideways at the developments the Australian industry has made in recent years and, with its great potential and the great industrial force behind it, it can do much to sweep right up against the wall the whole of our development and to impair greatly our ability to capture and, what is more important still, continue to hold markets in the foreseeable future. After all, ability to continue to hold markets in the future is the key to the entire situation. If we are to be only puppets of Japanese industrialists in order that they might grab every pound of profit, as it were, out of using our coal just for the moment, then we should recognize that early and devote our efforts to the establishment of other services which will have more lasting benefit for the Australian people. Of course, that is purely a matter of conjecture; no one can arrive at a definite decision on that, but it is a thought that is in the mind of the Prime Minister as well as in the mind of every trade leader associated with the coal industry, and in the minds of many people who are knowledgeable in these matters. I have outlined broadly what the situation is in connexion with Port Kembla so far as finance is concerned. As I said before, the Minister is to be commended, but I must emphasize the uncertainty of the future. We have no safe market for our coal. One of the major reasons why we have no safe market is the complete failure of this Government to give any national leadership in connexion with the use of coal or its by-products. I refer in particular to the development of the chemical industry, the synthetic industry, and, indeed, to the whole galaxy of industries for which coal can be used. We should not be depending solely upon the use of coal for burning, whether it is burnt within our own borders or in other lands. In these modern times, coal is a valuable commodity because of its by-products. What is more important still, it is a wasting commodity. It cannot be replaced by growth. The coal industry is like the metal industry which has been sacrificed willy-nilly by this Government to overseas interests in an attempt to bolster its own position and to cover its own paucity of thinking in connexion with overseas trade and its internal control of our finances generally. {: .speaker-JWV} ##### Mr Chaney: -- Nonsense! {: .speaker-KE7} ##### Mr KEARNEY: -- That is the truth. The Government is selling out our copper holus bolus. It is doing the same thing in connexion with our bauxite. It is selling out everything. It is a wonder the Government does not try to sell the Post Office. Indeed, it is a wonder that the Government has not tried to let Parliament House in between sessions of Parliament! It is time that the people of Australia came down to earth and realized the facts in connexion with these matters. After all, from the point of view of providing work in the coal industry, the benefit to be derived from selling coal to the steel industry is limited. There is no safe market at the moment for our coal, nor can we be sure of our continued ability to sell it to other nations. For instance, Japan and China, at this stage of their political development, are remote markets. Politics can change in hours these days, and if those two countries fuse their politics, Japan will obtain most of her coal from China. She will not be buying coal from Australia at all, when she has adequate supplies right at her back door. I repeat, the governments of those two countries are flat out now trying to iron out their political differences and get together. We cannot accept that this will be a great boon to us because that is problematical. It may come off; it may not come off. Those are the aspects which we must consider. Last week the press published the following report of a statement by the Minister for National Development **(Senator Spooner)** on the future of our coal export trade to Japan - >Another warning on the future of the coal export trade to Japan was sounded last week, this time by the Minister for National Development, **Senator Spooner.** > > **Senator Spooner** said that America was "not looking too kindly " at the inroads Australia was making into the Japanese coal market. > >He warned of a price war and said: " The United States is coming back on competitive terms. It is not only a matter of prices but also of providing loading facilities." I give the Minister full credit for the broad sweep of knowledge on these matters which he possesses. We find thinking of that kind in many other directions. A clear picture is developing already on the south coast coalfields of New South Wales. Certain mines there which have contracts to supply coal to Japan are not able to continue profitably to produce and sell into that quarter because of the price factor. They are seeking a review of the conditions in relation to price. In other words, even though we are down on our knees in the matter of selling our commodities we cannot remain even there, much less stand up. That is a truism which applies to my own district in regard to the price factor in contracts with Japan. The Japanese Trade Agreement has not been signed again. It is continuing on a temporary basis subject to renewal every twelve months. Under this arrangement the agreement can be terminated by Japan or by Australia on three months' notice. A disturbing thought is now running through Australian industry in relation to the sale of our goods to Japan because of the present arrangement. The Government has suggested that the matter will be ironed out in the middle of next year - I think the Minister for Trade is credited with that assumption - but the point is that these are important and disturbing factors. Looking at the matter from the viewpoint of the workers, I emphasize that as a result of the intense mechanization and industrialization of the coal industry over the last ten years about 8,000 men have disappeared fi om the industry. As we develop further along those lines, which is inevitable, more men will disappear from it. In other words, they will become redundant. The provision of coal-loading facilities will not alter the position. It will not be a panacea for the ills of the unemployed miner. He will not go back into employment automatically following the continued introduction of new mechanical methods. The work will be done by highly mechanized devices and not very many men will be required. With the intense development of mechanical devices in the coal industry to-day fewer men are being required. That is the picture. What is being done' for those men? We are still in the jungle stage of thinking at government level when we permit large numbers of men to be hurled out of an industry without an effort being made at the top level to train them for other employment and to ensure that in the middle of their lives they are equipped for a new trade. They are thrown higgledy-piggledy on the scrap heap, as they were in the 'thirties. I was one of those who suffered in those days and I know what happened. In this respect we have not advanced in the 31 years from 1930 to 1961. Why cannot a lot of this work be done by the coal companies? Why should public money be used for this purpose while the coal-owners sit back? Something worthy of note occurred on the south coast of New South Wales recently. The Coalcliff colliery company made preparations for the construction of an off-shore jetty which would take about eighteen months to complete. All kinds of plans and preparations, including soundings of the sea bed, were made, but as soon as the Government announced its intentions in Fetation to the inner harbour the company's plan folded up. We have reached the stage at which the Government is prepared all the time to help the big boy and wealthy industry while doing nothing to help the people who are disgorged from industry and suffer physical expulsion from their jobs. {: #subdebate-31-0-s6 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-31-0-s7 .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R JOHNSON:
Hughes .- About five minutes ago I had no intention of speaking on this matter, but the honorable member for Cunningham **(Mr. Kearney)** has directed attention to some very important facets of this problem which I should like to develop. He has referred to the Coalcliff colliery which is in the southern part of my electorate. It is one of the collieries associated with the proposal to improve the port facilities art Port Kembla. The Government is to be indicted for its short-sightedness and lack of understanding of what is going on. The Coalcliff company, which is one of the largest coal exporting bodies in Australia, only a matter of months ago made the sensational announcement that its plans for the development of coalloading facilities in that area were well advanced. A short time ago I visited this mine with two of my colleagues in the State Parliament, the honorable member for Bulli and the Minister for Health, and talked to the executives of the Coalcliff company. They indicated that their plans were highly developed and that they had been working on this project for some time. They intended to provide, at their own expense, up-to-date coal-loading facilities across the surf. This was a tremendous project for any private company to undertake. I was amazed that the Government was not aware of what was going on. Surely a government which has any real comprehensive plan of national development, incorporating the coal industry which is one of the fundamental industries to be considered in any programme of national development, would have prepared its plans much earlier than it did. The company was prepared to meet the very considerable expense involved in this project, and its sensational announcement a few months ago was splashed all over the south coast papers. The company announced also that it had worked on the plans for a long time and had even had the proposal investigated by Japanese people who had indicated their approval. Then the Commonwealth Government announced that it would make the funds available for the work. This afternoon the honorable member for Hunter **(Mr. James)** referred to a statement which was made last year by the Minister for National Development **(Senator Spooner)** in which the Minister denied that the Commonwealth had any responsibility in respect of the development of ports in New South Wales, claiming that it was a matter for the State Government. He was adamant about that. The honorable member for Hunter read the Minister's statement word for word. How in high heaven can the Government on the eve of an election - that is a significant point - change its plans, abandon the assertion that this is a matter of State responsibility, and declare tha*, the Commonwealth has an obligation, just as it has an obligation in relation to the railway line to Kwinana, the provision of beef roads in the north, the railway line to Mount Isa and a number of other things in respect of which it has denied for twelve years that it has any responsibility! We on this side of the House, and the people of Australia, are concerned about this position because we believe that important developmental matters which affect the future of this great country and the employment of many thousands of people are being made the subject of mere political humbug. We have seen this manifested in so many ways. Not so long ago - in 1959, in fact - the Labour Opposition established a committee of inquiry to investigate thoroughly all facets of the coal-mining industry. We set about our task assiduously and visited all States of the Commonwealth. To ensure that the Opposition would not receive any praise, approval or recognition from the community, the Government set up a similar committee. Under the heading of " Government to Review Research into Coal Uses ", the " Sydney Morning Herald " of 27th June, 1959, carried the following report: - >The Acting Prime Minister, **Mr. J.** McEwen, announced to-day that the Commonweatlh Government has set up an eight-man expert committee to advise it on research into the use of coal. Unfortunately, events have proved that that was a mere political hoax - a trick to draw attention away from the genuinely inspired Labour committee which was investigating coal problems at that time. This so-called expert committee, established by the Government and the subject of forthright announcements by responsible Ministers, has never brought down a report of any substance. In other words, it has faded into the political limbo. I will be greatly surprised if we can develop our country in that way. As the honorable member for Cunningham **(Mr. Kearney)** has just pointed out, there has been no co-ordinated plan for the coal industry. We have seen mines closing down all over the countryside. Just a short time ago the Excelsior Mine in my own electorate closed and 200 men were thrown out of work at short notice. There has been no encouragement generally given to the industry. In the great South Maitland coal-field, quite a number of mines have ceased operations. They include Hebburn No. 2, Abermain, Aberdare, Pelaw Main, Kalingo, Bellbird and Aberdare Central. The only two remaining in that great northern coal-field are Aberdare Extended and Aberdare West. The Australian Government has failed to take adequate steps to encourage our coal industry and to preserve our great coal deposits. We know that very heavy inroads have been made into the fuel market by the oil industry. We have been spending millions of pounds on enticing oil interests to come into this country, at the expense of the coal industry. Unfortunately, although the great. coal deposits in the ground belong, in fact, to the Australian people, they have been leased out to entrepreneurs in other parts of the world. I did not expect to speak in the debate, which is scheduled to end before the dinner adjournment, and if any supporter of the Government had displayed sufficient interest in the debate to seek the call, I would not be filling in at this moment. However, I am prepared to speak because this is a very important topic. The honorable member for Herbert **(Mr. Murray),** who is interjecting, represents an area where there have been closures in the coal-mining industry. One would have thought that he would be sufficiently interested to address himself to this measure. The coal mines in the north of Queensland have been denied the assistance they need from this Government and /that is good reason why the honorable member should be participating in the debate. He probably regrets his interjection. I simply want to indicate that the Government has no plans and has been indulging in political skulduggery in this matter. It has brought down this bill at the last minute and has caused great confusion in the industry. Here is another indication to the people that this Govemnrent is incapable of producing any plan for national development whether in relation to coal or anything else. It is unconcerned with the need to provide a plan which will bring to the Australian people the great opportunities that can result from the exploitation of our immense resources. While we recognize that this measure will mean some stimulation to the coal-mining industry, it is not sufficient. We hope that the government in the new Parliament will face up to its responsibilities in a far more effective way than has been the case hitherto. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time, and committed pro forma; progress reported. Message recommending appropriation reported. In committee (Consideration of GovernorGeneral's message): Motion (by **Sir Garfield** Barwick) agreed to - >That is is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a bill for an act relating to an Agreement between the Commonwealth and the State of New South Wales with respect to certain Coal Loading Works. Resolution reported and adopted. In committee: Consideration resumed. Bill - by leave - taken as a whole, and agreed to. Bill reported without amendment; report adopted. Bill - by leave - read a third time. Sitting suspended from 5.58 to 8.0 p.m. {: .page-start } page 2462 {:#debate-32} ### AIRLINES AGREEMENTS BILL 1961 {:#subdebate-32-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 24th October (vide page 2404), on motion by **Mr. Townley** - >That the bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-32-0-s0 .speaker-JWI} ##### Mr FOX:
Henty .- I do not intend to speak at length on this bill, nor do I intend to traverse ground which has already been covered most expertly by my honorable friend from Farrer **(Mr. Fairbairn).** (Quorum formed.) Before the honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Clyde Cameron)** was good enough to supply me with an audience, I was saying that I do not intend to speak at any length on the bill, nor do I intend to traverse the ground which has already been expertly covered by my honorable friend from Farrer, who has a technical and practical knowledge of this subject. However, I feel compelled to make some contribution to the debate for two reasons. The first is that I wish to air a personal grievance in relation to the operation of rationalization. I do not quarrel with the policy, but I do object very strongly to some aspects of its operation. My second reason is that 1 want to debunk Labour's continuing complaint that this Government is doing all it possibly can to cripple Trans-Australia Airlines. During the debate last night the honorable member for East Sydney **(Mr. Ward)** said that this bill was another step in the Government's plan to destroy - not simply to cripple - a great public enterprise. The honorable member for Bonython **(Mr. Makin)** said that this legislation set out to destroy a government-owned institution. The honorable member for Wilmot **(Mr. Duthie),** who was a little more restrained in his language, said that the legislation would erode the standards of TransAustralia Airlines and weaken the capacity of the organization to conduct an efficient, paying airline. He said that the legislation was deliberately designed to limit T.A.A., and that it was loaded against that airline. Since 1952 this Government has introduced a number of measures relating to the operation of airlines, and each debate on the various measures has provided the Labour Party with an opportunity to air its out-of-date propaganda and its worn-out catch-cry that we are trying to destroy T.A.A. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- So you are! {: .speaker-JWI} ##### Mr FOX: -- I am not convinced that you really believe that. However, the Opposition has so little of any real substance on which to pin its electron hopes that it is prepared to grasp at straws. For at least ten years the Labour Party has tried to persuade the public that this Government has done everything it can to prevent the expansion of T.A.A. If that is true, the Government has done a mighty poor job, because the facts show that during the Menzies Government's term of office this airline has gone from strength to strength. Labour's objection apparently is that under the same administration Ansett-A.N.A. has also considerably improved its position. It is interesting to study the history of Trans-Australia Airlines. It was established by a Labour government on *1* 2th February, 1946, so it has been in existence for almost sixteen years. For a period of less than four of those years it was under Labour administration, and for nearly twelve years it has been under the administration of a Liberal-Country Party Government. I have before me the annual report of the Australian National Airlines Commission for the year ended 30th June, 1960, which is the latest report available. Good and all as the position is that is disclosed by this report, I believe that the one disclosed in the report for the year ended 30th June, 1961, is even better. It is interesting to compare figures in this report with those for the year ended 30th June, 1949, which was the last full year of operation under a Labour government. The honorable member for Farrer dealt with some of these figures last night, but I would like to deal with them in a little more detail. In 1949 .Trans-Australia Airlines had 35 aircraft. They comprised five Convairs, three DC4's, nineteen DC3 passenger aircraft, four DC3 freighters and four DH84's. These 35 aircraft had a capital value of £1,250,000. On 30th June, 1960, the T.A.A. fleet consisted of twelve Viscounts, three Electras, ten Friendships, eleven DC3's, three DC4's, two DC6B's, four C47 freighters and two helicopters. These 47 aircraft had a total capital value of more than £12,000,000. The honorable member for Farrer said last night that the fleet to-day consisted of 60 aircraft, and I am prepared to accept his figures. In 1948-49 T.A.A. carried 456,000 passengers, and the total passenger mileage flown was 211,000,000 miles. In the year ended 30th June, 1960, more than 1,000,000 passengers were carried, the total mileage having increased to 532,000,000 miles. In 1948-49 T.A.A. carried approximately 2,800,000 lb. of mail and more than 21,000,000 lb. of cargo. In 1959-60 the comparable figures were 4,400,000 lb. and 38,000,000 lb. In spite of the fact that much faster aircraft are operating to-day, the hours flown have increased in the same period from 75,000 to 86,000. Revenue has increased from £4,000,000 to almost £15,000,000. Capital has increased from £4,400,000 to £6,400,000 in the same period. At 30th June, 1949, there were accumulated losses amounting to more than £900,000, and the effective capital that T.A.A. had to work with at that date was therefore approximately £3,500,000, whereas at 30th June last year, in addition to having its capital intact it had accumulated reserves of nearly £500,000, so that its effective capital was £7,000,000, or twice what it was in 1949. The book value of the fixed assets of the airline, which in 1948-49 was less than £2,000,000, stood at £13,500,000 on 30th June, 1960. The number of ports and stopping places serviced by T.A.A. more than doubled in the period under review. The number of persons employed increased from 3,393 to 4,168. Whereas in 1948-49 T.A.A.'s operations showed a loss of nearly £95,000, bringing the accumulated losses to that date to more than £900,000, for the year ended 30th June, 1960, the net profit was nearly £353,000. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- What' is the point you are trying to prove? {: .speaker-JWI} ##### Mr FOX: -- My point is this: Last night the honorable member for East Sydney sought to belittle that profit of £353,000. He said that in 1950 the airline showed a profit of £215,000 - the first year in which it had showed a profit - that since then the amount of traffic on all airlines in Australia had increased annually at an average rate of 6 per cent., but that in the intervening ten years the airline had increased its profit to only £353,000. The honorable member completely distorted the true position, because whereas in 1950 T.A.A. set aside £313,000 for depreciation, in the year ended 30th June, 1960, the amount set aside for depreciation was £1,250,000. In 1950 the total cost of flying operations, which included expenditure on fuel, oil, wages and depreciation, was less than £3,250,000. In 1959-60, it was almost £9,000,000. In 1949-50, the general administrative expenses were less than £1,250,000, but, for the year ended 30th June, 1960, they were more than £5,000,000. In spite of these heavy increases in operating costs, Trans-Australia Airlines has gone from strength to strength. Each year, it has increased its profit, and, last financial year, it had an all-time record profit. I understand that its profit this financial year will be even higher. {: .speaker-L0N} ##### Mr Whittorn: -- Tell us about **Sir George** Jones. {: .speaker-JWI} ##### Mr FOX: -- I shall tell the honorable member about him shortly. Do the things that I have mentioned suggest that T.A.A. has been crippled by this Government, **Mr. Speaker,** or do they show that, in truth and in fact, the airline has, under the administration of the Menzies Government, grown into a solid, solvent and efficient organization of which any country could be proud? I believe that I have some sort of a personal interest in the agreement covered by one of the bills which we are now discussing, because my Australian Labour Party opponent at the forthcoming federal election is a director of Ansett-A.N.A. and one of the three persons who signed the agreement on behalf of that company. {: .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- What is his name? {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr Cope: -- **Sir George** Jones. {: .speaker-JWI} ##### Mr FOX: -- The honorable member for Watson gave him the advertisement; I did not. {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr Cope: -- The honorable member is afraid of giving **Sir George** Jones a free advertisement over the radio. {: .speaker-JWI} ##### Mr FOX: -- I am not. I want to make it quite clear that I am not saying anything against the gentleman. The very fact that he is a director of an organization so progressive as is that conducted by **Mr. Reg** Ansett shows that he has a great deal more understanding than a lot of his political colleagues have. The honorable member for East Sydney last evening referred to the allocation of air mail between the two airlines and said - >What a stupid position for any government to put itself in! While operating its own government airline, it gave half the business available to it for the carriage of its mails to its private competitor. The honorable member for East Sydney could have said, " What a stupid position for the Australian Labour Party to put itself in! " Members of that party criticize Ansett-A.N.A. and this agreement, but let me remind anybody who has a short memory of what was said last night for the Labour Party. The honorable member for East Sydney said that this agreement was another step in the Government's plan to destroy a great public enterprise. The honorable member for Bonython said that this agreement sets out to destroy a governmentowned instrumentality. 1 have already quoted some of the things that were said by the honorable member for Wilmot. He said, also - >We are opposed, lock, stock and barrel to the measures that are now before the House. What could be more stupid or inconsistent than the action of the Australian Labour Party, feeling as strongly as this, and criticizing as bitterly as it has done this agreement that we are debating, in endorsing as one of its *candidates* at the forthcoming general election one of the directors of Ansett-A.N.A. who signed the agreement on behalf of that company? 1 wonder whether the Labour Party knows which way it is going. Melbourne Cup time has almost arrived, **Mr. Speaker.** 1 think that Labour is just trying to have a bob each way. Before I pass on, I want to make one thing perfectly clear: We on this side of the House do not seek to knock TransAustralia Airlines. We know it to be an efficient and well-run organization which provides excellent service for the public, but we say that this excellent service is due in no small measure to the fact that T.A.A. has to contend with competition from Ansett-A.N.A. Competition, in any sort of business, assures the public of good service. Where no competition exists, anything is good enough. The Government recognizes this fact, and it has resolved that competition shall be maintained in air services. I mentioned earlier that I had a grievance to air, **Mr. Speaker,** and I come to it now. If one examines the time-table of the two airlines between any two main points, one finds a great similarity between the times of the departure of the aircraft of both T.A.A. and Ansett-A.N.A. Yet there are quite considerable gaps in the time-tables of both airlines when no services are provided. Let us take as an example services between Canberra and Melbourne, which are of interest to all honorable members. {: .speaker-JOO} ##### Mr Beaton: -- The honorable member will not be here long to take an interest in them. {: .speaker-JWI} ##### Mr FOX: -- I shall be using those services a lot longer than the honorable member will. He got a fright at the last election, and he will get a bigger one this time. Ansett-A.N.A. provides the first service from Canberra to Melbourne, at 8.30 a.m. T.A.A. provides the next, at 8.45 a.m. Then there is a gap of about seven hours until the next Ansett-A.N.A. aircraft for Melbourne leaves at 3.20 p.m. T.A.A. follows with one at 3.45 p.m. {: .speaker-KMB} ##### Mr Opperman: -- What about- {: .speaker-JWI} ##### Mr FOX: -- I shall give the Minister the time-table for services between Adelaide and Melbourne later. To return to the services between Canberra and Melbourne,' T.A.A. despatches another aircraft at 4 p.m. and Ansett-A.N.A. has a further service at 5.15 p.m. Another, Anset-A.N.A. plane leaves at 5.45 p.m. and at exactly the same hour the next T.A.A. aircraft leaves Canberra for Melbourne. One can find similar relationship between the respective services from any capital city to another. I have used Canberra and Melbourne only as an example. The sort of thing that 1 have described is even more noticeable in services between Adelaide and Melbourne. The first aircraft to leave Adelaide for Melbourne is a Trans-Australia Airlines service which leaves at 7 a.m. lt is followed by an AnsettA.N.A. service at 7.15 a.m., and there is then a gap of nearly eight hours until 2.50 p.m., when each airline provides a service. The next aircraft from Adelaide to Melbourne is a T.A.A. plane at 5.10 p.m., followed by an Ansett-A.N.A. service at 5.30 p.m. I may be wrong, **Mr. Speaker,** and I am open to conviction, but 1 do not believe that this sort of thing is in the best interests of the travelling public. The Minister for Defence **(Mr. Townley),** in his second-reading speech said - >The 1957 Civil Aviation Agreement, therefore, established a Rationalization Committee constituted by a chairman, nominated by the Minister and known as the co-ordinator, and two members nominated by the company and the commission respectively. The airlines agreed to review and keep under review air routes, time-tables, fares and freights and other related matters so as to avoid unnecessary overlapping of services with duc regard to the interests of the public . . > >Contrary to a popular misconception, the committee has rarely been involved in the details of day-to-day operation of air services. For example, questions relating to time-tables, passenger amenities, ground transport, catering and suspension of flights are almost invariably resolved by the airlines without coming before the committee. I find it hard to believe that responsible officers of both Ansett-A.N.A. and TransAustralia Airlines cannot work out a saner kind of rationalized time-table. For example, there is one direct flight each day by each airline between Brisbane and Melbourne. T.A.A.'s service leaves at 11.25 a.m. and that of Ansett-A.N.A. at 11.30 a.m. Where does the interest of the public fit into that time-table? Why could not one of these aircraft leave during the afternoon? I think that this sort of timetable is carrying rationalization too far. I recall one occasion when I booked on a " Rocket " flight from Brisbane to Melbourne. On the day in question, one of the aircraft had mechanical trouble and the flight had to be cancelled. Believe it or not, the other airline also cancelled its direct flight on the same day. This was probably done in accordance with the policy of rationalization. I hope that somebody will see that this policy is not carried to absurdity. Having aired my pet grievance, I wholeheartedly support the bill. {: #subdebate-32-0-s1 .speaker-KID} ##### Mr LUCHETTI:
Macquarie -- Members of this Parliament and the public are perplexed and concerned to know just what reason the Government has for bringing forward this legislation on the second last day of the life of this Twenty-third Parliament. What new feature, what new fact, what new happening, what new circumstance, what new situation, has arisen that this evening this legislation should be brought to the Parliament to extend agreements which at present have six years to run. The bills before us provide that agreements shall be entered into in the name qf the Parliament of Australia and the people of Australia for a further ten years - that is to say that the agreements, still having six years to run, shall run for sixteen years from now in all. Is it because the present arrangements are not satisfactory? Or is it because the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** and the Government fear the result of the general election and want to rush through the Parliament in its closing hours this legislation to control aviation? It would be idle for me to say that the public is concerned about this. One has only to pick up any newspaper published in Sydney or any other capital city to see reflected the public concern about this matter. Sydney is greatly concerned. Public confidence and faith in New South Wales have been shaken because of recent disclosures in respect of the Government's attitude and the extraordinary attitude of the Minister for Civil Aviation **(Senator Paltridge),** when faced with simple, honest, straightforward questions affecting business matters concerned with aviation. Why is it that this matter has been puffed up into such importance? It is not because the Opposition has raised a few questions in this Parliament. It is not because a few people outside have been concerned about it. It is because a genuine decentralized industry in New South Wales - East-West Airlines Limited - and the leaders of that organization, feel that they have been subjected to a measure of pressure that calls for clarification. I think that the Prime Minister would have rendered a service to this Parliament and the nation if, when those matters were broached he had at the outset, instead of trying at question time to score off honorable members who sought information, made a clear-cut statement along these lines: That the independence of East-West Airlines Limited would be assured and that whatever pressures had been exerted or implied or threatened, or whatever words had been used by his Minister, would have no effect on the Ministry, and that the Government would guarantee East-West Airlines Limited security in the future. As my colleague, the honorable member for Darling **(Mr. Clark)** said, the Government should give the airlines a fair go in New South Wales. One of the incomprehensible things in Australia at present is that in the national aviation concept as between Ansett-A.N.A. and Trans-Australia Airlines the Government professes to believe in competition, but when it comes to intra-state airlines within New South Wales or Tasmania or elsewhere the Government believes in monopoly. It has slavishly followed that line with no variation. Because the Prime Minister has remained silent about these things, because he has not spoken up for free enterprise, because he has not declared in favour of East-West Airlines Limited, because he has supported these financial people who are represented in this place by the honorable member for Wentworth **(Mr. Bury)** and others in the city of Sydney and in Melbourne and Adelaide and elsewhere, the people in country districts are alarmed and concerned. It was not surprising that last evening we had the honorable member for New England **(Mr. Drummond),** a former New South Wales Minister of Education and a distinguished member of the Australian Country Party, standing in his place here, and, without emotion, without heat, without any feeling at all, other than that he was serving his country and telling the truth, debunking the Minister for Civil Aviation and saying in the most calm, considered, polite and reasonable words that that Minister had not told the truth and that he ought to refresh his memory and look at the facts. I made a note of this, and it is an astonishing thing to me that members of the Australian Country Party who sit behind the honorable member for New England have "remained silent despite the attacks that have been made upon that honorable member in this place, where his reputation has been torn to shreds by silence. Here we have men who have not been prepared to show the least courage to defend a colleague. This is a conspiracy of silence to which the honorable member for New England has been subjected. What sort of people sit behind that man? In my place here I often think, when I watch the honorable member for New England and the right honorable member for Cowper **(Sir Earle Page)** putting forward their proposals on matters of great importance to the nation, that they are the rebels, they are the outstanding characters, and that the men who sit behind them are the reactionaries tied to the will of this Government and the Minister for Trade **(Mr. McEwen),** and those who seek advantage and favour in this land. So it is that **Mr. Shand** and East-West Airlines Limited can be sacrificed, as they will be sacrificed under this Government, while no steps are being taken to protect them, and while not one word has been said in defence of their decentralized undertaking. I am appalled and disgusted and saddened by what has occurred in recent times in this Parliament, when men like the honorable member for New England, prepared at great personal sacrifice and by the exhibition of great persona] courage, to put the facts right, have to suffer almost being sent to Coventry as a result. Let us go through the history of these matters. In the first place, it is a well known fact that the present Government has never felt friendly towards TransAustralia Airlines. It opposed T.A.A. at its birth, and has opposed it ever since, and on every occasion possible it has, in the vernacular of the racing game, given T.A.A. the top weight in every stake. {: .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr Lucock: -- Perhaps that is why T.A.A. is stronger than it was when the Government came to office. {: .speaker-KID} ##### Mr LUCHETTI: -- Of course T.A.A. has grown stronger, because despite the opposition of this Government it has had the support of the public. It has grown stronger and will continue to grow stronger. But in every situation that has arisen we have seen the Government's unfriendliness to T.A.A. In the first place we have had the attitude of the Government in regard to financial arrangements and the operation of T.A.A. The late Arthur Drakeford, who was Minister for Civil Aviation in the Labour Government, on more than one occasion when he was in Opposition in this place told the story of what he had to do to create that airline and of all the difficulties that occurred when he was no longer Minister. I pay a tribute to him and to everybody engaged in the operation of T.A.A. The people charged with running this great Commonwealth organization have been men of outstanding integrity and quality. Because of their knowledge of the aircraft industry and because they knew what the public wanted, they were able to produce the type of organization that would succeed in almost any weather. But despite this, the Commonwealth Government from time to time has taken action to deal with these matters. There was the matter of the type of aircraft to be used. The honorable member for Farrer **(Mr. Fairbairn)** referred to the Caravelles. Trans-Australia Airlines wanted to buy Caravelles. Ansett-A.N.A. sought Electras. The honorable member for Darling spoke of the dangers of Electras and said when he was in them they seemed to be saying, " Ta, ta ". Eventually there was need for modification. The Mark II. type came into operation after the aircraft had been sent to America. The Caravelles, which were made in France, had the British Rolls-Royce engines. We had a favorable trade balance with France. None of those things seemed to concern the Government, which was more interested in building up Ansett-A.N.A. than with the provision of - safe and dependable services for the people. Trans-Australia Airlines was under the leadership of **Mr. Warren** McDonald, who was later appointed head of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation. The airline has always operated a good service. One of the most infamous and scandalous things that have occurred was the decision of the Government through its Minister for Civil Aviation to compel the airline to hand over three of its modern Viscount aircraft for two outmoded DC6B's. Trans-Australia Airlines was forced into a shot-gun wedding. The Electras had to be returned to the United States of America for modification. These matters are well known to those who travel. ls it any wonder that we ask for a royal commission? Ansett-A.N.A. has always had the ear of the governments of Australia. **Mr. Reg** Ansett always had a finger in the pie and there was always some one to look after him. T.A.A. grew in strength and was always able to provide an adequate service. But all that had to be written down, in the opinion of this Government, because the airline was just too good for its competitor in the civil aviation field. Although the current agreement has six years to run, this Government is falling over backwards to write another agreement that will give advantages to AnsettA.N.A. until 1977! According to the Government, this is an era of free enterprise. I have unhappy recollections of what happened to **Mr. Arthur** Butler who built up one of the greatest services in New South Wales. He served Australia with distinction overseas and flew his aircraft back to Australia. {: .speaker-KEP} ##### Mr Falkinder: -- Labour wanted to nationalize the services. {: .speaker-KID} ##### Mr LUCHETTI: -- Please do not talk about that! The honorable member for Franklin, who is rarely seen in his place in this Parliament, should not talk about nationalizing the air services. The honorable member stands for a private monopoly but he never wants to see a public monopoly. Arthur Butler built up an aviation organization in New South Wales by his own courage and skill. In a time of adversity when he had to expand he had to take in outside capital and it was his own undoing. When Holyman sold out to Ansett, a chartered aircraft with a load of proxy voters travelled from Melbourne to Sydney to record their votes to destroy Arthur Butler. This was a man of private enterprise; a man of courage with business acumen. He was throwninto the maw of the Ansett-A.N.A. monopoly which is being sponsored by this Government in taking over East-West Airlines Limited. It is astonishing to me that a government which proclaims its faith in private enterprise has not come out to say in simple, straightforward terms to **Mr. Shand** and **Mr. Pringle,** " So long as we are in government we will guarantee you a free go in this country". **Mr. Shand** has said that the Minister for Civil Aviation put pressure on him to join with Ansett-A.N.A. He was told by the Minister for Civil Aviation that he ought to talk over a business deal with **Mr. Reg** Ansett. The Minister for Civil Aviation has denied that. **Mr. Shand** has returned to the attack and has confirmed his previous statement. Subsequently, **Mr. Shand** confirmed again that the Minister had made these statements. He said that if the Minister did not alter his attitude, he would have to call on independent witnesses to confirm what had been said. In duc course, **Mr. Pringle** made his statement. In the words of the honorable member for New England, **Mr. Pringle** is a man of veracity, a man whose word cannot be questioned, who can be thoroughly relied upon, a courageous man who tells the truth and a line citizen. The honorable member for New England has no axe to grind in this matter. He is a member of the Australian Country Party and is an honest, honorable representative of the people in his electorate, where this decentralized organization functions and has nourished through the years. He has tried to preserve the organization. I take my hat off to a man who has the courage to stand up in this place for his people in defiance of the party machine and the threats that must have been used against him. I think the honorable member for New England is deserving of the highest praise and some of those who sit behind him should emulate him and have the courage to speak for their people. The honorable member for New England was quite kind to the Minister for Civil Aviation. He was quite reasonable and did not get excited. He said, " I think the Minister's memory should be refreshed ". That was the kindest possible statement that could be made about a Minister who has persisted in his denials. On the one hand we know what **Mr. Shand, Mr. Pringle** and the honorable member for New England have said. On the other hand, we know what the Minister for Civil Aviation has said. The Minister's statements have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. I do not think we can accept his views. I am prepared to accept the views of the honorable member for New England. I do not know **Mr. Pringle,** but I do know **Mr. Shand.** He is a progressive farmer. I think he is a supporter of the Country Party, but he is an honorable man. I am prepared to accept what these men have said. They have made their statements and I think in these closing days of the Parliament, it would have been right for the Prime Minister and the Minister for Civil Aviation to have withdrawn their denials, to have accepted the situation and to have faced up to it. What does the public gain from this dispute? After all, the Parliament should be concerned about the public, lt does not matter what the Ansett organization gains or what **Mr. Shand** gains. The only consideration of any importance is the wellbeing of the public. Over the years the people have suffered. They have paid higher air fares than they should have paid. What will happen if New South Wales persists in dividing the State and adopting a rationalization scheme similar to this Government's rationalization scheme for T.A.A. and Ansett-A.N.A.? The Minister says that he is not prepared to maintain services at the airports to meet the needs of the rationalization policy of the New South Wales Government. The public must suffer from such an attitude. Ansett-A.N.A. is crowding its passengers into its aircraft. One type of aircraft now carries 44 passengers compared with 36 in similar aircraft operated by T.A.A. These matters are known to my colleague, the honorable member for Darling, who is obliged to use these air services as he travels about the State. I should like to go on record as paying a well-deserved tribute to Reg Ansett for his business acumen, his courage and his ability to pioneer new routes. These are very good points, but why should one individual be allowed to engage in a drunken spree and give a gambler's performance in seeking finance? He is being allowed to play recklessly with the public. On the one hand, he sells notes to the public at 4s. 3d. while he issues other notes at 5s. Why should this Government allow these activities to continue? It has been proved beyond doubt that this Government is overwhelmingly on the side of monopoly and of big business. We have never seen any occasion on which the Government has taken any action to curb any monopoly. We are accused of creating State monopolies, but what monopolies are created by this Government? In civil aviation, AnsettA.N.A. and T.A.A. are the only airlines allowed to operate on interstate routes. In steel, only one company is allowed to operate and it has no competition at all. In other fields, no competition is allowed, but a monopoly is given to one company. In New South Wales, if this Government had its way, only one intra-state airline would be allowed to operate. I should not pass this point without reminding honorable members of how **Mr. Butler,** that great pioneer of airways, was drawn out of business. When the New South Wales Government has the courage to deal with the distribution of air routes within its State, it is told that in doing so it is breaking all the rules of the game and so must pay the penalty. Aircraft will have to pay landing fees, airstrips will have to be maintained, and subsidies will be denied. The Government is holding a threat over the head of East-West Airlines Limited. If this policy were carried into the wider field of civil aviation, AnsettA.N.A. would fold up to-morrow; it could not live if subsidies were withdrawn from it. Just to show how the press has championed the cause of the people on this occasion, I point out that the Sydney newspaper, the " Daily Mirror "- {: #subdebate-32-0-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-32-0-s3 .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES:
Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs · Kooyong · LP -- I do not propose to devote any time to what has fallen from the honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. Luchetti).** Quite frankly, I have never heard him to worse advantage. Like the legendary tiger he went through a process of lashing himself into a fury with his tail. In the course of doing so, he came out strong - I think that is the phrase - as the champion of private enterprise. This was a magnificent effort on his part, because when his party established Trans-Australia Airlines - I hope that this is not forgotten - it sought legislatively to establish that organization as the one single interstate airline in Australia. To hear people who sought to do that, and were frustrated only by the processes of the law, come out now as champions of free enterprise is really more amusing than unpleasant. The reason why I am taking part in this debate is that there has been an attempt in the last few days to create an air of scandal about something to do with my distinguished colleague, the Minister for Civil Aviation **(Senator Paltridge),** a man - if I might adopt the phrase of the honorable member for Macquarie **(Mr. Luchetti)** - of undoubted integrity, a man whose word cannot be doubted, a public-spirited man. I refrain from running through the whole calendar that he put to us. To-day, I notice that what I might call the juvenile, irresponsible evening newspapers of Sydney have really gone to town about this. There is a crisis! Somebody is going to resign! I do not know whether it is myself- {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- I hope so. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- I know you hope it will be me. The honorable member for East Sydney hopes that I will resign. That is his one chance of getting rid of me. I just want to say this about the matter: What is the allegation? I think it is very important that the people of Australia who happen to be interested in this matter should understand what is the allegation. lt appears to be that the Minister for Civil Aviation tried to persuade, or rather, to order East-West Airlines Limited to accept a take-over offer made by **Mr. Ansett,** or by his company. When? In May, I960. This was an offer which was rejected by the company and which the company protected itself against very shortly thereafter by altering its articles of association to provide that shares could not be transferred except with the approval of the directors themselves. In other words, East-West Airlines Limited had an offer, rejected it, and then took steps under its articles of association to make quite certain that no offer thereafter could be accepted except with the approval of the directors themselves, meaning by that, **Mr. Shand, Mr. Pringle** and these other gentlemen we have been hearing about. All that took place in the middle of 1960. That is the allegation, unless it is alleged - and I should like to hear it if it is - that thereafter the Minister has been putting pressure on them, delivering ultimatums to them to accept offers which have not been made; because, if there is one thing that is clear about this it is that the only offer to take over their company that was ever made was made in May. I960. That was rejected, steps were taken to see that it could not successfully be renewed, and not since then has any offer of a takeover been made to them. I have a very considerable respect for the intelligence of the Minister for Civil Aviation. He is a man with a great record in the administration of this department. He is a man who has done a great deal for civil aviation in Australia, and if I thought that he could be ordering people to accept a non-existent offer made by nonexistent people, I would seriously worry about his state of mind. Yet that is the allegation. If the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard),** who is interjecting, does not mind, this is a very important matter. These charges have been made, I propose to deal with them, and I have made my first point on the matter. The man against whom is made this charge which, on the face of it, is fantastic, as I have just indicated, is now represented as somebody who wants to crush out of existence this airline. I just want to remind the House that this is the man who brought into existence for the first time a system of subsidizing these feeder airlines. But for what **Senator Paltridge** did in his administration, backed by the Government, EastWest Airlines Limited would probably never have made a profit at any time, for its profit, even in the years when it has had a profit, has depended on the subsidy paid by the Commonwealth. I am not quarrelling with that. I thought it was a very wise decision, but it really ought to give people some room for thought to consider that the man who goes to the trouble of devising a system of subsidies to maintain East-Wast Airlines Limited can all of a sudden want to destroy the company. {: .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: -- Ansett gets the bulk of the subsidies. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- There are all sorts of people who run feeder airlines who get the subsidies. I know you do not want me to talk about this matter, but I am talking about East-West Airlines Limited; and EastWest Airlines Limited under his policy not only has received a growing subsidy through the years since 1957 but also has received, on his recommendation, through his instrumentality, more than half of the fleet it possesses, because, in point of fact, of the total fleet of four DC3's and one Fokker Friendship used by East-West Airlines Limited, the company is indebted to the Commonwealth for two DC3's and the one Fokker Friendship. I am not quarrelling with the efficiency of this company. I think it is a very much needed enterprise. I do not argue about these things. I acknowledge them with pleasure; but, of the four DC3's and one Fokker Friendship used by East-West Airlines Limited, it happens to be indebted to the Commonwealth, through the instrumentality of **Senator Paltridge,** the Minister for Civil Aviation, for two DC3's and the one Fokker Friendship - more than half of its operating fleet. So that, in terms of capital equipment, the bulk of what the company has, has been found through him. As for the subsidy it enjoys, it had none until he came along and produced one. That is the short position about the relationship between the Minister and this airline, and it is quite clear that, but for this subsidy payment, this airline would certainly have been unable to pay a dividend on capital at any time. I told the House that the Ansett offer, which was an offer of 56s. a share, was rejected by the company. The company, very naturally, I think, said: " No, we want to stand on our own feet. We have local interests and we are going to preserve them." That, I think, was an admirable point of view. I do not quarrel with it at all. After the offer had been rejected, as I have said, the articles of association were amended to make the renewal of any such offer practically impossible. The next thing that I want to say is this: Early in March this year, the New South Wales Government announced that it was making a review of rural airline services. That meant, of course, that, subject to subsequent negotiation with the Commonwealth, there would be, perhaps, some alteration of routes, some re-allocation of air routes; and, under those circumstances, what happened was that the Director-General of Civil Aviation, **Mr. Anderson,** on 23rd March, 1961, wrote again to **Mr. Shand** setting out the details of East-West Airlines Limited's subsidy for 1960-61 and informing the company that the subsidy contract was being terminated pending the outcome of the review being undertaken by the New South Wales Government. That was an elementary business precaution because the amount of the subsidy would depend entirely on the re-arrangements that were ultimately made. This is said to have been a threat specially directed to East-West Airlines Limited. The fact is that a letter was sent to the Ansett company within two or three days of that advising that company in similar precise terms - that the existing subsidy contract would be terminated and that it would be re-negotiated as soon as possible when the recommendation of the New South Wales Government had been received. So, **Sir, that** is that. We have heard a good deal of allegations about that matter, but those are the simple facts. Having said that, I just want to return to this allegation, which appears to be at the heart, if there is a heart, of this strange series of charges. Following the rejection by the board of East-West Airlines of the Ansett take-over bid in June, 1960, it was quite clear that the issue was dead. But thereafter conversations occurred between the Minister and representatives of the board of East-West. The first of them - indeed, it was the first personal contact that **Senator Paltridge** had had with the board of EastWest Airlines - was in Canberra in about July, 1960. It is a pity to have to go into all this ancient history, because all this has been vamped up towards the end of 1961. It was in July, 1960. On that occasion my colleague, the Minister, saw **Mr. Pringle,** a director - I think vice-chairman of the board - of East- West Airlines. **Mr. Pringle** spoke to him about the Ansett bid and undertook to tell him the reasons, as a matter of interest, why the company had rejected the bid. {: .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr Haylen: -- Ah! {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- It is frightfully funny, is it not? He told the Minister why the company had rejected the bid. The Minister replied, as any Minister would, that consideration of the matter was entirely one for the board and was not one on which the Government could be expected to have a "view. During the course of this meeting, **Sir, Mr. Pringle** indicated that the board did intend to have some further discussions with the Ansett group about a variety of matters, because people who are running airlines of this kind in the same State have a number of matters on which they may wish to arrive at agreement - working arrangements of one kind or another. He asked **Senator Paltridge** whether he could arrange this meeting for him. The senator said that he preferred not to do that, because he did not want to have any part in any negotiations that **Mr. Pringle** might be contemplating with Ansett; that was his business. Nevertheless, **Mr. Pringle** wrote to him in April. I direct particular attention to this because this - let me remind honorable members - is a man writing as acting chairman of directors, a man who is supposed to have been threatened in July that he must get on and he must be taken over by Ansett, although the offer had long since disappeared. This is the man who is a threatened man, and this is his letter - >Firstly, I would like to convey to you our appreciation for the friendly and frank talk we had in your office in Canberra on the occasion when Archie and I visited you. Archie, I think, is **Mr. Smith,** the manager of the airline - >The purpose of my writing you this personal letter is to inform you that 1 am taking my directors for a short holiday to Brampton Island on Sunday, 21st August, 1960, where we will be remaining for a period of seven days, lt has occurred to me that this could provide the ideal opportunity lor a friendly talk with **Mr. Ansett** along the lines mentioned in Canberra. That is about the working arrangement. This is the threatened man! - >It is felt that such a meeting would be the only way in which we could ascertain whether or not there is any chance of this company working out some mutually acceptable agreement with the Ansett group. That is to say, all these arrangements that I was describing - >T do not know **Mr. Ansett** personally and I would, therefore, be most grateful if you could pass this information on to him at an appropriate time. > >Wilh kind personal regards. > >Yours sincerely, I must say, **Sir, that** I have heard that threatened men live a long time, but I have never in my long experience known a man who had been threatened in this fashion, the fashion that is now alleged, write a letter of that kind. The Minister having said, " No, this is not my business ", **Mr. Pringle** himself got directly into touch with **Mr. Walker,** of Ansetts, and his board in fact had some discussion with Ansett officers at this paradisical place - Brampton Island - wherever it is. In March of 1961, that is, about six months after he had seen the directors of East-West Airlines at Brampton Island, Ansett again announced quite flatly that there was no renewal of his take-over bid for East-West Airlines and therefore, **Sir, it** naturally came as some surprise to my colleague, the Minister- {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- What did Dave Drummond say? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- It came as a great surprise to my colleague, the Minister, when **Mr. Shand,** who had seen him at Orange in July of 1961, again raised the question of an Ansett take-over bid. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- But what did Dave Drummond say? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member for Lalor will restrain himself. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: **- Senator Paltridge** told him that he was not aware of any offer. **Mr. Shand** said that he was referring to the offer made a year before. **Senator Paltridge** then told him that if he wanted to try to re-activate the old offer, that was his business and the business of his board, and not the business of the Minister. Then, **Sir, after** this discussion in Orange, **Mr. Shand** wrote a letter to the Minister which is, I think - though not quite as fascinating as the first - not without interest. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- "Dear Shane "! {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- " Dear Shane "-that is how it begins. Wonderful! This is written to a man who had been threatening and bullying and trying to force them out of their property. It is the most ludicrous thing in the world! The letter starts, "Dear Shane ". I pronounce it " Shawn ", but that is a mere technicality - >I have given a lot of thought to the talk we had in Orange. I called at your office when in Canberra last week and found you had departed for South Africa. I hope your trip was as interesting as the one I had there recently. I have been to see Donald Anderson- That is the Director-General, and in all these transactions he is " Dear Donald ". It is all a very happy family business! - >I have been to see Donald Anderson and had a long talk with him . . . > >I now realize tome of the tremendous difficulties that you have to cope with, and hasten to assure you that small as our organization is we want to help the progresive development of this country and not hinder it. > >Your Department, especially yourself and Donald, have done much to help us develop. I do thank you for all your kindness in the past and hope you can spare some of your time to see me in the near future. It is really the most fascinating story of a wicked, bullying, fraudulent, lying Minister - isn't it - that you ever heard in your life! {: .speaker-JSQ} ##### Mr Browne: -- Did he finish with, " Yours faithfully "? {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- No, " Yours sincerely ". {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- What was the date of that letter? {: .speaker-N76} ##### Mr MENZIES: -- The date was 12th July of this year. I do not want to pursue this matter. I set out to deal with the substance and not with some of the frills. The substance of this matter is that it is now said, for reasons that I can only guess at, having regard to the news of the last day or so, that from the middle of 1960 my Minister was putting the heat on, delivering ultimatums, and trying to force East-West Airlines to sell out to a large organization. Let me rehearse the facts just once. An offer was made in 1960 and was rejected out of hand by the board. The articles of association were altered so that no offer could thereafter be made to the shareholders without the approval of the directors themselves. No offer was thereafter made. There were two conferences with these people and each ended up in the writing of letters in friendly terms. Yet on the basis of this flimsy talk that has been going around, I am asked, as the responsible head of the Government, as a man who takes great pride in the loyal service and high integrity of his Ministers, to suspend or dismiss the Minister for Civil Aviation; to appoint a royal commission to investigate charges which in all their nudity can only be described in the way that I have described them. I needed only to state the naked facts to explain to the House, and I think to the people, why I certainly will not dismiss this Minister; why I certainly will not go through all this hocus pocus about appointing a royal commission about nothing. That is my position on this matter. I hope that I have made it clear and not at undue length. I understand that the Minister is, in another place, tabling a mass of correspondence on this matter. Honorable members who want to read it may do so. I have not, of course, undertaken in my limited time of half an hour to cover the whole of this correspondence that has gone on. I am entering into no charges against the honorable member for New England **(Mr. Drummond).** He is entitled to his own views on this matter and I am entitled to mine. And my views on this matter are as clear as crystal. If somebody wants to get rid of **Senator Paltridge** on these flimsy allegations, I invite him to get rid of me at the same time. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Whitlam)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 2474 {:#debate-33} ### RAILWAY AGREEMENT (QUEENSLAND) BILL 1961 {:#subdebate-33-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 19th October (vide page 2255), on motion by **Mr. Menzies** - >That the bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-33-0-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM:
Werriwa **.- Mr. Speaker,** this is one of several bills which the House has dealt with in the last few weeks providing for loans or grants to the States for public works. This bill represents what the Government Whip, the honorable member for Capricornia **(Mr. Pearce),** has aptly described as the " crumbs for Queensland ". 1 propose to compare this bill with the others and to consider the reason for the differentiation between the States or, more precisely, the reason for the discrimination against Queensland in this bill. The Commonwealth makes finance available every year for the Snowy Mountains scheme which will benefit New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, in that order, to an amount greater than the sum total of the assistance to be granted to Queensland under this bill. To-day this House has agreed to legislation which will make available certain sums to rehabilitate coal ports at Newcastle, Port Kembla and Balmain, with the object of promoting coal exports from them. No such provision is being made for Gladstone, the great coal port in Queensland, from which an export income from coal could be readily and promptly achieved. Earlier, of course, the Parliament made provision for ports in the northern part of Western Australia. The Government no longer pretends that ports are solely a State matter. It now acknowledges that under its first legislative power, that concerning trade and commerce wilh other countries and between the States, it is this Parliament's opportunity and obligation to rehabilitate ports but not, **Sir, in** Queensland. This Parliament has provided in times past very large sums of money to set up a new industry in a new era, to wit, the Aluminium Production Corporation Limited plant at Bell Bay, in Tas mania. Admittedly it has since sold the plant to the overseas interests which, very largely, control the production and sale of aluminium from Australia's own and the world's largest deposits of bauxite. So, that investment has been withdrawn from Tasmania. But this Parliament has not set up any similar industry in Queensland, where there are so many raw materials available for secondary industry in a geographic position close to new markets. Again, this Parliament, year in and year out, spends in Queensland a smaller amount per head than it spends elsewhere through its own largest spending department, the Department of Supply. For the financial year before last the Department of Supply spent £768,000 in Queensland out of a total Australian expenditure of £51,159,000. Last financial year it spent in Queensland £795,000 out of an Australian expenditure of £5 1 ,7 1 1 ,000. The Department of Supply also places contracts for other Commonwealth departments. In the financial year before last it placed on their behalf in Queensland contracts for £1,500,000 out of a total for Australia of £29,355,000. The Minister for Supply **(Mr. Hulme)** will not give the comparable figures for this last financial year, on the plea that now they would be misleading. He gave me the figures last year - in fact he volunteered them. My concluding example of discrimination against Queensland is to be found in the current provisions of the Commonwealth Aid Roads Act. It is well known that the arrangements made to cover the quinquennium starting in 1959 will provide a lesser amount per annum for Queensland roads than would have been provided if the arrangements made for the previous quinquennium had been continued. The new disbursement of Commonwealth funds among the States depends as to one-third on the population of a State, one-third on its area and onethird on the number of vehicles in it. These are factors which inevitably operate to the disadvantage of New South Wales and Queensland which are large States and widely settled, although in some parts thinly settled. There are other States which are larger than New South Wales such as South Australia and Western Australia, but they are settled only in the south-eastern and south-western corners. Having shown the general pattern of Commonwealth expenditure in the States and Commonwealth loans or grants to the States, and having illustrated how in every instance there has been discrimination against Queensland, I now want to deal in greater detail with the position of the railways. On the question of financial arrangements for this Mount IsaTownsvilleCollinsville railway there has been controversy from first to last in this Parliament, in the Queensland Parliament and throughout Queensland. It is no wonder that Queensland cannot build or rehabilitate the Mount Isa railway without Commonwealth assistance. There has been no significant railway reconstruction in Australia in the last half century except by the Commonwealth itself or with Commonwealth funds. The transcontinental railways, north-south and east-west have been built by the Commonwealth itself during that time. In the 1920's the Commonwealth provided the funds to build a standardgauge railway to link the New South Wales and Queensland systems by the coast route. In the 1940's it provided the money to increase the gauge of the railway linking the South Australian and Victorian systems via Mount Gambier. In the last three years it has provided the money to build a standard-gauge railway in Victoria between Wodonga and Melbourne, lt is now providing money to build a standard-gauge railway between Kalgoorlie and Kwinana, through Perth and Fremantle. Under this bill it is providing much of the money to rebuild the railway between Mount Isa, Townsville and Collinsville. I have referred only to construction of tracks. No other significant railway construction in the last half century has been carried out without Commonwealth initiative and support. Furthermore, this bill provides for new equipment for the railways, as also does the companion bill which deals with equipment for the Peterborough Division from Port Pirie to Broken Hill in the South Australian railways system and for the Silverton tramway. For the Mount Isa railway, the one covered by this bill, provision is made for up to fifteen locomotives and about 500 wagons. For the Peterborough Division in South Australia provision is made for twelve locomotives and 100 wagons. I want to make one other point on the question of general assistance by the Commonwealth for railways. With regard to the Western Australian and Queensland railways the Commonwealth has shown an interest, or has been responsive, only when large mining companies have been concerned. It took interest in the Mount Isa project when Mount Isa Mines Limited made a proposal for the extension of its plant at Mount Isa. That was in 1956. In Western Australia, the Commonwealth showed interest in the Kalgoorlie to Fremantle and Kwinana line after the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited had shown an interest last year. The discrimination of which I spoke is again highlighted by the fact that in regard to Queensland the Commonwealth took more than five years to achieve agreement, while in Western Australia it achieved the agreement in only one year. Of course, the reason is unquestionably that Queensland has been so politically loyal to this Government that the Government thinks it can take Queenslanders for granted. In Western Australia and the other States the Government is considered on its merits and accordingly is more suspect, and particularly in the last twenty months. I now come to the reasons for differentiating between the Queensland railway and all the others. Honorable members will remember - T will give the details presently - that in relation to this railway the provisions relating to the proportion of assistance being found by the Commonwealth, the period over which the State has to repay the money and the interest that the State will have to pay to the Commonwealth are all less favorable than are provided for the various works in the other States. The excuses have been twofold. The Prime Minister gave the reasons thus last Thursday - . . this is not a standardization work, and so should not attract the same measure of direct support as has been accorded by the Commonwealth to standardization projects. The right honorable gentleman does not say, nor does the Queensland Government, nor does Mount Isa Mines Limited, why it should not be a standardization project. There seems to be no reference in the agreement even to the provision of sleepers which could be readily used for converting the line to standard gauge. Such an arrangement was made in respect of the south-eastern division railways in South Australia, where the railway was built to 5-ft. 3-in. gauge on the State undertaking to reduce it later to the standard gauge at the State's expense. The sleepers were made of appropriate size and are already drilled so that they can be used to reduce the line to standard gauge. {: .speaker-JVQ} ##### Mr Murray: -- The Queensland Government does not want standard gauge on this line. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- I have looked quite closely through all the papers on this matter, and I have not seen any reason given by anybody why it should not be a standardgauge railway. Queensland originally proposed to improve the railway by spending £10,000,000 on it. The Commonwealth later said, " No, make more substantial improvements than that and we will assist you ". It was then agreed that £30,000,000 should be spent on it. I do not know how much more would have had to be spent to make it a standard-gauge railway. I should have thought that once the railway had been taken beyond the Burdekin River there would have been no extra expense involved in providing a standard-gauge railway. However, we have not been told why the standard-gauge line is not being provided. That was one reason given by the Prime Minister. It may be a valid reason or it may not. Then the Prime Minister proceeded - >I might add that this view was strengthened when it was demonstrated by the most expert investigations that the re-vitalized line should have no difficulty in paying its way, including the complete amortization of its capital cost over a period of twenty years, and making a profit. It was a singularly sound economic proposition. Nobody has criticized that analysis of the financial position of the proposed railway. But a similar analysis has been made with regard to all the other railways. Nobody disputes that the Wodonga-Albury and the Kalgoorlie-Kwinana railways will be profitable propositions, and that they will be profitable propositions in twenty years, not in 50 years. I should have thought that the reason given there was no reason at all. We have been assured, and independent investigations have re-assured us in every case, that all the railway propositions, port propositions and road propositions put before the Parliament will, in fact, pay for themselves. So one is left with the solitary reason that this is not a standard-gauge proposal. The first proposal for financing the railway was that an overseas loan should be negotiated. This was a somewhat extraordinary proposition. One could not see why Australia had to borrow money overseas for this railway when Australia has not borrowed money overseas for any other railway this century. It is not as if any equipment whatever had to be imported. We had the materials and the skills with which to build this railway, just as we had the materials and the skills to build from our own resources all the other railways which have been built in Australia in this century. Nevertheless, **Sir, the** scheme miscarried. The overseas loan fell through. I am indebted to the Minister for Works **(Mr. Freeth)** for a summary of the reasons, which he gave in a report to his constituents a few weeks ago. There was an impression that Queensland had not handled its application to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development very skilfully and so that body refused the loan. I suppose that, for the purposes of this bill, one can accept the proposition that the Queensland Country Party-Liberal Government did not handle very skilfully the case which it put to the International Bank. The Queensland Government then called in the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies),** who had experienced a resounding diplomatic defeat over the Suez Canal affair five years, ago. One should, however, give the Queensland Government the benefit of the extenuating circumstances that the right honorable gentleman had not then faced his subsequent resounding defeats at the United Nations a year ago and at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference concerning South Africa earlier this year. {: #subdebate-33-0-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! I suggest that the honorable member relate his remarks to the bill. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- I am doing so, **Sir, The** Prime Minister, in his second-reading speech, referred quite extensively to his negotiations with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and 1 am examining the record of his own application to that bank. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The honorable member has gone a little wide of the bill. {: .speaker-KMB} ##### Mr Opperman: -- The bank was not the Suez Canal bank, though. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- No. The Prime Minister fell in there before he fell in on this occasion. 1 conclude that this was before his diplomatic defeats over the European Common Market were known so widely as they are known now. At any rate, **Sir, for** one reason or another - faulty handling by the Queensland Government or the further diplomatic defeat of the Prime Minister - Australia did not succeed in obtaining from the International Bank a loan for this railway. I come now to the conditions under which the money provided for in this bill is to be made available. This money is described constantly as a loan to the Queensland Government. If it were in truth a loan, the fact that it is not made under the Financial Agreement is surprising. If this were a loan made under the agreement, longer terms would be offered and the Commonwealth itself would have to contribute under the sinking-fund clauses of the agreement. **Mr. Hiley,** the Queensland Treasurer, has asserted in quite colorful terms that this money is a loan and that it comes under the Financial Agreement. If is for this reason that the Prime Minister is at such pains to point out that this money is a grant under section 96 of the Australian Constitution. If, then, this is a grant, one finds differences between the conditions attaching to it and the terms and conditions under which all other grants for railways, roads, ports or industrial enterprises have been made by this Parliament to any other State under section 96 of the Constitution. I shall now compare Commonwealth grants for railway construction and railway equipment. South Australia, as you. **Mr. Speaker,** know, has received from the Commonwealth the whole of the money needed to widen the gauge of the railway from Adelaide to Mount Gambier - £5,136,000. "The State is obliged to pay back 30 per cent, of that amount over 50 years. The average interest payable by the State is *4t* per cent. Secondly, New South Wales and Victoria have received from the Commonwealth the whole of the funds required for the construction of the standardgauge railway from Wodonga to Melbourne - a total of £14,485,000. The two States are obliged between them to pay back 30 per cent, of that amount, and they have 50 years in which to do so. They have to pay interest on it at an average rate of *5k* per cent. Thirdly, Western Australia will receive from the Commonwealth 85 per cent, of the amount required to construct the new standard-gauge railway from Kalgoorlie to Kwinana. The Commonwealth will provide £35.000.000 to .meet the cost of this project. The State will have to pay back 65 per cent, of that sum over an average period of 35 years. Half of it will have to be paid back over 50 years and half of it over twenty years. The average rate of interest which Western Australia will have to pay on those advances is 51 per cent. 1 come now to the terms and conditions on which the Commonwealth is providing funds for the Queensland railway project which we are now considering. The Commonwealth will provide only two-thirds of the amount needed to meet the cost of construction, or £20,000,000, whichever is the lesser amount. The State will have to pay back every penny of the Commonwealth advances. Repayment will have to be made over twenty years, and the State will have to pay interest at 54 per cent. Clearly, then, compared to South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. Queensland will receive less, will have to pay back more, will have less time in which to repay, and will pay interest at a higher rate. {: .speaker-JVQ} ##### Mr Murray: -- These are the terms on which the State Government wanted to borrow from the World Bank, are they not? {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- I shall come to that presently. The difference is in the rate of interest. The other comparison which I wish to make, **Sir, concerns** the conditions on which the Commonwealth has provided funds for railway equipment such as locomotives and wagons. Queensland will receive assistance for that purpose on the same conditions that I have detailed with respect to construction of the proposed railway. South Australia, however, is to receive the whole of the money required for new equipment for the railway in the Peterborough Division of South Australia - the railway between Port Pirie, Cockburn and Broken Hill. The amount to be provided by the Commonwealth is £1,325,000, of which the State will have to pay back only 30 per cent. Repayment will be made over 50 years, and interest will be charged at 5$ per cent. For railway equipment, again, Queensland will receive from the Commonwealth a smaller proportion of the total amount required, it will have to pay back much more, it will have less time in which to make repayments, and it will pay interest at a higher rate. It has been said that the Queensland project concerns a narrow-gauge railway and that, therefore, the project does not deserve the same assistance which the Commonwealth has given to other States for railways which have been built to standard gauge or to broad gauge with an undertaking to reduce them subsequently to standard gauge. In fact, however, the equipment being supplied for South Australia is narrow-gauge equipment which can be converted to standard gauge. True enough, the wagons can be readily converted to standard gauge, but the locomotives are of 900 horsepower and there are no other locomotives of 900 horse-power operating on a standardgauge railway in Australia or, I believe, anywhere in the world. Locomotives of 900 horse-power can be converted from narrow gauge to standard gauge, but they will not be used on the standard gauge. {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes: -- The Victorian broad gauge locomotives were run to Albury on the standard gauge. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- I know, to answer the former Minister of Transport in Victoria, that the diesel locomotives which operate on the Victorian broad gauge were built in Sydney and travelled to Victoria on 4-ft. 8i-in. bogies which were changed at Albury. There is no dispute that standardgauge and broad-gauge equipment is readily interchangeable. Six and a half inches make very little' difference to the stability or the speed of the equipment. But there is a very great difference between standard-gauge equipment and narrow-gauge equipment. A difference of 14± inches greatly affects the power and speed of locomotives. I have been provoked into some detail on this subject because the excuse has been given by a still earlier Minister for Railways in Victoria - the Prime Minister - that Queensland deserves less assistance for her railway construction and her railway equipment, as it is narrow-gauge. I point out that South Australia is receiving much more handsome provision for her narrow-gauge railway equipment than is Queensland, and although the wagons may be convertible the twelve diesel locomotives, while being convertible, will then be useless. I have made some reference to the increase of interest payments. If Queensland had received the money to be made available under this bill at the same interest rate as that at which the money was made available to South Australia for its southeastern division, Queensland would have had to pay back £2,683,300 less over the twenty years of the agreement. I want to go into some more detail about interest. The Prime Minister referred in some detail to this matter of interest, which was first broached in this Parliament by the honorable member for Kennedy **(Mr. Riordan)** on 6th September when he asked the Prime Minister a question as follows - >Two years ago, the right honorable gentleman agreed with the Queensland Premier that Queensland would pay to the Commonwealth interest on the loan for the Mount Isa railway at the rate from time to time determined by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development for new loans of not less than twenty years' currency. I ask the right honorable gentleman: Since the world bank rate of interest is now 6 per cent., will Queensland still be obliged to pay this rate, or will the State Government be permitted to pay the lower rate required of Western Australia under arrangements made within the last month, or the still lower rate required of New South Wales and Victoria under the arrangements made three years ago for the railway from Albury to Melbourne? The Prime Minister replied - >The honorable member will be gratified to know that, the better part of two years ago, at the request of the Queensland Government, we agreed not to apply the ruling rate fixed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and that we fixed a rate of interest in complete agreement with the Queensland Government. I am sorry- Said the right honorable gentleman archly - that the honorable member has not been able to hear of that during the last two years. That is a very clear indication of how faulty the right honorable gentleman's memory is and how partial is his analysis. This arrangement was not made two years ago. It was not made the better part of two years ago. It was made less than one year ago. In his speech last Thursday the right honorable gentleman agreed that the International Bank interest rate was 6 per cent. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt: -- Are you trying to prove that the Commonwealth is making £20,000,000 available to the Queensland Government? That is the main point that has emerged so far. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- Yes, that is a halftruth, and I would understand it coming from the right honorable gentleman. The rest of the sentence would be that this money is made available to the Queensland Government on less advantageous terms than those on which sums have been made available for similar purposes to every other mainland State. {: .speaker-JVQ} ##### Mr Murray: -- The Queensland Government is very happy about it. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- The Queensland " Hansard " does npt seem to indicate that. {: .speaker-JNZ} ##### Mr Bandidt: -- The letter written by the Premier nearly two years ago indicates it. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- I did not want to be distracted from my argument. The Queensland Government's attitude was made very plain in the affirmative replies given by the Premier of Queensland on 30th August last when he was asked the following questions by the Honorable John Duggan, Leader of the Labour Party and of the Opposition in the Queensland Parliament - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. In view of the enlarged major contribution to Australians oversea funds which will result from the reconstruction of the Townsville-Mount Isa railway, primarily through the consequential increased output of minerals from Mount Isa, does he not feel that Queensland should have received much more favorable treatment from the Commonwealth in the provision of finance for the railway? **Mr. Nicklin** answered, "Yes". {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Is not the Commonwealth's attitude towards Queensland niggardly in view of the fact thai seventy per centum of the cost of similar projects in Western Australia and South Australia is being defrayed by the Commonwealth Government? **Mr. Nicklin** answered, " Yes ". {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Has he read the press report stating that the Commonwealth has offered the South Australian Government financial aid of £1.325,000 for the dieselization of the Port Pirie-Broken Hill railway and that South Australia will be required to repay over thirty per centum of the expenditure over a term of fifty years, interest to be at the long-term bond rate? **Mr. Nicklin** answered, " Yes ". {: type="1" start="4"} 0. If so, does he not think South Australia is getting more favorable treatment than Queensland, which has to repay the Mount Isa railway loan in twenty years and, additionally, at a higher interest rate? **Mr. Nicklin** answered, " Yes ". Now, **Sir, to** return to the question of interest. The Prime Minister referred to the 6 per cent, interest charged by the world bank. Now I quote his exact words. He said - . . we subsequently suggested instead that we charge Queensland the average rate of two particular overseas loans then being raised, the full proceeds of which would, with Loan Council approval, be allocated to the Commonwealth, instead of being apportioned between the Commonwealth and the various States in the normal way. The Premier agreed to this, and the necessary Loan Council approval was secured. The average rate of interest on these two loans was 5i per cent, per annum, . . . The two loans referred to were one raised in September last year for £10,900,000, at 5) per cent, interest, and one raised in March this year for £8,900,000, at 5* per cent, interest. Therefore, the Prime Minister's smart reply to the honorable member for Kennedy .was not accurate. {: .speaker-KZ9} ##### Mr Riordan: -- You are correct, because I have here the statement made two years ago and I propose to put it on the record. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- The Prime Minister said that the interest rate was agreed to two years ago. It is quite clear from the facts he gave us last Thursday that the agreement could not have been approved before last March, and honorable members will note that the average interest rate on the two loans to which I have referred is *5i* per cent., and the amount raised is practically the same as is being advanced by the Commonwealth. Honorable members are not unfamiliar with the Prime Minister's special pleading, even at short notice. They saw some of it earlier this evening. One piquant sidelight of this matter is that the Queensland Government in fact has in various trust funds in Commonwealth bonds £21,473,780. It has in Commonwealth bonds a greater amount than it is receiving from the Commonwealth under this bill. It has to pay the Commonwealth 51 per cent. It receives from the Commonwealth an average rate of interest on its investments in Commonwealth bonds of 4 per cent, or, to be exact, £4 Os. 6d. in £100. Therefore, the Queensland Government's investments in Commonwealth bonds have been singularly unfortunate compared with the terms on which the Commonwealth is making a loan to the Queensland Government in this case. I wish to conclude with one more general observation concerning .this railway. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt: -- What was a Labour government prepared to do for Queensland? {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: -- The Chifley Labour Government offered to the Hanlon Labour Government moneys for a Burdekin or any other coastal river scheme in Queensland on the same conditions as the Commonwealth has made money available for the past twelve years for the Snowy Mountains scheme. That means that the Burdekin, the Tully, the Fitzroy or the Herbert could have been conserved and used for irrigation and for hydro-electricity without cost to the State in the same way that the Commonwealth Government has made money available for the Snowy Mountains scheme without cost to the governments of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia whose citizens benefit from it. I am not suggesting that each of these rivers could have been used for irrigation or for hydro-electricity. What I want to make plain is that the Chifley Government made that offer to the Hanlon Government and the incoming Menzies Government cancelled the offer. There is no question of the terms under which a Labour Government would make money available. A Labour government believes that Australia ought to conserve its water resources, particularly in the tropical part of Australia where we are more fortunate in our water resources than we are in the southern part. We believe that in respect of likely projects there ought to be the same thorough investigation as was made into the Snowy Mountains scheme. Then, if the economics of these schemes is established as clearly as it was in advance in respect of the Snowy Mountains scheme, the Commonwealth would offer to carry out the schemes. The Commonwealth cannot carry out these schemes, except in respect of the Northern Territory, unless it has the consent of the State Government concerned. I believe that no State Government would refuse to agree to the Commonwealth carrying out such a scheme. The Commonwealth would provide the money and Australia as a whole would get the dividend. Nobody disputes that the Snowy Mountains scheme has been a good investment. I believe that we should at least investigate the economics of hydro-electricity and general production in the basins of the other rivers in the Australian tropics. You cannot have any of that conservation or irrigation or hydro-electric generation unless the Commonwealth provides the wherewithal in experts and finance. {: .speaker-JVQ} ##### Mr Murray: -- You mean a thorough investigation of the economics of the proposal? {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- Exactly. We should have learned in Australia that there is no purpose in producing something we cannot sell. The Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** has asked me what a Labour government has done or what it would do for Queensland. No government has offered to set up industries in Queensland to use Queensland's mineral resources and Australia's human skills in the way Labour governments in Tasmania and in the Commonwealth set up the aluminium industry at Bell Bay - an industry which was required by Australia and was required in an area where at that time there was no substantial secondary industry. The Commonwealth cannot build a railway in a State without the consent of that State. The Commonwealth can operate and regulate interstate shipping lines and interstate airways and can build interstate roads and regulate interstate road transport but it cannot build a railway in a State without the consent of the State. I regret all the more, therefore, that the Commonwealth did not make it a condition of this grant to Queensland that Queensland would give consent to the construction of any railway between Mount Isa and the Northern Territory border. I am not asserting that a railway would be the best form of transport to increase the cattle output of the Barkly Tableland and to take the cattle to fattening or selling areas. But in case investigation shows that it is an important contribution to such development, the Commonwealth should have safeguarded itself at this stage by getting the State's consent in advance. If the Commonwealth had insisted on that condition, in due course we could have built a tropical transcontinental, provided economic investigation showed that that would be a valuable method of opening up the country in the north. Too much emphasis has been put on the fact that this railway depends on the Mount lsa mines. I am certain, however, that this railway will open up the whole of the Gulf area and the whole of the northern part of the State for many other purposes. {: .speaker-JVQ} ##### Mr Murray: -- Who would you suggest should arbitrate on the economic justification? {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- The Division of Agricultural Economics, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, the meat and other marketing boards, the experts who are employed by Commonwealth, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australian instrumentalities could do it. There are plenty of these experts. They are thwarted because their services are never harnessed. Just as the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority has in fact been financed by the electricity users of Sydney and Melbourne, so the cost of this railway could well have been borne by the mineral users of it. Australia would then have from this railway, as Australia has secured from the Snowy Mountains scheme, a great developmental project for other purposes at no cost. Therefore, 1 regret that the finance for this railway was not made available on the terms for which finance was made available for the Snowy Mountains scheme or at least for any of the other railway projects in Australia. Over its whole history this project will cost the Commonwealth less than the Snowy Mountains scheme will cost the Commonwealth each year for several years to come. {: #subdebate-33-0-s2 .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir WILFRID KENT HUGHES:
Chisholm -- 1 find myself rather in a dilemma because I want to congratulate the Government very warmly on bringing down a bill to do something to improve the railway communications in the north, and at the same time I agree in a great measure with what the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam)** has said with respect to it. I support the bill but I do so with considerable regret, with some sorrow and even more doubt as to whether we are not looking at this in just one small picture. It seems odd to call the Mount Isa mine a small picture, but we are looking at only one aspect of the development of the whole of our north. lt has been said that this railway will be re-vamped because the output of the mine will be increased and the railway will pay because of the extra freight that will be carried over it. 1 do not quarrel with that argument for one moment. But 1 ask very seriously why a 3-ft. 6-in. line is being put in instead of a 4-ft. 8i-in. standard-gauge line. I also ask why the railway is stopping at Mount lsa and not going across the 100-odd miles of very hot, stony, waterless desert to Camooweal. This would provide a link with the Barkly Tablelands and enable the production of beef to be vastly increased because of the provision of a standard-gauge railway with end loading. 1 remember many years ago when I was Minister for Transport in Victoria and therefore a member of the Federal Transport Council that these matters were discussed. I remember the recommendation of **Sir Harold** Clapp and Brigadier Chapman, who were probably two of the best transport experts in Australia. Their recommendation at that time was to put the line through on a standard gauge with end loading. If the Government does not want to take the line past Camooweal at the moment, road feeders could be provided to that point, although 1 think the people would prefer droving rather than roads. They would prefer droving to Camooweal for the simple reason given by the honorable member for McPherson **(Mr. Barnes)** and that is because a fee of £2 per head per 100 miles must be paid for road transport. We have been talking about beef roads, but this problem is a simple matter of economics. If a railway from Townsville to Mount Isa will pay as a result of the increased production of the Mount Isa mine, the railway will pay even more handsomely if it covers the extra stretch to Camooweal and provides belter transport to the Barkly Tablelands and areas of beef production. The honorable member for Herbert **(Mr. Murray)** said that it was of no use always relying on the Channel country for the fattening of cattle. But nothing like the same amount of fattening would be needed if a fast standard-gauge rail service was provided from Camooweal to Townsville. The honorable member for Mcpherson, as I said, explained the costs of road transport and what they meant to beef producers. But if we are honest with ourselves, we will agree that the real reason why this railway is not wanted as a standard-gauge line is because the interests in the Brisbane and Sydney markets and even the Adelaide market still want the beef brought down from the northern areas to the southern markets. This, of course, adds even more to the rapid increase of our capital cities. We should look at this in a much wider sense. Townsville is probably the capital of this area. It has slaughter yards and I have seen areas there that could become fattening paddocks. But fattening would not be needed to the same extent now as it was when drovers brought the cattle across the waterless wastes from Camooweal to Dajarra and then took them to the Channel country for fattening. As was pointed out in the Clapp report, the whole purpose has been to bring the cattle to the Channel country and then to the Brisbane market or sometimes down through Bourke to the Sydney market. It is about time we stopped this. Why are we as the Commonwealth Government not helping to develop new ports around our coast? This seems to me to be in the same category as activities mentioned by the honorable member for Wannon **(Mr. Malcolm Fraser).** He said that Portland in Victoria is prevented from holding wool sales because certain people want the sales still to be held in Melbourne. How will we ever develop this country if we continue with the idea that all roads and all forms of transport must go to the existing capital cities. I know that one reason for making the line from Mount Isa to Townsville a 3-ft. 6-in. line is that Mount Isa must get metallurgical coke from Collinsville and it is wasteful to transfer coke on its journey from Collinsville to Mount Isa. I agree with that. But as it is only 150 miles from Townsville to Bowen and down to Collins ville, why do we not make this line a standard gauge line and cause any necessary transhipment as between Brisbane and Townsville to take place at Bowen? Or on the short stretch between Bowen and Townsville we could do as we are doing between Seymour and Melbourne and put in a third line. This would be a more practical use of the money than merely revamping the 3-ft. 6-in. line. We should not stop at Mount Isa and handle practically only the mining production. We should go one step further and take the line to Camooweal as the basic loading place for the whole of the Barkly Tablelands. One does not need to be an expert in beef cattle to know that even with the road trains young beasts or some of the very old beasts often cannot be taken out. But many more head of cattle could be taken from the tablelands and surrounding areas if good loading facilities and a fast standardgauge rail link to Townsville were provided. It seems to me that we have returned to the old position - take the cattle to the Channel country to fatten and on to the Brisbane market, but do not build up a new port and a new capital in Townsville and the northern areas. This is all wrong. I am sorry that at this stage of our development we cannot look at this project in anything but a piecemeal fashion. {: #subdebate-33-0-s3 .speaker-KZ9} ##### Mr RIORDAN:
Kennedy .- I was very pleased to hear the speech of the honorable member for Chisholm **(Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes),** because I have made a similar speech on numerous occasions. I too believe that this line should be a standardgauge line. Apparently the Government does not believe in standardization. It has no constant policy; it has only a piecemeal policy. We will have a standardgauge railway from Brisbane to Perth; but Brisbane is only half-way between Melbourne and Cairns. Although £30,000,000 will be spent on this railway, it will never be a standard-gauge line; the £30,000,000 will be spent only in reconditioning the old line. I was very pleased to hear the opinions expressed by the honorable member for Chisholm. I would have preferred the railway to be taken to Camooweal. Most of the cattle brought from the Northern Territory are placed in holding paddocks in the vicinity of Camooweal. The cattle are held there for a while and subsequently taken to Mount Isa for shipment by rail. The reason I rise to speak on this measure is that I made a speech about the Mount Isa railway on 30th August last because at that time a very savage debate was taking place in the Queensland Parliament. An attack was being made upon the Country Party-Liberal Party Government there and the upshot of it was that the Premier of Queensland came to Canberra. Because the matter was topical, I referred to it. I do not propose to repeat what I said then, but I do wish to make some comment on a statement made two years ago to-morrow by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies),** and I propose to refer to a letter the Prime Minister sent to **Mr. Nicklin,** the Premier of Queensland, two years ago, and to **Mr. Nicklin's** reply to the Prime Minister two years ago. The reconditioning of this line was first suggested in 1956 when a Labour government was in office in Queensland. Mount Isa Mines Limited had informed the government of what it proposed to do. It was quite obvious from the information given that the existing railway would not be able to cope with the projected increased production at the Mount Isa mines. On the occasion of the general election in 1957, the present Premier of Queensland, **Mr. Nicklin,** a Country Party Premier, said in his policy speech that, if elected, his government would proceed with the reconditioning of that line. The last time I spoke about the matter I mentioned the investigations by representatives of the International Bank. We were ultimately told of how the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** and the Prime Minister endeavoured to arrange finance abroad for the reconditioning of this line. Then, after the International Bank had made its investigations, after the application had been rejected, after the Treasurer and the Prime Minister had failed to interest other financiers abroad in advancing money for the reconditioning of this line, the Prime Minister said, " We will finance it ". In other words, since 1959, Queensland has been given the run-around in connexion with this project. In fact, this Government gives Queensland the run-around in connexion with all propositions related to the development of that State. Notwithstanding the fact that this Government had been procrastinating, Mount Isa Mines Limited pushed on with the proposals for stepping up production from 8,000 tons a day. The present line can cope with 8,000 tons a day, but the ultimate target is 14,000 tons a day and the line cannot cater for that increase. In 1959, the Prime Minister issued a statement relating to the Mount Isa railway. I have a copy of the statement. It makes very interesting reading. In it he said - >We are both- That is, the Queensland and Commonwealth governments - enthusiastic about the project and will do all we can to see it completed as a whole in the interests of both mineral and pastoral development in northern Queensland. They are both enthusiastic! Their enthusiasm must have died just after the Prime Minister made that statement because it has taken two years for any move to be made. The Prime Minister made that statement in August, and he repeated it on 26th October, but with the October statement he also published the letter which he sent to **Mr. Nicklin** on the same date. In the October statement, the Prime Minister said - >To-day I am able to publish a letter from myself to **Mr. Nicklin,** Premier of Queensland, dated 26th October and a reply from him which I have received to-day. Some details will have to be worked out on the official level but they will not, I imagine, create any difficulties. Two years ago! No difficulties! Why the delay? The Prime Minister went on to say - >In effect, therefore, the great problem of the financing of the rehabilitation of the railway from Collinsville to Mount Isa in north Queensland will be solved and a new era of north Queensland development will be opened up. It has taken two years for this new era to be opened. Towards the end of his statement the Prime Minister said - >It will be widely realized that this has been a big decision for us to take. We have taken it because we have a great faith in the future of north Queensland and have felt all along that this railway undertaking is the key which can unlock the door to major development. Two years ago! It has taken a long time to produce the key for unlocking the door to major development. I do not propose to quote the whole of the Prime Minister's statement, but I shall refer to one other section of it. All through the statement, the Prime Minister laid great stress on the question of development. The other passage to which 1 wish to refer reads - > **Mr. Holt,** on his recent journey abroad, conducted wilh the Secretary to the Commonwealth Treasury, **Sir Roland** Wilson, a close examination into all possible sources of special borrowing for the Mount Isa railway, including those which had been suggested from the Queensland end. It turned out there was no immediate prospect of such a loan raising. This was, from our point of view, unfortunate since to obtain the money overseas would have had the dual advantage of strengthening our overseas funds while at the same time helping to finance this great enterprise in Australia. The Government was more concerned about building up overseas funds than about producing the key that would open the door to the development of this great northern part of Australia. All through his statement the Prime Minister lays stress on the development of the north. He made statements such as, " This is the key ", " I would like to see something done about the matter ", and the like. He spoke about how " my colleagues and I have been very interested in this particular project ", but nothing was done for two years. In his letter to **Mr. Nicklin** dated 26th October, the Prime Minister had this to say - >On this, I said in my reply to you that while the more limited proposal was naturally quite unobjectionable from our point of view- The Queensland Government had suggested that if finance could not be obtained it would go on with the section of line between Richmond and Duchess - ] would like to see the whole line done thus- bringing about a development of great importance to Queensland- A development of great importance to Queensland. He is still harping on development. His letter continues - >My colleagues and I have always seen the comprehensive railway project as a means of promoting the immense and varied possibilities of development which undoubtedly exist in northern Queensland. Development! Yet we have two years' delay, two years of waiting for the key to unlock the door to this development. The Prime Minister's letter continues - >We all started thinking and talking about the railway primarily in relation to mining at Mount Isa and, of course, it probably remains true that the prospective mining and smelting expansion of Mount Isa itself constitutes the chief immediate need for the railway work. But, as we know from what you and others have told us, and from our own investigations, the whole of the north-western region is rich in possibilities of other developments, some of them perhaps being likely to materialize in the not far distant future. 1 have therefore come to think of the railway as being vital not only for the Mount Isa expansion itself but for the whole future of northern Queensland. That was what the Prime Minister wrote to Premier Nicklin. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition read a question that I asked the Prime Minister in connexion with the interest rate that would be charged on this advance. I asked the Prime Minister whether it was intended to charge the same rate of interest as was charged by the International Bank. The Prime Minister said that I was two years behind the times. His statement was not true, because the Prime Minister, in his letter to **Mr. Nicklin** dated 26th October, 1959 - two years ago to-morrow - stated - >The same consideration has guided us in determining the matter of interest rates. While it is not easy to find a generally satisfactory criterion for this, we think it fair to propose that the rates of interest the Commonwealth should charge on the advances made from time to time to Queensland should be the same as those currently set by the International Bank for new loans to member countries. You will readily appreciate that the Commonwealth will still have ahead of it the job of raising money for the advances it makes to Queensland. . . . That was two years ago. The rate was to be the same as the International Bank rate, which was 51 per cent, at that time. The other day I raised the question, because the International Bank rate had gone to 6 per cent. Because of the incidents which are associated with the signing of the agreement which is the schedule to this bill, after the coming lo Canberra of the Premier of Queensland and the Queensland Treasurer, the provision of £5,000,000 over five years for roads was announced. The agreement was signed, incidentally, on 21st September, three weeks after the Premier had been here. There must have been some minor details that had yet to bc worked out. It was announced then that an interest rate of 51 per cent, would apply. On 6th September when I asked the question, the Prime Minister might have had under consideration the terms and conditions which he proposed to embody in the contract. One of the reasons that has been given for the delay in bringing this forward is that Mount Isa Mines Limited, a mining company, had been asked to guarantee to pay the rail freights for 29 years. No company, much less a mining company, could give such an undertaking. Rich though Mount Isa is, the ore is in the ground and the price, too, might be below the surface. In other words, the company does not know what the price of the ore will be and it might have to suspend operations if the proposition became uneconomical. How could one expect any company to give an undertaking of that kind? I ask the Government whether the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited was required to give a guarantee with regard to the Kwinana project in Western Australia. Was the Victorian Government required to give a guarantee in relation to the Wodonga-Melbourne standardization project? Queensland was singled out. If it were not for the fact that an election is coming, we would not be receiving the £5,000,000 for roads and we would not have this railway bill before us on the night before the Parliament will rise. It is quite obvious from the statements made by the Prime Minister in his letter to the Premier of Queensland that two years ago all was agreed. Why has there been a delay? What has been the hold up? Questions seeking the reasons for the delay have been asked both in this place and in the Queensland Parliament. The Government said that it tried to raise the money abroad for a dual purpose. It was trying to exploit the people of Queensland and make them pay. The Australian people would get the benefit of portion of the £20,000,000 if it were raised abroad, and the Queensland people would pay for the lot. Queensland has been given a raw deal. It has been wiped off. Only because the political tide is running against the Government in Queensland are these propositions coming before the Parliament in its dying days, in an attempt to get the Queensland people back on side. Another point is that the loan to Queensland is for twenty years, to be repaid with interest. In regard to the Western Australian project, not all of the money has to be repaid because of the element of standardization. This may be one of the reasons why the railway from Townsville to Mount Isa and Camooweal is not to be standardized. If it were, the Commonwealth would have to give the same treatment to Queensland as it is giving to Western Australia. Western Australia is in a much more fortunate position in this regard than Queensland. Being a claimant State, Western Australia can go before the Commonwealth Grants Commission, a body constituted by and under the jurisdiction of this Parliament, and the repayments required under the bill relating to the Western Australian railway project will be provided for by the commission. In effect, the Commonwealth Government will then be paying most of the cost of that line. I refer again to an editorial which appeared on 30th August. I referred to it on the last occasion on which I spoke. It castigated this Government, which had announced, a day or so before, a loan of £1,325,000 to South Australia for the purchase of rolling-stock. I do not want to anticipate the debate on that matter, but much has been said in regard to the subject. Only about 30 per cent, of the expenditure on that rolling-stock will have to be repaid by South Australia. Out of the £20,000,000 to be provided to Queensland, that State has to buy new rolling-stock, including new trucks, and it has to pay for the lot. It is all very well for this Government to talk about the manner in which it is assisting in the development of Queensland. I have said often in this place that Queenslanders are fed to the back teeth with southerners coming up and talking about the potential of Queensland, while Queenslanders come to this place and have treatment of this sort meted out to them. Why talk about the development of north Australia? The Government's road policy is piecemeal. Its rail policy is worse than piecemeal. Standardization of railways will apply only between Brisbane and Perth. Apparently this Government is not concerned with developing the whole of Australia. As I have said previously, it has a Mcpherson Range complex. Queensland has to pay £30,000,000, the total estimated cost of this project. The Commonwealth will find £20,000,000. We know that we are in an era of rising prices, rising wages, and rising costs. Any costs in excess of £30,000,000 will have to be borne by Queensland. The agreement, the schedule to the act, limits this Government's liability to £20,000,000. Is it any wonder that, as late as August, two months ago, the Premier and the Treasurer of Queensland were forced to come here because of the brushoff treatment they had received from this Government. Because of the demand in the State Parliament the Premier and the Treasurer of Queensland left hurriedly to come to Canberra on about the 30th August last to try to speed up the signing of this contract. After all the shilly-shallying, political twaddle and sidestepping that has gone on for two years Queensland has been handed another Cinderella deal by this Government. The Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** admitted the developmental value of this project, but Queensland has to pay for the lot of it. There is no Commonwealth contribution as there is in the other projects in the south to which I have referred. All Queensland is to receive is a £20,000,000 loan, which has to be repaid. {: .speaker-JNZ} ##### Mr Bandidt: -- Read the Queensland Premier's letter about it and see what he thought about it two years ago. {: .speaker-KZ9} ##### Mr RIORDAN: -- There have been two years of muddling while Queensland has been wailing for this assistance. The Prime Minister has spoken of the potentialities of the north. There is an El Dorado of copper, silver, lead, zinc and uranium, all bottled up in the north. Over the last four years this Government has given reasons why somebody else should finance the scheme. The scheme was first suggested in 1 956 and this Government was approached in 1957. The reasons that have been given for the delay show that this Government is more interested in the overseas balances than in the development of Queensland. As the House well knows, there is an industrial dispute at Mount Isa. The Queensland Minister for Railways has announced that as the result of that dispute the railways have been losing £75,000 a week. That is a rate of £4,000,000 per annum! That gives some indication of the earning capacity of this line, so there is no question of Queensland not being able to meet its commitments under the terms and conditions of the loan. 1 turn now to the schedule to the bill. Clause 16(1.) of the agreement reads - >As it has already affirmed that it will do, the State will cause to be undertaken by the engineers an investigation of the efficiency of the organization, operations and methods of the administration of the Northern Division of the Queensland Railways and will request the engineers to submit recommendations for improving efficiency. If that is not a reflection on the efficiency of the Queensland Commissioner of Railways I do not know what it is. A report on this project has been furnished by Ford, Bacon and Davis, but we have not seen the report and we do not know what it contains, except for what we have been told in this place and that has been mighty little. Clause 16(2.) of the agreement states - >Upon receipt of the recommendations in the last preceding sub-clause, the State shall promptly take all reasonable action to put them into effect. The railway men on that northern line apparently knew that a report had been made and they expected a provision such as that to be included in the agreement. 1 looked for it immediately the bill came into my possession, because with the reconstruction of the line and the use of diesel locomotives moving at perhaps twice the cruising speed of the old steam locomotives and pulling at least two or three times as much freight, it is quite possible that Ford, Bacon and Davis Incorporated will recommend that so many sets of running men are sufficient. Thus, quite a number of sets of running men in the railways may become surplus in that division. In other words, this may bc a snide and vicious subterfuge for the purpose of enabling the Queensland Government to sack railwaymen. Why has that clause bien inserted? We have not been told. All we have been told is that the Commonwealth will not make any contribution towards the cost of the railway. I support the bill and I would have supported it more vigorously had it provided for a standard-gauge railway. Like all Queenslanders, I believe that the treatment meted out to Queensland, in comparison with that given to the other States, has been pretty raw. At least it demonstrates that this Government is just not interested in the development of northern Australia or, at all events, the development of north Queensland, if it has to pay for it. The Queensland people will have to pay for all the development in north Queensland because, judging by the bill, the Minister's approach to it and the delay in introducing the measure, is is just an election stunt to try to pick up a few extra votes. {: #subdebate-33-0-s4 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP -- I can understand the honorable member for Kennedy **(Mr. Riordan)** having to work himself into a fury to try to get some enthusiasm for his cause - if he has a cause - because we did not hear him advocate any of these development schemes while there was a Labour government in Queensland. He knows quite well that since the Nicklin coalition Government took office in Queensland it has been progressive in its approach and has instituted much developmental work. Immediately it saw the need for improved railway facilities from Mount Isa to Townsville it got an expert report and put a proposition to the Commonwealth. It asked for £20,000,000 out of the estimated cost of £29,000,000 and the Commonwealth Government finally arranged this. The honorable member knows that during his long term as a member here and during the long run of the Labour Government in Queensland, no such thing ever happened in that State. Now he is trying to work himself into a fury. I was interested to hear the honorable member say that he supports the honorable member for Chisholm **(Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes).** The honorable member for Chisholm made two points. First, he dealt with the railway gauge and then he said he was against bringing cattle down to the capital cities in the south. I do not know whether the honorable member for Kennedy meant that he supported the honorable member for Chisholm on both those points. {: .speaker-KZ9} ##### Mr Riordan: -- I supported him on the continuing of the railway to Camooweal. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN: -- If the honorable member did support the remarks about southern shipment of cattle, then he did not know the geography of his own electorate, because he should know the Mount Isa railway runs into Townsville and that the Mount Isa to Boulia road connects up with the Winton railway which takes you to Townsville or to Rockhampton, according to which line is travelled, and not to the capital cities. If he supports the honorable member for Chisholm, he apparently does not want the cattle to go to the Townsville meat works. As I have said, the honorable member was just working himself up into a state of fury, without any real reason for making his statements. The honorable member said that the Government has no policy. Of course it has a policy. It has a policy of development, and has spent in recent years, or has arranged for the spending in the near future, of £74,000,000 in the north of Australia. This is no mean feat. This is really getting into development. The railway from Townsville to Mount Isa will link up with the road across to the Northern Territory. Honorable members will recall that we have allocated large amounts of money for additional roadworks in the Northern Territory, and these will also link up with roads in the north of Western Australia. Of course, we have a purpose iti everything we do. When honorable members talk about beef going south from the Channel country they simply show that they do not know the geography of Queensland. The Premier of Queensland has set out the priorities established by the Queensland Government. In effect, the Commonwealth Government accepts these priorities. Where it is considered that the priorities laid down by the Queensland Government may not be the most suitable, it has been arranged that the Commonwealth Government and the Queensland Government will negotiate to arrive at a mutually satisfactory arrangement. The Normanton to Julia Creek road, for instance, to which we are committed, and which is mentioned in the beef-roads legislation, is given a certain priority. Does the honorable member suggest that the Georgetown to Mount Surprise road is not developmental and should not have a priority, linking, as it does, with the Hann Highway, and so enabling produce to be taken to the Townsville meatworks? Does the honorable member suggest that the Mount Isa to Boulia road, which will connect with the top end of the Channel country and link up with the railway at Winton, to take goods to Townsville, or through Longreach to Rockhampton, should not be priven priority? Does he deny that this is decentralization in the real sense? Of course he cannot deny it. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- But you are ten years too late! {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN: -- Yes, we are late, because we never before had a Queensland government of this political colour to propose any projects that we could get our teeth into in order to assist Queensland. We never had such a project put forward by the Labour Government of Queensland. It is only since the present Government has been in office in the last three years that these projects have been advanced. The honorable member knows quite well that these works are State responsibilities. I need hardly say that we have no control over the State railway systems. Both the honorable member for Kennedy and the honorable member for Chisholm said they were not happy about the fact that the railway is to be built to the 3-ft. 6-in. gauge. The honorable member for Kennedy referred to the expert advisers who had been appointed. The fact is that those advisers reported against any alteration in the gauge. They said that such an alteration would result in a break of gauge which would be a disadvantage in handling goods coming from the south and iri handling coal going south from Collinsville. I might add that if a standard-gauge railway was built, the Queensland Government would have to find extra rolling-stock for that line alone. It could not be used on the main railway system. The expert consultants also said that there is no advantage in constructing to standard gauge, for it would be premature before the north coast line was constructed to that gauge. They said that the 3-ft. 6-in. line would be quite capable of handling the traffic. They gave pretty sound reasons. Why should you isolate one railway line right up in north Queensland? The honorable member for Kennedy himself said that Cairns is as far from Brisbane as Brisbane is from Melbourne, and all the railways between Cairns and Brisbane are of the 3-ft. 6-i'n. gauge. It would not be even common sense to provide a standard-gauge line, let alone railway sense. I cannot agree with either the honorable member for Kennedy or the honorable member for Chisholm on this point. The honorable member for Kennedy also raised the question of interest. Unfortunately I was otherwise occupied when the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam)** spoke on this matter, but I believe he referred to the question of interest, and it was later referred to again by the honorable member for Kennedy, who said that two years ago the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** had offered assistance at 51 per per cent, interest when the world bank's interest rate was 51 per cent. I can tell the honorable member that the world bank's rate at the time the offer was made by the Prime Minister to the Premier of Queensland was 6 per cent. The offer made to Queensland, and accepted by the Queensland Premier, was on that basis. The Premier had a second thought about the matter. He wrote and asked for further consideration to be given to it, and the Prime Minister agreed to set the interest rate at 51 per cent., although the world bank rate was 6 per cent. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- Too much! {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN: -- That is perhaps a matter of opinion, on which I might even agree with the honorable member for Lalor. However, if that is the basis on which money is lent, and we want the money, we simply have to borrow it on that basis. At least, the Commonwealth Government gave the Queensland Government the advantage of a lower rate. Let me also refer to the charge of delay made by the honorable member for Kennedy. If the honorable member was honest about the matter he would agree that there has been no delay, because Queensland has simply not required this loan money before now. The Queensland Government agreed to find £9,000,000 and the Commonwealth £20,000,000. Queensland has been prepared to spend its own money until now, but it anticipates that it will want some loan money during this financial year. Therefore, it is prepared to sign the agreement and the Budget provision has been made accordingly. It is pleasing to me to know that these moneys are being made available, not only in Queensland but also in other States. [Quorum formed.] I have very little more to say, **Mr. Deputy Speaker.** I merely wanted to reply to some statements that have been made and which I felt were not quite in accordance with the facts. I wish to put the record straight. It is pleasing to me to see this developmental work being undertaken, both by road and by rail. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- It is ten years too late. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN: -- The honorable members says that it is ten years too late. Perhaps it is, but if there had not been such stagnant Labour governments in Quensland for so long these propositions would have been submitted before. This Government has been pretty generous to Queensland. It donated to that State a sum equivalent to the full cost - I think about £350,000 - of the Callide valley road, which was constructed to enable coal to be taken to the coast for export. This Government has now undertaken to provide the money sought by the Queensland Government for the railway that we are at present discussing. Furthermore, this Government is providing £5,000,000 for expenditure on beef roads. There seems to be some misapprehension about the order of priority for those roads. This is a matter which is related to the railway system, because roads such as those feed in to the railways, which then take the stock on to the coast. Some honorable members who talk about roads through the Channel country for the transport of products from the south to that part of the country, and to link up with northern roads, are under a misapprehension. There is no priority for roads through the Channel country, because roads in that part of Queensland are twelve or fifteen feet under water for many miles during the rainy season. I want to put the actual situation on record. The road from Quilpie to Monkira feeds into the heart of the Channel country and has no relation to the northern road. Whether or not that will eventually be built remains to be seen, but there is no real need for it so long as another road is available to get cattle out of the Channel country, which is one of the best fattening areas in the world. Then there is the proposal for the road from Boulia to Mount Isa, which will connect with the railway now under discussion. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- In this instance, the proposal is five years too late. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN: -- I do not know how many times the honorable member needs to be reminded of the failure of Labour in Queensland to do something about these projects. Let me emphasize and re-emphasize that Labour governments in Queensland never proposed a worthwhile project that we could really get our teeth into. I cannot hear all the interjections from honorable members opposite who are interjecting all at once, but I would be delighted to answer them if I could hear them and if you, **Mr. Speaker,** and the Standing Orders, would allow me to do so. This railway proposal that we are now considering will bring results that not only Queensland but the whole of Australia will approve. The honorable member for Kennedy suggested that there was no reason why **Mr Isa** Mines Limited should guarantee a certain level of freight traffic. Why should it not do so. when all the money expended on this railway is being spent very largely for that company's benefit? Of course it ought to be expected to pay reasonable freights for the goods that it transports on the railway. The honorable member said that the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited was not required to give any guarantee in respect of the Western Australian railway proposal, which he described as a parallel case. But 9t is not a parallel case, **Sir. We** would not undertake the Western Australian .railway project without an appropriate guarantee as to realization from funds lo be invested. The honorable member for Kennedy did not seem to have any of his facts straight. It comes down to what I said at the outset: He was beating the air and trying to find something to say in order to cover up the fact that he has not been a very good advocate for the electorate that he represents. {: #subdebate-33-0-s5 .speaker-JZP} ##### Mr FULTON:
Leichhardt **.- Mr. Speaker,** for very obvious reasons, we on this side of the House are not opposed to the bill, but I think that certain aspects of the Mount Isa railway project ought to be aired. I wish to deal with three matters - the financing of the project, the use of overseas engineers to design and supervise the work and the methods so far adopted by the firm of consulting engineers in their investigations to the detriment of Queensland. Before I do so, however, I wish to deal with some of the remarks just made by the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann).** He said that Labour governments in Queensland would not consider the present railway proposal, and that no Queensland government gave it any attention until the present Government of that State took office. That is not correct, and it is not in accord with the statement by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** that the proposal was submitted to the Commonwealth Government by a Queensland government four or five years ago. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann: -- I do not recollect that hepenning {: .speaker-JZP} ##### Mr FULTON: -- The honorable member may not recollect it, but 1 remind him of it. A former Queensland government submitted to the Commonwealth Government a proposal for the reconstruction of the Mount Isa railway. {: .speaker-KCB} ##### Mr Davies: -- It was a Labour government. {: .speaker-JZP} ##### Mr FULTON: -- It was a Labour government. That government submitted the proposal to the Commonwealth Government, which refused to consider it. The same proposal was submitted again after the change of government in Queensland, and it has now come before this Parliament. Honorable members who recall the facts correctly will remember that the present Queensland Government went all over the world cap in hand in an attempt to get the money needed to finance the work on this railway from Mount Isa through Townsville to Collinsville. I mentioned this fact once before in this House, and the Minister for Supply **(Mr. Hulme)** said that I was wrong. I have since checked on the matter again and I find that what I have said is correct. The Queensland Government tried everywhere to get this money before the Commonwealth Government said that it would finance the project. I do not know where the £20,000,000 required is to come from. 1 do not know whether it is to come from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, from funds provided by a bank or from some other funds. The Queensland Government will be charged interest at the rate of *5i* per cent., and it will have to pay back every penny of the amount provided by the Commonwealth. This money is not a grant, or anything of the kind. Cast your mind back, **Sir, to** the .time when the present Queensland Government took office. It applied to the Commonwealth to make Queensland a mendicant State, lt wanted to take advantage of the Commonwealth Grants Commission. However, the Prime Minister talked that Government out of the idea by saying that it would not gain anything. As a consequence, Queensland has been unable to get a grant from the Commonwealth for the proposed work on the Mount Isa railway. The whole of the £20,000,000 will have to be paid back at 51 per cent. This Government could at least have granted an amount equivalent to the total amount of interest that will be paid at the rate of 5) per cent. That is the least that it could have done. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann: -- The interest rate is 51 per cent. {: .speaker-JZP} ##### Mr FULTON: -- I stand corrected- 51 per cent. I thought the rate was *5i* per cent. This Government refuses to give the Queensland Government a grant and to treat Queensland in the same way that it has treated other States with respect to financing railway projects. Although this project merely entails the reconstruction of an existing railway, it is a project that will promote production. The existing line has not the capacity to cope with the carriage of ore from Mount Isa to Townsville for the refining of copper or with the carriage of coal from Collinsville to Townsville. Therefore, the line has to be reconstructed. As I have said, the Queensland Government will have to repay the whole of the £20,000,000 and also will pay interest at the rate of 51 per cent. Where it will obtain the money to make the repayments, I do not know. Perhaps it will have to obtain it from loan funds. This would be detrimental to an undeveloped State like Queensland, because a large proportion of its loan funds would then not be available for amenities such as hospitals and schools, which could not be financed out of other moneys. {: .speaker-JNZ} ##### Mr Bandidt: -- What about the profits from the operation of the railway? {: .speaker-JZP} ##### Mr FULTON: -- They are problematical, are they not? It all depends on the market for the ore. The whole of the people of Queensland are despondent about the treatment that Queensland has received from this Government, as evidenced by the financial arrangements for this project. No grant is to be made, and no allowance is to be made for the acquisition of rollingstock and the like. I turn now to the employment of overseas engineers to design and supervise the work. This represents a slap in the face for the engineering profession in Australia. This project is not a difficult job. Many more difficult jobs have been undertaken in Australia by our own engineers. The design and supervision, as well as the actual construction work, for many other railway lines in Australia have been undertaken by our own engineers. I think it is a shame for this Government to condone the apathetic attitude towards the engineering profession in Australia that is evinced by the present Queensland Government. Australian engineers, as 1 said, could have done as good a job as overseas engineers can do. What was behind the decision to have people from overseas to do this job? Was it so that more sympathetic consideration would be forthcoming in relation to the international loan to finance the construction of the line? Was it essential to have overseas engineers? I do not think so, because the line presents no engineering difficulties. Australian engineers should have been employed on this Australian project. While the international consultants were here looking into the prospects regarding this line they also reported on the economics of Queensland's railways generally. Some of the recommendations in their report have already been implemented, and lines into outback areas which were not paying have been ripped up and sold for scrap. Is that the proper attitude when we are crying out for development and want people to go to the rural areas? These lines have been ripped up without any alternative provision for roads to replace them having been made. This is being done in areas which are already badly served in relation to other facilities like schools, hospitals and medical services. What is going to happen in relation to the report, which I have not yet seen and which I do not think anybody in this House has yet seen, which recommends that the Queensland Government close its railway workshops on the east coast? What is going to happen to the development of this country if people from outside are allowed to tell us that we can make more profit on centralizing such activities? Any fool could tell us that. It does not take an expert to know that if work can be confined to a certain area the cost of carrying it out will be less. But what about development, and what about the decentralization we are always taking about here but doing practically nothing about? Centralization, with more profits, and not decentralization seems to be the order of the day. One project or activity cannot be divorced from another. If wo are determined to develop this country's great natural resources, even if we lose money in the first instance, we have to get on with the job. looking at the picture as a whole, because in the long run we will benefit. It is a poor state of affairs when outsiders make recommendations - which are accepted - that are contrary to the overall interests of our development. We should have before us the report on the Mount Isa line so that we can judge the capacity of those people from overseas, who call themselves experts, who have recommended, certain action which this Government will finance. Some of the lines that have been ripped up and sold as scrap, as has been done on the Mount Mulligan coalfields, will never be replaced. The same will happen in relation to the workshops. It has already been stated that the Maryborough and Bundaberg workshops will be closed down and work will be concentrated in Brisbane and Rockhampton. I should like to see the report of this whole project made by Ford, Bacon and Davis Incorporated tabled in the House, so that we can decide whether they have taken a proper view of the whole situation as it affects our development and understand what this line is going to mean to Australia. The Government should have a knowledge of the report of those people to satisfy itself that they are imbued with the right spirit in regard the whole of the implications of the project. The project cannot be considered on its own. It must be considered in relation to development as a whole. We have a magnificent and lovely country endowed with great natural resources and we are cruelling it by trying to make everything pay to-day. That is pot the right way to go about things. Australia has a tremendous potential. I hate that word because it has been bandied round so much, but it is the correct word in this instance. What are we doing with those resources? To develop this country we have to take a broader outlook than is being taken at present. When a project is put to this Government the first question it asks is, " Will it pay?" The Government does not think of to-morrow, but we have a duty to the people who will come after us. We have a heritage to develop, not for ourselves but for future generations. On the matter of the gauge of this line I think some consideration should have been given to the possibility of its standardization in the future. The Government should have made enough money available to enable that to be taken into account. I do not say that the gauge should be standardized immediately, because the line would not link up with any other standard-gauge system, but there should have been some thought of the future. Why was the Government not generous enough to take this attitude? I believe that far too narrow a view is taken of such projects. Every project put before this Parliament is too narrow in concept. We are not looking ahead. We are supposed to be statesmen, people looking to the future and not confining ourselves to narrow projects designed only for to-day. Incidentally, it has been said that the last administration in Queensland was decadent and did not put any good propositions to the Commonwealth. I deny that, because every project put to the Commonwealth by the Queensland Labour Government was met by the attitude that the project was parochial and could not be considered. If two States had been concerned that would have been different. Let us cut Queensland in halves so that we shall have two States - Queensland and north Queensland - and then various projects will have an interstate character which should attract Commonwealth assistance. I must admit that the attitude I have referred to was taken by the previous government as well as the present Government. Every project for the development of Queensland such as the Tully Falls and the Tinaroo schemes has been financed by the Queensland Government. Not one penny has been granted by the Commonwealth Government. That is why I wish to refer to the grant for beef roads. It is all very well to provide £5,000,000 for those roads but I suspect that this grant has been made to cover up past misdemeanours of the Commonwealth in respect of Queensland. The electrification of Queensland has been done by the Queensland Government on loan money and it is a very efficient system. The Tully Falls scheme is supplying or will supply Townsville and the area to the north of it. Honorable members must remember that Queensland has earned more money overseas than has any other State by the export of its sugar, dairy products and other primary products. This Government has not fully examined every aspect of the Mount Isa mines. It has taken every opportunity to offer objections rather than help the mine. The decision to employ overseas consulting engineers to supervise and construct the line is a slap in the face for Australians. The project is not a difficult one. Any engineering firm in Australia could have coped with it just as capably as any overseas firm and with a better spirit. That is the main objection I have to more sympathetic consideration of this project. {: #subdebate-33-0-s6 .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH:
Mackellar -- In supporting this bill, I want to make a few brief, constructive remarks. I listened carefully to the honorable member for Chisholm **(Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes)** and other members advocating a standard gauge for this line. Our committee on railway gauges some years ago looked at this proposal in detail. We did not think then that a standard gauge line was justified for the reasons given by the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** and others in this House. We felt at that time - and I think I would still feel - that the confusion arising from a double gauge would outweigh the benefits of a standard gauge. Having said that, let me say also that we did not think that the door should be closed to future standardization of this line. It may well be in the future that the situation in Queensland or elsewhere may change, though we must remember that anything done in regard to a Queensland railway would have to have the consent and approval of the Queensland Government. For this reason we felt that at this time when the line is being re-constructed, a comparatively small amount of extra money should be expended in bringing the alinement of the line up to standard gauge requirements, giving the necessary clearance of structures and ground obstacles, giving the necessary clearance for shunting, for parallel lines and things of that nature and seeing that the curves, both horizontal and vertical, conformed with the requirements of the standard gauge. That would be a comparatively cheap operation at this time if it were done when the line was re-constructed, lt would be quite an expensive operation if it had to be done later. For this reason, we believed then - and I still believe - that the actual permanent way but not the rails should be constructed to standard gauge specification. I feel it would be a good thing if we added to this bill a provision that the extra cost of bringing the alinement up to standard gauge should be a charge on the Commonwealth Government. I believe that this is the correct thing to do. I do not think that we would be justified in standardizing the line now. That brings me to one small point regarding the length of the sleepers to be put in the line. Here we felt that there was some justification, at least over the bad country - the black soil country - for putting in the longer sleeper where the length of the sleeper would give some added stability to the track and it would not be entirely wasted. In general, however, we felt that that would have to be determined according to whether or not wooden sleepers were chosen. If wooden sleepers were chosen, we felt that perhaps the extra outlay - except for the black soil section I have mentioned - might not be justified, but if concrete or steel sleepers with longer life were to be used, we felt that the sleepers should be of standard gauge length from the outset. It may well be that if we lay a 3-ft. 6-in. track now we can put in a third rail in later by the technique which I think is tolerably established, but which we have perhaps been inclined to dismiss too summarily. Then, in future, trains of both gauges could run over the same line. But the key to it is that the alinement as now constructed should be of standard gauge specification, and I feel that the Commonwealth Government might well undertake the very small extra cost of doing this now and at the time the track is constructed. So much for gauges. Now let me say something about the route. I want to make one point. Honorable members will remember that the line, after leaving Cloncurry, sweeps south through Duchess and then makes a right hand turn to Mount Isa. If the line went across country direct past Mary Kathleen something like 50 to 60 miles would be cut off the length of the route from Mount Isa to Townsville. This is a matter of detailed surveys. I have had an opportunity to look at aerial photographs and to go over the ground and also to fly over it. I made a special inspection of this. Of course, you cannot be certain until a survey is made but I would think from looking at it that it would be well worthwhile to cut straight across and save this 50 or 60 miles. I say this because I believe that what the Prime Minister said is true and (hat Mount Isa is one of the really great mineral deposits in the world. If Mount Tsa were to be carrying, say, only 800,000 tons a year over the line I would not be thinking in the terms of the line of the more direct line. But if Mount lsa in the near future - a decade or two - were to carry 3,000,000 or 4,000,000 tons over the line, then it would be economically absurd, with the high density of traffic, to go all the way round. I believe that over this short section we should adopt the direct line if a survey, which has not yet, I understand, been carried out in detail, proves that this is practicable. The mathematics of this are very simple. Suppose the line carries in both directions together 4,000,000 tons a year. At Id. a ton mile, this means a saving of 4,000,000 pence or about £16,000 for every mile the line is shortened. It is not justified, of course, to change the route if we think of Mount Isa only as it is now, but if we think of Mount Isa as the Prime Minister described it, which I believe is right, as one of the really great metal deposits of the world, then we should be seeking now to have the direct line. This involves a small bridge over the headwaters of the Leichhardt River - I know that terrain - but it does not seem to me that there is any very great physical obstacle. So much for the question of the route. Now let me come to the question of the terminal, which several honorable members have mentioned. It has been suggested, for instance, that the line could be carried through to Camooweal, with the idea of extending it further at some later date. Let me compromise here and make this suggestion: As honorable members who have been in the area know, there is a further deposit at what I think is called the 12-mile, just out from Mount Isa along the road to Camooweal. The line will have to be extended as far as this point in the near future anyway. I suggest very seriously to the Government that we should be thinking of extending the line at least a few miles past Mount Isa in the direction of the new mine. That extension of the line can never be wasted. We should locate on it a proper cattle transfer point with resting paddocks and water and other facilities. As far as I know, there is not in Australia at present a properly designed cattle transfer point. I have not been to Mount Isa for a couple of years. {: .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr Hasluck: -- Have you been to Marree? {: .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH: -- Yes, I have been to Marree. When I was at Mount Isa a couple of years ago, the cattle transfer facilities were right in the middle of the town. They were quite scandalous and were making a mess of the town. They also added tremendous costs to the handling of the beasts which came in sometimes on the hoof and sometimes on the bitumen. As honorable members are well aware, the bitumen stretches west from Mount Isa across the Barkly Tableland to Tennant Creek. We should be using that bitumen. It has been said, and I think said rightly, that we might go a little further and extend the railway into what is known as the soft country, where the more recent sediments overlie the hard rocks. Cattlemen find that the hard rocks around Mount Isa, which are very steeply tilted and very sharp, tend to bruise the hoofs of beasts that are not accustomed to that kind of country. Even droving over a short stretch of this hard country may be very difficult for cattle that have been brought up on the softer plains, on the limestone country and on the more recent sediments. There is perhaps a reason to go even a few miles past the 12-mile to establish the cattle transfer point. This is a practical question. I do not pretend to know the details of it, but I think it is worth real and serious consideration. So much for the terminal. Finally, I want to say something about the running of the line. In the past, many of the difficulties of transport to Mount Isa have been due not merely to the inefficient railway line, although some were inevitably due to this cause, but also to the inefficient way in which the railway was run. We had mixed trains instead of whole trains, and the concentrates trains were mixed up with goods trains. I know that in the past two or three years under the new administration this situation has been very much improved. I know that the line is now being operated in a very much more economical way than it has ever been operated before. However, if we are to have the full benefits of a railway system, it must be not only good in itself with good rolling-stock and locomotives' but it must also be operated in a sensible way. This means a plan must be arrived at between the railway authorities and those who use the railway, whether they be the mine or the owners of live-stock. There are many other points on which I would have liked to have touched to-night. I would have liked to have mentioned the possible development around Lawn Hill and of the Constance Range iron deposits. I would have liked to have mentioned the possible establishment of a major port in the Gulf. However, I think these are not matters proper to be brought forward at this late hour and I hope, if the electors are kind enough to return me to the Parliament at the forthcoming election, I will be able to touch on these matters at some later stage. {: #subdebate-33-0-s7 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor .- Like other Opposition members, I support the bill. However, I cannot refrain from uttering what I consider is relevant criticism. In the early stages of the proposal to build a railway from Collinsville through Townsville to Mount Isa, the Commonwealth Government, at the request of the Queensland Government, I understand, suggested that the necessary finance should be raised through the International Bank. At that time, I found it very difficult to discover an adequate reason for this. Practically the whole of the labour requirements, the material requirements, the engineering skill and the equipment for the construction of the line would be of Australian origin. I could not understand in this situation why it was necessary to approach the International Bank to borrow dollar currency to pay for this work. I could well understand why dollars, sterling or other foreign currency should be borrowed for capital work which involved the import of vast generators, vast quantities of rails and vast numbers of people from foreign countries for the labour force, but I could not understand why, for a comparatively simple engineering project, this country should plunge itself into debt to overseas interests. I sought to learn the reasons. It appeared to me that if we borrowed the equivalent of £20,000,000 Australian, which would mean a credit with the Commonwealth Bank or other banking organizations of 40.000,000 American dollars, in round figures, importers of dollar goods could draw upon these funds for the import of unessential and unnecessary products. I refer to minx coats and luxuries of that kind. But the International Bank was awake to the attitude of the Menzies Government, and, in its wisdom - I think it was wisdom - it rejected the application of the Menzies Government to finance this project with foreign currency obtained by way of loan from the International Bank. As a result, we now have before us a proposition relating to an agreement between the Commonwealth and the State of Queensland under which the Commonwealth of Australia agrees to make available to the Government of Queensland the sum of £20,000,000 Australian for the rebuilding of 600 miles of railway line from Collinsville, via Townsville, to Mount Isa. Why was not that proposition put up in the first instance? Is not Australian currency adequate and suitable to pay for all the labour, all the steel rails from the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, all the engineering equipment required, and all the other components involved in the carrying out of this great engineering project? The end result of all this manoeuvring is that this Government stands condemned for endeavouring to borrow foreign currency and to plunge us into debt overseas, for it is quite obvious that it is now found possible to finance this project from our own monetary resources. In offering my second criticism of the proposal, I agree with the views expressed by the honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth).** I do agree with him sometimes. Why in the name of all that is commonsense, should this railway be built of a narrower gauge than 4 ft. *Si* in.? In the initial stages of any railway project, it is infinitely easier, according to all accepted up-to-date railway construction practices in Australia, to build a 4-ft. 81-in. gauge line than it is to construct a 3-ft. 6-in. gauge line. I repeat that I agree with the honorable member for Mackellar in his criticism of the proposal on that score. The next criticism I have to offer is that I find on perusing the Schedule to the bill that the Commonwealth proposes to enter into an agreement with the State of Queensland under which the State commits itself to engage and pay a foreign engineering company for designing and supervising the carrying out of the project. 1 point out to honorable members that the Schedule provides that - " the engineers " means Ford, Bacon & Davis, Incorporated, a corporation of the State of New Jersey in the United Slates of America. **Mr. Speaker,** for over 100 years the State governments have been building railways all over Australia, through difficult country, through tunnels in mountains, over mountains and over plains, and the engineers who were responsible for designing and supervising the construction of those lines were all Australians. Now, at this stage of our development, Australia is committed to the payment of foreign currency - dollars - to a foreign engineering company, and this at a time when Australia is in difficulty with her balance of payments! After all, the reconstruction of 600 miles of railway line from Townsville to Mount Isa is a comparatively easy engineering task; yet this agreement commits us to engaging and paying a foreign engineering company to carry out the work. Let me emphasize that I make no reflection on the engineering company concerned. I am merely criticizing the Government for the fact that it is committing Australia to the payment of dollars for work which could be done by Australian engineers. I emphasize that we are committed to paying dollars to a foreign engineering firm for the comparatively easy engineering task of reconstructing this line over sandy plains, over hills and over country which I have been told has a particularly spewy component in that it contracts, expands and does all sorts of peculiar things. Will anybody in this Parliament tell me that all the difficulties associated with these soil peculiarities have not been competently overcome by Australian engineers in the past? Are we forever to sell completely to foreign people the inherent human rights and privileges of Australians because of the incompetence of a tory government in Queensland and a tory government in the Commonwealth sphere? Will anybody tell me that such great works as the Murrumbidgee Dam, the Hume Weir and Eildon Weir are any the worse because they were designed and constructed by Australian engineers employed by the various State departments in Australia? Why must we resort to the importation of engineers from overseas? Why must we commit ourselves to the dissipation of the earnings of the people of Australia in this way? Nowhere in this bill may be found details of the agreement entered into between Ford, Bacon and Davis, Incorporated, a corporation of the State of New Jersey, in the United States of America, and the State of Queensland. Have we ever had any great dam disaster in Australia? Has there ever been any serious mishap associated with the construction of any great engineering work in Australia? Have we ever had in Australia any major disaster due to the failure of the railway lines constructed under the supervision of Australian engineers? The history of railway disasters in the United States of America on lines the construction of which was supervised by engineers who have no experience of railway construction in Australia does not convince us that our engineers are in any way inferior to American engineers. Here we have had no great railway disasters. Yet this Parliament is asked to agree to the payment of foreign currency to foreign engineers for the carrying out of a project which decent, competent Australian engineers could carry out at least as efficiently, if not more efficiently. I repeat, there is no word in the agreement of the basis upon which payment is to be made to Ford, Bacon and Davis Incorporated. {: .speaker-JTP} ##### Mr Bury: -- Do you think the Queensland Railways have nothing to learn? {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- Fancy a supporter of the Menzies Government asking such a stupid question! The simple answer is that no human being and no public instrumentality has not something to learn. I say to the honorable member that no engineers anywhere in the world have a prouder record of success than Australian engineers, and I mention the Sydney Harbour Bridge as an example of the great work they have done. Let me return to the pertinent point. This House has been refused access to the terms of the agreement entered into between Ford, Bacon and Davis Incorporated' of America and the State of Queensland. If I know anything about the matter, I would say that a public scandal is involved in the terms of that agreement. Honorable members on the Government side may laugh, but I challenge them on that point. If the terms of the agreement are not available to the people of Queensland and indeed to the people of Australia who, through this Government, are backing this project, there must be something fishy about it. Let me suggest in all seriousness that if the agreement is made available we shall find that it provides for a lump sum payment of some hundreds of thousand's of pounds and in addition the payment of a percentage of the total cost of the works, which means that the more the project costs the more these people will get. Yet this Parliament will blindly endorse this rotten agreement. Honorable members opposite laugh, but I know that this sort of thing operated in Victoria 30 years ago, when I exposed it. The circumstances were that the Country Roads Board took over the construction of roads from country municipalities, and the local shire engineers, without doing anything towards the work, received a percentage payment on the capital cost of the work within the municipalities and sucked the State and the municipalities dry. Subject to the revealing of the terms and conditions of the contract, it is my opinion that a similar state of affairs is in al) probability involved in this contract. So it is in the interests of Ford, Bacon and Davis Incorporated, to make the job as expensive as it can possibly be made. Until such time as this Government and the Queensland Government have the guts to reveal the terms of the contract, my charge stands good. I indict this Government for its failure to appreciate its own engineers, who stand dominant and paramount in the history of 100 years of railway construction. The soundness of their designs, and the safety of the railways they have built, give them a record second to none in the world. From time to time we read of disasters on American railways and the failure of dam walls, all built by private enterprise companies, on contract, under the supervision of their own engineers. No such record exists anywhere in Australia. The Labour Opposition supports the bill because it believes that the railway is necessary to tap the mineral wealth of Queensland and to bring the cattle wealth to the ports, but we severely criticize the terms of the agreement and wicked features associated with the re-building of this line and, in particular, the initial proposals that this Government made for financing the line. It is clear that at first we were to borrow dollars. Now we find that from our own financial resources, our own labour, our own steel mills, our own machinery manufacturers, we can provide everything that is necessary and that we do not any longer need to borrow from overseas money to reconstruct this railway. I offer that criticism. I support to the full the criticism by the honorable member for Mackellar that at this stage of Australian railway development it is a scandal that we should adopt a proposal to strengthen an existing 3-ft. 6-in. gauge railway instead of providing a railway of the standard gauge of 4 ft. Si in. {: #subdebate-33-0-s8 .speaker-JNZ} ##### Mr BANDIDT:
Wide Bay .- In this debate members of the Opposition have tried to tear a passion to tatters, whilst at the same time supporting the bill. Let us consider for a moment what the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** has said regarding a standard-gauge railway. It has already been stated in this House that the matter has been considered and that the investigating engineers advised against a 4-ft. 8i-in. gauge line. Let me mention one other matter to honorable members. We have about 900 miles of 3-ft. 6-in. railway from Brisbane to Townsville. If a standard-gauge line were built, we would have 600 miles of it from Townsville to Mount Isa. At certain times of the year, most of the cattle wagons in Queensland are used on the Mount lsa line. That means that if there were a standard-gauge line from Mount Isa to Townsville, with a narrow-gauge line retained from Townsville to Brisbane, somebody would have to supply nearly twice as many railway cattle trucks as are now in Queensland, because the standard-gauge railway cattle wagon could not be used on the narrow-gauge line. That would immediately create the necessity for a very large bill for extra cattle wagons on the standard-gauge line from Townsville to Mount Isa. Then, we would have to decide how much further we would carry the standard-gauge line, because it would be necessary to get coal back to Mount lsa after bringing from Mount Isa metals, cattle or whatever the case may be. At any rate, the fact is that it was decided to build a narrow-gauge line. I am indebted to the honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth)** for saying that that was decided by the committee that investigated the question. So the committee that investigated the matter for this Parliament has on its side the engineers who also investigated the matter. Claims were made by various honorable members of the Opposition that discrimination was being shown against Queensland. There were expressions of regret by one honorable member that the terms of the deal for this line were not the same as those of the Snowy Mountains scheme. I am not too sure what the honorable member meant by the terms of the Snowy scheme. Briefly, the Snowy scheme arranges that as units come into operation they are financed from the sales of electrical energy. Then, over a period of 70 years, the electrical energy that is sold repays the cost, plus interest. I do not know how provision could be made for a loan for this railway line on the same terms. I take it that the honorable member meant that the loan would be for a period of 70 years. Other suggestions have been made to the effect that not enough is being done for Queensland. As a Queenslander, I believe that we should receive every possible assistance financially for the development of Queensland. But at least it is significant that, according to the recent census, the increase in population in Townsville, Rockhampton, Toowoomba, Mount Isa and various other towns in Queensland has been greater than the increase in population in any town in the southern States outside the metropolitan areas. Surely somebody must be doing something in the north and other parts of Queensland to attract people to them. Of course, there has been quite an increase since the present Queensland Government came into power a little over four years ago. It has certainly moved in the north. At the present time, cattle are moving freely into Mareeba over roads built by the present Country Party-Liberal Government in Queensland, whereas previously the cattle had to be walked in. Until four years ago, Labour had been in power in Queensland for nearly 40 years, apart, of course, from three years in the depression period between 1929 and 1932. For nearly 40 years, Queensland was recognized to be stagnating. It was not entirely the fault of the Labour Government as a Labour government, because it had certain difficulties, but the Labour Government was responsible to the extent that it imposed a much higher company tax than was levied by other States. And it did charge individuals a great deal more in income tax. The result was that when companies had the choice of setting up business in Queensland or in a southern State, they chose the southern State because company taxation was higher in Queensland. A lot of individual businessmen were also inclined to go south, because they paid less income tax there. Let me point out that since the advent of uniform taxation- {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- So you agree with uniform taxation? {: .speaker-JNZ} ##### Mr BANDIDT: -- I do not propose to comment on the merits or otherwise of uniform taxation, but I think it is only fair to say that under the present Commonwealth Government, Queensland's position is quite different from what it was. Income tax paid to-day by Victorians, for example, is about £10 a head more than that paid by Queenslanders, and the financial assistance grants made by the Commonwealth to Queensland are more than £4 a head of population higher than the grants to Victoria. In other words, Queenslanders to-day are about £14 a head better off than Victorians. Years ago the position was the reverse because Queenslanders had to pay a great deal more per head in income tax than Victorians did. Let us at least be fair to the Commonwealth Government and acknowledge that although we would like it to advance much more money to Queensland - I propose to ask for a great deal more in the future if I have an opportunity to do so - at least we are receiving substantial assistance under this bill. One member of the Opposition stated that the Commonwealth was favoring Western Australia more than Queensland and that it was doing so because its electoral support is poorer in Western Australia than in Queensland. {: .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr Peters: -- That is not right. {: .speaker-JNZ} ##### Mr BANDIDT: -- The Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam)** said that, but I point out that whereas there are eight members on the Government side of the House from Western Australia and only one A.L.P. member, Queensland members are in the proportion of five on the Government side to one on the Opposition side. How then can any honorable member say that the position of the Government in Western Australia is weak? Let me point out to those who say that Western Australia has been getting a better deal than Queensland that only a couple of months ago honorable members were sent a series of very well written articles by a Western Australian journalist, to prove that Western Australia was getting a terrible deal. I have heard it said in this House that Tasmania is getting a poor deal compared with the treatment of Queensland. In other words, all you have to do in politics in order to try to get a following, is to tell the pork butcher in Berlin that the pork butcher in Paris is getting a better deal than he is. That is the policy which has been adopted by certain people in this Parliament and I suggest that it has no national characteristic about it. Let us face the facts: The Queensland Government expressed its pleasure about two years ago at the agreement by the Commonwealth to grant this loan to it. I take this opportunity to say that I agree entirely with the Queensland Government. It has been suggested that this railway line should be continued to Camooweal. Surely if the State Government does not ask for money to continue the line to Camooweal, the Commonwealth has no interest in such a proposal. It has been stated that the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** was at fault for not obtaining the railway loan from the International Bank. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition pointed to what he said were various defects in the achievements of the Prime Minister, but he entirely forgot to say that prior to the application to the International Bank for this loan for Queensland, the Prime Minister had obtained loans of several hundreds of millions of pounds from the bank. He was able to obtain that money without stating precisely the objectives for which it was required. In other words, the Prime Minister was able to go to the bank and get several hundred million pounds on the good name of Australia, but of course the Deputy Leader of Opposition did not refer to that at all. We have been criticized because the interest rate on this advance to Queensland is to be 5i per cent., but the Queensland Government was prepared to pay the International Bank 6 per cent. Therefore, I do not quite see the force of any argument by the Opposition that Queensland is worse off. Obviously it is better off now than it would have been if the money had been obtained from the bank. Also, it has been stated by the Opposition that the people of Queensland will have to pay for this loan. The implication is that they will have to dip further into their pockets. No mention is made of the fact that the line will make a profit. We have had two conflicting statements from members of the Opposition. The honorable member for Kennedy **(Mr. Riordan)** said, in effect, that the Commonwealth Grants Commission would provide for the payment of most of the instalments of the loan for the Western Australian railway line, whereas the people of Queensland would have to pay for the Queensland railway. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition did not agree with the honorable member for Kennedy. He said that all these projects had been investigated and had been proved to be economic propositions. If the Townsville to Mount Isa project is an economic proposition how can the honorable member for Kennedy say that the people of Queensland are being unfairly treated? How can he say that Western Australia will ask the Commonwealth Grants Commission to approve a grant to pay its instalments on its railway project when, according to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition the project is an economic proposition and the railway will pay for itself? We know from investigations that when the Mount Isa mine is working, the Mount Isa to Townsville railway line will return a profit of up to £2,000,000 a year. It is, therefore, very easy to see how Queensland will pay back the £20,000,000 that the Commonwealth will lend it. I remind honorable members that, according to the agreement annexed to the bill, repayment is to be made in forty equal half-yearly instalments, the first of which is to be made on 30th June, 1965. So, we have the chance to get going with the construction of this railway line. Interest will be payable immediately and then, from 30th June, 1965, we shall repay the loan over twenty years. As the line is a payable proposition, and as it has been estimated that it will pay for itself within twenty years, I submit that the proposition is a good one. I agree entirely with the Premier of Queensland that the arrangement made with the Commonwealth is satisfactory, and I support the bill. Question resolved in the affirmative. Thursday, 26th October 1961. Bill read a second time, and committed pro forma; progress reported. Message recommending appropriation reported. In committee (Consideration of GovernorGeneral's message): Motion (by **Mr. Harold** Holt) agreed to- >That it is expedient that an appropriation of moneys be made for the purposes of a bill for an act relating to an Agreement between the Commonwealth and the State of Queensland with respect to the Collinsville - Townsville - Mount Isa Railway. Resolution reported and adopted. In committee: Consideration resumed. Bill - by leave - taken as a whole. {: #subdebate-33-0-s9 .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir WILFRID KENT HUGHES:
Chisholm -- During the course of the second-reading debate it has become obvious that the Queensland Government - apparently the Commonwealth Government has followed its lead - prefers the advice of New Jersey engineers to that of our own experts, such as the late **Sir Harold** Clapp, and has made a definite decision to construct this line to the 3-ft. 6-in. gauge. The Government Members Rail Standardization Committee reported on this project, and because it thought that nothing would change the opinion of the Queensland Government, it recommended only that the line should be constructed so that the foundation work and road beds, and bridges and culverts, would be suitable for a standard-gauge line if it should be decided to convert to standard gauge at a later date. I presume that some day we will want to make this conversion and carry the line through to Birdum to connect with the railway that I suppose will some day be completed between Birdum and Alice Springs. However, I presume we are not entitled to discuss that matter, because I understand it is the subject of a court case at the present time. However, I suggest that the Government should consider inserting an amendment in this bill when it is before another place to provide that the road bed, culverts and bridges shall be so constructed as to provide for easy conversion of the line to standard gauge at a later date. I suggest it would be not only a good thing but also a proper thing for the Commonwealth Government at this stage to offer to pay for the extra cost of constructing the line on this basis, even though the line itself will be of only 3-ft. 6-in. gauge, which I think will be a tragedy. {: #subdebate-33-0-s10 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM:
Werriwa -- I support the remarks of the honorable member for Chisholm **(Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes).** The Commonwealth's excuse for not providing the same assistance to Queensland as it has to other States for railway construction has been that the railway contemplated under this legislation is of narrow gauge, while the railways in the other States were either being built to standard gauge or had been built to a broad gauge with an undertaking by the State concerned to reduce that broad gauge later to standard gauge at its own expense. I believe the opportunity should be taken by the Commonwealth either to defray the cost of building a standard gauge railway or to facilitate the later conversion to standard gauge, even if this means giving the same kind of assistance to Queensland as the Commonwealth has always given to the other States. 1 would like to ask the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** a question. Paragraph 14 of the agreement between this Government and the Queensland Government provides that the State shall continue to engage the firm of Ford, Bacon and Davis Incorporated, to supervise the carrying out of the work. The honorable member for Wentworth **(Mr. Bury)** asked two years ago that the report by this firm should be made available to honorable members. The initial report was made in November, 1957, and the final report in August, 1958. A week ago the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** recalled the question asked by the honorable member and repeated the request. Apparently it is not possible, because of some technicality, for honorable members who are voting the expenditure of this money to see the report on which it is based. The Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** told us last Thursday, a week ago, that the Commonwealth would suggest to the Queensland Government that it should make the report available. However, we are not allowed to see it. Apparently we have arrived at a dead end in that direction. I then come to paragraph 16 of the agreement, which reads - (I.) As it has already affirmed that it will do, the State will cause to be undertaken by the engineers an investigation of the efficiency of the organization, operations and methods of the administration of the Northern Division of the Queensland Railways and will request the engineers to submit recommendations for improving efficiency. (2.) Upon receipt of the recommendations referred to in the last preceding sub-clause, the State shall promptly take all reasonable action to put them into effect. 1 want to know what relevance this paragraph has to an agreement between the Commonwealth and the States. I can well believe that the report of the engineers in relation to the railway between Mount Isa, Townsville and Collinsville would be relevant, but the report referred to here is a report on the whole of the northern division of the Queensland railways, which covers very many more miles than the stretch of line which is to be rehabilitated with the money being provided under this legislation, Perhaps the engineers have made recommendations to the Queensland Government which will involve considerable retrenchments and other alterations in the northern division of the Queensland railways. This Parliament should not be a party to an arrangement of which it is not informed, since it has not the report before it, and since the matter is none of this Parliament's business, anyhow. The Queensland Government itself should take the responsibility, if it wants to, for carrying out the recommendations of Ford, Bacon and Davis Incorporated on those sections of the northern division of the Queensland railways which the Commonwealth is not helping to rehabilitate. We should not condone, support or advocate the Queensland Government's dealings with reports such as these when they do not concern the provision made by this Parliament in this bill for payments by the Commonwealth. {: #subdebate-33-0-s11 .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH:
Mackellar -- **Mr. Chairman,** in accordance with the suggestion that I made at the secondreading stage, I state now that I think it would be a good idea, as the honorable member for Chisholm **(Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes)** has said, if we were to add an amendment which could perhaps be made in another place; a fifth clause to provide that, if the Queensland Government decides to construct the earthworks and associated works to 4-ft. 8i-in. gauge standards, the Federal Government will grant to the Queensland Government an amount equivalent to 70 per cent, of the additional cost involved. This would put the arrangement on all fours with what has been done in relation to other States where standard-gauge lines have been constructed. In my view, this proposal would not involve very great expense if provision were made now for the standard-gauge conversion. If the reconstruction were undertaken without provision for conversion to standard gauge, conversion at any later stage would be costly. But, if the necessary foresight is exercised now, the additional cost will be quite trivial. I suggest that the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** was right when he directed attention to the almost incredible riches of the Mount Isa mineral field. If he was right, the density of traffic over the Mount Isa railway will be much greater in future than we are allowing for at present, and will be so great as to justify completely a standard-gauge line, if the matter is judged according to the same principles applied to the standard-gauge line which has been found necessary for the carriage of 2,000,000 tons of iron ore a year from Koolyanobbing to Fremantle. I agree that one must not disrupt the Queensland railway system by making impossible 3-ft. 6-in. gauge traffic to Mount Isa. The situation can be met fairly readily by laying three rails on the one set of sleepers. Where there is a big difference between gauges - in this instance, the difference is 1 -ft. 21-in. - the technical problems involved in laying three rails are not negligible, but they are relatively small, and the proposal is practicable. I suggest that we ought to show some foresight. We should construct the earthworks, culverts and associated works to standard-gauge specifications now. Nevertheless, I think that the decision by this Government and the Queensland Government to reconstruct the line on a gauge of 3-ft. 6-in. is correct, as I have said. {: #subdebate-33-0-s12 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
HigginsTreasurer · LP -- **Mr. Chairman,** the committee is being asked to adopt the terms of an agreement which is set out as a schedule to this bill. Several suggestions have been made, but I do not think that any one in this House is fully equipped to determine the technical issues involved. The suggestions are well intentioned and are made by people who.:have studied not only this railway but also the problems of standardizing railway gauges throughout Australia generally. The Government has previously asked the House, and it now asks this committee, to adopt the agreement already reached between the Commonwealth Government and the Queensland Government, and I hope that we shall proceed to do that without further delay. No doubt, what has been said in this discussion will be studied by both the Commonwealth Government and its technical advisers and the State Government and its technical advisers. If what has been said stimulates further thinking on matters that have not already been fully considered, the discussion will have served a useful and valuable purpose. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam)** raised a point about the release of the report by Ford Bacon and Davis Incorporated, the firm of consulting engineers. That report was made to the Queensland Government. Some time ago, the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies)** raised with the Premier of Queensland the question of the release of the report. The Premier replied giving substantial reasons why the report should not be released. Those reasons relate to questions of tender and so forth. I understand that the text of the Premier's letter was shown to the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** by the Prime Minister. Having seen the Premier's reply, **Sir, I** think that his objection to the public release of the report at this stage is soundly based. I hope that the committee will now agree to the bill, sir. {: #subdebate-33-0-s13 .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH:
Mackellar -- **Mr. Chairman,** I entirely agree with the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** that nothing ought to be done to delay the passage of this measure and the ratification of the agreement with which it is concerned. If an amendment would do that, let it be considered and made at another time. In conclusion, may I just say that the recommendation by the Government Members Rail Standardization Committee that the permanent way be constructed to standard-gauge specifications, and that a 3-ft. 6-in. gauge line be laid, was made by the committee about five years ago. Its conclusions were reached after a very detailed study and on advice received from very competent railway engineers who were highly qualified technically. Bill agreed to. Bill reported without amendment; report adopted. Bill - by leave - read a third time. {: .page-start } page 2502 {:#debate-34} ### ORDER OF THE DAY {:#subdebate-34-0} #### Discharge of Morion {: #subdebate-34-0-s0 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
HigginsTreasurer · LP -- by leave - I move - >That the following Order of the Day, Government Business, be discharged: - > >No. 12 - Post Office - Commercial Accounts - Ad Hoc Committee of Inquiry - Reports and Addenda - Motion for Printing Papers - Resumption of debate upon the motion, That the Papers be printed. The purpose of my motion, **Mr. Speaker,** is to enable the printing of the papers to take place now rather than wait until some time next year. The papers can be printed now if my motion is agreed to. {: #subdebate-34-0-s1 .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir WILFRID KENT HUGHES:
Chisholm **.- Mr. Speaker,** do I understand that we are now asked to discharge from the notice-paper a list of items? {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt: -- No, only one item - No. 12. It deals with the commercial accounts of the Post Office. The purpose is to enable the report of the ad hoc committee of inquiry to be printed. {: .speaker-KEE} ##### Sir WILFRID KENT HUGHES: -- I ask about this because I should like to discuss certain items on the notice-paper. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: .page-start } page 2503 {:#debate-35} ### BILLS RETURNED FROM THE SENATE The following bills were returned from the Senate without amendment: - >States Grants (Special Assistance) Bill 1961. Audit Bill 1961. Navigation Bill 1961. {: .page-start } page 2503 {:#debate-36} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-36-0} #### Security - Political Parties - Immigration - Newspaper Report - Television {: #subdebate-36-0-s0 .speaker-KIF} ##### Mr HULME:
Minister for Supply · Petrie · LP -- I move - >That the House do now adjourn. To-night, I want to make a few comments in relation to a debate which took place in the House last night, in order to clarify the position of the Department of Supply in regard to the matter dealt with in that debate. As a preamble to the comments which I shall make I want to read some extracts from, first, the Approved Defence Projects Protection Act 1947, and also some extracts from the second-reading speech made by **Dr. Evatt,** who was the Minister who introduced that measure, in 1947. Section 3 of the Approved Defence Projects Protection Act, giving the definition of approved defence projects, states - " approved defence project " means any work or undertaking for the testing of long range weapons which is approved by the Minister of State for Defence by notice in the Gazette as an immediate defence project and includes any other work or undertaking, being carried out or to be carried out either within or outside Australia for the defence of Australia or any Territory of the Commonwealth, which is so approved as an immediate defence project; Section 4 provides as follows: - (1.) Any person who - (a) without reasonable cause or excuse - {: type="a" start="i"} 0. by boycott or threat of boycott of any person, property, work or undertaking prevents, hinders or obstructs, or endeavours to pre vent, hinder or obstruct, the carrying out of an approved defence project; (ii; publishes any declaration of a boycott or threat of a boycott by means of which the carrying out of an approved defence project is prevented, hindered or obstructed or is sought to be prevented, hindered or obstructed; or *(in)* fry speech or writing, advocates of encourages the prevention, hindrance or obstruction of the carrying out of an approved defence project; shall be guilty of an offence. When that measure was introduced by **Dr. Evatt** in 1947 he made, I believe, some pertinent comment in relation to the bil] and its provisions. He commenced his speech by saying - >This is a bill to provide for the protection of approved defence projects. Its object is to prevent sabotage, or attempted sabotage, of approved defence undertakings. Honorable members will recall that, recently, the House discussed a motion relating to espionage risks in connexion with the guided weapons testing range in Central Australia. During that discussion it was shown that representatives or members of the Communist party had published certain propaganda which indicated that the primary objection to the tests was that it would endanger Australian aborigines, although the real object of that party was the prevention of the project itself. I showed to honorable members extracts from a pamphlet and from newspapers circulated in Australia which proved that point beyond doubt. He concluded his speech by saying - >I commend the bill to the favorable consideration of the House and submit that, as a Parliament, we must register our conviction that when a defence project is fully embarked upon by the Government we cannot permit the boycott to be used as a political weapon to stop its progress. There is a great distinction between a strike and a boycott. A strike is an action by workers to improve their industrial conditions; a boycott of the character contemplated by this bill constitutes a misuse of industrial power, not for the purpose of improving the conditions of workers but for a political or international purpose contrary to the defence policy of the Government and the Parliament. Such a boycott cannot be tolerated and accordingly I ask the House to agree to the passage of this bill. With those extracts as a background, and realizing that the condition referred to in **Dr. Evatt's** second-reading speech applied in 1948, considerable care was exercised in visits made to the Woomera rocket range by persons not directly concerned in the construction. At that time security within the range area had not been developed to a high degree of efficiency, and when a request was received for approval for a large number of trade unionists to visit the area the Government sought security advice. The security advice was that seven of the persons nominated were approved and five, including **Mr. Cavanagh.** were not approved. There is no doubt whatsoever that the Minister of the day, in fact an acting Minister, the present honorable member for Kennedy **(Mr. Riordan),** acted in accordance with security advice and in conformity with the principle enunciated in the Approved Defence Projects Protection Act 1947. Other applications were also not approved for certain trade unionists to visit the area in subsequent years. But when a request was received at the end of 1959 from the Trades and Labour Council for thirteen trade unionists, representingall building and allied trades, to go to Woomera and it was clear that the visit was on serious union business, approval was given for the visit of this party, including not only **Mr.** Cavanagh but at least one other person who had been rejected previously. It will be noted that the Leader of the Opposition last night said that a visit was made in 1958 to Woomera by **Mr. Cavanagh** and that the then Minister for Supply, who is now the Minister for Defence, " chose **Mr. Cavanagh** to go to to Woomera in 1958 because he was not a security risk." I direct attention to the word "chose" because the Minister did not in fact choose **Mr. Cavanagh** to go. He acceded to a request from the Trades and Labour Council for thirteen people representing various trade unions to be allowed to go to Woomera. It was not the Minister for Defence who was the Minister at the time. This happened during my own period as Minister for Supply. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: -- So you made the mistake? {: .speaker-KIF} ##### Mr HULME: -- I did not make the mistake. There was no mistake about it. 1 point out to the House that by 1959, and indeed considerably earlier, security at Woomera bad been developed to an extremely efficient level, and that the dangers associated with a visit in 1948 - or even into the early 1950's - were not present. A different set of circumstances applied in 1959 and approval was given in November, 1959, for all the party of thirteen trade unionists to go to Woomera, because it was known that they would not have the opportunity of seeing or discussing anything that was not related to their union business. 1 make this explanation to show that, from the point of view of the Department of Supply, the position and attitudes which were adopted were in conformity with the situations applying at the particular times. {: #subdebate-36-0-s1 .speaker-1V4} ##### Mr CAIRNS:
Yarra .The Opposition is quite satisfied to accept the explanation, with the implied apology, in the speech just delivered. Of course, a couple of nights ago the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt),** made accusations, which were reported in the press, that the Australian Labour Party had endorsed as candidates for the Senate election, men who were Communists or fellow travellers. He based that statement mainly upon the statement that one of those men had been refused permission to go to Woomerain 1948. Now we have been told that that man was permitted to go to Woomera in 1959 - that he was not a security risk in 1959. So we ask the Treasurer either to repeat his statements outside the House, or to apologize for them inside the House. I think that that matter has been effectively disposed of by the proof provided by the Minister for Supply **(Mr. Hulme)** that the Labour Party candidate for the Senate in South Australia was approved of as a person suitable to visit a defence project in 1959. If he was satisfactorily approved of by the security service to visit a defence project in 1959, surely he is satisfactorily even to Liberals to be approved of by the Labour Party to stand on a Senate ticket in 1961. I think there is nothing more that needs to be said about it except by the Treasurer and I, for one, am waiting for him either to allege, outside this House, that **Mr. Cavanagh** is a Communist or a fellow traveller, or to apologize, inside the House, for having said it in the House. I want to refer to four aspects of immigration which involve considerable hardship and difficulty for a great many migrants. These matters will be put right by a Labour government next year, but I want to refer to them now because they concern the administration of four departments over the next month or two. Great relief would be given to migrants if they were taken into account in that time. We know that because of unemployment, the composition of Australian immigration has been changed away from the assisted variety, based on a man's ability to work or on his skill or physical strength, towards a family basis. That is good. I think that family migration must be the basis of migration to Australia. Family migration is social migration. The other kind is economic. It distorts and unbalances. It produces problems of employment and social problems of a serious nature. It gives rise to a disproportion of the sexes and so on. I think that this decision has been made in an unplanned and irrational way. It is not clear really whether the Government intends deliberately to plan and encourage family migration or whether that is something that has been done alone because of the present high level of unemployment and without any real affection for family migration. In my own files, I have many cases - far too many to extract for attention here - of persons who have been nominated to come to Australia by members of their families in Australia. 1 ask the Minister for Immigration **(Mr. Downer)** to do what he can to expedite decisions on outstanding cases so that families of migrants can be reunited in Australia before Christmas. The present situation is causing uncertainty and worry for a great many people. That is the first point that I wish to make, I request that the department expedite the migration of members of families before Christmas. My second point concerns social services. We know that migrants are not entitled to age and invalid pensions unless they have been resident in Australia for twenty years and have other qualifications. This discriminates against migrants. It excludes almost 100 per cent, of the migrant applicants for pensions, but excludes nobody born in this country. Therefore, migrants are not treated equally with other people in relation to age and invalid pensions. We know that when these applications are made and are refused because of a lack of residential qualifications, the applicants are sometimes given special benefits. I emphasize that, because of the high level of unemployment, there is a great deal of distress in migrant families when working children have to support their families. I believe that the Department of Social Services *should be more* liberal in granting these applications. I have a number of cases on my own files in which there has been a delay of three months while investigations have taken place. Eventually, the requests may be granted, but I suggest that they be dealt with more quickly, and that' the department must be more generous about them. My third and most important point concerns the issue of tradesmen's certificates. Many migrants are brought to Australia on the understanding that they will be able to practise their trades or professions on the basis of their experience and qualifications at home. When they come here, they are refused a test in some cases, or, when they are given a test, they are failed despite their qualifications. To illustrate how this works I shall cite three cases briefly. The first is that of **Mr. A.** Carleni, of West Geelong. He was selected as one of the first ten Italians to go to Rhodesia, as a welder. He had that special level of qualification. He came to Australia and was engaged by Bodycraft Proprietary Limited of Geelong as a first-class welder. There is no doubt of his ability to work as a welder but he was refused in Australia a certificate in November, 1957, and again in May, 1959. I cannot understand why this man is not considered to possess the qualifications necessary to satisfy the local electrical trades committee set up by the Department of Labour and National Service. The second case is that of **Mr. V.** Melani of Essendon. He was selected in Italy as an electrical fitter. He is a splendid electrician but was refused a certificate on 26th July, 1961, although he has been able to perform the task of a tradesman electrician. The last case is that of **Mr. A.** Fasciona of Werribee. There has been no objection to these men on the part of the unions; it is purely an objection of the committee. This man was selected as an electrical welder. He has a certificate of proficiency, which I have here, issued in a part of Italy - Turin - where the level of skill is as high as it is in any other part of the world. He came to Australia with that certificate, quite confident that he would be able to practise here, but he was refused a tradesman's certificate on 13th October without being given a test. In this case and in many others what happens is completely unfair to the migrants concerned. They have been given the impression by our immigration authorities on the other side of the world that when they come to Australia they will be able to practise in their trades and professions, but when they come here, they find that, despite their qualifications, they are not issued with a tradesman's certificate. {: .speaker-JSY} ##### Mr Buchanan: -- The unions stop them. {: .speaker-1V4} ##### Mr CAIRNS: -- No. There is no objection whatever in these cases by the unions. My last point is in relation to enrolments. I found recently that only 523 Italians were on the electoral roll in my electorate, but we have reason to believe that there are over 1,500 who are naturalized and are eligible to go on the roll. This was discovered in a survey. As a result of this discovery, I made inquiries from those who came to my office last Saturday and the previous Saturday. On 14th October, of five who were questioned and who were naturalized, only one was enrolled. The following Saturday out of five who were naturalized, only two were enrolled. When I asked why they were not enrolled, they said they did not know how to enrol. A closer examination- **Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. John McLeay).Order!** The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-36-0-s2 .speaker-KFH} ##### Mr FORBES:
Barker .The honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Cairns)** said that the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** had disposed of the case of **Mr. Cavanagh** and of any argument about his fitness to be a candidate for the Senate. He might be fit to be a Labour candidate for the Senate, but that does not dispose of the question, and I beg leave to differ from the honorable member for Yarra. I enter this debate because I feel personally most incensed that my colleagues, particularly the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** have been accused of charac ter assassination because they, have had the temerity to question the bona fides of some of the people whom the Australian Labour Party has chosen to be candidates for the Senate in the forthcoming elections. I ask you, **Mr. Speaker:** Since when have we not been entitled in this House to question the bona fides of candidates for political honours? Since when has it been character assassination, smearing or McCarthyism to bring out the qualifications, or lack of qualifications, of people nominated for political office? Since when has the A.L.P. been granted a divine right to immunity from criticism of the candidates it has chosen by its extraordinarily devious procedures? This wo.ul appear to be the claim on which the honorable gentleman rested his attack on tSe Treasurer last night. What are the fac!s, for instance, in the case of **Mr. Cavanagh?** What is it which makes him in the opinion of many honorable gentlemen on this side of the House an unsuitable person to sit in this Parliament? What is it that makes the Leader of the Opposition so sensitive about him that he. feels it necessary to impugn the Treasurer's motives in raising the matter? I do not know whether **Mr. Cavanagh** is a Communist - it is not my intention to canvass that question. But there are other factors that make a person unsuitable for membership of this Parliament other than membership of the Communist Party. Let us take **Mr. Cavanagh's** industrial record. Much has been said about the fact that he was prevented by the Chifley Government from visiting the Woomera Rocket, because he was regarded as a security risk, as he was. The honorable member for Darebin **(Mr. Courtnay),** who is now interjecting, was with him and was also excluded. {: .speaker-K6V} ##### Mr Courtnay: -- That is a lie. {: #subdebate-36-0-s3 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member will withdraw that remark. {: .speaker-K6V} ##### Mr Courtnay: -- It has been suggested that I was a security risk. I say that is a lie and I do not propose to withdraw the remark. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! I warn the honorable member that he is disobeying the Chair. If he does r.ot withdraw his remark, I shall name him. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt: -- May I just say, **Mr. Speaker,** that there seems to be a misunderstanding by the honorable member as to what was actually said. 1 think he should at least know what was said. The honorable member for Barker said that the honorable member for Darebin was also one of those excluded at the time. That is a fact and I do not think the honorable gentleman will deny it. 1 did not understand the honorable member for Barker to say that the honorable member for Darebin was a security risk. He made the statement that the honorable member for Darebin was excluded. {: .speaker-K6V} ##### Mr Courtnay: -- If the honorable member {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member must not debate the matter. {: .speaker-K6V} ##### Mr Courtnay: -- I withdraw, **Sir.** {: .speaker-KFH} ##### Mr FORBES: -- So seriously did the Chifley Government regard this threat to withdraw labour from the range that it, in turn, threatened him with the Approved Defence Projects Protection Act if he did so. In 1941, **Mr. Cavanagh** went further. He led a strike of workers associated with the construction of the air bombing school at Port Pirie, at a time when it was vitally important for the war effort that the work be completed quickly. These are not figments of my imagination; they are facts. I will leave honorable members to draw their own conclusions as to the motives which led **Mr. Cavanagh** on at least two occasions to sabotage, actually or potentially, our defence preparations. I will content myself with the most charitable interpretation - that he was so imbued with a tradition of industrial militancy that he put industrial action before the defence of his own country. Let us assume that this is what happened. Is this the sort of man we want in the Senate, and not only in the Senate but, with his other left wing colleagues from the other States, probably holding the balance of power in that chamber? If he is standing for election, the least that can be done is to make it clear to his fellow Australians in these dangerous and difficult times the priorities he believes in - industrial action at the expense of the defence of his country. Let me refer to another fact. Again this is not a figment of my imagination. In 1949, **Mr. Cavanagh** and his union were involved in a court case, which is entitled " Murphy v. The Plasterers' Society ", contained in the South Australian State Law Reports for 1949. In this case, twelve members of the Plasterers' Society brought an action for libel against the union and **Mr. Cavanagh,** in circumstances which involved the grossest victimization when they refused to strike. In finding against the union and Cavanagh, whom he found almost completely responsible for the union's action, **Mr. Justice** Abbott in his judgment had this to say - >Apart from the illegality of his conduct, his personal dishonesty was made obvious by the fraudulent suggestion he made to the Conciliation Commissioner. He regards the pressing of union demands despite the Arbitration Court as a " species of warfare " in which " any form of tactics is permissible, lawful or unlawful " and brazenly confessed that he had falsely denied to Murphy that he had distributed leaflets, adding, " i don't stick at telling lies for the purpose of implementing my campaign ". Again I will leave it to honorable members to draw conclusions as to the character of the tactics used by **Mr. Cavanagh** in this instance. 1 will content myself with asking whether a man who has been described by a judge as personally dishonest and of having indulged in fraudulent conduct, and who himself admits that he is willing to achieve his ends by any means, lawful or unlawful, is fit to sit as a member of this Parliament. This is the man, **Sir, who** was described by the Leader of the Opposition last night as a good Australian and one he was proud to have in the Labour team at the election. May I close by suggesting that the honorable gentleman's fellow Australians may take a very different view of what constitutes a good Australian. {: #subdebate-36-0-s4 .speaker-KRK} ##### Mr McIVOR:
Gellibrand -- I just want to tell the honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Forbes)** that character assassination is the oldest political trick in the world. Practised in this place, where honorable members enjoy some immunity, it is the lowest form of a political trick. I want to refer to a matter which is a little more elevating than the matter discussed by the honorable member for Barker. It concerns a newspaper report relating to a project which was discussed and examined by the Public Works Committee, the report of which was brought down in this House to-day by the chairman of the committee. Some parts of the newspaper report are substantially correct; other parts of it are substantially wrong. It has been suggested that the report emanated from me. I want to say here and now that I did not give the report to the newspaper. I have been forced to say this to-night because a member of another place alleged, if I may put it in my words, that I leaked this report to the press. To be brief, the member of another place was careless in handling the truth. The Public Works Committee made full investigation of certain aspects of a project for the Department of the Navy known as H.M.A.S. "Kuttabul", which is to be built in Sydney. After these investigations, I and other members of the committee were convinced that the conditions under which men were forced to work - that is, to live on the ships in the concrete docks while they were being refitted - were not desirable and should not be countenanced by any parliament or any country. Admitting that these conditions do exist could only lead to the conclusion that there was a need for better living and administrative accommodation. I was quite prepared to accept the case put up for the building, but 1 had some doubt about the wisdom of acquiring an avenue called Collins-avenue at a cost of £25,000. I felt that an agreement or a lease would be better than acquisition, but I did not raise any objection to the project on those grounds. There were three grounds upon which I raised objection, two of them relatively minor and one rather important. My main objection was based on the provision of two lifts for 78 people. It was admitted in evidence by an officer of the Department of the Navy that the two lifts were included for the express purpose of segregation. **Mr. Speaker,** I do not like that word. I felt that the Public Works Committee could not properly base a recommendation on that ground. I felt also that the provision of two lifts for 78 people was a gross waste of public money. I may say these things publicly now; I said them while sitting on the committee. Another officer of the Department of the Navy stated in evidence that it would be hard to establish a case against the common use of a grouped set of lifts. Apparently this matter has been discussed in certain places and I have been accused of being the cause of holding up this project. I make no apologies for the action I have taken. A perusal of the committee's report will disclose that I was the only member of the committee to vote against it. I take no objection to the attitude of my colleagues on the committee to this matter. It is their prerogative to express their opinions and to vote accordingly, just as it is mine. In view of the admission by the Department of the Navy that two lifts were desired for the purpose of segregating junior officers from the senior officers, I could not agree to the proposal. I was strengthened in -ny objection by the fact that ample provision was made in the building for the segregation of the housing of personnel. For instance, there were to be 66 junior ratings on one floor whereas on another floor there were to be only 26 senior ratings, and it was admitted in evidence that two lifts were more than sufficient to cater for 78 people. It was also stated in evidence that if the two lifts were taken out of the plan the cost of the project would be increased by £5,500. Frankly, I could not see how that would be. I have no time for people who say these things cannot be done. I feel that another plan could have been drawn up to include a group of lifts adequate to serve the population of the building. There is even some conflict in the report. For instance, paragraph 76 reads - >During discussion on this aspect of this proposal that is, the lifts - it became evident that the majority of the members on the Committee felt that a good case had been made against grouping the lifts. They held the view that because the overall lift provision left little margin for contingencies and was not designed to cater for a large increase in the population of the building, as might occur in time of war, and so that continuous lift service to the basements and senior ratings wing could be assured, the provision of two lifts for that wing should not be reduced. Paragraph 77 reads - >The case made against the grouped four-lift installation was not acceptable to all members of the Committee. The feeling persisted that there should be a way of re-designing the toile and lift areas which would achieve a saving in cost; also concern was expressed that there was an admitted over-provision of lifts in the senior ratings wing. We took a vote on the matter and I was the only one who voted against the lift proposal. It has been suggested that two lifts are necessary because one might break down. I point out to honorable members that when this project was first placed before the committee the senior ratings wing was completely isolated from the junior ratings wing. The committee recommended that external balconies be constructed to give access to the two wings, and that was a very wise recommendation. But what would be the position if the two lifts in question broke down? Would there be the same segregation, or would provision be made for the senior ratings to use one of the three other lifts? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-36-0-s5 .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH:
Mackellar -- Let me assure the House that I shall be looking for an opportunity to say outside it the things I intend to say inside it to-night. The only qualification I felt was that possibly stop writs would be issued not with the idea of going on with them but with the idea of stopping comment. But I have legal advice to the effect that, according to British legal practice, stop writs are not considered to be effective against fair comment at election time. I intend to refer to-night to the case of **Mr. Cavanagh,** to which honorable members have already referred. I do not say that **Mr. Cavanagh** is necessarily a member of the Communist Party. I do not know whether he is or not. I understand that he has denied that he is, but in view of the fact that we have his confession in court that - >I do not stick at telling lies for the purpose of implementing my campaign- I do not know whether I should accept his word in this regard. 1 emphasize that I have quoted his exact words from the judgment delivered in the case to which reference has been made. What I do say is that the course of his public conduct, not in that single instant but over a long period', is such as to suggest a close association with Communists and an adherence to those lines of policy which Communists endeavour to follow. I take th; strongest possible exception to the fallacious argument that it is engaging in personal smearing to mention communism in connexion with anybody in this House. If the statement can be supported and verified - and I can assure honorable members that my statements will be well documented - then it is a matter of the very highest political importance in relation to any member of this House or any member of the British Parliament or any member of any parliament of the free world. The most important thing is where the member stands on this vital issue of Communists. Is he for it, or is he against it? We heard last night a very peculiar speech from the Leader of the Opposition. Let me explain what I mean by that. The honorable member had made certain comments about **Mr. Cavanagh** in the week-end press. Those comments were false in fact, and when the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** pointed out that they were false in fact, the Leader of the Opposition excused himself and said that he did not know that the matter was going to be brought up in the House and that he made those comments without realizing what it was all about. That is to be found in " Hansard ". I have looked at the debate of Thursday night to which the honorable member was referring, and in the whole of his speech on Thursday night he did not once mention **Mr. Cavanagh.** So- the statements on which he was caught -out by the Treasurer cannot be explained away in the manner he sought to do. Thus the honorable member not only said something which was false, but when caught out, he invented a false reason for having made previous wrongful assertions. He was caught out on a point of fact, and he invented in this House a story that was demonstrably false. I think it is tragic that we have seen a deterioration in the moral fibre of the Leader of the Opposition. He no longer, apparently, has the courage to stand up against communism. He thinks that only the interests of the Labour Party should be served; and for those interests he is now apparently willing to stomach anything. I think the honorable member knows a fair bit about **Mr. Cavanagh** because he has crossed **Mr. Cavanagh's** path, not once but on several occasions. I want to say something about those occasions to the House. On 19th January, 1950 - there is a public press report of this - in the W.E.A. Hall at Adelaide a meeting was held to form a branch of the Peace Council at which **Mr. Cavanagh** was present. At that time **Mr. Cavanagh** boasted that he had been, sometime before 1939, secretary of the League against War and Fascism. That was a Communist front. But what is more important, in those days the man who is at present Leader of the Opposition fought against the league as a Communist front, as he knows very well. I do not know whether **Mr. Cavanagh** was the Australian or South Australian secretary, I have only his own statement that was published. I think the Leader of the Opposition will perhaps remember something about this. If he does not remember, let me now remind him. Let me come to another point where their paths crossed. This occasion was just before the 1949 election when the coal strike was in progress. At that time the then Labour Government very properly took the view that the coal strike was a Communist conspiracy. It said so. It believed that to be the case and it was right; but **Mr. Cavanagh** in Adelaide was leading the van of the people who were trying to uphold the miners against the Government and uphold the Communist case against the Government. On 24th July - again I refer to published material - **Mr. Cavanagh** was chairman of a meeting which was held in the Botanic Park. He was cited before the Trades and Labour Council in regard to that matter. It is true he got off, but only by a small majority after referring the case to the executive, which was perhaps a little bit frightened to deal with this particular big fish. On 10th August of that same year - again I refer to the public press - he was bringing into his plasterers' union meetings advocates from the miners to put the Communist case. I am glad to read that his union turned him down. It would not hear the people he was trying to bring forward. The union sided with the Labour government and not with the Communist side. The rocket range incident has been mentioned to-night and on a previous occasion. It was a serious incident and the present honorable member for Kennedy **(Mr. Riordan)** very properly, in a published statement, directed attention to the Communist background which made it imperative to keep certain people away from that range which, I think, was a much more important defence project then than it is to-day. I think that the then Labour government acted correctly in doing what it did. The honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Forbes)** referred a few moments ago to **Mr. Cavanagh's** participation in the strike at Port Pirie against the construction of the air bombing school. I do not know very much about that. I have only the record that it was settled on 25th July. As honorable members know that was a few weeks after the Communists were attacked by Hitler and dragged into the war. Before that time, as honorable members know, there was an alliance between the Nazis and the Communists; and the Communists in Australia, in accordance with their prime duty to world Communism, were endeavouring to sabotage the war effort. When Hitler turned on his allies all that changed. Communists became supporters of the war effort which previously they had endeavoured to sabotage. As I have said this strike appears to have been settled on 25th July, but I must confess I know very little about the background of this affair. Perhaps the truth will out in due course. [Extension of time granted.] I thank the House for its courtesy. The honorable member for Barker has referred to **Mr. Cavanagh's** loss of a libel case in 1949. It has not been mentioned, perhaps, that his counsel in that case was a certain **Mr. Elliott** Johnston, a very well-know Communist, and the whole pattern of the case was in accordance with the communist pattern of industrial action at that time. That pattern was again exemplified, as the honorable memher for Barker has mentioned, in the rocket range episode. From then on we had various peace efforts, so to speak, and I now wish to read from the report of a meeting which took place in Adelaide on 19th January, 1950. The report is as follows - >On 19th January about 30 persons, including a number of well-known Comrades, met at the W.E.A. Hall to form a branch of the "Australian Peace Council ". Other speakers included Comrade J. Cavanagh of the Plasterers' Union, who referred to matters so intimately bound up with world peace as the refusal of the Commonwealth Security Service to let him visit Woomera Rocket Range, the Safety Prevention Act of South Australia, the Victorian Essential Services Act and hte Commonwealth Crimes Act. He also claimed he had served peace before 1939 as secretary of the League Against War and Facsism The report continues, and I hope to place it on record at some later stage. **Mr. Cavanagh** was elected as one of the officers of the organization together with **Mr. Convery** - one of his fellow exludees from Woomera - a **Mrs. Watt,** wife of the local secretary of the Communist Party in South Australia, **Mr. Mattinson,** whom I do not know, and a **Mr. Hodge** who is connected with the organization. **Mr. Cavanagh** has received over the years a great deal of praise from the Communists for what he has been doing on what is known euphemistically as a peace front but actually is a Communist auxiliary, so declared even by the A.L.P. To bring the matter up to date, or nearly up to date, I read from the "Tribune" of 30th July, 1958- >During the last week, as the protest grew against the imperialist aggression in the Middle East, police in Adelaide roughly handled demonstrators while breaking up a meeting in front of Parliament House, and the homes of two workers were raided in the early hours of the morning . . . People who tried to speak and who had their names taken included . . . **Mr. J.** L. Cavanagh, Secretary of the Plasterers' Union . . . This meeting was called at a time when Russia was exercising her veto in the Security Council to prevent the United Nations from acting in the Middle East. It was a definite Russian plot to embroil the Middle East in war, or at any rate to force Russian interests forward in the Middle East. This is the kind of thing that has been going on. Here we find **Mr. Cavanagh,** as late as 1958, associated with this Communist front, engaged at the very highest level in actions which were against the foreign policy of the free world and in favour of the foreign policy of Soviet Russia. If I had more time, I would put a lot more facts before the House. I think you will agree, **Sir, that** I have put very substan tial facts before the House already. In the course of the next few weeks, I hope to have an opportunity to say more fully what I would have said here to-night had I had more time in which to do so. It is terribly important that these people who, whether or not they are members of the Communist Party, act as such, should not become members of this Parliament. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-36-0-s6 .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON:
Port Adelaide -- This is the first occasion on which I have spoken in a debate on the motion for the adjournment of the House. I do not like to keep members up, but to-night I felt it was impossible for me to remain sitting here, listening to the stuff that was being put over, without making a reply. I have known **Mr. Cavanagh** intimately. The honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth)** talks about a period away back in 1938 and 1939 when **Mr. Cavanagh** was the secretary of an organization which he mentioned. I may say that at that time **Mr. Cavanagh** was just as militant as he is now. One of the great objections that a lot of people have to **Mr. Cavanagh** is the way in which he carries on his work as a union secretary. He is the most militant union secretary that we have in Adelaide. He takes more employers to court for breaches of awards than does any other union secretary in Adelaide. He is always taking employers to court in order to protect the men who are working in industry. Almost invariably, when he goes to court he is successful in the case that he presents. I would say to the honorable member that this is one of the reasons why **Mr. Cavanagh** is our third candidate in the Senate elections. He was not picked out by a little group. He was not picked out by an executive. He was selected as a candidate on a vote of over 70,000 unionists and members of the Australian Labour Party. He was elected over men whom one would never dream of associating with any great militancy, any peace council, or anything else of that nature. The Labour movement, at a conference, selected him. Members of the Labour Party know Jim Cavanagh. They know all about him and his actions. They know whether he goes to peace council meetings. Will the honorable member for Mackellar say that because a reverend gentleman belonging to one of our churches, who is looked up to as a fine Christian gentleman, goes to a peace council meeting at which **Mr. Cavanagh** is present, the reverend gentleman is not a fit man to be a leader and teacher in our community? Honorable members opposite are condemning **Mr. Cavanagh** and saying that he is a Communist or a fellow traveller. I speak as one who knows his history very, very well. I knew his father, when Jim Cavanagh was a boy. The father was a militant man of the same sort as Jim Cavanagh, but nobody ever called him a Communist. Nobody called him a fellow traveller. He was a fighter for the workers, a fighter for the men, and Jim Cavanagh has grown up in that way. {: .speaker-KFZ} ##### Mr Halbert: -- What has his father to do with it? {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON: -- I would ask what right the honorable member has to try to stop me when I am giving this man's history. Honorable members opposite are condemning this man. The Minister and everybody else are condemning him because, they say, he is a fellow traveller. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt: -- Your government condemned him in 1948. {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON: -- I say to the Minister that in 1948, when Cavanagh was not permitted to go to Woomera, other members of trade unions were not permitted to go. The Minister said that there were seven of them. The security organization at the time said, " It is better for this man not to go there. We will not take any risks." With seven others, he was not permitted to go, but that did not mean that he was a Communist. I ask the Minister and the honorable member for Mackeller: If this was such a terrible man, was he ever convicted in a court for any of these things? {: .speaker-JSQ} ##### Mr Browne: -- How many Communists are? {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON: -- I say to the honorable boy opposite who is interjecting that when he has a little of the experience that I have, he will know better. I do not know of any Labour member from South Australia who has the Communists more bitterly against him than I have. Everybody knows that. The Communists have me in the gun all the time. {: .speaker-JSY} ##### Mr Buchanan: -- I thought you were a friend of theirs. {: .speaker-KVT} ##### Mr THOMPSON: -- A friend? I believe in standing up for a man. I shall tell honorable members something which might be good for them. In the coming election campaign I shall go to every workshop meeting and every other meeting that I can attend. 1 shall not be telling the people to vote for Bert Thompson. I shall be telling them to be sure to give their No. 3 vote for the Senate to Cavanagh. Honorable members opposite say that this man is not fit to come here. If we were to judge all candidates on the things that we hear about them, their moral lives, the way they live, we would be condemning a lot of them. But we do not do that. As I have said, this man has been selected by the Labour movement in South Australia on a vote of over 70,000 people. He was the man who got the majority. If honorable members opposite tell me that they know more about that man's qualifications to come into the Parliament and represent the people than do those persons who voted for him, honorable members opposite do not know what they are talking about. I admit that they have a right to say that they do not think so-and-so should come here, but let me invite them to go back through history. I shall not repeat the names of men who have served terms in prison and who, after coming out of prison, have been put into Parliament, have risen to great heights as parliamentarians of different countries, and have been looked up to very much indeed. If all the people adopted the attitude that honorable members opposite are adopting, the men to whom I have referred would never have reached those positions. What honorable members opposite are doing to-night is the same as has been done for the last 40 years at least. Whenever issues arise that are difficult for them to answer, whenever a case is established against their administration as a government or as a party, they turn to the old red bogy. They go back to the years of the Industrial Workers of the World before a Communist was known. They go back to the days when people would talk about the Bolsheviks, not the Communists. The opponents of Labour, whether they be called Liberals, Conservatives or anything else have made a practice down through the years of adopting the attitude, " If we have nothing else, we can always get back to the red bogy ". They frighten people or try to frighten them with the red bogy. I want to give honorable members opposite just one little bit of information before I conclude, lt is this: When this Parliament re-assembles **Mr. Cavanagh** will have been elected to the Senate. Have no doubt about that; he will be elected to the Senate. I will be fighting to get him into fifth place. If he gets into that place he will not come into the Senate until 1st July next. But if he wins the short-term position and takes the place of the late **Senator Rex** Pearson, he will come here when the Parliament reassembles. He is a certainty to come into the Senate. I can tell honorable members opposite, that when **Mr. Cavanagh** is in the Senate and has the protection under which honorable members opposite are now saying things about him, he will be very ready to say what he thinks about them. If he can find anything dirty or sneaky in their past, he will have his revenge on them. Make no mistake about that! Honorable members opposite may read what he said to the judge, namely that he was not worried about telling a lie if it was to help his cause, but Jim Cavanagh is a man who is filled with a desire to help the man at the bottom and to lift him up. He is very bitter against many employers because from his experience he knows what they have done to the men who have been working for them. That bitterness has grown up in him. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-36-0-s7 .speaker-L0V} ##### Mr WIGHT:
Lilley .- I rise only to correct a statement that was made by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** last night. I do not believe, nor am I suggesting, that he deliberately misled the House; but I am suggesting that he was misled. I understand that the Leader of the Opposition was quoting from a letter that he had received from **Dr. Max** Poulter in Queensland. I will be subject to any correction that the Leader of the Opposition may wish to make by way of interjection, but I understood him te say that **Dr. Max** Poulter had informed him by letter that he, **Dr. Max** Poulter, had never addressed a peace committee meeting in Queensland. 1 assume that I am correct. The Leader of the Opposition said that in answer to the claim by the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** that **Dr. Max** Poulter had addressed such a meeting. I am prepared to agree with the honorable member for Port Adelaide **(Mr. Thomson)** that many reputable and decent people have addressed peace committee meetings. Of course they have. Ministers of religion and other people have done so. 1 am not quarrelling on that point. The point that I am raising at this moment is that, according to the Leader of the Opposition, **Dr. Max** Poulter informed him that he, **Dr. Max** Poulter, had never addressed a peace council meeting or peace committee meeting in Queensland. That is not true. **Dr. Poulter** has in fact done so. The proof of that may be found o/ the Leader of the Opposition in the " New Age " which is the official organ of the Australian Labour Party in Queensland. It is published by the Queensland Central Executive of the A.L.P. On the back page of the issue of that newspaper dated Wednesday, 12th July, 1961, the statement is printed by the Queensland Central Executive that **Dr. Max** Poulter and **Mr. Alf** Arnell, Senate candidates at this year's Federal election, did in fact address the waterside workers peace committee which is a subsidiary of the peace council and a branch of the Brisbane peace committee. Last night the Treasurer made special reference to a meeting of the Queensland peace council or peace committee which had been called in Queensland on the night of 2nd May. **Dr. Poulter** was advertised as the guest speaker at that meeting. The subject of **Dr. Poulter's** address was to be " People and Preparations for War ". {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt: -- In particular reference to the American scene. {: .speaker-L0V} ##### Mr WIGHT: -- Yes, as it applied to the American scene. That was the meeting referred to by the Treasurer. In the letter written to the Leader of the Opposition, **Dr. Max** Poulter said that he had had nothing at all to do with that meeting. The fact is that **Dr. Max** Poulter agreed to address that meeting on 2nd May and that the subject of the address was selected by **Dr. Poulter.** The arrangements were made with **Mrs. Norma** Chalmers, who is the secretary of the Queensland peace committee and a member of the Australian Labour Party, and whose husband s.ood as an A.L.P. candidate in the Queensland State election. **Dr. Max** Poulter made the arrangements for his address with that woman. The only reason why **Dr. Poulter** did not address that meeting was that the audience did not turn up and the meeting was cancelled. I am suggesting that **Dr. Max** Poulter, in his letter to the Leader of the Opposition, has attempted to mislead him, notwithstanding the fact that the Leader of the Opposition now is prepared to claim that **Dr. Poulter** is an honorable gentleman and one whom he would welcome into his team. It would appear that the Leader of the Opposition is prepared to welcome into this Parliament a great number of people who are coming in for the express purpose of betraying the Leader of the Opposition and ensuring that he will not be the leader after the next election. {: #subdebate-36-0-s8 .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr COPE:
Watson .- Once again to-night we listened to the honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth)** pursue his usual line when he speaks on the motion for the adjournment of the House. He is one of those gentlemen who always look under the bed for a Communist, and that, of course, is where Roach, the Communist, keeps the Illawarra Cup that the honorable member for Mackellar was kind enough to present to him a few years ago. I do not think the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** will deny this: When he appeared on television on 27th August with the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. McMahon),** the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr.** Whitlam), he was more or less challenged by the Leader of the Opposition who said, " Will you fight this election on the Budget? " The right honorable gentleman said, " Yes, I will be happy to do so ". {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt: -- That is right. {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr COPE: -- That is right! Then why is all this smearing coming in? It is the same old trap. Whom does the Treasurer think he is trying to trap? He is not a man of his word. He said he would fight the election on the Budget but he is bringing these things up in the same way as they were brought up against Ben Chifley. **Mr. Chifley** was referred to as a Hitler; he was referred to as a Stalin; he was referred to as a Ned Kelly; he was referred to as a Judas Iscariot. But the members of this House who had the temerity to say that **Mr. Chifley** was a Stalin or a fellow traveller were not fit to live in the same street with him and were not even fit to be in this Parliament. We heard the honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Forbes)** say what a judge said about Cavanagh. What did honorable members opposite say about one of the greatest sons that Australia has ever produced? What did they do to him? They sent him to his grave. That is what they did to John Curtin. These things are going on- {: .speaker-KMB} ##### Mr Opperman: -- No, we did not. {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr COPE: -- Yes, you did. I saw examples in the Sydney newspapers. The " Sun " newspaper employees were prepared to go on strike rather than print a dirty, filthy advertisement about John Curtin that your party wanted to put into the newspaper. We also used to read of an ex-Prime Minister, the late Billy Hughes, being castigated by the anti-Labour parties as being a Bolshevik, because he was a militant, yet he finished up as Prime Minister and their leader! These things have been going on for years. I can remember, in my youth, Jack Lang, when leader of the Labour Party in New South Wales, being depicted in cartoons with a bomb under each arm. And what is he now? He is running a newspaper and the Liberal Party advertises in it. That is the sort of thing which goes on when members of the Liberal and Country Party Government, have as their purpose the assassination of the character of leaders of the Labour Party from the time they are elected. These are the people who defame such a great Australian as the late Ben Chifley, and now they are up against our leader, Arthur Calwell, and are making these insidious innuendoes against such people. I can recall what happened in America during the McCarthy era. I quote from the " New York Times ", a conservative newspaper. It said during the period of McCarthyism - >One danger we are learning to our cost is the temptation to foster witch hunts and to use the fear of communism for partisan purposes and get hysterical and set norms that carry into the field of general liberalism and legitimate freedom of discussion of social experiments. That was what happened in America and that is what the Liberal-Country Party Government does before every election. Supporters of the Government always resort to McCarthyism as a means of getting votes. I think the article about Cavanagh which appeared in the " Daily Telegraph " last Wednesday week probably prompted this Government to bring the matter up, but I challenge Reid, who wrote that article, to write that the same Cavanagh was sent to Woomera in 1959 with the approval of this Government. I challenge him to do so, but I am willing to bet that he does not. Just to show what sort of newspaper this is I point out that at the general election in 1958 Joske won Balaclava with a majority of 14,000 over Labour and obtained over 60 per cent, of the votes, but, before the byelection in 1960, this newspaper, in an endeavour to conceal the Liberal Party's loss of prestige, said that **Mr. Whittorn** would have a bigger majority, and a better percentage of the votes cast, than **Mr. Joske** obtained. That statement was a deliberate lie on the part of this newspaper, and no one knows better than Reid, who writes for the " Daily Telegraph ", that it was a deliberate lie. This is the paper that you are told in Sydney you can trust! This is the journal in which the Liberal-Country Party Government places faith. Despite all this McCarthyism and all this smearing you will never kill the Australian Labour Party. You can try and you can laugh, but your attempts will smack back in your face some day. Do not worry about that. There are in this House people who think that if a Labour man has been talking to a Communist he is a Communist. Mention was made last night of people speaking on platforms with Communists. Sometimes on both sides in this political game this is inevitable. You cannot prevent it. Let me quote as an illustration the 1955 election when Jack Kane, now secretary of the Australian Democratic Labour Party, was campaign director for the Australian Labour Party in New South Wales. He wished to send me to Randwick workshops on the day before the election and, before I left, he said: " They have a Communist, the secretary of the shop stewards, and he will be chairman of the meeting. There is nothing you can do about it, because it is his job to take the chair for all representatives of political parties who go there to address them." As a consequence I went out and addressed that meeting which was chaired by a Communist. That was not my fault. It was just one of the things that happen. But had a member of the Liberal Party been passing by at that stage he would have said I was a Communist, because I was speaking from the platform with one. Those meetings are inevitable and particularly in the trade union movement you cannot avoid them. How ridiculous it is when these people opposite try to smear honorable people like the late **Mr. Chifley** and the late John Curtin and all Labour's great men! **Mr. BROWNE** (Kalgoorlie) [1.36 a.m. J. - I crave the indulgence of the House for a moment. Opposition Members. - At this hour! {: #subdebate-36-0-s9 .speaker-JSQ} ##### Mr BROWNE: -- Honorable members opposite are not used to company which apologizes, but I do apologize for speaking at this late hour. I want to direct attention to what I consider to be a very important matter closely related to the overall development of this country. I refer to the provision of television in country areas and particularly to those areas which the Government is anxious to develop. One of the most formidable obstacles to the development of many areas with a high production potential is the social problem - the problem of attracting people to those areas and of keeping them there. As each decade passes this problem becomes greater because as time goes on city dwellers get more and more amenities which are denied the people in the country. One would have thought that the advent of television would be regarded by the PostmasterGeneral's Department as a means of assisting the Government to achieve its objective of decentralization, helping the nation decentralize those activities which are important to it and giving an incentive to people to remain in country areas. I am not going to suggest that television should have been introduced into remote and sparsely populated areas before it was introduced into the metropolitan areas because that would be silly. But I am going to suggest that it is equally silly that the gap between the introduction of television in the cities and in the areas which we are endeavouring to develop should be so wide as to contribute towards the drift to the cities. Unfortunately, the Postmaster-General's Department, the Australian Broadcasting Control Board or whichever short-sighted instrumentality is responsible did not regard the advent of television as being an aid to development. On the contrary, it is retarding to a considerable extent the development of those areas. I and other members of this Parliament have asked the PostmasterGeneral **(Mr. Davidson)** in this House, and his representative in another place, to consider providing television services to country areas by some of the transmitting media which are in use in other parts of the world and particularly in the United States of America. What is required is the beaming of Australian Broadcasting Commission programmes from the capital cities to the various rural centres. It is no use saying that these centres can apply for commercial television licences when they know they cannot support a commercial television station. There is evidence that these programmes can be beamed to these centres at a not unreasonable cost. Let me refer to a piece of equipment known as the Older translator. This equipment is in wide use in the Uuited States of America, providing television services to viewers in rural areas. In effect, they can pick up telecasts beamed on ultra high frequency at a distance of between 150 and 200 miles and transmit them to viewers. The translators can also rebeam the telecast to another translator a further 150 or 200 miles away. The total cost, landed at Fremantle according to the manufacturers, is about £12,000 a unit. The cost for two units to relay programmes to Kalgoorlie would be £24,000. f he cost for a further two units to relay programmes to Geraldton would be a further £24,000. If that figure seems ridiculously low- -and it does - it should be at least investigated by the Postmaster-General's Department because the opportunity seems too good to miss. But we are missing it. In the Kalgoorlie viewing area there are 25.000 people and in the Geraldton area there are 26,000 people. Surely, with viewing licences at £5 each, the cost of servicing those areas would be offset in a very short time - that is if the cost of providing television services to these areas is to be considered foremost, which, I suggest, it is not. All I ask is that the Postmaster-General give the people of these areas an assurance that the method about which I have spoken, and any other method that is considered feasible, will be given due consideration. If this method is not found to be feasible by the Postmaster-General's Department, then the reasons should be made known to the House so that the matter may be debated. {: #subdebate-36-0-s10 .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL:
Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne -- I do not wish to detain the House very long, but as I have been referred to several times I think I should say something on the matters that have been discussed. The honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth)** is a traditionalist if nothing else. He has maintained the tradition of his family from the days of his great-grandfather, William Charles Wentworth I. He has maintained the tradition of attacking every person who happens to be progressively minded. The honorable member for Mackellar is William Charles Wentworth IV. It was William Charles Wentworth I. who, from his place in the Legislative Council of New South Wales, first condemned a fellow citizen as a Communist. That was back in 1851. The Wentworths have been at it for 110 years. **Sir Henry** Parkes in his autobiography said that the same William Charles Wentworth I., from his place in the Legislative Council of New South Wales, described him as an anarchist, a socialist, a Communist and a radical. The honorable member for Mackellar to-night attacked **Mr. Cavanagh** because he is a militant. In the opinion of the honorable member nobody has a right to be a militant. I do not suppose that the honorable member or anybody else on the Government side would subscribe to the thesis that I now propose to quote, but I do lf communism in action is just militant unionism opposed to arbitration but determined to alter the law by lawful means, no punitive action against communism can be justified. I have no hostility to minority movements. Christianity itself was the greatest minority movement of history. Does any honorable member opposite object to that as a statement? {: .speaker-KEP} ##### Mr Falkinder: -- I do. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- Does anybody else? Many honorable members opposite object to that statement. The honorable member for Phillip objects to it. {: .speaker-JMF} ##### Mr Aston: -- No, I do not. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- You did, but you have had second thoughts about the matter. Perhaps the honorable member for Phillip realizes that I was trying to trap him, because the quotation was from a speech by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Menzies),** delivered in this House on 27th April, 1950. The honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Forbes)** spoke to-night to show that he, too, had done a little homework on this matter. He quoted **Mr. Justice** Abbott as having said some nasty things about **Mr. Cavanagh. Mr. Justice** Abbott on hi3 retirement from the supreme court bench of South Australia wrote a series of articles in the Adelaide " Advertiser " in one of which he boasted that before he became a judge he had been a strike breaker. No wonder he was particularly critical of **Mr. Cavanagh** when he had **Mr. Cavanagh** before him. He was very hostile towards **Mr. Cavanagh** and fined him for a breach of the law, but it was an industrial matter and had nothing to do with a charge of communism that was levelled against **Mr. Cavanagh** by the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt).** Let us get back to that matter for a moment. According to the press, the right honorable gentleman said that **Mr. Cavanagh** was a Communist or a fellow traveller, but he claims that the entire press of Australia misrepresented him. What a most unfortunate experience! He is the only politician in Australian history who has been misrepresented by every newspaper in the land simultaneously. But the same **Mr. Cavanagh** was not a Communist ten or eleven years later. The Minister for Supply **(Mr. Hulme)** to-night came to the table almost like a penitent approaching the penitent's stool. He gave some lame explanation of how he happened to invite **Mr. Cavanagh** to go to Woomera. Whether **Mr. Cavanagh** was invited or not, the fact is that he was not a Communist in the eyes of the security service in 1959. So, he cannot be a Communist in the eyes of the Minister in 1961. {: .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt: -- Why do you draw that conclusion? {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- It is the logical, honest and decent conclusion to draw. I challenge me Treasurer to repeat outside the House his statements as contained in " Hansard ", and give **Mr. Cavanagh** and others concerned the opportunity that they want. We have listened to outbursts of McCarthyism over the last week that would have disgraced the late United States **Senator Joseph** McCarthy even at his worst. I want to quote from the Melbourne " Herald " of 12th December, 1953, because I, too, have been doing a little homework. This is an article entitled " Co-operation is not Communism ", and it was written by Frank McManus. At that time he was the assistant secretary of the Australian Labour Party. That was in the days before *hd* left us. He starts his article in this way - >The shade of America's **Senator Joe** McCarthy surely stalked Victoria's legislative halls this week, when State Parliament discussed the new Cooperatives' Bill. > >Those of us who have been under the impression for years that the co-operative movement was one of the noblest expressions of Christian and democratic social principles learnt during the debates on the best official Liberal authority, that we were wrong. > >In the words of **Sir Thomas** Maltby, MLA, backed by **Mr. Leggatt,** MLA, the Victorian Government's legislation to promote and encourage co-operatives in this State is calculated to set up Soviet-style Socialism here, and to lead to a Union of Soviet Socialist Societies. > >The facts, of course, speak for themselves to contradict the charge that co-operation can degenerate into Communism . . . > > The co-operative movement has been praised by representative bodies of all churches ... It has been approved by the outstanding opponent of Communism in this country - the Australian Labour Party. Frank McManus has since joined the ranks of the Joe McCarthy's. He is now a senator, and he is doing in another place what honorable members of the Liberal Party were doing in the Victorian Parliament in 1953, what members of the Liberal Party have been doing in this Parliament for the last week, and what members of the Liberal Party have been doing in this Parliament for the last 40 years. {: .speaker-JSQ} ##### Mr Browne: -- He was talking about the Labour Party at that time. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- Well, the Labour Party never changes. What happens is that it sheds people from time to time who can no longer subscribe to its principles and who would prefer to join its political enemies. Those who have been talking about the Labour Party, and about people who are candidates for the Labour Party, are in some cases the lineal descendants, and in all cases the spiritual heirs, of the tories of other days who said precisely the same things about William Morris Hughes when he was the leader of the Labour Party and before he ratted on the Labour Party. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! The honorable member's time has expired. "'Mr; Wentworth. - **Mr. Speaker,** the honorable member said- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! Does the honorable member claim to have been misrepresented? {: .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr Wentworth: -- Yes. The honorable member said I had attacked **Mr. Cavanagh** just because he was a militant. That is not so. I attacked him because of his association with Communists and his support of Communist causes. Motion (by **Mr. Opperman)** agreed to - >That the question be now put. Original question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 1.54 a.m. (Thursday). {: .page-start } page 2518 {:#debate-37} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS The following answers to questions were circulated: - {:#subdebate-37-0} #### Industrial Arbitration {: #subdebate-37-0-s0 .speaker-JOO} ##### Mr Beaton: n asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many times have Arbitration Inspectors visited Bendigo this year? 1. Were any breaches of federal awards detected during their visits? 2. What was the average number of complaints received per month from the Bendigo area? 3. Will he give consideration to (a) the establishment of an Arbitration Inspection Service office in Bendigo, or (b) the institution of regular visits by an officer, at specified and advertised times to Bendigo and other large towns, so that both employers and employees might avail themselves of advice and guidance similar to that constantly available in the metropolitan areas? {: #subdebate-37-0-s1 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- The answers to the honorable members questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Twice. 1. One breach was discovered and has been rectified. 2. Three complaints have been received this year, one of which concerned employment outside Victoria. Over the last few years the average number of complaints per year has been three. 3. I have considered on several occasions the question of establishing an office in Bendigo but have decided that it is preferable to station the inspectors in Melbourne whence they can make periodical visits to country centres. 1 have also examined the question of rein.situting the practice of regular visits to Bendigo and have decided that the number of complaints received from and breaches detected in that city do not warrant such action. {:#subdebate-37-1} #### Unemployment {: #subdebate-37-1-s0 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: y asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many (a) men and (b) women are registered at this date at the Newtown Employment Office, Sydney? 1. Of those registered, how many in each category are under 21 years of age? {: #subdebate-37-1-s1 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. The latest available figures relate to 29lh September, 1961. At that date the number of persons registered for employment at the District Employment Office, Newtown, were - Adults: males 1,185, females 371; young people under 21 years of age: males 151, females 81; total: males 1,336, females 452; persons 1,788. These are figures of persons registered for employment who claimed when registering with the Commonwealth Employment Service that they were not employed and who were recorded as unplaced at 29th September. The figures include persons who had been referred to employers, but whose placement has not been confirmed at that date, those who may have obtained employment without notifying the Commonwealth Employment Service and whose applications for employment had not been lapsed, and those receiving unemployment benefit. Conveyance of Members of Parliament. **Mr. Peters** asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What expenditure was incurred on fares by each Minister in 1960-61? 1. What fares, exclusive of those necessary for travel to and from Canberra for parliamentary sittings, were paid on behalf of the honorable member for Mackellar in 1960-61? {: #subdebate-37-1-s2 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth:
LP h. - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The expenditures incurred by Ministers on fares in 1960-61 were in accordance with the rules prescribed for Ministerial travel. 1. The fares for travel other than to and from Canberra paid on behalf of the hororable member for Mackellar in 1960-61 were in accordance wilh the rules prescribed for travel by Members of Parliament. Army Signal Station, Cabarlah. {: #subdebate-37-1-s3 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND z asked the Minister for the Army, on notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has a master plan been adopted for improvements at the Cabarlah Army Signal Station? 1. If so, what work has been completed or approved and what additional work is yet to be carried out? 2. What are the costs of works completed or approved, and the estimated cost of works yet to be undertaken in accordance with the master plan? {: #subdebate-37-1-s4 .speaker-K7J} ##### Mr Cramer:
Minister for the Army · BENNELONG, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 2 and 3- {:#subdebate-37-2} #### Security {: #subdebate-37-2-s0 .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr Turner:
BRADFIELD, NEW SOUTH WALES r asked the Attorney-General, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Can he say what committees or tribunals exist in the United Kingdom, the United States of America or elsewhere to review the cases of persons who claim to be disadvantaged by administrative action based on security grounds? 1. In the case of each body can he say - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Whether such persons have access to it as of right or by permission of a Minister, 1. What is its composition and whether its members are drawn from the judiciary, the public service or other sources, 2. Whether its functions are advisory or determinative in their nature, 3. Whether the scope of its functions are related to the public service, the armed services, citizens, aliens seeking admission to the country, or to other persons, 4. What procedures are followed and whether (i) its sittings are held in public or in camera, (ii) its proceedings are restricted to reading relevant papers, (iii) the applicant is heard, (iv) members of the security service are consulted, (v) other witnesses are heard and (vi) it gives reasons to the applicant for its conclusions? {: #subdebate-37-2-s1 .speaker-126} ##### Sir Garfield Barwick:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. So far as I am aware it is only in relation to persons in Government employment that tribunals have been set up in the United Kingdom and the United States to review the cases of persons claimed to be disadvantaged by administrative action based on security grounds. 2. (a) Persons in Government employment have access to the relevant tribunal as of right, in both the United Kingdom and the United States, (b) In the United Kingdom the tribunal, known as the Three Advisers, comprises two members who are former civil servants with the experience of large staffs, with a third who for many years was a former Member of Parliament and General Secretary of a large civil service union. In the United States the Eisenhower Administration set up a Security Hearing Board, of three Government officers, selected by the head of the department or agency concerned from the officers in other departments or agencies in a panel maintained by the Attorney-General, (c) The functions in each country are advisory. The ultimate responsibility for administrative action rests in each country with the head of the department or agency concerned, (d) So far as *I* am aware, in each country the tribunal named above is concerned wilh the public service only, (e) The procedures are in part at least in the discretion of the tribunal, but in general - {: type="i" start="i"} 0. it sits in camera; 1. its proceedings are not restricted to the mere reading of relevant papers; 2. the applicant is heard; 3. members of the security services are consulted; 4. other witnesses are heard; 5. it reports exclusively, with reasons for its conclusions, to the head of the department or agency concerned. The honorable member will find further material in respect of the procedures in the United Kingdom in a Parliamentary Paper of 1956 (Cmd. 9715), which comprises a Statement on the Findings of the Conference of Privy Councillors on Security, supplemented by a statement to the House of Commons recorded in "Hansard" for 30th January, 1957. The procedures in the United Stales were fully dealt with in the Report of the Commission of Government Security submitted to the President on 21st June, 1957. {:#subdebate-37-3} #### Wheat {: #subdebate-37-3-s0 .speaker-KX7} ##### Mr Ward: d asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has Australian wheat for some time past been selling overseas at a price considerably below the cost of production in Australia? 1. Was an overall loss sustained on overseas wheat sales for the year ended on 30th June, 1961; if so, what was the amount of the deficiency? 2. Is any loss anticipated for the current year; if so, what is the estimated amount? {: #subdebate-37-3-s1 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Export wheat prices are currently below the price determined under the Wheat Stabilization Plan. For many years the reverse was the case. 1. There was no actual loss as such. Export wheat is necessarily sold at world prices. The grower receives the weighted average return from home consumption sales, the guaranteed quantity shipped overseas and the balance exported at world prices. 2. World wheat prices have shown a hardening tendency in recent times, but it is impracticable at this early stage to give a firm estimate of how much wheat will be sold for export in 1961-62 or what the returns from oversea sales are likely to be.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 25 October 1961, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.